Quinoa w/ Butternut Squash and Kale

During the fall season, squash is everwhere to be seen AND it’s cheap. This recipe was made over Thanksgiving but  it can be used as a main dish (if vegetarian) or a great side dish if not. It’s full of kale, walnuts, quinoa, butternut squash. Kale is not only low calorie, but has zero fat and is rich in fiber (along with quinoa). You will feel full without the bloated feeling that most rice dishes can give you.

Give it a try!

What you’ll need:

1 1/2 cups quinoa (I like a mixture of red and white quinoa for color)
1 bay leaf
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1 tablespoon organic cane sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 ribs celery, diced
2 medium leeks,  washed and chopped 
1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
3 ounces curly kale, chopped
1 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 – 2 teaspoons fresh sage or thyme, finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Directions:

Prepare the quinoa according to package instructions, substituting chicken or vegetable broth for the liquid called for in the instructions and adding the bay leaf to the pot with the liquid prior to cooking. Discard the bay leaf after cooking.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and adjust rack to middle position.

Toss squash with coconut oil, whole cane sugar, and salt. Spread the pieces evenly in a baking dish and cover with foil. Roast for 15 minutes, remove foil and then roast for an additional 20 minutes, until edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a medium to large cast iron skillet or saute pan add the olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add the celery and saute for 2 – 3 minutes, until slightly tender. Add the leeks and saute an additional 2 – 3 minutes, until the leeks and celery are tender and fragrant. Add the garlic and saute 1 minute more.

Reduce the heat to low. Add the chopped kale and saute over low heat just until the kale has wilted.

In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, vegetables from the saute pan, cranberries, fresh parsley and your choice of thyme or sage. Stir until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Just before serving, top with 1/3 cup of chopped walnuts, if desired.

Just A Little Glimpse

Wowee! Is it me or did this 4 day weekend fly by? Between volunteering, Turkey Trot, and eating too much I am ready to get back into the grind. Don’t get me wrong, I love holidays but by the end of the weekend it seems like I overdid myself and need some reality in my life. This including a good workout. I woke up today feeling a little under the weather, but am determined to pump myself with some wheatgrass shots, vitamins, and lots of hot tea. I will NOT get sick! Here are some pictures from my Thanksgiving. As always, it was a great time cooking, chatting and enjoying time with family. There was an excess of veggies (obviously)- my cousin made the coconut shrimp, and a delicious butternut squash/quinoa dish (recipe to come). I made a beet salad, veggie saute, mushroom gravy, brussel sprouts annnnd pumpkin cheesecake. It was amazing. Believe it or not, there was even a Turkey! I hope you all had a great holiday, ate too much and are ready to get back into Monday! Another opportunity for a great week.

Tis’ The Season…Butternut Squash Soup.

{Take seeds out}

{Remove Skin}

{Freshly Made Vegetable Stalk}

{Butternut Squash Soup}

I finally got around to making this soup from scratch. If your not a big fan of cooking- I think soups are probably easier than whipping up anything in the kitchen…especially this one. Fall means everything squash is in season, so why not make some delicious Butternut Squash Soup. This is very affordable (Squash was $1 I think @ Famers Market.)

What you will need:

  • 1 Butternut sqaush (Makes enough for about 5 people)
  • Veggie or Chicken Stalk  ( I made my own veggie stalk)
  •  Cinnamon (1 teaspoon)
  • Nutmeg (1 teaspoon)
  • Honey/Agave (1.5 tablesppon)
  • Heavy Whipping Cream (Optional)
  • Salt ( To taste)
  • Parsley (Garnish)

Cut squash in half/ take seeds out. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Start by baking the squash at 400 degrees on cookie sheet for about 1 hour (or until squash is soft.) Once squash is soft, you can either scoop out of the skin, or cut skin off. Place squash in blender or food processor  w/about 3 cups of veggie or chicken stalk to get a pureed consitancy. Take out of blender and place in pot on med/high heat (you want a small boil.) If consitancy is too thick you can slowly add more stalk. Add salt, agave or honey, nutmeg, cinnamon and heavy cream (optional- I used only 1/2 cup bc my tummy doesn’t like cream based soups). If the soup is too sweet you can always add a few red pepper flakes to add a kick.

*I am not a fan of store bought veggie stalk so I made my own. I baked the squash for about 30 minutes to get soft, so when I cut the skin off it wouldn’t be so hard. I then placed sqaush in a large pot with water, carrots,celary, garlic, white onion, zuchini and let boil until veggies can’t cook any longer. From this I took the squash out of broth- while draining the broth and throwing the boiled veggies out. If you don’t use all of it, just throw in the freezer in a plastic bag and you can use at a later date.

This soup is SO good, and I’m not just saying that because I made it! Hope you enjoy…

What’s Your Healthy Rachel Rhodes?

{When you work out and eat healthy you feel good and look good. I have a pretty weird digestion system and when I eat anything process I usually get  sick. When I stay away from crap I feel good and my tummy is happy. No matter what anyone says exercising really helps one’s self esteem as well, so I think any form of exercise to help one stay active is really important. When you look good you feel confident about yourself, in return you will have happier life.}

4 healthy snacks…

{Apples w/ Peanut Butter}

{Carrot sticks and Cucumber slices}

{Oatmeal with blueberries}

{Blue Print Cleanse (fave: lemon, water, cayenne, agave) }

1 Cheat Snack…

{CHEESE & CHARCUTERIE}

Favorite Recipe…

I love the fall, colors, fashion, and of course soups}

{Hearty Chicken Stew with Butternut Squash & Quinoa}

Ingredients (Serves about 6)

  • 1 1/2 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded & chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 can (14 oz) petite diced tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 3/4 cup pitted and quartered kalamata olives
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

Instructions

  1. Steam the butternut squash until barely tender, about 10 minutes. Remove half of the squash pieces and set aside.
  2. Steam the remaining squash until very tender, an additional 4 to 6 minutes. Mash this squash with the back of a fork. Set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan set over medium-high heat, bring the chicken broth to a simmer.
  4. Add chicken thighs, cover, and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.
  5. Transfer the chicken thighs to a plate and allow to cool. Pour broth into a medium-sized bowl.
  6. Return the saucepan to the stovetop and lower heat to medium. Add olive oil.
  7. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is starting to turn brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
  8. Add minced garlic and oregano. Cook, stirring, for 1 additional minute.
  9. To the saucepan, add tomatoes, butternut squash pieces, mashed butternut squash. Stir to combine.
  10. Stir in reserved chicken broth and quinoa. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the quinoa turns translucent, about 15 minutes.
  11. Shred the chicken with your fingers or a fork.
  12. Stir the chicken, olives and pepper into the stew and simmer, uncovered, to heat, about 5 minutes.
  13. Stir in parsley and serve.

Thank  you, Rachel!