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

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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

Spicy Chipotle White Bean Hummus

Spicy Chipotle White Bean Hummus - Mimi's Fit Foods

Here’s another great recipe for game day!  I absolutely love the smokiness of chipotle peppers.  And, guess who loves them even more?  My hubby!  If I make anything with chipotle peppers in it, I’m bound to get all kinds of compliments for my kitchen craftiness.

This hummus is excellent.  I like hummus, but sometimes I find it to be a bit bland.  Not this one!  This one has a fabulous little kick from the chipotle peppers and the smokiness is enhanced by the cumin.  It’s a hummus with a Mexican twist.  Awesome!

It seriously takes all of 5 minutes to whip up, and it’s oh-so-good!  Add this to your healthy game day line-up. You won’t be mad about it.

Spicy Chipotle White Bean Hummus
Slightly Adapted from Damn Delicious

1 (15-ounce) can cannelloni beans (white kidneys), drained and rinsed
1-3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (the more you use, the “hotter” it gets)
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

In the bowl of a food processor, combine cannellini beans, chipotle peppers, garlic, Meyer lemon juice, cumin and chili powder.  With the motor running, add olive oil in a slow stream until emulsified.

Serve with pita bread, crackers, chips, or veggies.

Serves 12.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 2 Tablespoons) 
Calories:  86
Protein:  1.9g
Carbs:  5.4g
Fat:  7.1g (1g = Sat.)
Fiber:  1.6g
Sugars:  0.2g

Creamy Avocado Dip

Creamy Avocado Dip - Mimi's Fit Foods

I know the Super Bowl is coming up and people are already planning their parties.  And, as we all know, while the game is the reason we get together with friends and family, the REAL reason we love the party is for the food.  Am I right!?

I’m highlighting a couple of healthy, but delicious game-day recipes this week.  Why not totally enjoy the food, but without ALL the extra calories and bad fats?

This, my friends is definitely a favorite dip of mine!  I love just about anything that has avocado in the name, and this is NO exception.  It’s kind of like guacamole, but with a little extra creaminess factor.  The addition of garlic, cilantro, jalapeño, lime juice and cumin bring the flavor of the dip to a whole new level too.  We’re talking creamy, bursting with flavor, and healthy!  Yeah!

I typically serve this with Baked Tortilla Chips, but you can serve it with whatever you love (multi-grain chips, pita chips, cut-up veggies, etc.).  And, let’s just say that if (and that’s a huge IF) you were to have any leftover, you could use it on sandwiches or as a snack at home.

Here’s to planning a healthier game day!

Creamy Avocado Dip
Recipe Source:  Two Peas and Their Pod

1/2 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
2 ripe avocados, peeled and seeded
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon finely chopped seeded jalapeño pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Place the yogurt, avocados, garlic, cilantro, jalapeño, lime juice, and cumin in a blender or food processor. Mix until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Scrape dip into a serving bowl and serve with pita chips, tortilla chips, or cut up veggies.

Makes approximately 1 3/4 Cup Dip (depending on the size of your avocados).
Serves 7.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1/4 Cup)
Calories:  94.7
Protein:  2.6g
Carbs:  5.7g
Fat:  7.6g (1.1g = Sat.)
Fiber:  3.4g
Sugars:  1g

Italian Farro Salad

Italian Farro Salad - Mimi's Fit Foods

Happy new year!  Let’s get this new year started off nice and healthy!  This salad definitely fits the bill!  I’m sure many of you are sitting there wondering what “farro” actually is.  It’s nothing crazy, it’s just a healthy grain . . . like quinoa.  It’s super delicious and I absolutely love the texture.  It is a wonderful source of protein and fiber.

I was first officially introduced to this lovely grain by one of my sisters-in-law.  She is a huge fan (eats it for breakfast often) and because we both love healthy eats, she gave me a big bag for my birthday.  I’ve loved it ever since!  (Thanks Becca!)

Come the first of the year, I like to throw in a few meatless meals to our weekly menu.  It just helps to detox and it provides for some lighter meals (you know . . . after all that heavy and excess holiday food!).  That being said, I’m picky about my meatless meals because I’m adamant about getting enough protein into our bellies.  That’s why I love farro because it offers a decent amount of protein without adding extra meat to the dish (although, adding chicken to this dish would be delicious too).

