One Pan Chicken Quinoa Broccoli Bake

Happy Fall! My apartment is already filled with pumpkins and cute fall decor from Target because if I didn’t decorate would fall really be here?? I’m hoping the weather realizes that summer is over and we get some beautiful fall days. That being said you’ll be wanting to slow it down and make some time to cozy up after work.

This month the Recipe Redux challenged us to make a one pan meal. I consider this one pan because I always have quinoa cooked and ready in the fridge to use all week. It’s a very easy recipe and will make your weeknights easier. And feel free to add some hot sauce if necessary!


One Pan Chicken Quinoa Broccoli Bake

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked
  • 1 large head of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat breadcrumbs

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray. Layer in quinoa, chicken and broccoli. Sprinkle with garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Add chicken broth and Greek yogurt. Stir to combine. Layer top with cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, nutritional yeast and whole wheat breadcrumbs. Bake for 25 minutes covered with foil.Remove foil and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Double up on the serving size if you’re feeling hungry!

Number of servings: 6 | Serving size: 1 cup
Calories: 275, total fat: 7 g, total carbohydrates: 24 g, dietary fiber: 2 g, sugars: 3 g, protein: 27 g

What’s your favorite easy weeknight meal? Tell me below!

Raquel

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High Protein Pantry Foods

Your pantry is vital to sticking to a healthy diet. Aside from keeping all your flavor enhancers (herbs, spices, etc.), your cooking oils and grains, your pantry can keep plenty of high protein foods! Many people automatically think of animal meats when talking about protein, however there are plenty more to choose from. These high protein pantry foods are always in my pantry! I also restock and make sure I incorporate these into my weekly meals.

The Best High Protein Pantry Foods

  • Lentils – Lentils are legumes that can be dried or canned. They contain about 23 grams of protein per half cup! You can cook these as a side dish, use them as a base for a buddha bowl or toss them in with a salad.
  • Beans – Beans come in a large variety such as black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, cannellini beans, etc. They contain about 22 grams of protein per half cup. You can use beans similar to how you use lentils.
  • Nuts and nut butters – Nuts and almond or peanut butter are great high protein snack items. Not to mention they contain plenty of healthy fats. Nuts contain between 4-12 grams of protein per quarter cup. Nut butters contain about 5-8 grams of protein per two tablespoons.
  • Quinoa – Quinoa is an ancient grain that is a great replacement for pasta and rice. It contains about 12 grams of protein per half cup. Bonus: quinoa is a complete protein meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids! This is a great protein food for vegetarians.
  • Canned tuna – Canned tuna is one my favorite pantry items. It is so easy to use and great for quick lunches. One can of tuna contains about 41 grams of protein! You can make an easy tuna salad with Greek yogurt, celery, lemon and salt and pepper.
  • Protein powder – Protein powder may not be the most ideal way to get protein, but it’s a must in my pantry. It’s a great addition to smoothies. There are so many options to choose from that range in protein content. Whey protein is highest in protein, but vegan or plant-based protein powders are great as well. My favorite is Perfect Fit!

Raquel

*Nutrition facts obtained from the National Nutrient Database.

Winter Kale Salad

Pomegranates are called the jewel of winter. The tiny pink arils burst in your mouth with a sweet and tart juice. They are packed with antioxidants that produce an anti-inflammatory effect. They also contain fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and potassium.

I love eating the arils by the spoonful. You can also add them to a spinach or kale salad, your morning yogurt or oatmeal, or cook the arils down to make a sauce or vinaigrette. Don’t forget you can extract the juice and add it to a cocktail for the weekend. It takes a little bit of work to get to the arils, but it’s worth it and there are plenty of YouTube tutorials to help you do it! Make this salad during your meal prep and store in a mason jar for the week.


Winter Kale Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 cups kale, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Brussels sprouts, shredded
  • 1 small roasted beet, diced
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate arils
  • 1/4 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 tsp hemp seeds
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • Vinaigrette: Juice 1/2 lemon, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 1 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper

Directions

Combine ingredients for vinaigrette in a small bowl and set aside.  Massage the kale before placing it in you salad bowl – this helps to break down the fibers and make it more pleasant to eat. Add Brussels sprouts, beet, pomegranate arils, quinoa, hemp seeds and walnuts. Toss to combine. Top with homemade dressing.

Number of servings: 1 | Serving size: 1 salad
Calories: 597, total fat: 39 g (healthy fats!), total carbohydrates: 53 g, dietary fiber: 10 g, sugars: 11 g, protein: 16 g

What is your favorite way to eat pomegranate? Tell me below!

Raquel

Alternative Flours and How to Use Them

With so many allergy friendly recipes floating around you’ve probably seen some that use alternative flours. They aren’t ingredients to be afraid of, but they definitely bake differently than traditional all-purpose flour. If you are not gluten free or disinterested in alternative flours I recommend using whole wheat flour to bump up the nutrition with one simple exchange!

