Tag Archives: recipes

Packed Lunches: Starting With K&Q

Once infamously known as the gal who would eat a turkey sandwich every single day for lunch, my habits (or lack thereof) now would probably shock those who knew me when (hopefully in a good way)*. I cannot imagine eating the same exact thing for lunch every day, and can’t remember the last time I did. There are the occasional leftovers days, and days when things probably look very similar to a lunch last week or last month, but those are few and far between.

Rather, I love the variety of what’s possible thanks to the contents of our fridge and pantry combined with a cutting board and/or quick-cooking method. Sometimes there is a theme for the week – e.g. we cook a lot of quinoa, rice or brown-rice pasta and make small dents in the batch every day – but for the most part, there’s just one goal; eat plants, add flavor.

Simple? Always. Tasty? You know it.

*There are multiple other reasons this reputation is outdated. The first hint would be “turkey”.

In this edition of packed lunches, I bring you Kale & Quinoa (K&Q).

kale quinioa & kidney bean lunch kale quinoa & peppers

1) K&Q – White Beans, Hummus & Peppers (Left)

Raw kale leaves
1/2 cup white kidney beans
1/4 – 1/2 each – red pepper, green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
2 Tbsp-ish hummus (flavor of your choice! I went with Cilantro Jalapeno Hummus)
Pepper to taste

2) K&Q – Chickpeas, Mixed Veggies & Sesame Oil (Right)

Raw kale leaves
1/2 cup chickpeas
1/4 yellow pepper, chopped
1/4 red tomato, chopped
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
Drizzle of sesame oil
Salt/pepper to taste


This week’s lunch “dessert” has been the sweetest of sweet yellow watermelons from the Good Life Farm. Yellow is the new ruby-red; this melon is astounding my taste-buds, confused as they might be.

And yes, sometimes lunch dessert is a piece of dark chocolate. Bittersweet perfection.


What’s packed in your lunchbox today? What staples do you start with?


Filed under food, lunches, recipes

Simple Delicious: 5-Ingredient Meals

Last weekend’s grocery trip was a hefty load, my Mom offered to pick up the bill and specifically asked that we get anything we want. Well, twist my arm, Mamacita…we stocked up on all things fresh and in season (tricky, at TJ’s, but possible) and set up our kitchen for a successful week of eating in.

A stocked fridge doesn’t change the mindset around here; these meals are simple, around 5(ish) ingredients or less, and satisfied all taste buds.

sauteed zucchini and tomato tacos

Sautéed Zucchini & Tomato Tacos

1 whole zucchini, halved & sliced
1 tomato*, middle removed, sliced
1 cup mushrooms, sliced

1 tbsp canola oil
Seasoning: dried thyme & oregano

Corn tortillas
Tempeh slices (optional)

*Tomatoes from the farmers market in Dupont, finally back in season!

Heat oil over medium in a deep sauté pan; add zucchini, stirring for 3-4 minutes. Add mushrooms & tomato slices, cooking until softened. Season to taste.

Heat tortillas in the oven for a few minutes, or in a pan over medium heat for 1-2 minutes on each side. Stuff with taco fillings and add tempeh, or bean of choice, for an extra protein punch!


broccoli and orange pepper stirfry

Broccoli & Orange Pepper Sesame Stir-fry

1 head broccoli, cut into small florets
1 orange pepper, sliced
1/2 block tofu (or the whole one, if you’re feeding more than two!),
cut into bite-sized pieces

Sesame oil
Sesame seeds
Quinoa or rice, cooked

Steam the broccoli. Meanwhile, heat ~1 tbsp sesame oil over medium in a deep sauté pan. Add tofu, cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add peppers, saute an additional 4-5 minutes until tofu is lightly browned & peppers are softened. Add broccoli, a dash of Low-sodium soy sauce to taste and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

Serve over cooked rice, quinoa or even noodles – whatever those grain-loving taste-buds are craving!


Outside of my kitchen, we made Vegan Berry Smoothies for work yesterday at a Health Screening event, and these things were  a huge hit! Most people were surprised there was no yogurt, or dairy at all. Some were shocked to hear we had added spinach. All were happy to see how easy this is to do at home.

vegan mixed berry smoothie ingredientsvitamix mixed berry vegan smoothie

Vegan Mixed Berry Smoothievegan mixed berry smoothies

1 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup frozen blueberries (or raspberries. OR both, if you’re feeling fancy)
1 banana
1 cup dairy-free milk (we used allergy-friendly Rice milk)
1 drizzle agave (optional)
1 cup raw spinach leaves

Blend everything together, and drink up!


These will be happening in our kitchen more often, as summer has definitely joined the May party and oatmeal is making me sweat (yum). The frozen berries eliminate the need for ice (blender-friendly) and the banana adds just enough texture to leave it spoon-needing thick. Perfection.

Oddly enough, more than one person had suggested a shot of vodka or clear rum here. I mean, to each their own. It was only 10 AM. But, virgin or otherwise, these smoothies would be a perfect Memorial Day weekend party-goer!


What meals have you been mixing up lately? Any summer foods making “early” appearances?

Happy Holiday Weekend! Stay safe. Soak up the sun. Relax & recharge. Welcome summer however you like to!


Filed under DC, food, recipes

Roasted Cauliflower & Leeks with Arugula Pesto Pasta

As of late, there is one single factor that will motivate me to create in the kitchen – ingredients on their last leg, vegetables that may not live to see another crisp, fresh-feeling day.

Last week I purchased fennel, leeks and cauliflower to get the wheels turning. These aren’t frequent fridge visitors in our kitchen; a new ingredient means that I must make a new recipe, right? Exactly.


