Quinoa Stuffed Red Bell Peppers

Do you ever go to the grocery store to do your weekly shopping trip, but have no clue what you actually want to cook that week? Yeah, that was me this past weekend. I spent a good 15 minutes just wandering around the produce section thinking about what I was going to cook this week. Then I spotted a big basket of bright red bell peppers and I immediately had a craving for stuffed peppers. As usual, I wanted to make them healthy, so instead of using the usual rice, I used my beloved quinoa. These stuffed red peppers were packed full of flavor and my favorite part was that the top layer got all nice and crispy with that melted cheese!

Quinoa Stuffed Red Bell Peppers

Adapted from Vegetarian Times

Serves 6

Ingredients:

– 1 cup uncooked quinoa

– 2 cups water

– 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, drain and reserve liquid

– 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed

– 2 garlic cloves, minced

– 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped

– 2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil

– 1/2 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded

– 6 red bell peppers

– salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium sauce pan, heat 2 cups of water and add quinoa. Let cook for approximately 15 minutes or until quinoa is tender and water is absorbed. Set aside.

2. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add onions and garlic and cook for three minutes until onion is translucent and tender. Add diced tomatoes and black beans. Cook for 3 minutes. Add in cooked quinoa and combine with tomato and bean mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste.

2. Rinse peppers, cut off tops and remove seeds and ribs. Scoop about 3/4 of cup of the quinoa mixture into each pepper and place in a baking dish. Pour liquid from the tomato can into the dish around the peppers. Cover with foil and cook for approximately 40 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle evenly with pepper jack cheese and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Drizzle pan drippings over each pepper and serve!

Notes: Want more veggies? Try adding some sauteed mushrooms, spinach, or carrots!

Cilantro-Lime Grilled Chicken Tacos

Ok, I am going to let you all in on a little secret about me. I love Mexican food. In fact, it’s one of my vices. This wouldn’t be such a big issue if Mexican food wasn’t so unhealthy! These cilantro-lime grilled chicken tacos allow me to satisfy my craving for tacos without all the guilt and grease. I gave these tacos an extra kick by adding some tequila to the marinade! I topped mine with a scoop of black beans, additional cilantro, and fat-free sour cream. I didn’t even need the cheese. These tacos were flavorful and satisfying!

Cilantro-Lime Grilled Chicken Tacos

Serves 4

Ingredients:

– 2 large chicken breasts, trimmed and cut in half

– 2 limes, juiced

– 2 tbs. cilantro

– 2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil

– 1 garlic clove

– 1/2 tsp. salt

– Optional: 1 1/2 tbs. tequila

– 8 corn or flour tortillas

– Suggested taco toppings: black beans, chopped cilantro, avocado, corn, low-fat or fat-free sour cream, low-fat cheese, etc.

Directions:

1. In a blender or food processor, purée lime juice, olive oil, cilantro, salt, garlic, and tequila until smooth. Place chicken in a large freezer bag, pour in marinade and seal. Try to get all of the chicken covered in the marinade. Let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour (the longer, the better!).

2. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium high heat. Brush pan with some olive oil or spray with non-stick cooking spray. Add chicken. Cook for approximately 4-5 minutes per side or until chicken is cooked thoroughly. Remove from grill and let stand for 5 minutes. Slice chicken into strips and make those tacos!

Avocado-Corn Chowder with Chicken

Avocado-Corn Chowder with Chicken

I’m usually not a fan of chilled soups, but when I saw a picture of this avocado soup in the most recent Cooking Light, I knew I had to make it! It contains one of my most favorite ingredients ever, avocado! This soup was SUPER easy to make. I took a shortcut by using some rotisserie chicken from my grocery store, but I will also include the directions for cooking the chicken below just in case you want to cook some yourselves. To make this soup, you really just toss everything in the blender and give it a whirl, cook some chicken (or in my case, just shred), mix it all together and you’ve got yourself the perfect little summer soup!

Now, I did like this soup chilled, but I also wanted to see what it would taste like warm. So I ate half of it cold and half hot. I kind of liked the warm version a little better, but that’s because I normally just prefer warm soups to cold soups. If I were to make this again, I would probably eat all of it warm, but it still tasted good cold so eat it however you’d prefer!

Bruschetta Chicken

Bruschetta Chicken

I’m finally back home after non-stop traveling for the last 3 weeks! As most of you probably already know, traveling is usually synonymous with eating poorly. Too much going out, eating larger portions than normal, and not making the best choices. You know how it goes. So, it’s time to get back to a healthy diet!

