Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Quinoa Veggie and Protein Dish

Do you hate cooking? Think it takes too long? Spend too much time sweating at the stove? Aren’t creative or confident enough to try new things? I answer yes to all of these.

I hate cooking. I really do. Nothing about the process excites me. Grocery shopping and cleaning are another story, and eating is DEFINITELY one of my favorite hobbies. But cooking? Shoot me in the face.

I come from a long line of fabulous cooks (hi, mom!) and have spent my entire life having amazing food placed in front of my pie hole that I can simply shove in without doing any work. It’s been great, really. But now that I’m in my twenties and have been living on my own for over a year, I’m coming to realize that cooking is not only vital to living a healthy, clean lifestyle, but also essential to being a well-rounded adult.

So I try. But generally, I’m not all that good at cooking. I can’t time things, I struggle to multitask, I get too hot and frustrated with meals that take too long, and I can’t seem to follow a recipe to save my life.

Therefore, I have a few staple meals that I make over and over (and over and over and over) again. I thought I’d share my favorite clean recipe with y’all.

PS- If you’re intimidated by cooking with quinoa, I feel you. It’s kind of scary. But just pretend it’s rice and that is like the easiest thing to cook, right? And they are actually pretty similar, however, I do prefer quinoa to rice now.

Okay here goes:

Carlye’s Quinoa Veggie and Protein Dish


¾ cup quinoa (rinse if you can. If you’re lazy like me, don’t worry. It tastes the same)

2 tsps oil (I use EVOO)

½ large onion (I prefer white onion, but yellow or red works too). Chop that bad boy up real fine

¾ cups frozen corn

1 can black beans (try to get organic, but if you can’t at least try for low-sodium beans)

1 pepper (I prefer red, but green and yellow are good too)

Ground cumin

Chili powder

Lime juice (2-3 limes, or a solid squeeze or two from a bottle, HOLLA)

1/3 cup fresh cilantro

Optional: a little bit of low-fat shredded cheese to serve

Cooking this is super easy (obviously, otherwise I’d never do it)

1.     Cook quinoa according to package (takes about 20 minutes, so I start this first and then do the skillet work while the quinoa is boiling and simmering)

2.     Heat the oil in a big ol’ skillet and added your onion. Let it brown in the oil. Add frozen corn. Stir and let it cook for a few minutes (like 2). Add beans. Stir and let it cook for a few minutes (like 2). Add red pepper. Stir for a minute or two, but not too long because you don’t want it to get soggy.

3.     Dump your cooked quinoa and the veggies into a big bowl and mix.

4.     Add in lime juice, seasoning and cilantro. I intentionally left out any directions as to how much of each spice to add, because each person has different preferences. I like a LOT of cumin. It’s basically my favorite spice. So I do a LOT of cumin, probably at least a tablespoon (and a half…), and probably about a tablespoon of chili powder. My recommendation is to start with a small amount of each spice, mix it in, and test it to see if it is spicy enough for you. I like it spicy, but I know not everybody has those taste buds. Stir like a madwoman. Add the cilantro last.

5.     MIX IT UP (ha, that made me think of Sir Mix A Lot. Good times)

6.     Put cheese on it if you so choose

7.     EAT UP! A serving size is about one cup. I usually eat a little more than that though :)

This is a recipe I typically make in its entirety and then package up for about three or four lunches. It’s great because you can just pop it in the microwave at work and you’re good to go.

What are your go-to easy meals? This girl needs something easy and yummy to throw in the mix.