Mac-nificently Cheesy

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Mac and cheese is a weakness of mine.  Throw in a box of Kraft mac and cheese and you will not find a bite in site after that sits in front of me.  When it comes to homemade mac and cheese, I can basically say RIP to any good eating habits I’ve ever had cause that stuff is tooooo good to pass up.  Dream week of dinners: Monday-Lobster mac and cheese, Tuesday-moms mac and cheese, Wednesday-Kraft shapes mac and cheese, Thursday-Mac and cheese bites, and to top it all off… Friday– TRUFFLE MAC N CHEESE.  Probably cheese overload, but a girl can dream.

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Since I can’t have mac and cheese every day of the week, and I really try to avoid eating it as much as possible because it really isn’t the healthiest of dinners, I decided to try out a healthier version this week.  I have cooked a lot with quinoa in the past, so when I found a quinoa mac and cheese recipe from Tasty Kitchen I felt like I just HAD to try it out.  Oh, and the recipe also has some spinach in it which adds some nutrients to the dish which gave me all the more reason to try it.

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I really like the recipe that I chose because I could switch out the butter, cheese, and milk for lower fat or lower % options. It also doesn’t require a lot of time, ingredients, or effort- a recipe right up my ally.  You can pre cook the quinoa beforehand, the sauce is really easy to make, and to bake you just have to make the topping and place in the oven.  Quite simple if you ask me.  Check out the recipe below for a healthier mac and cheese below!

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Quinoa Spinach Mac & Cheese:

  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 3 Tablespoons Flour
  • 1-½ cup Skim Milk
  • 2 dashes Nutmeg
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 8 ounces Reduced Fat Cheddar Cheese
  • 3 cups Cooked Quinoa
  • 2 bunches Fresh Baby Spinach
  • ½ cups Parmesan Cheese
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter, Melted
  • ¾ cups Panko Bread Crumbs

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium saucepan add butter and flour over medium heat. Whisk continuously until it all clumps together. Whisk in milk and, while continuously stirring, increase heat to medium/high and bring to a boil. Stir in the nutmeg, salt & pepper, and cheese. When cheese sauce is all mixed together, remove from heat.

In a large bowl mix together the cooked quinoa, cheese sauce and spinach.  Pour into a baking dish or cast iron skillet.  In a small bowl mix together the butter, bread crumbs and parmesan cheese and sprinkle evenly over the quinoa mixture.

Place in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes. Remove and enjoy!

Adapted from: Tasty Kitchen

Have a sweet day!

-Kelcie

Mexi-Can I?

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What is it that makes Mexican food so addicting, or rather, what is it that makes Chipotle so addicting??? Easy- control of what goes into your meal, variety of choices, speed and convenience, and not to mention the amazing food that you get when you go there.  Chipotle is one of those places where when I get a meal from there, I really go all out; chips, guac, burrito bowl, hot sauce, and an ice cold D Coke.

Almost every Thursday at home, my mom makes a Mexican type meal for her and my dad.  One of my favorite ideas of hers is when she puts a bunch of Mexican style ingredients out and lets us build our own burrito bowls.  It’s like having your own version of Chipotle at home without the weird music and stainless steel/plywood chairs & tables. Clever idea, right?? It’s definitely cheaper per person to make at home and control is all yours when it comes to what goes into your burrito bowl.

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Since I’ve been craving Mexican food lately and checking what ingredients I had around the house, I decided to make my version of homemade Chipotle burrito bowls.  When I am at Chipotle, I usually get a vegetarian bowl with rice, black beans, salsas, sour cream, lettuce, and cheese.  I figured out which of these toppings I could make at home/put my own twist on and my bowl came together as a healthier, smaller version of what I normally get at Chipotle.

The cool thing with homemade burrito bowls is that you can make or add any ingredients that your heart may desire.  Here are some other options you could add to your bowls:

  • Protein: Chicken, Steak, Tofu, Other Beans
  • Grains: White rice, brown rice, grains mix
  • Toppings: Different Salsas, Guacamole, Lettuce, Cheese (shredded or queso), hot sauce

Check out the recipes below that I used to make my Homemade Chipotle Burrito Bowls:

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Cilantro Lime Quinoa:

  • ½ cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 lime
  • ¼ Cup Cilantro, chopped [or desired amount]

Directions:

Place ½ cup quinoa and 1 cup water in a sauce pan.  Turn heat to high and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, turn heat to low and cover until quinoa has soaked up all of the water (about 15 mins)

Fluff quinoa with a fork.  Squeeze in the juice of one lime and mix in the chopped cilantro.


