Quinoa Tabouli

Quinoa Tabouli | Mimi's Fit Foods

I must admit.  I’m not a pro when it comes to knowing much about Middle Eastern cuisine.  However, I have had Tabouli (or Tabbouleh) before and LOVED it.  It is traditionally made with bulgur wheat.  That being said, I ran across this version with quinoa instead of bulgur and knew I would love the simple exchange.  It’s still a healthy grain, yet I tend to have quinoa on hand much more often than bulgur.

Tabouli is naturally healthy.  There is nothing found in this salad that isn’t clean.  It’s PACKED with flavor because it’s made with gobs of fresh herbs (mint and parsley to be exact). It’s seasoned beautifully with a dressing made primarily of olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice.

The great thing about this little salad is it is quite versatile.  You can eat it as is, you can add chicken to it, you can made a vegetarian wrap out of it, etc. In fact, stay tuned because I have a post coming up where I actually stuff this yummy Tabouli in a wrap/gyro.  It’s so good!

Quinoa Tabouli
Adapted from Nutritious Eats

1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed, drained & cooked to package instructions
2 cups chopped cherry or grape tomatoes (about 1 pint)
1 1/2 cups chopped cucumbers
1/2 cup chopped onion (can substitute green onions)
1 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
2 cups fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped

Dressing:
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/3 scant cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2-3 lemons)
1 garlic clove, grated
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon Koser salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Combine quinoa and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Transfer to a large bowl to cool while you prep other ingredients.

Add chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and fresh herbs to cooked, cooled quinoa.

In a small bowl, whisk together ingredients for dressing. Pour over quinoa salad and toss to combine. Refrigerate for a couple hours to chill slightly. Serve room temperature or cold.

Serves 10.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving)
Calories:  124
Protein:  2.8g
Carbs:  16.4g
Fat:  5.5g (0.6g = Sat.)
Fiber:  1.6g
Sugars:  3g

Roasted Cabbage Slices

Roasted Cabbage Slices | Mimi's Fit Foods

St. Patrick’s Day is in a matter of days and I know several of us are on the lookout for recipes, so I decided to share another one for you to consider.  There are LOTS of fun recipes out there for this lovely green-inspired holiday, and of all the recipes, I decide to share with you Roasted Sliced Cabbage.  Stay with me, here!  Stay with me!

While this may not appear “fun,” I promise I would not share this with you if I didn’t absolutely love it!  This is seriously crazy yummy when it comes to the cabbage world.  Roasting the cabbage helps to bring out a level of sweetness you don’t get otherwise, and it offers a bit of crunch on the edges (my favorite part).  Seriously!  If you’re not a fan of cabbage, this could certainly be one of the cabbage dishes that could possibly sway you!

Besides that cabbage seems to be popular in Irish-inspired St. Patrick’s Day dishes (for example . . . Corned Beef and Cabbage), it’s also green!  Why not make this a side dish at an all-green dinner?  It’s a great way to make sure you get something healthy, it’s green, and it’s deeeeelish!

Roasted Cabbage Slices - Mimi's Fit Foods

Roasted Cabbage Slices
Adapted from Wellness Mama

1/2 head of medium-sized cabbage
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Slice the cabbage in 1/4-1/2 inch slices.

Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray, or use a Silpat liner.  Place the cabbage on the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. If desired, evenly brush drizzled oil over cabbage.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast for 30-35 minutes or until tender in the middle and sides are just starting to turn golden brown. Remove and serve.

Serves 4.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving)
Calories:  58.4
Protein:  1.6g
Carbs:  6.2g
Fat:  3.8g (0.5g = Sat.)
Fiber:  2.6g
Sugars:  0g

Roasted and Crispy Parmesan-Cauliflower Poppers

Cauliflower Poppers | Mimi's Fit Foods

These are a “fun” way to eat your veggies!

I love roasted cauliflower, but I thought this would be a fun and different way to make it as well.  My little munchkin loves to “dip” her food, so I figured she would fall in love with these little “Cauliflower Nuggets” without even thinking twice.  I was totally right!

The panko gives these a nice crispy crunch.  I toasted the panko beforehand because it’s not super awesome to brown itself in the oven.   And, well . . . I think the parmesan cheese is definitely a no-brainer when it comes to cauliflower.  I used egg whites to get the panko to stick and that worked like a charm . . . plus it added a nice protein factor to the end result.

You can serve these with a variety of sauces/dips.  I recommend Simple MarinaraFit Ranch DipSpicy Chipotle White Bean Hummus, or Fresh Garden Salsa.

When you create your “breading station” you’ll find that there will be a little bit of leftover ingredients with each step (flour, eggs, breadcrumbs).  I prefer it this way so that I’m not struggling to get everything coated.  That being said, the nutritional information is based on what I actually used (not what the recipe suggests).

We had these for a snack the other afternoon and we ate them all!  My babe couldn’t even wait for me to finish taking pictures before she started dipping.  Now . . . go surprise yourself and/or your kiddos with these addictive, yes addictive, Cauliflower Poppers!

