Tuesday, January 29, 2013

.greek style quinoa burgers.

i'm feeling lazy today. maybe it is from all the eating i've been doing lately. i'm feeling so lazy, in fact, that i don't even feel like typing up all the steps to make these. just scroll to the bottom and use the really great recipe written by whole living.

what i do want to talk about is the main ingredient- quinoa. as of a couple months ago, i'm too embarrassed to even tell you how i was pronouncing it. my hpff had to get me rectified. you heard me right.

anyway, it is so uber-fun to say! try it with me- keeeenwahhhh. don't you just want to say it all day long?

well, this stuff looks like birdseed in the bag and i was skeptical as to how it would turn out in the recipe. with a little boiled water, it really comes to life and these burgers were fantabulous!

i made mine greek-like because the recipe calls for it. however, i'm sure there are tons of ways to style this dish.

it was a big hit with me and my eye guy. i'm sure it will go over well in your home too- especially if you enjoy saying keeeenwahhh as much as i do.

greek style quinoa burgers
borrowed from whole living

what you need
1/2 cup rinsed quinoa
1 medium carrot, cut in large chunks
6 scallions, thinly sliced
15 ounces great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon ground cumin
Coarse salt
Ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
4 pitas (each 6 inches)
1/2 English cucumber, thinly sliced diagonally

what you do
In a small saucepan, bring 3/4 cup water to a boil; add quiona, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook until liquid is absorbed, 12 to 14 minutes; set aside.

In a food processor, pulse carrot until finely chopped. Add cooked quinoa, half the scallions, beans, breadcrumbs, egg, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; pulse until combined but still slightly chunky.

Form mixture into four 3/4-inch-thick paties (dip hands in water to prevent sticking). If too soft, refrigerate 10 minutes to firm. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium; cook burgers until browned and cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes per side.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, and the remaining scallions; season with salt and pepper. Serve burgers in pita topped with cucumber and yogurt sauce.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

.spaghetti squash boats...let's go sailing.

like me, maybe you've heard and heard of this elusive miracle pasta known as spaghetti squash. like me, maybe you've thought it sounded so weird and a little too HEALTHY and have avoided it. like me, maybe you are ready to give in to the craze and see what all the fuss is really about.

so the deal is that you supposedly obtain a spaghetti squash (which looks like a halloween-type gourd) and then turn it into a pasta substitute. what the what?! let's give it a go.

get out your muscles and a really reliable knife and split the squash in half lengthwise. this hercules-like move was the most troublesome part of the entire process. pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees while you're taking a muscle break.

once it is split in half, all is smooth squashing from here. take a spoon and scrape out all of the seeds and goop; just like you would a pumpkin for carving. as a matter of fact, the aroma totally reminds me of jack o' lantern time at this stage.

sprinkle a little salt and pepper over the open halves and then roast for one hour in the oven.

meanwhile, figure out what you want to do with your spaghetti. for this recipe, i made "boats." i used the skin as a bowl and did a baked spaghetti with chicken dish. so, i grilled some chicken for my eye guy and microwaved some fake chicken for my vegetarian self.
when the hour of roasting is up, remove the squash from the oven. i seriously doubted that this whole spaghetti dealio would work.

with hope in my hungry heart, i took a fork and began pulling at the squash and holy mother of all that is unbelievable, it started creating what looked like honest to goodness spaghetti!!! this was a kitchen miracle. period. you try it now.

once you have spaghettied both squash, pour a little marinara in and then top that with the chicken. (one fake, one not if you're me)

add more marinara and top with mozarella and parmesan cheese or whatever cheese is to your liking. the cheese is the only fattening (a.k.a. most delicious) part of this dish. put the squash boats back in the oven and bake another 10-15 minutes.

the end result is what looks like a personalized dish of baked spaghetti. my eye guy and i both dug in with a mix of trepidation and excitement.

oh my, oh me, it's really like eating spa-ghetti! the squash doesn't have the same richness of a heavy pasta, but it definitely is close enough to the real deal that i would happily trade this healthy option any time. plus, if i eat a healthier dinner, that leaves more room for dessert.

give up on me.

spaghetti squash boats
adapted from skinnytaste.com

what you need
1 medium or large spaghetti squash
salt and fresh pepper, to taste
2 chicken breasts (i used one morning star farm patty as one of my chicken breasts)
pinch garlic seasoning
1/4 tsp oregano or italian seasoning
2 cups marinara sauce
cheese of your liking to top (mozzarella and parmesan are good options)

how to do it
Preheat oven to 350°. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and fibers with a spoon. Place on a baking sheet, cut side up and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast about an hour.

While the squash is roasting, grill your chicken breasts.

Remove the spaghetti squash from the oven fluff the insides of each half with a fork, leaving the squash in the shell. Season with salt and pepper, then spoon about 1/4 cup marinara in each boat.

Cut up the chicken and place each piece on top of each squash half. Top the chicken with 1/4 cup each of remaining marinara sauce, then top with cheese and place back into the hot oven and cook until the cheese is melted and the sauce is hot, about 10-15 minutes. Garnish as you see fit!