Browsing Tag


Everyday Lunch: Quinoa Salad with Broccoli

April 20, 2012

Last week when I posted this salad that I take to lunch each week, lots of you responded saying you wanted to see more lunch ideas on Espresso and Cream. Sometimes my lunches are just a random assortment of whatever is left in the fridge, but other times I take a few extra minutes to prep something more reminiscent of a meal.

One of my favorite strategies for lunchtime success is to prepare a large batch of whole grains at the beginning of the week to go in lunches in the days to come. Quinoa, brown rice and whole wheat pasta are my personal favorites because they’re so easy.

 Here’s a look at what I ate this week! It was filling, veggie-packed and healthy. Though if I made it next time, I would suggest crumbling a bit of feta cheese atop the salad before serving, since feta makes almost anything better.

Quinoa Salad with Broccoli
*1/2 cup cooked quinoa
*1 to 1 1/2 cups shredded Romaine lettuce
*2/3 cup steamed broccoli florets
*2 tablespoons Ken’s Steak House Light Caesar Dressing
*Salt and ground black pepper
*2 slices whole wheat toast (optional but highly recommended)

*Toss the quinoa, lettuce and broccoli together in a travel storage container. Just before serving, toss with the dressing and sprinkle with salt and ground black pepper. Serve with the toast. Enjoy!


Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers for One (or more)

June 23, 2011

Thank you, truly, for all your sweet comments, Tweets, and e-mails about my meltdown! I’m so blessed to be able to share this little space on the web with you all and Espresso and Cream is a blessing to me even on my less than wonderful days.

Lately, I’ve been trying to make an effort to reduce food waste at my house. More often than not, I find myself bringing home new groceries only to throw away produce that didn’t get eaten the previous week. And boy do I hate that.

Working on reducing food waste has helped me create more interesting meals on the weeknights, throwing together a random assortment of fruits, veggies and grains, and also results in Joey looking into my fridge and telling me there’s nothing to eat.

Wednesday’s nights dinner was a product of project no-food-left-behind. With one sweet pepper on its last leg, a small spear of cheese and a half-empty bottle or marinara sauce waiting to be used up, I knew I needed to come up with something fast.

And while I was wary of these peppers as I sat down to dinner (I’m not usually a stuffed pepper or tomato person), I was immediately sucked in upon first bite. The flavors were spot-on and the hefty dose of protein from the tofu and quinoa was just what I needed after a long run that morning. Bonus: these could easily be adapted for more people, and non vegetarians, too, by doubling or tripling the recipe and swapping ground beef or turkey in for the tofu. Take your pick!

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers for One (or more)

*1 red, yellow or orange sweet pepper, top cut off and seeded 
*1 (3.5-ounce) block of pre-baked tofu (I get mine at Trader Joe’s) or 1/2 cup ground beef, if making for someone who prefers a non-vegetarian meal (cough cough Joey)
*1/3 cup cooked quinoa or brown rice
*3 Tablespoons marinara sauce
*1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
*1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
*1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
*1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
*2 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese

*In a small saucepan, bring two cups of water to boiling. Add the sweet pepper and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from water and dry the inside with a paper towel.
*Preheat oven to 400°F. In a small bowl, combine the tofu, cooked quinoa or rice, marinara sauce, salt, balsamic vinegar, black pepper, and shredded cheddar cheese. Spoon into the center of the pepper. Top with the grated Parmesan cheese.
*Place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven to 10 to 15 minutes, until cheese is melted and filling is hot. Serve immediately, or cool, cover with plastic wrap and re-heat in the microwave when ready to eat for 2 to 3 minutes.

Happy Cooking!