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My Top 6 Alternative Flours

  1. Almond flour – Almond flour is made of blanched almond that are ground into a meal (you may see it labeled as almond meal). Because it’s made from almonds this flour is high in protein, healthy fats and vitamin E. This is a great alternative for bread crumbs and it works well in baked good such as brownies, banana bread and pound cake.
  2. Coconut flour – Coconut flour is made from dried coconut meat that is ground into a flour. Coconut is high in fat and fiber so the flour is as well. This type of flour has a slightly sweet taste and works well in baked goods that are dense. It should be used in combination with other flours and ingredients that help recipes rise, such as eggs.
  3. Oat flour – Oats are gluten free if they are labeled as such. Oat flour is made from ground oats. The bonus to this flour is that you can make it at home from regular old oats! If you’re in a pinch this will work just fine in most recipes. Grind oats in a food processor until it forms a fine powder.
  4. Buckwheat flour – Buckwheat is also gluten free even though it contains the word “wheat.” Buckwheat seeds are ground to make buckwheat flour. This flour has a slightly nutty flavor and it is rich in fiber, calcium and protein. Use this flour in recipes that do not need to rise, such as pancakes and cookies.
  5. Chickpea flour – Chickpea flour (gram flour) is made from ground garbanzo beans (chickpeas). This flour is commonly used in Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine. It does taste like chickpeas so it is great to use in chocolate baked goods and pizza crust. You can even use it to make a super easy hummus. It should be combined with other flours in recipes that need to rise. This flour is high in fiber.
  6. Quinoa flour – Quinoa flour is made from ground quinoa seeds. Quinoa is a complete protein meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids. This is another type of flour that you can make at home! Quinoa flour should be combined with other flours in most recipes.

P.S. Ground flaxseed is one of my favorite things to add to baked goods, salads and other meals to add fiber, protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

Raquel

Pita Pockets with Quinoa Cakes

sabra-spreadsI am absolutely loving this new product from Sabra! Sabra Spreads come in three delicious flavors. It was so hard to decide which flavor to use for a recipe. I’ve been using the Honey Mustard flavor on traditional sandwiches nonstop. The Garlic & Herb flavor was perfect for these easy quinoa cakes. The peppery bite of the arugula pairs so well with the garlic-y quinoa cakes.

Lunch can get boring so change it up with this nontraditional sandwich. You will love this new product from Sabra! Pick up this weekend.

*Sponsored post


Pita Pockets with Quinoa Cakes

Ingredientsquinoa-cakes-1

  • 1/2 cup quinoa, cooked
  • 1 tbsp onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup kale, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 tbsp oat flour
  • 3 tbsp Garlic & Herb Sabra Spreads
  • Sqeeze lemon juice
  • Pita bread
  • 1/2 cup arugula

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Mix quinoa, onion, kale, flaxseed, oat flour, Garlic & Herb Sabra Spread and lemon juice together in a small bowl. Form mixture into two patties. Place in oven on a foiled lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, flip patties and bake for another 10 minutes. Let cool. Place one quinoa cake in a pita pocket with arugula and top with extra Garlic & Herb Sabra Spreads if desired!

Number of servings: 2 | Servings size: 1 quinoa cake and 1/2 pita
Calories: 334, total fat: 8 g, total carbohydrates: 56 g, dietary fiber: 8 g, sugars: 1 g, protein: 12 g

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Which flavor of Sabra Spreads would you like to try? Tell me below!

Raquel

I received free samples of Sabra Spreads mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Sabra and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Plant Based Protein

Recently, I have been moving towards a more plant based diet. This is not because I have anything against traditional animal protein, but it has been easier to incorporate plant based proteins into my diet. I love cooking with plant based proteins and I enjoy the flavors as well. Of course my other favorite proteins are eggs, seafood, and chicken in that order. I’m not a huge fan of red meat other than the occasional burger, but every protein has it’s place in our diet.

