zesty quinoa

Zesty Quinoa Salad

With the new year officially in tow (Happy 2014!) I’m sure many of you are looking to check a few resolutions off the list – some of which might include adopting a new healthier diet or dropping a few post-holiday pounds. In my opinion quinoa brings you the best of both worlds – it is a superfood packed with nutrients that stays low in calories and as a bonus is super tasty! It is a complete protein (supplying you with all 9 essential amino acids) AND is cholesterol & gluten-free! No wonder it was called “the gold of the Incas” 😉

Zesty Quinoa Salad

This quinoa salad won’t disappoint. It’s full of color and flavor that packs a punch. Fresh ginger and garlic add a spicy note while golden raisins add a touch of sweetness for the perfect combination. Get excited – your path to this deliciousness begins now.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c. quinoa
  • 2 tsp.  ground cayenne
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, chopped
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 TBSP Extra-Virgen Olive Oil
  • 3 scallions, sliced
  • 3/4 c. (1/2 can) chickpeas
  • 1/4 c. diced red onion
  • 1/4 c. (handful) cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/4 c. (handful) golden raisins
  • salt & pepper

MAKES 2 SCRUMPTOUS SERVINGS

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Start by cooking the quinoa – preferably in broth of some sort for added flavor. Next, chop up the fresh ginger, garlic, red onion, bell pepper, tomatoes and scallions. Once the quinoa is fully cooked, combine it with the veggies (except the scallions) in a large bowl. Add in the EVOO, lemon juice and ground cayenne. Pour in half a can of chickpeas, mix it all up, and top it off with scallions, raisins and a touch of salt & pepper! Delish and super easy to make – eat up and enjoy 🙂

Click here to see the nutrition facts

Don’t forget to subscribe for more healthy recipes & comment below if you try this one out! For another way to enjoy this tasty superfood, take a trip to the Caribbean with my Pineapple Quinoa Salad!

xo SkinnyGirl

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Chicken Soup for the Sick Person’s Soul

All of us have those days where all you feel like doing is laying in bed…all day. Unfortunately today was one of those days for me. I’m not sure if it was because I stayed up (basically all night) a few days ago or because I just have a virus of some sort, but either way I was definitely lacking in energy and well…the ability to function. In these times of trouble I find one solution…Chicken Noodle soup.

The more I’ve read and learned about diet, the more I’ve realized what an effect it has on how we feel. It happened to be my mother’s birthday this weekend so we went out to an italian restaurant for lunch today – even though the food was DELICIOUS I really have no intention of returning. The portions were enormous – only four of us were eating and they brought us about sixteen pieces of bread. The problem with this is that their garlic bread is extremely tasty and hard to resist…so I had about 3 and half slices. Not only is this bad calorically speaking (which I really wasn’t THAT concerned about) but I’ve noticed that after eating a lot of bread I just feel tired and weighed down. After this they brought us salad, thickly coated in dressing, and then my entree which was once again fantastic, but just too rich. It was chicken covered in a thick white wine cream sauce – I ordered it because it had vegetables: sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes and mushrooms but it was just too much. I only ate half of my meal and I was about to burst. After this enormous lunch I proceeded to taking a 2 hour nap after which I woke up feeling very sick and exhausted. I’ve learned that if I want to feel good I need to understand portion control and pick foods that are less rich and more nutritional.

That said, for dinner I wanted something light and healthy that wasn’t very complicated to make. So I created my own version of “Chicken Noodle Soup”, to make it you’ll need:

  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 organic white quinoa
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 1/3 c. shredded carrot
  • 4 oz. chicken (baked, sauteed, broiled, grilled – however you prefer)
  • 3 oz. 2% milk cheddar cheese
  • 24 oz. chicken broth
  • 1/8 tsp. tumeric
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/16 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder

MAKES 2 servings

I started by cooking the quinoa. To give it extra flavor I cooked it in chicken broth instead of just plain water.

Trader Joe's White Quinoa

Trader Joe’s Organic White Quinoa

I LOVE the Pacific foods organic free range chicken broth, I think it tastes great and it’s usually not very expensive at the grocery store.