Eat Cauliflower Poppers | Mimi's Fit Foods

Roasted and Crispy Parmesan-Cauliflower Poppers

12 oz bag cauliflower florets, cut into small, bite-size “popper” pieces
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
pinch paprika
pinch salt
pinch black pepper
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
3 egg whites
cooking spray, optional

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Prepare baking sheet by lightly spraying with cooking spray, or by placing a silicone mat on sheet.

Toast your panko breadcrumbs by heating a medium-sized skillet over medium heat.  Constantly stir breadcrumbs until they start to brown (approximately 3-7 minutes).  Place toasted breadcrumbs in a gallon-sized ziplock bag and add the parmesan, paprika, pepper, and salt.  Set aside.

Continue to set up your breading station by adding the flour to another gallon-sized sip lock bag.  Set aside.  Beat the egg whites in a large bowl and set aside.

To bread, lightly spray cauliflower pieces with cooking spray (this may not be necessary if your pieces are still a little wet from washing).  Add cauliflower pieces to the bag with flour and very gently shake to coat the pieces well.  Next, add the floured pieces to the bowl with the beaten eggs and toss the pieces to coat with egg.  Next, add the pieced to the bag with the panko/parmesan mixture, and again, gently shake to coat the pieces well (I added my egg-coated cauliflower in two phases).  Take the coated pieces out and place on prepared baking sheet in a single layer (no over-lapping).

Place cauliflower in heated oven and roast for 20-25 minutes, or until cauliflower is tender (I roasted mine for 23ish minutes).

Remove from oven and serve with dipping sauce of your choice.  (I recommend Simple Marinara, Fit Ranch Dip, Spicy Chipotle White Bean Hummus, or Fresh Garden Salsa).

Serves 4.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving)
Calories:  123.8
Protein:  8.4g
Carbs:  18.2g
Fat:  2.6g (1.4g = Sat.)
Fiber:  3.4g
Sugars:  0.1g

Black Bean and Quinoa Enchilada Casserole

Black Bean & Quinoa Enchilada Casserole | Mimi's Fit Foods

Every-so-often I am looking for a good and healthy casserole to make.  This gets tricky for a couple of reasons.  1 – Casseroles are usually not healthy.  2 – Casseroles usually use canned soup of which I am not the biggest fan.  So, I get kind of picky when it comes to making casseroles.  BUT, casseroles are so wonderful because they are great one-pan dishes that feed a crowd.  So, I never stop searching for tasty and healthy casserole dishes.

This is my current favorite casserole dish!  It’s loaded with traditional Mexican flavors and the texture is phenomenal thanks to the black beans and quinoa.  It is really easy to make and takes little effort.  The prep time takes about 20 minutes (that’s to chop up and sauté the veggies and cook the quinoa) and the bake time is 30 minutes.  So, I essentially had dinner ready in 20 minutes, and used the 30 minute bake time to make a green salad AND wash the dishes so I wouldn’t have to do much after dinner.  Pretty awesome!

Black Bean and Quinoa Enchilada Casserole (Whole) - Mimi's Fit Foods

I loved adding the fresh toppings to the cooked casserole.  The green onions, fresh cilantro, and avocado were oh-so-perfect.  It hyped up the freshness and intensified the Mexican flare.

This is also a meatless casserole.  That being said, the addition of shredded, cooked chicken would work SO well here (and stretch the servings).  I have NO doubt that I’ll be incorporating that on occasion to increase the protein content.

This is going to become a regular around our house!  Please make it at yours . . . and then bring me a plate.

Black Bean and Quinoa Enchilada Casserole | Mimi's Fit Foods

Black Bean and Quinoa Enchilada Casserole
Adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod

1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
2 cups 99% fat free chicken broth
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed,diced
1 red pepper, seeds removed, diced
1 orange pepper, seeds removed, diced
juice of 1 small lime
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
salt and pepper, to taste
2 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups red enchilada sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded reduced fat Mexican cheese
Toppings: Sliced green onions, avocado slices, sour – optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

Add quinoa and broth to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Cover quinoa and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeño. Sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in the peppers. Cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add the lime juice, cumin, chili powder, and cilantro. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

In a large bowl, add the cooked quinoa and black beans. Add the sautéed vegetable mixture and stir to combine. Add cheese and pour in the enchilada sauce and stir to combine.

Pour the black bean and quinoa mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top with remaining 1 cup shredded cheese. Cover the pan with foil. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove foil. Bake an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and edges are bubbling. Remove from the oven, and let cool for 10 minutes. Garnish with toppings, if desired. Serve warm.

Note-this recipe freezes well!

Serves 8.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving)
Calories:  289.7
Protein:  15.9g
Carbs:  38.6g
Fat:  9g (2.6g = Sat.)
Fiber:  9g
Sugars:  3.3g

Berry Heart Skewers

Berry Heart Skewers1 - Mimi's Fit Foods

Since Valentine’s Day is in two days, I thought I would share a fun and easy idea into the mix.  These Berry Heart Skewers are so EASY, but beyond that I think they are so super adorable.

There’s not a real recipe that goes with this post as it’s more of a simple method to ensure you get a heart shape out of your strawberries.  It’s pretty simple since strawberries already come in a shape that resembles a heart.

