Southwestern Quinoa Veggie Bake ~

Last weekend Nate and I drove an hour north to Cold Spring, N.Y.

We had grand plans to do this hike that he had read about.

Cold Spring, NY hike

However, when we headed down the trail, it seemed to be completely grown over. It was also flooded in parts because of the heavy rain we’ve been having.

Nate was totally bummed, but we found some other shorter hikes to do, including a walk that went along the shore of the Hudson. There were some kids swimming in the water and it was just very peaceful. I wish I had brought my bathing suit.

Cold Spring, NY hike

Since the hike wasn’t as long as we hoped, we decided to head over to a nearby estate called Boscobel. We were too cheap to pay the $37 house tour fee, but it was free to walk the grounds on Saturdays, so that’s what we did.

It was really beautiful and it made me wish the house we bought had a bigger yard. Ah well, a girl can wish…

Boscobel gardens

Part of the reason we went hiking is because Nate hasn’t been running for about a month, since he injured some muscle in his leg. He’s been trying to get a lot of walking in, but it just isn’t the same. To say he’s been in a foul mood would be putting it lightly, haha. (just kidding, if you’re reading this, sweetie!)

Boscobel gardens

Anyway, we’ve also been trying to eat a little healthier. This recipe is based on one I pinned several months ago.

Nate claims he doesn’t love southwestern/mexican things so much, but I do…and I honestly don’t think the boy actually knows what he likes and what he doesn’t. There have been several occasions during which he told me something (that he had previously claimed to hate) was delicious. I didn’t bother reminding him.

Southwestern Quinoa Veggie Bake ~

Anyway, I added zucchini to this because it’s in season and just seems like it belongs. I went light on the cheese on top because I ran out, but feel free to make it as cheesy as you’d like. It’s delicious topped with salsa and sour cream and served with some tortilla chips!

Southwestern Quinoa Veggie Bake ~

Southwestern Quinoa Veggie Casserole

Adapted from Pinch of Yum

Print this recipe!

Serves 5-7

3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
1 4-oz. can diced green chiles (in the mexican section of the grocery store)
2 Tbsp oil, divided
4½ cups canned black beans, rinsed
1 cup chicken/veggie broth
3 cups cooked quinoa
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
2 bell peppers, diced
1 very lg (or 1 med, 1 small) zucchini, diced
garlic powder, salt and pepper
1¼ cup shredded Mexican cheese
diced green onions
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
sour cream, salsa, tortilla chips- optional

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 9×13 pan.

Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, cooking several minutes until it begins to soften. Add garlic and cook 1 min. Add chiles and cook another minute.

Stir in broth and black beans. Bring mixture to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Mash beans to desired consistency. The mixture should be thick, not watery. If you still have a lot of moisture, let it cook out by keeping it on the heat for another few minutes. Taste and season with salt.

Spread bean mixture in the bottom of the prepared casserole dish.

In same skillet over medium high heat, toss the cooked quinoa with the cayenne, chili powder, cumin, and salt for 1-2 minutes. Taste and season with salt. Spread on top of bean mixture in casserole dish.

If bottom of pan is coated with quinoa residue, add a little hot water and let it sit one minute, then scrape the bottom and it should easily come off. Pour out.  It’s ok if there’s still some a little stuff stuck to the sides/bottom

Add the remaining Tbsp of oil to the pan over medium high heat. Add the diced peppers and zucchini. Add a some garlic powder and salt to taste. Cook about 10 minutes until a little softer than al dente in texture. You don’t want them mushy as they will continue to cook in oven.

Spread minxture over quinoa in pan, trying not to take any liquid that came out during cooking. Sprinkle cheese on top.

Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the top layer of cheese is golden and bubbly. Sprinkle with green onions and cilantro and serve immediately.

Serve with sour cream, salsa and tortilla chips if you’d like.

Black Bean Soup ~

It’s been nice having Nate home, because I can finally cook for more than one. Oh who am I kidding, I didn’t cook for one when Nate was gone, I just ate crap.