These veggies are wonderful when paired up with the farro.  AND . . . I love the Italian twist because it really helps me to feel like I’m eating a real meal.  The Italian Seasoning and the garlic are awesome here and I love the addition of fresh basil.  Fresh herbs make just about anything taste gourmet.  Oh, and the Parmesan cheese . . . don’t even get me started!  It melted all over the farro as soon as I stirred it into the hot mixture.  Delicious!  Have I also failed to mention that it’s only 139 calories per serving?  Hmmmm . . . . looks like I’m having TWO serving for lunch tomorrow.

Seriously.  This makes for a great meatless meal or a beautiful side dish.  Give it a go.  You’ll love it.

Italian Farro Salad
Adapted from The Lilypad Cottage

1 1/2 cups rinsed farro
3 cups fat free chicken broth
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 (8-ounce) package of sliced mushrooms, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried italian seasoning
3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
3/4 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Bring farro and chicken broth to a boil. Reduce to medium heat, cover and let simmer for 20 – 25 minutes or until tender. Drain.

Meanwhile sauté garlic, italian seasoning, tomatoes, mushrooms, and zucchini until tender about 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Combine cooked farro and vegetables in a bowl.

Add fresh basil, parmesan, and more salt and pepper.

Can be served hot or room temperature.

Serves 6.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1 Cup)
Calories:  139.6
Protein:  7.7g
Carbs:  18.7g
Fat:  5.7g (2.1g  = Sat.)
Fiber:  2.7g
Sugars:  2.3g

Italian Farro Salad

Italian Farro Salad - Mimi's Fit Foods

Happy new year!  Let’s get this new year started off nice and healthy!  This salad definitely fits the bill!  I’m sure many of you are sitting there wondering what “farro” actually is.  It’s nothing crazy, it’s just a healthy grain . . . like quinoa.  It’s super delicious and I absolutely love the texture.  It is a wonderful source of protein and fiber.

I was first officially introduced to this lovely grain by one of my sisters-in-law.  She is a huge fan (eats it for breakfast often) and because we both love healthy eats, she gave me a big bag for my birthday.  I’ve loved it ever since!  (Thanks Becca!)

Come the first of the year, I like to throw in a few meatless meals to our weekly menu.  It just helps to detox and it provides for some lighter meals (you know . . . after all that heavy and excess holiday food!).  That being said, I’m picky about my meatless meals because I’m adamant about getting enough protein into our bellies.  That’s why I love farro because it offers a decent amount of protein without adding extra meat to the dish (although, adding chicken to this dish would be delicious too).

These veggies are wonderful when paired up with the farro.  AND . . . I love the Italian twist because it really helps me to feel like I’m eating a real meal.  The Italian Seasoning and the garlic are awesome here and I love the addition of fresh basil.  Fresh herbs make just about anything taste gourmet.  Oh, and the Parmesan cheese . . . don’t even get me started!  It melted all over the farro as soon as I stirred it into the hot mixture.  Delicious!  Have I also failed to mention that it’s only 139 calories per serving?  Hmmmm . . . . looks like I’m having TWO serving for lunch tomorrow.

Seriously.  This makes for a great meatless meal or a beautiful side dish.  Give it a go.  You’ll love it.

Italian Farro Salad
Adapted from The Lilypad Cottage

1 1/2 cups rinsed farro
3 cups fat free chicken broth
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 (8-ounce) package of sliced mushrooms, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried italian seasoning
3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
3/4 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Bring farro and chicken broth to a boil. Reduce to medium heat, cover and let simmer for 20 – 25 minutes or until tender. Drain.

Meanwhile sauté garlic, italian seasoning, tomatoes, mushrooms, and zucchini until tender about 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Combine cooked farro and vegetables in a bowl.

Add fresh basil, parmesan, and more salt and pepper.

Can be served hot or room temperature.

Serves 6.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1 Cup)
Calories:  139.6
Protein:  7.7g
Carbs:  18.7g
Fat:  5.7g (2.1g  = Sat.)
Fiber:  2.7g
Sugars:  2.3g

Roasted Beets

Roasted Beets - Mimi's Fit Foods

Beets.  You should all know that beets are SO good for you.  They contain so many good vitamins and minerals (just to name a few . . . potassium, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, iron; vitamins A, B & C; beta-carotene, beta-cyanine; folic acid).  They are good for all of us, including pregnant women as the vitamin B, iron, and folic acid are good for both mommy and baby.  Among many other health benefits, beets are also a natural cleanser of the blood.

