Weeknight Dinners

Roasted Vegetables & Quinoa

There’s that word again. Quinoa. Keen-wah.

What is this stuff?

Well, quinoa is considered to be a whole grain but it is a seed that can be prepared like rice or barley. Quinoa is cool because it’s flexible and can be used in many different recipes and the flavor is neutral so it goes with lots of cool things. Just like the color black. I love black. When in doubt wear black. With more black.

Kids love quinoa, I call it pasta balls because it’s basically the same thing. If you make quinoa with a flavored liquid, like vegetable stock or chicken stock opposed to just water, you’ll enjoy it so much more.

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This week we wrapped up the Cara Clark Nutrition 10 Day Challenge and quinoa was a big part of our meals. So we made a giant batch and used it every other day with recipes.

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Roasted Vegetables & Quinoa was easy and very filling. Here’s the recipe from Cara Clark. If you haven’t checked her out yet, you should! She’s the best when it comes to making easy healthy meals and staying active while managing small people and work! She’s amazing and honest and I love that about her.

Ingredients:

  • ย 2 sweet potatoes, rinsed, peeled and cut into french fry strips (yum)
  • 1 red onion, cut into slices / half moon shapes
  • 1 head of cauliflower, rinsed and chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, rinsed and woody ends trimmed by breaking
  • olive oil
  • sea salt and fresh pepper
  • 1 cup of quinoa, prepare according to package

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400* and line 3 baking sheets with foil.
  2. Once all of your veggies are rinsed and chopped, place them on the lined baking sheets. I noticed with this recipe that I had a TON of vegetables. The thing about roasting is that your veggies need room to roast. If they are crowded on the pan, they will only steam and wilt.
  3. Swirl your olive oil across the baking sheets a few times and sprinkle with salt and pepper. use your hands to toss + coat the veggies. This is so they do not stick to the pan and crisp up.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes and check on them. Flip them around making sure they aren’t burning.
  5. Bake for 15 more minutes or until your level of doneness.
  6. Make your quinoa according to package directions.

:::Extra protein:::

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We made some chicken breast tenders to add some protein to this dish. It was not my favorite, but here is what I whipped up at the last minute.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound chicken breast tenders
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp garlic
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Kim Crawford white wine

Directions:

  1. In a large fry pan over medium heat, add olive oil and swirl to coat your hot pan.
  2. While your pan is heating up, put the tenders in a bowl and coat with the oregano, garlic, onion powder, parsley and s+p.
  3. Add the chicken strips to the pan. Feel free to add more herbs as you see fit. I like to add stuff until it starts to smell good. I tend to use more herbs because you cant really mess those up. Garlic and onion, not so much, those can kill your food in a big hurry if you over use them.
  4. Cook on medium heat for about 4-5 minutes each side. You’ll see the pan start to get dirty, so this is where Kim comes in.
  5. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup Kim Crawford to deglaze your pan and get all the crunchy bits off. This makes washing your pan so much easier when you’re done cooking.
  6. If you don’t have white wine, just use chicken stock, or vegetable stock. Just make sure your cooking liquid matches the color of your meat ๐Ÿ˜‰

The kids ate everything on their plates, and so did we. They did need some sauce though because no matter how hard I try to make decent chicken, it always turns out DRY. And mine was dry. So BBQ did the trick. Sweet Baby Rays is safe for nut allergies.

There you have it. Weeknight cooking. It was a lot easier than it looks. My advice would be to skip the chicken and use a store bought chicken strip like Dino Nuggets and focus on roasting some healthy veggies. Quinoa is a no-brainer, just make it.

Have a great week ๐Ÿ™‚

Weeknight Dinners

Roasted Root Vegetables + Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage

Are you in your back to school routines yet? Going crazy? Drinking too much coffee? I’ve got a time saver recipe for your weeknight eats that will have everyone clearing their plates….if they are OK with roasted vegetables. Which, if you haven’t roasted your veggies before, you SHOULD. They taste SO MUCH BETTER. This recipe is Kid approved!

20170906_170337.jpgIf you have random almost expired vegetables in your fridge, this is a good way to use them all up and make a fairly healthy meal at the same time. I love roasted root vegetable night. Usually I choose 3-4 different vegetables, one whole onion, and a sausage of some sort. The recipe below is one that I just made up tonight and we had clean plates all around. It’s very easy and fast, perfect for weeknight cooking.

Roasted Root Vegetables + Sweet Turkey Italian Sausage

  • 1/2 cauliflower cut into small pieces
  • 1 bag mini carrots
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 4 parsnips, peeled and cut approx. same size as your carrots
    • parsnips are friends of the carrot – if you haven’t had them, you’re in for a real treat. They literally roast up to taste like sweet candy. Literal candy. Not lying. they are gobbled up every. single. time. Do it. Buy them + roast them.
  • 1 package / pound of sweet turkey Italian sausage, sliced into mini rounds
    • I chose Applegate turkey/chicken sausage in the cold case section, and they tasted amazing + they are NUT-FREE! You can find them at Whole Foods, and most other grocers organic/healthy eating sections.
    • Brats also work for this if you have them on hand, so do hot-dogs. Really, any type of sausage works. And it can be fresh/raw. It roasts for so long, it doesn’t matter.
  • 2 tbsp evoo
  • 2 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • salt + pepper
  • non-stick spray

Directions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 425*
  2. Line two baking sheets with foil and spray with non-stick spray
  3. Arrange your vegetables how you like them on the trays
  4. Roast for 30 minutes, check on your stuff, flip around and roast for approx 15-30 more minutes, depending on how crispy you like it.
  5. Tonight I left mine in for a full hour since I like it a tad crunchy.

I had a giant pot of spaghetti noddles left over from the other night, too. So we had that as a side. I warmed up the following:

  • Plain noodles
  • 1/4 cup of Kim Crawford
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 1 TBSP olive oil,
  • Salt, pepper,
  • 1 TBSP Italian seasoning
  • a few grates of Parmesan.

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Rice also works as a side. Other things that you could roast include:

  • Zucchini
  • Broccoli
  • Mushrooms
  • Eggplant
  • Brussel Sprouts (slice in half)
  • White onion
  • Mini potatoes
  • Red potatoes
  • Turnip
  • Kohlrabi

The key with roasting is you want to make sure the stuff is approximately the same size and density. For example, tonight I had bigger stuff on one tray and smaller stuff on another because I knew the cooking times would vary slightly on each of those. Just like cooking Dino Nuggets and Tater Tots, the Dino Nuggets always finish first, so different baking sheet.

The bummer part of roasting is that everything generally looks the same color. If you don’t care about plate presentation, this is not a big deal. I felt “off” with having a lot of brown/white stuff on my plate, so I added a green salad and red tomatoes. Made me feel a little better. Crazy lady, I know.

Have a great week – I’ve got a busy little Thursday and Friday at the kid’s schools and hopefully a fun weekend with a move and mini-golf! New recipes next week and I’ll post menu board inspo to Instagram, nutfreemomblog.

Cheers!