Archives for April 2015

April 15, 2015

Chicken, Quinoa and Vegetable Casserole

This a is perfect dish to make ahead and throw in oven for those busy weeknights when you need something hot, hearty and ready when you are…that’s what she said.

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces*
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup white wine*
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed*
  • 1 onion, chopped*
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped*
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 cup skim milk*
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg*
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded cheese, divided (I used a combo of sharp cheddar and parmigiano reggiano)*
  • 1/3 cuplow fat Greek yogurt*

Modified from recipe from Damn Delicious, thanks Kimmy for the share.

Lightly oil an 9×13 baking dish or coat with nonstick spray.

In a large saucepan of 2 cups water, cook quinoa according to package instructions. With 5 minutes of cooking time to go, add broccoli and frozen peas on top and steam until cooked through.

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in the skillet. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper, to taste. Add to skillet, cook thoroughly.  Add garlic, onions, mushrooms, saute until cooked and set aside.

Add wine to skillet to de-glaze, bring to boil, reduce heat and stir, cook until thickened and reduced to 1/2 the amount.  Melt butter in the skillet over medium heat. Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk and nutmeg, continue whisking until it thickens, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in quinoa, broccoli, chicken, 1 cup cheese and Greek yogurt; season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Spread chicken-quinoa- veggie mixture into the prepared baking dish. Mix remaining cheese with Panko and sprinkle on top of casserole. Let cool, cover and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Bake in oven covered 375 degrees F for 45 minutes or until warmed thoroughly, remove cover for last 10 minutes to let the topping brown and crisp.

crispy

ready!

 

Thoughts:

Although I did enjoy this recipe the first time around, I did find it a bit on the bland side. I made it again last night with several noted additions and it was great. My goal with most meals is to jam as many veggies as possible down my gang’s throats, I know, I’m so mean.  This recipe really is a free pass to use whatever you have in the fridge and freezer to get those servings in, so therefore I changed the name from broccoli to vegetable casserole.  I also used the lower fat versions of the dairy products and it didn’t lose any of its creamy taste. For added flavor, substitute herbed cream cheese for the Greek yogurt.

The premise of the original recipe was to make it and then pop it in the oven immediately for 15 minutes to finish,  That works well too, but you may need a little longer for the cheese to melt and it to crisp up.

In total, 25 minutes from start to baking dish (not including baking time).  The sauce does go quickly, so having your ingredients prepped ahead of time helps to keep the process calm (the open bottle of wine can also help to keep the process calm), I am all about keeping it calm.

As most of the ingredients are already on hand, this keeps the cost well under $25.00, and there was enough left over for everyone to have leftovers for lunch.  Winner! Winner! Chicken, quinoa and vegetable casserole dinner!

Give it a try, would to hear about any additions that you make.

April 10, 2015

Guest Post: Eating for Energy

Duso’s, Eating for Energy

Dusos

Photo: Duso’s website

April 2, 2015

Thinking Out Loud

I remember when my daughter was little; I would always hear the same advice from people with older children, to enjoy our babies as they grow up so fast. Back then, it felt like an eternity from the time my husband left for work in the morning until he returned later that day. And although the clock may have stood still for most of the day, I accomplished relatively nothing around the house and it was a rare occasion if I managed to have a shower by the time he got home.

From the get go, we decided and I committed to my being a stay at home Mom. We rented out our basement, downsized our vehicles and did what we needed to do to make our finances work. The early years were tough, I often envied my working Mom friends, they got to dress up, get out of the house and have adult talk. I now know that they envied me for being at home picking up toys in my barf stained velour sweat suit and my greasy hair.

When my daughter started preschool I got my Group Fitness certification. I started teaching a few classes at night when my husband was home from work and during those precious hours while she was in school. It was nice to have a source of income and to feel like I was contributing financially, albeit minimally, but having worked since the age of 15 it was a feeling that had been missing.

For the most part, my fitness instructor gig worked well, one of us was always with my daughter, however, we were not always together as a family during “family time”. I would miss hockey practice or the occasional game, which killed me to do, but every dollar helps a young family. I will always remember arriving late to the rink on a dark and rainy Tuesday evening, soaked to the skin after leading a run clinic, and listening to one of the Moms (who was a daytime working Mom…she was a teacher) take such joy in telling me how I had missed Rylee score and how well she had played, and then asking me if I had had a nice run, as if I had purposely missed the game, you know to get my run in. I know that she didn’t like me much, perhaps it made her feel better about her own situation to make me feel bad and I guess to some my job did not command much respect. It wasn’t ok and I let her get away with it (that so would not happen now), which also wasn’t ok. It doesn’t make you a better or worse parent to stay at home, or to go back to work the moment your maternity leave is over, or to have three children or to have one. We are all doing the best we can and I think that as Moms we should be kinder and treat each other better than that.

As my business has grown over the years, I feel very fortunate that I am able to base my operations from my home office. My daughter does not need me as much anymore, but it is nice to be there when she does. I often joke that I am a wallet and a taxi. And as her 16th birthday is fast approaching my taxi duties are coming to an abrupt end, so I relish in them now as much as I can, and probably a little more than I should and I am ok with that. I see my friend D helping her baby girl plan her wedding and I know that graduation and university will soon fly by and in ten or so years time (it seems like yesterday when her daughter was in high school) that will be me.

So yes, I am enjoying every moment just a little bit more these days and it really has come full circle because now I catch myself giving that same unsolicited advice to my friends and perfect strangers at Save-On Foods, because our children do grow up so fast.

That’s what’s been on my mind lately, what’s going on with you?

IMG_1053

from a very special afternoon last fall