With that all being said, I know beets may not be the MOST popular vegetable found at the dinner table.  Perhaps its the taste or perhaps its just the problem of not really knowing how to to prepare them.  I am one who actually loves beets, but have never prepared my own (I’ve always eaten bottled beets or beets that someone else prepared for me).  Some beets made their appearance in a mixed produce box I ordered and I was determined to find the best way to prepare them.

The crazy thing is, after doing all my research, the very best way to prepare the beets is to roast them.  Roasting them brings out the flavor much better than boiling or steaming them.  And, even crazier, roasting them is SUPER easy and pretty mess-free.  I REALLY cannot believe that I haven’t been roasting my own beets for years.  I think I might just be planting beets in my garden this upcoming summer.

Roasted Beets
Adapted from Bobby Flay

4 medium beets, scrubbed, leaves trimmed (red or gold)
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray sheets of aluminum foil lightly with cooking spray.  Wrap beets in aluminum foil (like you would a baked potato).  Place wrapped beets on a baking sheet and roast in oven until cooked through, approximately 45-60 minutes (I find that they take closer to 60 minutes).

Remove from the oven, let cool for 10 minutes.  Peel and slice into 1/4-inch slices.  (I peel the beets under warm, running water as this avoids staining on my hands and countertop.  They peel very easily.)

Serves 4.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1 Beet)
Calories:  22
Protein:  1g
Carbs:  5g
Fat:  0g
Fiber:  1g
Sugars:  4g

Fresh Green Bean Salad With Balsamic Dressing

Fresh Green Bean Salad with Balsamic Dressing - Mimi's Fit Foods

Okay.  Let’s get back to fall.  In reality, this dish is perfect year-round, but I’m sharing it this week because I think it would make a fabulous side dish at Thanksgiving.  I’m always looking for healthy side dishes for the holidays and since green beans seem to make an appearance at most Thanksgiving dinner tables, I thought I would share a very YUMMY (and healthy) way to make them this year.

This green bean salad is to-die-for.  Yes, I’m serious.  You’re probably thinking that there’s no way that green beans would ever be considered to-die-for, but guess what!?  You’re totally wrong because I found this recipe and it completely qualifies!  I made a fancy dinner to go alongside these babies and the green beans totally won my hubby over.  Hands down, he said this salad was the best part of the meal.  And, he doesn’t even really like green beans!  So, that’s saying something HUGE!

The green beans are cooked so they are crisp-tender, then placed in an ice bath to stop them from cooking (which also keeps their color a nice, vibrant green) and cools them down.  They are mixed with the grape tomatoes and then drizzled with a simple balsamic dressing.  Just before serving, feta cheese is mixed throughout.  The result . . . delicious, crisp-tender green beans that want you going back for more and more and more and . . . well, you get the idea!  It’s just so good and fresh and flavorful!

Besides being down-right delicious, the salad is pretty too!  I think it is totally worthy for holiday meals and it’s also WAY easy to throw together for any weeknight meal too.  Thus, it’s a recipe to keep in your back pocket.  Right!?

A couple of tips for the beans.  I bought mine at Costco and they were of the best quality.  You can usually find them in your local grocery store (produce section) too.  When cooking the beans, you want to cook them to the tenderness you prefer.  However, you don’t want to let them over-cook or they’ll be mushy and not so awesome.  I prefer mine slightly on the crisp side, so I cooked mine for about 7 minutes.  I wouldn’t cook yours longer than 10.  And, don’t forget to have your ice bath ready because you’ll need to transfer them right to the ice bath after cooking.

Now start planning to make the best green bean recipe you’ve tried in years (or in forever!).

Fresh Green Bean Salad with Balsamic Dressing2 - Mimi's Fit Foods

Fresh Green Bean Salad With Balsamic Dressing
Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

1 pound fresh green beans, ends trimmed if desired
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
pepper, to taste
2 ounces reduced fat feta cheese

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil.  Add 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Cook green beans until tender, 5-10 minutes.

While they cook, prepare a large bowl with an ice water bath.  Immediately drain the beans into a colander and place the drained beans in the ice water for a few minutes to stop the cooking.  (This will keep them bright green and perfectly tender.)

Drain the beans and pat them dry.  Toss them in a bowl with the tomatoes.

For the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, garlic powder, and pepper.  Pour the mixture over the green beans and toss to coat.  Cover the bowl and chill for at least an hour or up to 3 hours before ready to serve.

Stir in the feta cheese right before serving.  Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Serves 4.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1/4 the Recipe)
Calories:  135.6
Protein:  2.5g
Carbs:  4g
Fat:  8.8g (2g = Sat.)
Fiber:  4g
Sugars:  2.8g