Pacific Foods Organic Free Range Chicken Broth

Pacific Foods Organic Free Range Chicken Broth

I chose to use quinoa as opposed to a whole grain noodle in this soup because I wanted it to be lighter and grain-free since I had ODed earlier on bread. After the quinoa was done (around 10 minutes) I put it in a separate bowl & added the chopped onion and garlic to the saucepan.

chopped onion & garlic in the saucepan

chopped onion & garlic in the saucepan

I like to keep chopped onion in a airtight container in the fridge so that I can add it easily without having to chop it up all the time. The great thing about onion and garlic is that both are extremely healthy for you and are filled with antioxidants. Next I shredded the chicken which had been sauteed in olive oil with salt and pepper and was kept in the fridge (another great thing to have on hand). You could simply boil your chicken or grill it if you’re watching calories. Then, I poured enough chicken broth to cover the ingredients and added the carrots.

Chicken, onion, garlic and carrot slightly covered in chicken broth

Chicken, onion, garlic and carrot slightly covered in chicken broth

Next comes the spices: I added tumeric for flavor and that nice, yellow chicken-soup color. I love cayenne so I added it for spice and because its a wonderful metabolism booster – plus spicy food always opens up your sinuses when you’re feeling sick. The cinnamon was also for the same purpose – although it sounds odd to put cinnamon in a soup, you barely notice it but you still get its benefits. After adding the spices and cooking the ingredients for about 2 minutes I added the rest of the chicken broth. After everything was heated up, I added the quinoa, stirred the soup and topped it with shredded cheddar cheese! Delicious, easy and healthy – you can’t get better than that.

Chicken Soup

Chicken Soup

After a hearty bowl, I’m already feeling better 😉 Especially since one bowl will only cost you 342 calories

Chicken Soup Nutrition Facts

Chicken Soup Nutrition Facts

Enjoy & check back later for more recipes, promise I’ll update more often!

-SkinnyGirl

Caribbean Quinoa Salad

I am SO very excited to be sharing with you my first blog post. This recipe is one of my favorites because it’s not only healthy, but flavorful and delicious. I came up with this recipe like most all of my recipes – because I had a random assortment of ingredients in my pantry (it’s my own little version of an Iron Chef challenge). I’ve also been on a pineapple-mango-coconut milk kick lately because I’m ready for summer & like to pretend I’m in the Caribbean.

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This recipe can be made as a side or a main course, but I prefer to serve it as a side with this AMAZING tilapia recipe by Bobby Dean (make it with olive oil instead of butter to be healthier).

I also decided to pair this recipe with a Sauvignon Blanc (which I’ve never had before) called Procrastinate. Obviously I was attracted to its name after just finishing my final exams and getting done with school! Now I’m allowed to procrastinate a little 😉 The wine was actually surprisingly sweet (meaning I could drink it) since I normally only like super sweet wines like moscato.

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As for the Quinoa salad itself, it’s not too difficult to make, the ingredients you’ll need are:

  • 1 c uncooked whole grain couscous or quinoa
  • 1 20 oz can pineapple chunks (in its own juice, no sugar added)
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 small red onion diced
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 deseeded habanero pepper
  • 1/2 package mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1 Tablespoon EVOO
  • salt
  • pepper
  • chili powder

YIELDS 3 SERVINGS AS A MAIN DISH OR 6 SERVINGS AS A SIDE

The first step is to follow the instructions that come with the quinoa or couscous of your choice. While the quinoa is cooking, dice the red onion and add it to a skillet on medium with 1 TBSP of EVOO. Next add the sliced mushrooms and 1 clove of minced garlic.

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Then, slice up the habanero pepper (WEAR GLOVES, TRUST ME) into tiny pieces, and deseed unless you prefer it spicy like myself. Add the habanero to the skillet. Once the onions have caramelized and the mushrooms have softened, drain the canned pineapple & coat the chunks in about 1/4 teaspoon of chili powder, but add more to taste. Then add the pineapple to the skillet with the other ingredients and cook for about 5 minutes until pineapple softens a bit.

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Now add some salt & pepper to taste, mix the skillet ingredients & quinoa together & squeeze 1/2 fresh lime on top & stir. Top with 2 sliced green onions and dinner’s done!

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Not only is this recipe healthy, easy & delicious – one side serving ranks in at only 188 calories! (So that means more than one helping is encouraged!)

Click to see nutritional info

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