Instant Pot Mexican Quinoa

Instant Pot Mexican Quinoa

Although the Holidays are over, my son is still on winter break. I love having him home from school but trying to keep him busy and catch up from traveling, house guests, life and household duties, I am having a bit of a difficult time balancing it all and getting back into my daily routine. Anyone else with me on this? With all that being said, I have not been in the kitchen as much as I would like to and needed a quick and easy meal idea. As I was looking around in my bare fridge trying to figure out what the heck to make for dinner, all the pieces came together when I realized with what little I had, I always have Mexican flavors! So I busted out my Instant Pot and got to work with a one pot meal. This dish can be served as a main, side or vegan taco filling. It makes about 8 cups.

Ingredients

  1. 1 can or 1/2 cup of dried black beans (makes 1 1/2 cups cooked)
  2. 2 1/2 cups of quinoa
  3. 3 garlic cloves diced
  4. 1 yellow onion diced
  5. 1/2 cup green pepper diced (about half the pepper)
  6. 2 teaspoons avocado oil
  7. 4 cups of water
  8. 1 cup of diced tomatoes (I used canned but always check for BPA free cans)
  9. 1 tablespoon of lime juice
  10. 1 teaspoon of pink salt
  11. 1 tablespoon chili powder
  12. 1 teaspoon cumin
  13. 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  14. Cilantro and extra lime for topping, maybe some hot sauce if you like it spicy

Directions

  1. Skip this step if using canned beans: Cook dried black bean in Instant Pot for for 15 minutes, when cooked strain and rinse, set black beans aside. (15 minutes slightly undercooks the beans, they will be cooked thoroughly with quinoa)
  2. In your empty Instant Pot, add the avocado oil and use the sauté function to sauté the garlic, onions and green pepper for about 3 minutes.
  3. Toss in diced tomatoes, lime juice and spices, stir well.
  4. Add the quinoa and the black beans to the pot, stir until all quinoa and beans are coated with spices.
  5. lastly, add 4 cups of water to the pot, stir, close the lid and cook on high pressure for 1 minute, then letting your instant pot naturally release pressure.
  6. When your Instant Pot is ready to be opened, stir quinoa and serve adding extra flavor like cilantro, green onions, hot sauce or extra lime.

 

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Kale and Mushroom Stir Fry with Soba Noodles

The weather is getting cooler and cooler by the day here in Northern California and I absolutely love it! Cool weather calls for warm hearty dishes like soups, stews, casseroles and noodles. I am such a huge fan of soba noodles. Well, any type of noodles really, but who isn’t? The Soba noodles have such unique flavor compared to others noodles. Their distinct nutty flavor makes a great pairing with earthy flavored vegetables like mushrooms and kale, so that is exactly what I will be using in this recipe. Even though I will be enjoying this recipe warm as a stir fry, this dish can also be served as a cold salad the next day. Soba noodles are so versatile, which makes packing lunch easy for the next day if you double the recipe.

Soba Noodles are a great gluten free noodle alternative if you can get your hands on pure 100% buckwheat flour noodles. Although the name suggests otherwise, buckwheat flour is actually a gluten free ancient grain and surprisingly not even related to wheat at all. So what gives with the confusing name? If you have a gluten allergy or sensitivity I always suggest checking the ingredients on the label to make sure your noodles are made with 100% buckwheat flour. I have found that some soba noodles can be made with a blend of flours which would no longer make them gluten free.

This recipe serves 2-3 people:

Ingredients

  • 8 oz of soba noodles
  • 2 teaspoon of avocado or coconut oil
  • 1/2 red onion sliced
  • 1 bunch of tuscan kale cleaned, destemmed and chopped
  • 2 cups of sliced mushrooms

Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon of avocado or olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of aminos or soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sriracha (1 teaspoon if you like a little kick)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of maple syrup
  • Juice for 1/4 of a lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Add water to a saucepan to prepare the soba noodles per instructions on package.
  2. In a separate sauté pan add 2 teaspoons of avocado or coconut oil on medium heat.
  3. Once the avocado oil heats up add sliced onions, stir around for about 2 minutes, next add the sliced mushrooms and continue to stir for another 2 minutes followed by the kale. Once kale is almost cooked thoroughly, turn burner to low heat to keep warm.
  4. While soba noodles are cooking, whip the sauce ingredients together in a bowl.
  5. Add cooked and strained soba noodles to the sauté pan with your vegetables but turn the heat off completely so the noodles do not continue to cook
  6. Lastly, add sesame soy sauce to the noodles, toss well and serve.

Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta

Sundays are for pasta! If it were up to my boyfriend we would eat penne and marinara every single Sunday. Pasta is his all time favorite comfort food, as it is for many Italian’s. Kyle loves to tell me stories about when he was a child. He and his entire family would go to his grandmothers house every single Sunday and eat dinner together, which always consisted of meatballs, sausage, pasta and bread… the bread for dipping in the sauce, followed by pastries. I agree with him, penne and marinara is so comforting and delicious. I love all variations of pasta! In my opinion, pasta is just too versatile to only limit yourself to penne and its red sauce comfort blanket. So every once in a while I like to throw a curve ball on pasta night. This time making a creamy vegan butternut squash sauce tossed with peas and spirals. This recipe can be gluten free or not, I like to use Trader Joe’s organic brown rice and quinoa blend pasta. This butternut squash sauce recipe makes just a little over 2 cups of sauce and is enough for one pound of pasta.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of pasta of your choice
  • 2 teaspoon of avocado oil
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 full medium yellow onion or 1/2 a large onion, diced
  • 1/2 a medium sized butternut squash, skinned and cubed. Roughly 2 cups
  • 1 cup of vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 cup of nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1 cup of peas