Oh, and Nate got a job!!!!! and in New York, thank goodness! So no moving to Cali for us. I’m so so happy and relieved, both that he found a job and that we get to stay on the East coast. While visiting California was nice, I’d really hate to live in LA where there are no seasons. I just love autumn and snow too much!

And now we get to house hunt…YAY!!!

Black Bean Soup ~

Oh and also somehow got a hold of my Carrot Dill Sauce recipe and has led a ton of new people to my blog, so welcome to any new folks :)

Ok back to the recipe. So, I guess I got used to not doing much cooking while Nate was gone…because I haven’t been in the mood to cook too much lately even with him back. I’ve also been short on time.

It’s days like these that I need some recipes that have few ingredients, require little to no prep, and can be pulled together in 30 minutes or less.

Black Bean Soup ~

Since spring hasn’t quite sprung here in New York yet, it’s nice to have a steaming bowl of soup to warm up when we get home. Cold rain is just the worst.

I’m not a fan of pureed soups. I’m also not a fan of thick soups. My favorites are of the broth based variety, or semi-pureed. This tastes like your traditional black bean soup but isn’t gloppy, which makes it a winner in my book.

Black Bean Soup ~

Quick Vegetarian Black Bean Soup

Slightly adapted from Epicurious

Print this recipe!

Serves 6-8

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 cups chopped onion
8 oz sliced mushrooms
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried
2 15-ounce cans black beans plus juices
1 14 1/2-ounce can low-salt chicken broth
2 14 1/2-ounce cans Hunts diced tomatoes with zesty mild green chiles
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 lime
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce
salt to taste
Sour cream and avocado to garnish

Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onion, sauteeing until soft. Add garlic and mushrooms; sauté until mushrooms soften, about 5-8 minutes.

Add beans+juices, broth, tomatoes with juices, cumin and hot pepper sauce. Bring soup to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until flavors blend and soup thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.

Stir in cilantro, salt and lime juice to taste.

If you have an immersion blender, puree part of the soup, leaving it mostly chunky, or to the consistency you like. If you don’t have an immersion blender, working in 2 batches, purée 2 1/2 cups soup in blender until smooth. Mix purée back into soup in pot.

Ladle soup into bowls.

Confession: I totally used making this recipe for dinner as an excuse to skip going to the gym after work.

Fact: this recipe took me all of about 15 min total to make ( if you don’t count the 20 minutes I spent going to 3 different markets to find whole wheat buns for my picky boyfriend who refuses to eat white bread of any sort)

Conclusion: Apparently I don’t need much convincing to skip a workout (I wish that wasn’t the case).

The good news is that I promised myself, with Nate as my witness, that I will wake up early enough tomorrow to work out before work instead. I even went so far as to tell him that if I don’t wake up when I’m supposed to, he can pull the sheets off me and splash water on my face. Cold water. Now if that’s not a genuine promise, I don’t know what is.

The real point of this whole little story is that this recipe is quick.

And easy.

And requires few ingredients.

And is delicious.

So delicious that your carniverous husband/bf/self won’t notice that it’s missing meat. Plus, its way cheaper and healthier than making meat burgers.

I also want to say that most black bean type burgers fall apart when I try to flip them, but these were unusually sturdy!

Make these: your wallet, waistline and palatte will thank me ;)

Quick Black Bean Burgers
Adapted from Cooking Light (11/09)

Print this recipe!

Makes 4 patties

1 cup bread crumbs/quick oats or a combination (I used half/half)
1.5 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 (15.25-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon grated lime rind
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 large egg white, lightly beaten

Combine oil, garlic, and beans in processor; pulse 8 times or until beans make a thick paste. Scrape bean mixture into bowl.

Stir in breadcrumbs, rind and remaining ingredients. With moistened hands, divide bean mixture into 4 equal portions (about 1/3 cup mixture per portion), shaping each into a 3-inch patty.

Spray a large nonstick skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add patties to pan; reduce heat to medium, and cook 4 minutes or until bottom edges are browned. Carefully turn patties over; cook 3 minutes or until bottom edges are done.