I adore bruschetta. I especially love during the summer. I love those fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, ridiculous amounts of garlic, it’s all so wonderful! Oh, and let’s not forget the warm toasty bread. It’s like all of my favorite things in one delicious bite! While the tomato mixture is healthy, obviously the bread part…eh…not so much. I’ve been trying to find other ways to enjoy my favorite appetizer without all of the carbs. This bruschetta chicken is perfect because it’s low in fat and quick to make. And the best part is that all of those delicious chunky tomatoes will fill you up fast! I only made one large chicken breast and cut it in half to make two pieces, but then I usually make extra of the bruschetta topping because it’s so yummy and I really like to pile it on the chicken!

Bruschetta Chicken

Ingredients:

For the bruschetta:

  • 2 medium sized roma or plum tomatoes, remove skins and seeds
  • 1 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbs. basil, chopped into chiffonade
  • salt to taste

For the chicken:

  • 1 large chicken breast, trimmed, and cut in half
  • 2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 slices mozzarella cheese (about 1/4 inch thick)

Directions:

  1. To make the bruschetta, chop tomatoes and add to small bowl. Combine all other ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  2. Combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, and lemon juice in a quart-size freezer bag or pie dish. Add chicken and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Heat grill or sautee pan to medium high heat. Spray pan with non-stick cooking spray. Add chicken and cook for approximately 5 minutes on each side. Add cheese and remove from grill or pan when cheese is almost melted (it will continue to melt for a few minutes after you remove from the heat). Top with bruschetta and serve!
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Chocolate Fondue

Ok, I have been so bad with posting lately! I am currently out-of-state visiting family for the week, but I didn’t want to go a whole week without any updates!

It was my good friend, Amanda’s, birthday last week and I wanted to celebrate with a special treat, but I didn’t want to do cake or cupcakes. Chocolate fondue was the perfect choice because it’s perfectly decadent and easy to make! This is my go-to chocolate fondue recipe that I always use for our fondue feasts! It’s great because you can easily change up the ingredients, for example, the chocolate. You can use semi-sweet chips, but you can also use milk chocolate or dark chocolate chips! If you want to make this fondue extra special, try adding in some melted peanut butter or some seedless raspberry jam!

When it comes to choosing what to dip, I like to do pound cake, strawberries, and bananas. But, if you want to do it up Melting Pot style, add some brownies, cheesecake, and rice krispie treats!

Chocolate Fondue

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

– 1 12-ounce bag chocolate chips (you can use semi-sweet, milk, or dark chocolate chips!)

– 2 tsp. vanilla extract

– 1 tsp. cinnamon

– 3/4 cup heavy cream (or half and half)

– For Dipping: pound cake, strawberries, sliced bananas, brownies, rice krispie treats, etc.!

Directions:

1. Heat fondue pot to high heat. Add the cream and stir in the vanilla extract and cinnamon. Once heated, add about half the bag of chocolate chips and stir until melted. Add rest of the bag and continue stirring until smooth. Lower heat and enjoy!

Banana Maple Breakfast Quinoa

Meet my new best friend, quinoa. As someone who is trying to limit their carb and sugar intake, quinoa and I have become close friends. If you have never had quinoa before, it is basically a grain that is similar to rice. However, quinoa is different from rice in that it is a complete protein and is very high in fiber and it releases sugar into the blood more slowly than rice.

I’ve been using quinoa as a rice substitute with my dinners, but I recently heard about cooking quinoa for breakfast and I was very intrigued. I decided to give it a shot and I was very happy with the results! The quinoa was sweet and filling just like oatmeal. I loved the mashed banana that I mixed in with it along with some sugar-free maple syrup, and then I topped it off with some fresh blueberries! If you are short on time in the morning, cook the quinoa the night before and just re-heat it in the microwave in the morning! So easy!

Banana Maple Breakfast Quinoa

Serves 4

Ingredients:

– 1 c. uncooked quinoa
– 1 c. water
– 1 c. skim milk
– 1 banana, mashed
– sugar-free maple syrup
– Optional: 1 tbs. ground flaxseed meal, blueberries, strawberries, or a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Directions:

1. In a medium sauce pan, bring milk and water to a boil, add quinoa. Cook for approximately 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed (add a little more liquid and cook longer if needed).

1. Stir in mashed banana. Add maple syrup (however much you prefer), and top with fresh fruit!