Tag Archives: red peppers

Mexican quinoa bowl

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As a recently-married, full-time student, there are two things I’m always running out of. Time and money. With my obsession of cooking, I’ve had to learn how to make homemade, healthy and delicious dinners that are quick to make and within our budget…

Most girls my age do that “mental battle” thing at the mall. They find that perfect shirt they really need  want, and spend the next 15 minutes trying to justify why it’s ok to buy it, and why this time, the budget will be forgiving of that adorable new outfit. Yaaa, I do that too, but it’s usually in the produce section of the grocery store…embarrassing. It usually involves that devilishly delicious mango, which given it’s the month of March, costs $2 for ONE. Ugh…

Sooo, I’ve had to learn how to eat on a budget. Buy food in bulk. Plan recipes for the week that have similar ingredients, so I can stretch things a little further.

This Mexican quinoa bowl was the result of my efforts to use similar ingredients for my meals throughout the week. Earlier this week, I made quinoa stuffed acorn squash, and you’ll notice many of the same ingredients from that recipe pop up in today’s quinoa bowl. Mission accomplished! (Well, besides the kind of expensive strawberries we ate with it…the result of my mental battle this week. Eeek.)

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Mexican quinoa bowl

ingredients: *serves 2-3 

  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt, pepper (plus some for seasoning)
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cup black beans
  • 1/3 cup corn
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/2 red pepper, sliced in to small pieces
  • 1/2 avocado
  • feta cheese, cilantro, sour cream for topping

directions:

  1. Combine garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, pepper and 1/4 tsp chili powder in a medium bowl. Mix well. Cut the chicken breast into small cubes and add to the bowl, stir it around until it’s all covered in the seasoning.
  2. Heat some oil in a large skillet and add the chicken. Cook it on low heat until it’s white in the middle, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Remove the chicken from the pan and add the diced onion and red pepper. Cook on low heat until they are soft.
  4. Add the corn, beans and quinoa, and allow to warm.
  5. Stir in the chicken and the rest of the chili powder. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Garnish with cilantro, avocado slices, feta cheese and sour cream.

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gourmet quesadillas with cilantro-lime dressing

So, I’m all for leftovers. But not the typical, scoop it out of the Tupperware, ignore the unappetizing square-shape it’s still in, smack it in the microwave and enjoy the soggy results. Don’t get me wrong, those days come often enough with such a busy schedule. However, I’m talking about using all those left-over ingredients from dinner the night before.

Yesterday, I made quinoa salad in pita bread with a lime-cilantro dressing. Tonight, I decided to use the same ingredients, add a few more, and create something new and delicious. IMG_4089

ingredients for gourmet quesadillas:

  • whole-wheat pita bread (or tortilla if you prefer, I just had pitas from last night’s dinner)
  • feta cheese
  • black beans
  • corn
  • avocado
  • red pepper, sliced into thin strips, a.k.a. julienned (if you speak kitchen…)
  • salt and pepper
  • oilve oil
  • cilantro-lime dressing (click for recipe)

directions:

  1. In a saucepan, saute red peppers in a bit of oil.
    *Cover with a lid and saute on medium-low heat for about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally and be careful because they will burn easily!
  2. When peppers are soft, transfer to a plate. Put beans and corn in that same saucepan and warm on low heat, careful not to burn or overheat.
    *when the beans start to crack open, they’ve been cooking for too long.
  3. While beans and corn are warming, place pita (cut in half)/tortilla) on another saucepan and sprinkle feta cheese on top. Allow to melt slightly.
  4. Put bean/corn mixture on top of the feta-melted tortilla, and add the red peppers, avocado and salt and pepper.
  5. Drizzle cilantro-lime dressing on top.
  6. Place the other tortilla on top, and voila!

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