quinoa

kale and quinoa cakes

It’s amazing to think that just a year or two ago you wouldn’t find a stitch of kale on our family’s dinner table. We had to ease into the leafy green superfood by covering it with bacon (anything that tastes even a little like bacon is usually a thumbs up in our house). Now, it seems like we’ve always got a bunch in our fridge. Kale has worked its way into the dinnertime veggie rotation, sometimes still cooked in bacon, sometimes we let it shine all on its own, and sometimes cooked in little cakes.

IMG_5726

A food that hasn’t had quite the success that kale has in our house is quinoa. The protein packed grain is still trying to find its big break on our dinner table. I’m a fan, but finding ways keep quinoa from eliciting a painful grimace on my dad’s face is proving to be quite the task. These cakes are a step in the right direction.

Here you take cooked quinoa, mix it up with some blanched kale and breadcrumbs and round out the flavor with some salty parmesan cheese, green onions, and minced garlic. They are really tasty right out of the pan! Not as great cold though, so if you’re not already a lover of quinoa and kale I’d suggest reheating them or saving the uncooked mixture in the refrigerator and quick frying them when you’re ready to get eating!

IMG_5730

Kale & Quinoa Cakes

Makes 8-10 cakes. Recipe adapted from Yummy Supper

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup cooked quinoa *
  • 3 eggs, whisked
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 spring onion, sliced thin
  • 1.5 cloves garlic, minced
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2-3/4 cup blanched kale, chopped **
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I used whole wheat, but gluten free would work too)
  • 1 tsp olive or coconut oil

Directions:

In a large bowl combine quinoa, eggs, cheese, onion, garlic, salt, kale, and breadcrumbs. Mix well and then let sit for a few minutes to allow the liquid time to absorb. You want your mixture to be moist but not runny.

Heat your olive or coconut oil in a large pan over medium heat. Form your cakes and place into pan. (be sure not to overcrowd) Cover the pan and let the cakes cook for 7-10 minutes. The bottoms should be a nice deep golden brown when you flip. Now cook the other sides for another 7 minutes. Let the patties rest on a cooling rack. I needed to do 2 batches but that may differ depending on the size of your pan.

IMG_5728

We ate ours alongside some ribs and asparagus at dinner time, but these would also be great topped with a little avocado and lemon juice, maybe some chicken salad… yum!

* If you don’t have already cooked quinoa lying around, just cook some up! You can do as much or as little as you’d like but the rule of thumb is 1 cup uncooked quinoa needs 2 cups of water to cook and should yield about 2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa. Throw your uncooked quinoa and water into a pot, allow it all to come to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover and let cook until all the liquid has absorbed and the quinoa is nice and tender. Fluff and let cool to room temp.

** To blanch your kale bring a large pot of water to a boil. Submerge kale entirely and drain immediately.

 

 

Perfect Prepping

I did some prepping this past weekend. Took the trip to Whole Foods, spent my Saturday chopping and dicing and organizing, and then got to enjoy my week without all the food hassle that comes along with packing lunches and scrambling for snacks. It’s been smooth sailing and I wanted to share some of the methods to my prepping madness. Here’s what I did:

  • Made a salad mix:
    • I bought mixed greens (I make my own blend of romaine, mixed, and spinach), a variety of colored peppers, carrots, red cabbage, and cucumbers. I chop them all up and put them in a big container together.IMG_5413
  • Made brown rice & quinoa:
    • Nothing fancy here, just bought some no-gmo basmati brown rice and tri-color quinoa, cooked some of each, and stored them in two separate containers in the fridge to grab whenever I need some healthy carbs in a pinch. They are perfect for salad toppers too!IMG_5410
  • Made snack baggies
    • I put together little snack baggies that I could grab in the morning and stuff in my lunch box so I’m never too hungry during the day. I made carb baggies: few with mixed berries (fresh strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries) and a few with some fresh cherries. I made healthy fat baggies: a few trail mix baggies (roasted unsalted nuts, unsweetened coconut flakes, and a little dried fruit). And a few protein baggies: two hardboiled eggs in a some baggies.IMG_5414
  • Roasted sweet potatoes
    • Having some diced or whole roasted sweet potatoes in the fridge is another essential grab for me. I can take a hunk smothered in cinnamon and almond butter to have with my snack or throw some on my salad. They taste just as good in a cold salad as they do when you make them hot!IMG_5411
  • Got my meats.
    • At the Whole Foods deli, they had thin sliced skirt steak they wrap up like deli meat that I bought for my first few lunches. You can also get chicken like that here!
  • Other ideas include portioning out nut butters or hummus into small containers to grab and go with, make a batch of chicken or tuna salad, grill up some chicken breasts for high quality protein in your lunches, make your own dressing (I like to keep it simple with some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, oregano, and some chia seeds)

Now that you’re all prepped, here are two killer salads you can make for lunch or dinner using leftovers and the stuff you’ve got in your fridge that take under 10 minutes to throw together on your way out the door.

Steak and Roasted Red Pepper SaladIMG_5447

Ingredients

  • 1.5 – 2 cups salad & veggie base mix
  • 4 oz sliced and diced skirt steak
  • 1/4 cup quinoa (or sub brown rice)
  • 1/6 of an avocado, diced
  • handful roasted red peppers, chef’s cut
  • 1 Tablespoon roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 1 Tablespoon craisins
  • Dressing (I used roughly 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar, pinch salt and pepper and oregano, 1/4 tsp chia seeds all shaken together)

Directions:

Throw all the ingredients except for the dressing into your to-go container or a large bowl. You can layer it pretty or mix everything all up so it’s more evenly distributed. Top with your dressing and eat immediately or close it up and bring your dressing to top it when it’s time to chow down.

 

Go-To Salmon SaladIMG_5444

Ingredients

  • 1.5 – 2 cups salad and veggie base mix
  • 4 oz leftover salmon filet
  • 1/4 cup quinoa (or brown rice)
  • 1 Tbsp craisins
  • 1/6 avocado, diced
  • almonds & cashews
  • Dressing (I used roughly 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar, pinch salt and pepper and oregano, 1/4 tsp chia seeds all shaken together)

Directions: 

Throw all the ingredients except for the dressing into your to-go container or a large bowl. You can layer it pretty or mix everything all up so it’s more evenly distributed. Top with your dressing and eat immediately or close it up and bring your dressing to top it when it’s time to chow down.