Instructions

  1. Heat the avocado oil in a medium sized sauce pan with the yellow onion and garlic while stirring around for about 3 minutes or until the onions are translucent.
  2. Toss in the butternut squash, vegetable broth, lemon juice, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium and cover your saucepan with a lid. Let cook for about ten minutes.
  3. Once the butternut squash is cooked through, start to boil your water for your pasta in another saucepan and add the butternut squash mixture to a blender and puree for about 45 second.
  4. Add Nutritional yeast to the blender and maybe a some more salt and pepper to taste. Here you may need to blend for another 15-20 seconds
  5. Sauté the cup of peas in the same sauce pan you cooked the butternut squash. By the time you are done with the peas your sauce for the pasta should be cooked.
  6. Combine the pasta, sauce and peas. serve

Thai Green Curry Fried Rice

I accidentally skipped dinner the night of Halloween due to the excitement and festivities, I hope everyone else had a blast too!  I really made up for it though the night after when I had TWO bowls of this Thai green curry fried rice. It was so comforting and delicious. I love making different variations of things like fried rice (and frittatas for my boys) when I have a good amount of vegetables in the fridge that need to be used. It is such tasty and Hardy way to clean out the fridge. So here are some of the different veggies I had in my fridge that I needed to use and thank god because this dish turned out so flavorful.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of rice of your choice, I used brown
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 2 cups of broccoli florets
  • 1 zucchini chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion diced
  • 1 bell pepper, color of your choice, I used half green and half red because that is what I had
  • 1 cup of peas
  • 1/4 inch knob of ginger, grated
  • 1 clove of garlic, grated
  • 2 teaspoons of coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of green curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut aminos
  • 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • 1 wedge of lime
  • Cilantro, green onions and bean sprouts for topping (optional)

Instructions

  1. While the brown rice is cooking, sauté your veggies until cooked through, set the vegetables aside in a separate bowl.
  2. In the same pan you cooked the vegetables in add 2 teaspoons of coconut oil on low-med heat, followed by the green curry paste, coconut amigos, rice vinegar, water and lime. Stir well then grate the garlic clove and ginger and continue to stir for another minute.
  3. Once rice is finished cooking fold into the green curry mixture and stir until rice is coated
  4. Toss in your veggies and mix well while adding salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Top with cilantro, green onions and sprouts and serve.

Roasted Delicata Squash With Maple Tahini Sauce

This dish is just screaming FALL! And who doesn’t love Fall? Boots, scarfs, leaves and squash. Out of all the squash in season at the moment Delicata is one of my favorites (along side spaghetti squash) due to it’s amazing flavor and easy preparation. The skin on this squash is edible so no need for peeling or scraping.  Just rinse, roast and enjoy. This recipe makes the perfect side dish or can be served over quinoa or raw spinach to make a bowl or salad.

Roasted Delicata Squash With Maple Tahini Sauce

Ingredients

  • 3 delicata squash (I cook for 3 people so I prepared 1 per person)
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut or avocado oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cumin
  • Pinch of pink salt

Maple tahini sauce

  • 1/4 cup of tahini
  • 1 fresh garlic clove diced or 1/4 teaspoon of minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of aminos or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup
  • 3 table spoons of warm water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Rinse squash, cut lengthwise, remove seeds cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  3. Toss with oil and spices and lay out on parchment lined baking sheet
  4. Roast in your oven for 30-35 minutes (until fork tender)
  5. While your squash is roasting, combine all ingredients together for your sauce and whisk until pourable
  6. Remove squash and drizzle with tahini sauc

Carrot Top Pesto

Carrots are the most commonly used vegetable in my home. They are tasty, affordable, and palate approved by my eight year old son. Aside from all that, I love that I can use the entire carrot. Skin, leaves, stems…Everything! If you skin your carrot, clean, season, and roast those skins up to make root vegetable chips or toss them in a bag with the stems and other vegetable scraps to make broth. Carrot leaves are also edible, delicious, and contain high amounts of protein, vitamins and minerals. Carrot leaves can be used in place of parsley in recipes or can be added to salads and dishes for extra flavor. I also enjoy making sauces like chimicurri or pesto out of carrot leaves. Making the most of your food is also making the most of your money, all while reducing food waste.

Just last week I made a batch of pesto. The recipe is creamy and flavorful. It’s also vegan, but If you are not and would like to add cheese to your pesto, cut the amount of salt in the recipe in half and cut out the nutritional yeast. This recipe makes enough to fill an 8oz. mason jar which gave me 2 meals. One meal was pesto tossed with zucchini noodles, diced tomatoes, and a side of carrots. The other with pasta, but you can serve this pesto over potatoes, pizza, with spaghetti squash.. the options are endless.

Notes: I like my Pesto a prefer my on the creamy side. If you don’t, cut the pine nut measurements down to 1/4 cup.

Ingredients

  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup of pine nuts
  • Half of a lemon, juiced
  • 2 cups of carrot leaves
  • 1 – 2 springs of basil
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon red chili flakes (double if you like a little spice)
  • 1/8 cup of nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup of evoo

Instructions

  1. Toss all ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until your desired consistency.