Tag Archives: simple

Quinoa bake with spinach and ricotta

As we head in to the festive season, I find that I need to balance out the indulgences of this time of year, with home cooked, healthy (at least semi-healthy) meals.

Packed full of goodness, and also gluten-free (for any of you who are gluten intolerant), this baked quinoa “pie” with spinach and feta is as comforting as it looks. Hot from the oven, the quinoa are almost pillowed amongst the ingredients, adding a lightness that you wouldn’t get if I omitted them. I only need to cook for two, so I made enough for four, split the mixture in to two small pie tins, and will freeze the other portion for a time when I need something easy, quick and delicious. All I have to do is warm up and eat.

This recipe is really versatile – adding in ham or bacon would work too.

Ingredients (for one large pie to feed four or two smaller pies)

  1. 1 cup quinoa
  2. 2 large handfuls of fresh spinach leaves
  3. 200g feta (you can also substitute ricotta or even cottage cheese)
  4. 4 large eggs
  5. Splash of milk
  6. 1 cup of grated parmesan, divided in to two portion
  7. salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180C/350F
  2. Cook the quinoa in 2 cups of water. Cover, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes, until tender and the germ is visible
  3. Stir in the spinach leaves as you fluff the quinoa – the residual heat will wilt the leaves
  4. Crumble the feta in and mix
  5. In a bowl, whisk the eggs with a splash of milk and one portion of the parmesan
  6. Add a pinch of salt and a good grind of pepper – don’t over-salt as the cheeses will already add some savouriness to the dish
  7. Loosely spoon the quinoa mixture into your pie dish, pour over the egg mixture and combine the two in the dish
  8. Flatten the top and sprinkle the second portion of parmesan over the top
  9. Bake for 30-35 mins until the top is golden
  10. Allow to rest for 5 minutes and then enjoy hot !
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Garlic and brocolli pasta

In the middle of one of my twice annual detoxes, I was in the mood for a simple pasta dish. I’ve found some really good organic brown rice pastas and also buckwheat pastas, which are detox-friendly, as well as having the added bonus of being gluten-free.

This dish is so quick and simple – perfect weekday dinner or double the quantity and you can have the leftovers as a pasta salad for lunch the next day.

Ingredients for one serving – adjust accordingly for more

  1. 3/4 cup dry spiral organic brown rice pasta
  2. 1/2 cup broccoli florets – no stems
  3. 2-3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (I love garlic so feel free to use less)
  4. good squeeze of lemon
  5. salt and pepper

Method

  1. Cook pasta according to packet directions in salted water
  2. When pasta is almost cooked, add the broccoli for a 30 seconds and drain – save about half a cup of the pasta water
  3. Sautée the garlic in a hot pan with some oil till soft
  4. Add the drained pasta and broccoli and toss in the garlic and oil – add a few spoons of the pasta water to help loosen the pasta up. The starchy water will help to give the pasta a nice silky texture
  5. Squeeze the lemon juice, and add salt and pepper to taste
  6. Serve hot for dinner
  7. If you want to keep the leftovers for lunch the next day, add a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil and pop into the fridge for a yummy pasta salad

Chickpea and lentil curry

A really simple curry that you can get on the table in 20 minutes with the help of some pre-blended curry spices. You can get curry pastes in jars, or powders – I had Sharwood’s medium curry powder in my pantry which I used. Look for a spice mix with coriander, cumin, tumeric, paprika, cinnamon, fennel, cardamon – the usual Indian spices.

Ingredients makes 4-6 portions

  1. 3 tbs neutral oil, I use macadamia
  2. 1 onion, chopped
  3. thumb sized piece of ginger, thinly sliced
  4. 1-2 cloves garlic, sliced
  5. 5 tbl curry powder
  6. 400ml coconut cream
  7. 1 tbs concentrated chicken stock (or 1 stock cube if you don’t have access to the concentrated stuff)
  8. 6 kaffir lime leaves, sliced into thin strips
  9. 1 tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  10. 200g cooked lentils (I used 100g brown lentils that I cooked to make 200g but you could also used tinned lentils – just drain and rinse them too)
  11. For garnish, big dollop of plain yoghurt, chopped fresh coriander and sliced red chilli

Method

  1. Fry the onions in the oil till translucent
  2. Add ginger and garlic and fry for 3 minutes
  3. Add the curry powder (or paste if you’re using this) and fry on high heat for 3 minutes
  4. Add the coconut cream, chicken stock and kaffir lime leaves, bring to boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes
  5. This next step may seem odd but I actually think it’s necessary with this type of vegetarian curry where you want to eat everything in the bowl – strain the curry
  6. Use the back of a spoon to push the ingredients through the sieve – you want to extract as much flavour from the cooked ingredients as possible
  7. Pour the strained curry back into the pot, season with salt to taste
  8. Add in the chickpeas and lentils and bring to a gentle simmer
  9. Serve hot with the yoghurt, coriander and chilli and you can either eat it on it’s own or over some basmati rice

Chicken quesadillas

Chicken quesadillas with jalapeno peppers and Monterey Jack cheese

Quesadillas are so quick and simple. You can even use leftover chicken or  beef for these, which makes them even easier, and of course add whatever you want or have in the fridge. I would have added in slices of red capsicum and avocado but my fridge is bare and it’s late.

Ingredients for one serving (one quesadilla)

  1. 2 wraps or similar round flatbread – I use wholemeal
  2. 1 single chicken breast
  3. sliced jalapenos
  4. Moneterey Jack cheese slices
  5. salt and pepper

Method

  1. Butterfly the chicken breast at the thickest part so that it’s an even thickness, season well on both sides and pan-fry till cooked through and golden brown
  2. Slice and arrange on one of the wraps, along with the jalapenos and any other fillings you fancy
  3. Top with a few slices of cheese
  4. Cover with the second wrap
  5. Heat up a skillet on high
  6. Pop the wrap sandwich into the middle of the pan and cook for about 2 minutes – you want to get the cheese melting
  7. Flip over with the help of a flexible spatula and toast the wrap on the other side for 1-2 minutes until the wraps are crispy and golden
  8. Slice and enjoy while still warm so the cheese is still gooey