Leeks were part of a list that was intended to create a Cassoulet, but that hasn’t happened yet. I can’t even recall the last time they stared at me from the fridge; who does this vegetable pair with? Where should it go? What does it taste like??

I sliced away, and made the assumption that this can be roasted, just like anything else. I also made the assumption that it can be friends with cauliflower, because that was to be roasted as well. Add in a blend of herbs, spices and oil, and you’re bound to have some sort of kitchen success!


Roasted Cauliflower & Leeks

Heat oven to 400* and prepare a baking sheet with oil (spray or rub).

Slice 2 leeks; remove one head of cauliflower from the stalk, and cut into smaller florets. Combine in a bowl, and season with flavors of your choice!

I went with cayenne pepper (perhaps a bit too much…), nutmeg & cumin. I loved this blend, but could’ve gone a little lighter on that kicker. Add in 1 Tbsp olive oil, and mix well.

Roast for 35-40 minutes total – stirring at least every 10 minutes to prevent burning (see picture below – I could’ve done a few more “stirs”).


Arugula Pesto Pasta

Meanwhile, get going on the rest of the dish!

Linguine Noodles (I made ~4 servings worth)
3 cups fresh arugula leaves
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Low-Sodium Soy Sauce
Salt/Pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp Chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)– optional
1-2 Tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese – also optional, I skipped it this time, but it’s part of a traditional pesto recipe

Cook pasta as directed. While it’s boiling, put the remaining ingredients in a Food processor and pulse until smoothly combined.

Once the pasta is cooked (al dente, of course), drained and ready to go, combine it all into one bowl.


This has {hopefully just} a hint of spice from the roasted vegetables, but a settling, simple pleasure in the taste of arugula pesto-coated noodles.

An entirely new dish to our kitchen’s repertoire, and an entirely new way (for me) to use leeks,cauliflower and arugula (love that peppery leaf!). This is definitely filed under “experimental win!”.

What have you experimented with lately?

Any tips for leek-using to share? Next time it will either go in that cassoulet, or into a soup.


Filed under dinners, food, recipes

Pumpkin Rosemary & Mushroom Quinoa

I’m finally participating in my first Recipe Redux. October’s theme, “Fresh from the Pumpkin Patch” put halt to the hiatus of said vegetable in our kitchen. We finally grabbed it at Trader Joe’s, and I’ve let it sit for almost two weeks.

Creativity doesn’t juice itself overnight! Well, not here anyway.

With this week’s menu set, groceries purchased and plan made, there was one recipe that might just work. It’d be an entirely new way of enjoying pumpkin for us – D typically prefers the muffins, and the muffins only.

No orange muffins for dinner! Last night, we had orange quinoa, instead.

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PumpkinQuinoa 006

Pumpkin Rosemary & Mushroom Quinoa
Makes: 4-5 servings     Prep time: 5 minutes     Total cook time: 20 minutes

1 cup quinoa (uncooked)
2 cups vegetable broth (Low Sodium; or water)
3/4 cup cooked pumpkin (I used canned, but you could make your own)
1.5 cup sliced mushrooms
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 sprig fresh Rosemary (or 1 Tbsp dry), tear leaves off of the stem
Nutmeg, to taste

Add quinoa & broth to a medium sauce pan, bring to a boil. Stir, cover and reduce heat; let simmer for 12-15 minutes.

Heat olive oil over medium, add mushrooms and sauté until softened.

Remove cooked quinoa from heat; add pumpkin, rosemary leaves, sautéed mushrooms, nutmeg & a dash of salt (optional). Mix together.

PumpkinQuinoa 013

A mini-pumpkin photo-shoot companion isn’t required, but helps. This thing is a adorable! My kitchen’s personal reminder that it’s Fall.

This pumpkin quinoa made it alongside our freshly baked Tilapia and steamed Kale.

D  was a little skeptical of all these sweet & savory flavors mixed together, but it works! The texture was similar to a risotto, but the dish is packed with beta carotene instead of wine & cheese. It was a refreshing way to get an extra serving of vegetable along with our high-protein grain & lean protein side (fish).

Delicious dinner, check!

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Other Recipe Redux chefs:

How are you getting creative with the season’s most popular sidekick?


Filed under Dietitians, dinners, food, recipes

Meatless Monday: Creamy Yogurt Broccoli Pasta

Chobani stumbled across my Grape & Cashew Salad recipe, and offered to send me some samples of their Greek yogurt flavors for future meal experiments! Who can turn down creamy protein-packed ready-to-go yogurts? Not this chick:

10.3 002 Obviously we had to have a photo shoot before they got settled in the fridge. They were very cooperative 😉

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The peach flavor got a huge thumbs up as part of a post-run recovery smoothie last week. This time I went for the plain ‘n simple version; I had my own flavoring to do!

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Creamy Tarragon Pasta Sauce

Fresh Tarragon, torn into tiny pieces, to taste (~1 tsp-1 tbsp)
1 tbsp red onions, chopped
1 tsp  (or less) ea. Rosemary, Thyme
6 oz Plain Chobani Greek Yogurt (low- or non-fat)
Salt to taste (I used a very small shake)

Cook pasta & steam broccoli. Mix above ingredients in a small bowl, then add to drained pasta. Toss in broccoli. Voila! A quick, creamy, meatless & nutritious dinner!

Shake some black pepper on top, if you so desire.

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Protein: Yogurt
Carbs: Pasta, Yogurt
Fat: Yogurt

Aside from the above, you’re getting a good dose of vitamins from that King of the Veggies (aka broccoli) plus Calcium from the yogurt! Eat up, and enjoy fooling your taste buds with a healthy cream sauce :)


Are you joining in Meatless Monday today?


Filed under dinners, Meatless Monday, Nutrition, recipes