Easy Warm Quinoa and Veggie Salad

Quinoa with Veggies

I’m not a turkey-sandwich-with-swiss-cheese-lettuce-tomato kind of gal. I sort of see lunch as a pick-me-up in the middle of the day, and un-inspired sandwiches that have been done 100 times before just don’t work for me anymore. Just look at my Instagram feed: apple and cheddar panini, tomato and mozzarella with prosciutto sandwich,  zucchini and red pepper quesadilla with pesto dipping sauce.

But, realistically, no one has the time to spend 30 minutes making lunch. (At least not every day.) But five or 10 minutes? That’s usually doable. This warm quinoa salad can be made two ways: in the microwave, or in a frying pan. I prefer the frying pan method, but in a pinch the microwave method works great, too. I’ll detail the pan method below, but the microwave method is so easy, I’ll tell you how to do it right here: Combine 1/3 cup cooked quinoa in a bowl with the raw vegetables listed in the ingredient list below, and microwave for 1-2 minutes, or until everything is heated through. Top with whatever dressings or cheese you like!

Since I’m currently working from home, I like to make single-serve batches of this dish (or a similar variation), but you could also make a big batch over the weekend and portion it out to take to work for lunch throughout the week.

Warm Quinoa and Veggie Salad

Warm Quinoa and Veggie SaladServes 1

What You Need:

1/3 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
2-3 tablespoons diced onion
1/4 red pepper, diced
2-inch section of zucchini, diced
4 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 small handful spinach leaves
2 tablespoons kidney beans
Salt and pepper
Optional toppings: salad dressing of choice, hummus, pesto, goat cheese

What to Do:

Heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil a small frying pan over medium-high heat. Once warm, add onion, red pepper, and zucchini to the pan. Sauté until vegetables start to soften, 2-3 minutes.

Once the onion, pepper, and zucchini begin to soften, add the beans, spinach, and tomatoes. Continue cooking for 1-2 minutes.

After the spinach has wilted and the beans begin to burst open, add the cooked quinoa. Continue cooking for 1-2 minutes, or until everything is heated through.

Serve, and top with whatever you like — simple oil and vinegar dressing, goat cheese, pesto, or hummus make great flavorings!

Chipotle Chicken Chili

Aaand we’re back!

This was the first meal I cooked in our new apartment. That was an important and meaningful meal to me. It was a nice, sunny, March afternoon, and I cooked to my heart’s content while the boy was at his first day of work. I wanted to make something comforting and filling. I wanted it to make us feel how I hoped our home woud make us feel (after all the unpacking and cleaning was done!). So, I whipped this up. It comes together quickly, and it makes enough to last for lunch throughout the week!

Chipotle Chicken Chili with AvocadoNow I’ll be honest with you. I don’t measure spices. Like, ever. Even if I’m baking, really. (I know, so sue me.) So, for the purposes of this recipe, I kinda just guessed, But, depending on what you or your family or friends like, you can adjust the seasonings as you like. I like a lot of paprika, but not too much cumin or cayenne. But, everyone’s different! Play around with it!

Chipotle Chicken Chili

Chipotle Chicken Chili

What You’l Need:

1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
3 chiles in adobo, chopped
2 teaspoons cumin
1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
olive oil
2 teaspoons garlic powder
3 teaspoons paprika
1 onion, chopped
2 15oz. cans red beans, drained and rinsed
1 large can whole plum tomatoes in juice
Greek yogurt, shredded cheese, pickled jalapeños, avocado, lime wedges (optional/for garnish)

What to Do:

Start by browning the meat. In a large-ish (about 4 quarts) stock pot or dutch oven, heat a tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Break up the meat into smalled, chopped up pieces as it cooks. Season with salt and pepper.

After it’s cooked for about 5 minutes, add the onions, garlic powder, paprika, cumin, chiles in adobo, and cayenne pepper. Mix together and continue cooking until the meat is completely browned and the onions are translucent, between 5 and 15 minutes

Once the meat is cooked, add the red beans and tomatoes. Now here’s the tomato trick: If you’re using the whole plum tomatoes in juice, when you add them to the pot, squish them between your fingers to break them up into soupy pieces.

Season with a bit more salt and pepper (and any other extra spices you want to add), cover, and simmer for at least 20 minutes, and up to an hour or two. The great thing about this easy chili is that it can be done in 30 minutes flat, or, you can let it hang out for longer to develop a stronger flavor. (Regardless, though, it’s always better the next day).

Once it’s simmered to your liking, serve in big bowls and top with your choice of flavorings. Enjoy!