Quinoa with Spicy Tomato Peanut Sauce

September 29, 2010
I’ve been on a bit of a roll with quinoa lately. I’m not entirely sure why, though I do think it might have something to do with the fact that I’m trying to cut back on the number of dollars spent at the grocery store and use the ingredients I actually have at home instead. 
When I moved into my apartment 8 months ago my parents took me to Costco to stock up on the basics and get me on my feet. Evidently quinoa seemed like a basic necessity at the time, because I’ve had an embarrassingly large amount of unused quinoa lurking in my pantry ever since. 
And while using quinoa, or any other grain for that matter, may sound like a good idea in the morning, mustering the desire to cook it at night is another story. To remedy this, I’ve started cooking large batches of barley, quinoa and brown rice on Sunday, then storing them in the fridge for the week to come. All that’s left to do at night is whip up some type of quick sauce, like this Spicy Tomato Peanut Sauce, to mix it up each meal. 
Quinoa with Spicy Tomato Peanut Sauce
(Printable Recipe)
The title of this recipe doesn’t lie – it’s spicy! Feel free to scale back on the chili powder if desired. Since a little bit of this sauce goes a long way, I had leftovers, which I stored in my fridge for a couple weeks and used as a dip/spread. 
*1 cup quinoa, prepared according to package instructions
*1 Tbsp. olive oil
*1 shallot, diced
*1/4 tsp. chili powder
*1/8 tsp. paprika
*1/4 tsp. salt
*1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
*1 (14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes
*1 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter
*2 Tbsp. heavy cream
*1/4 cup tomato sauce 
*Chopped Peanuts (optional)
*In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. Add in the shallot, chili powder, paprika, salt and black pepper. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until shallots are softened and spices are well combined and fragrant. Remove from heat.
*Place tomatoes in a food processor or blender with the heavy cream and tomato sauce. Process until almost smooth and only small chunks remain. 
*Return skillet to heat and add in the processed tomato mixture. Heat through. Add in the peanut butter and stir until well combined. Remove from heat and spoon over quinoa. Garnish with chopped peanuts, if desired. 

MultiGrain PB&J Breakfast Cookies

September 27, 2010
Is it Monday already? If so, I seriously can’t believe it. Every time I go somewhere on the weekend, it becomes so clear that two days just isn’t long enough to get everything done, be rejuvenated and just be wherever you are. J and I made the trek out to Wisconsin for a weekend with some of our favorite people: J’s aunt and uncle and their four very cute kids. I wish I had some photos of the weekend, but of course I took along my camera and completely forgot to use it. Some blogger I am. 
Friday was quite the day. Before the weekend even got started, I managed to throw my wallet down the trash shoot of my apartment building and didn’t realize it until five hours later. I panicked. I cried. I called the maintenance man and dug through the trash. And I recovered my wallet! Thank goodness. 
Part of the wallet fiasco was due to just being scatterbrained, but it also had something to do with being run down and exhausted – at least the freak-out while digging through the trash part. This week I’ve resolved to letting myself rest and recharge. I’ve been chugging Emergen-C like there’s no tomorrow, taking zinc tablets and trying to fuel my body with all the vitamins and minerals possible. And this week J is keeping me to a strict 9 p.m. bed time.   
And these cookies are most certainly part of the plan. They are peppered with quinoa (keen-wa) an edible seed that resembles a grain. Unlike other grains and seeds, quinoa is a complete protein on its own, making it especially important for vegetarians since it provides all the essential amino acids. On top of that, these breakfast cookies also contain Greek yogurt, whole wheat flour, and peanut butter. Can we say protein-packed?
Aside from eating healthy and taking loads of vitamin C, I’m clueless how to stay healthy and avoid getting sick. What are your best tips and tricks? I need em!   
MultiGrain PB&J Breakfast Cookies 
(Printable Recipe)
These cookies have quickly become a favorite of mine for taking along to work as an mid morning snack or to ward away the late afternoon hunger pains. Each cookie has about 120 calories – perfect snack-size. Forewarning: they aren’t your typical cookie. The quinoa gives off a slightly nutty, chewy texture that’s unique to the grain. It may take a little getting used to, but I think they’ll grow on you, too.  
*1 stick unsalted butter, softened
*1/4 cup Greek yogurt (I used 2% Fage)
*3/4 tsp. baking powder
*1/4 tsp. salt
*3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
*1 large egg 
*1/4 cup natural-style peanut butter
*1/3 cup cooked quinoa 
*1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
*1/2 cup fruit preserves or jelly, such as red raspberry or strawberry
*Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
*With an electric mixer, beat butter and yogurt together until creamy. Add in the brown sugar and peanut butter and beat until well combined, followed by the egg, beating until just combined. 
*Add in the baking powder, salt and quinoa and beat until combined, followed by the flour, beating until just combined. 
*Scoop dough by heaping tablespoons and roll into balls. Flatten with the heel of your palm or the bottom of a glass. Press your thumb into the center of each cookie to create a well. Spoon some of the jam into the well. 
*Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until cookies are slightly golden around the edges. Remove from the oven and transfer to wire racks. Cool. Makes 18 cookies. 
Happy Baking!
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