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Copycat Chipotle Corn Salsa:

  • 1 12-ounce bag of frozen sweet yellow corn, defrosted and drained
  • 2 medium-sized jalapenos, seeded and chopped
  • 1/3 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

Drain corn once thawed.  Mix together all of the ingredients & serve.

Adapted from: How Sweet Eats


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Chipotle Style Black Beans: [7 servings]

  • 2 Cans Black Beans
  • 1 Tsp. Chili Powder
  • ½ Tsp. Cumin
  • 1 Garlic Clove, Minced
  • ½ Tsp. Salt
  • ¼ Tsp. Sugar

Directions:

Pour the full can of beans and drained beans into a small saucepan.  Add to the beans each of the other ingredients.  Heat over medium until hot.

Adapted from: Savings Lifestyle

Have a sweet day!

-Kelcie

Get Curried Away

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I love ethnic food.  I have also been craving indian takeout since I arrived in Columbus.  Have I gotten it yet???? NO.  Don’t ask me why, I really have no explanation to this.  There are just so many other great restaurants in the area that I seem to forget about the idea when it comes down to making a decision of where/what to eat.

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Now, since I haven’t eaten any curry dishes in the area lately, I decided to make an easy one of my own at home.  I had some quinoa left over so when I saw that Canuck Cuisine had an easy recipe that utilizes budget friendly ingredients, I had to try it.  This recipe satisfies my curry cravings but in a healthier and homemade way.

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The ingredients in this dish pair really well together.  The mix of sweet with the dressing and raisins along with the curry makes for a delicious dish.  I’m using this recipe for my lunch for two days this week.  This could also be eaten (cold or warm) as a side or even with chicken or tofu mixed in.

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Sweet & Spiced Curry:  [2-3 servings]

  • 1/2 Cup Uncooked Quinoa
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1/4 Chopped Bell Pepper
  • 1/4 Chopped White Onion
  • 1 Celery Stalk
  • 1/2 Cup Chickpeas, Drained
  • 1/4 Cup Raisins
  • 1 Tbsp. White Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. Agave, Maple Syrup, or Honey
  • 1 to 2 tbsp. Curry Powder (1 for less spicy,  1 & 1/2 to 2 for more)
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. Turmeric (1/2 for less spicy, 1 for more)
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

Cook the quinoa according to directions on the box- usually you bring the water and quinoa to boil, then turn off the stove and cover for about 15 minutes or until water has been soaked up.

Saute the pepper, onion, and celery in a medium saute pan with oil (over medium to medium high) until translucent.  Remove from heat when done and put in bowl.  Add to bowl the chickpeas and raisins.

In a separate bowl, mix together the vinegar, choice of sweetener, and spices.

Once quinoa is done, add to bowl and top with preferred amount of dressing and mix. 

**Best if not eating immediately so that you can have it sit in the fridge covered overnight and let the flavors sit.

Adapted from: Canuck Cuisine

Curry on everyone- we’re halfway done with the week…

Have a sweet day!

-Kelcie

 

Going to the Eggstreme

photo 1 (2)I don’t know about you, but I usually find any excuse to eat massive unhealthy amounts of food on the weekends.  This puts me in a really bad cycle of: Eat semi-healthy during the week, eat & drink whatever I want on the weekends, feeling of guilt and gluttony, and then it restarts on Mondays with the attempt to eat healthy.  I don’t hate it….

Well, since it’s Monday, I thought I would share one of the breakfast recipes I made for this week: Quinoa Egg Muffins.  I don’t often have eggs during the week for breakfast, only because I always eat my breakfast at work. I tried to find a good egg recipe that would keep me full all morning, but that would also be easy to heat up and eat  at work.  I ended up making a version of Slender Kitchen’s recipe which mixes quinoa, egg whites, eggs, veggies and cheese and bake them in muffin tins.photo 2 (2)

The recipe goes as follows:

  • 1 Cup Cooked Quinoa
  • 4 Egg Whites
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Cup Chopped Peppers & Mushrooms (can use any veggies)
  • 1/2 Cup Reduced Fat Feta Cheese (I think shredded cheddar would be really good, too)
  • Many dashes of Franks Red Hot
  • Salt & pepper

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray muffin tins (about 7-8 muffin wells) with non-stick spray.  [Her recipe called for lining and spraying pans… I would recommend opting out on the liners seeing as though some of my cupcake liners were a little difficult to peal off once the egg muffins were done]
  • Whisk together the eggs and egg whites.  Mix into that the veggies, cheese, hot sauce, and salt & pepper.
  • Pour into the muffin tins that have been sprayed with non-stick spray 
  • Bake for about 30 minutes or until top is golden colored

Adapted from Slender Kitchen

These are so easy, low in calorie, and packed with protein making them a great breakfast to have on hand during the week.

Have a sweet day!

-Kelcie