All you do is core the strawberries.  Then, taking a paring knife, simply cut a v-shape out of the top of the berry.  I  cut one slant down, and then I make my other cut on the opposite side.  I found that the strawberries look best if the cut is not too deep.

That’s it!  You can skewer them however you wish.  I thought the addition of blueberries was way fun and festive.

Berry Heart Skewers - Mimi's Fit Foods

You can put these out as a snack for the kids, put them in your hubby’s lunch, or you can have them as a side dish for dinner or lunch.

My sweet little toddler has been enjoying them with her PB&J for lunch!  And, because it’s Valentine’s week . . . her PB&J is shaped like a heart too (using a cookie cutter).

Berry Heart Skewers with Heart PB&J - Mimi's Fit Foods

Most importantly, I hope you have a love-filled Valentine’s Day!

Tri-Colored Bell Pepper Couscous With Lemon

Tri-Colored Bell Pepper Couscous With Lemon - Mimi's Fit Foods

This is a tasty and easy side dish that you can add to your files.  If you haven’t made couscous, well . . . you should!  The VERY basic directions for making couscous takes all of 8 minutes and 5 of those minutes are simply waiting for the couscous to set up, while the other 3 minutes are dedicated to making water or broth boil.  Yeah. . . easy peasy, I tell you.  Thus, couscous tends to be a go-to side dish for me because I can whip it up fast without much thought.

This version of couscous gets a little fancier, yet still doesn’t take all that much extra time.  The flavor is elevated by the shallot and garlic, the peppers give it a great dimension of texture and taste, and oregano adds that nice bite of freshness I’m always looking for.  What REALLY makes this dish sing is the lemon!  I tasted it before the lemon and then I tasted it again after I squeezed the fresh lemon juice over it and I am not. even. kidding.  The difference was HUGE!  This is what really got me hooked on this version of couscous.  It tastes so fresh and that lemon juice really accents each and every ingredient found within.

Go couscous!

Tri-Colored Bell Pepper Couscous With Lemon
Adapted from the Food Network

1/2 tablespoon (or 1 1/2 teaspoons) extra-virgin olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 large shallot or 1/2 small red onion, minced
3 medium red, yellow, green or orange bell peppers or a mix, finely diced
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano
2/3 cup low sodium, 99% fat free chicken broth
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup whole wheat couscous
lemon wedges, for serving

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat; add the garlic and shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add 2/3 cup broth, the bell peppers, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste, bring to a boil over high heat and cook until the peppers just begin to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the couscous, immediately cover and remove from the heat. Let stand, covered, until the liquid is absorbed and the couscous is tender, about 7 minutes.

Transfer to a platter or large bowl and serve with lemon wedges for squeezing.

Serves 4.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = Approx. 3/4 Cup)
Calories:  137.5
Protein:  4.4g
Carbs:  25.8g
Fat:  1.9g (0.3g = Sat.)
Fiber:  2.5g
Sugars:  1.8g

Quinoa, Cranberry and Almond Stuffed Acorn Squash

Quinoa, Cranberry and Almond Stuffed Acorn Squash - Mimi's Fit Foods

I LOVED the freshness and comfort of this meal!  I love roasted squash and filling it with a delicious quinoa salad is just plain fabulous!  The roasted squash offered the “comfort” and the quinoa salad offered the “freshness.”  And, even better . . . they go SO WELL together!  The textures are amazing with the softness of the squash and quinoa being combined with the crunch of the almonds and spinach and then topped off with the chewiness of the dried cranberries.  And, probably without even having to say it, the flavors all meld well together.

This is a beautiful meatless meal.  I had a couple of acorn squash that were begging to get used so this is what came of them.  We had it for lunch and loved it.

Quinoa-Cranberry-Almond Stuffed Acorn Squash - Mimi's Fit Foods

Quinoa, Cranberry and Almond Stuffed Acorn Squash
Adapted by The Spicy RD Blog

2 acorn squash
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for drizzling on squash
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
1 cup water
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
2-3 cups baby spinach, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Meanwhile, cut acorn squash in half, vertically, and remove the seeds. Drizzle olive oil over the flesh of both pieces of squash, then sprinkle with salt and fresh ground pepper. Place squash, flesh side down on a foil lined sheet, and bake for 30 minutes.

While squash is baking, combine quinoa and water in a medium pan. Bring to a boil, then lower heat, and cook until water is absorbed, and quinoa is nice and fluffy.

While quinoa is cooking, heat olive oil in pan, then add onions and cook until translucent. Push onions to the side of the pan, and add almonds, stirring constantly for a couple of minutes to toast. Remove pan from heat, and set aside.

When quinoa is done cooking, pour it in to a medium bowl, then stir in onion/almond mixture, cranberries, spinach, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

When squash is cooked, remove from oven and place each piece on a plate. Scoop 1 cup of quinoa pilaf mixture in to each squash half and serve.

Serves 4.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1 half squash filled)
Calories:  327
Protein:  8.8g
Carbs:  51.1g
Fat:  12.6g (0.6g = Sat.)
Fiber:  .6g
Sugars:  7.3g