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8 Plant Based Proteins

  1. Lentils – These are legumes that are a balanced source of carbohydrates, protein, and fiber. One cup of lentils has 18 grams of protein and almost 16 grams of fiber. They are considered a complex carbohydrate as well. Lentils are great as a side dish, in soups and stews, with rice, and on salads. Try my favorite lentil recipe here!
  2. Beans – These are also legumes that have a similar nutrition profile to lentils. There are a large variety of beans including black beans, kidney beans, cannellini beans, and garbanzo beans. One cup of beans has about 15 grams of protein. Beans can be used in a similar way to lentils. Check out my favorite bean salad here.
  3. Quinoa – This is a gluten free grain (actually a seed) that is used in a similar way to rice. One cup of quinoa has 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. I love using this as my grain for any meal or making it the main ingredient. Try this main dish quinoa bowl recipe.
  4. Hemp seeds – These are amazing little seeds since they are complete proteins! Meaning they contain all of the essential amino acids. Three tablespoons of hemp seeds contains 9 grams of protein. They also contain omega-3 fatty acids. I like sprinkling these on top of salads or in smoothies and oatmeal.
  5. Chia seeds – These are a great little seed that do a great job of filling you up! They absorb water and turn into a gel-like substance perfect for making “pudding.” Two tablespoons have about 4 grams of protein. They also contain omega-3 fatty acids. I like mixing them into yogurt and smoothies. Try one of my favorite pudding recipes here.
  6. Nuts – Not surprising, but almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, etc. are a great source of protein and healthy fats. Typically, a 1/4 cup of nuts contains between 7-9 grams of protein. The best and easiest way to enjoy nuts is as a snack! You can always add them into a granola, eat nut butter, or grind them into a flour. Check out my favorite on-the-go snack here.
  7. Seeds – Sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc. are similar to nuts. They contain about 7-9 grams of protein per 1/4 cup. Seeds have a more earthy taste than nuts, but are also simple to use. Sprinkle them on salads, use them in granola, or eat them as a snack. Try pumpkin seeds for a different snack here.
  8. Tofu – Or edamame. Soy foods contain about 20 grams of protein per serving. That’s a lot! These products can be marinated, baked, grilled, fried, turned into a sauce or burger. Try a few different recipes before you give up on tofu/tempeh. I love using edamame as a side dish or snack. I buy the frozen pods or shelled version.

Raquel

Mediterranean Pesto Bowl

DSC_0691The Mediterranean diet focuses on eating a primarily plant based diet and including healthy fats, especially from olive oil. Olive oil contains primarily monounsaturated fat. Unsaturated fats can help decrease total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Per 1 tablespoon, olive oil contains 10 grams of monounsaturated fat. Olive oil also contains a polyphenol called hydroxytyrosol which may help reduce your risk of heart disease. Bonus: 1 tablespoon of olive oil contains 13% of the recommended daily allowance for vitamin E.

Olive oil is made by pressing whole olives. Olives themselves are also packed with the same nutrients as olive oil. There are tons of varieties of olives. Darker colored olives have been shown to contain more polyphenols and antioxidants than lighter colored varieties. Black olives are high in copper, iron, fiber, and vitamin E. I’m a sucker for kalamata olives, but I always watch the portion size due to high sodium levels from curing. Olives can be great as part of a well balanced snack too!


Mediterranean Pesto Bowl

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoaDSC_0670
  • 1/4 cup tomato, diced
  • 1/4 cup cucumber, diced
  • 1/4 cup marinated artichoke hearts
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted
  • 1 tbsp pesto
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp chives, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional: 1/4 cup feta cheese

Directions

In a small bowl, whisk together pesto, olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside. In a larger bowl, combine quinoa, tomato, cucumber, artichoke hearts, and kalamata olives. Dress with pesto dressing and top with chives.

Number of servings: 2 | Serving size: 1 cup
Calories: 225, total fat: 18 g, total carbohydrates: 14 g, dietary fiber: 2 g, sugars: 2 g, protein: 3 g

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What is your favorite way to eat quinoa? Tell me below!

Raquel

 

Super Seed Energy Bites

super seedOne of my favorite things to do is take my time around the grocery store and finding new products to use. Remember… I’m a dietitian! Trader Joe’s always seems to be the best place to find things. This Super Seed & Ancient Grain Blend is amazing. It’s a mix of sprouted buckwheat groats, chia seeds, golden flax seeds, shelled hemp seeds, sprouted millet, organic red quinoa, and organic amaranth. I’ve talked about chia seeds and quinoa before so let’s chat about the other ingredients.

Buckwheat groats and amaranth are pseudocereals related to quinoa. They are both loaded with minerals, antioxidants, and fiber which can improve heart health! Millet is an actual grain that is high in copper, phosphorous, and magnesium. Flax seeds are found in this blend and added on the outside of these energy bites. These seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids and fiber to help improve digestive health. Last, but not least are hemp seeds which I believe are the real star of this mix. They are one of the few plant-based complete proteins blended with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.


Super Seed Energy Bites

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pitted datesDSC_0604
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • 2 tbsp Super Seed & Ancient Grain Blend
  • 2 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions

In a blender or food processor, add cashews and chop until they are in small pieces. Remove nuts and set aside. Add 1/2 cup of dates and juice of 1 lemon to the food processor and chop until well combined. Add the remaining dates and lemon juice. Chop again. Place mixture in a medium bowl. Add chopped cashews, shredded coconut, and super seed blend. Stir together until everything is well mixed. Roll into small balls (makes 8-10) and set on wax or parchment paper. In a small bowl, whisk together ground flax seed and unsweetened cocoa powder. Take each ball and roll in the flax seed and cocoa powder mixture until completely coated. Once all balls are coated, place in the refrigerator to set.

Number of servings: 4-5 | Serving size: 2 balls
Calories: 242, total fat: 13 g, total carbohydrates: 37 g, dietary fiber: 6 g, sugars: 23 g, protein: 5 g

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What is your favorite super seed and how do you like to use it? Tell me below!

Raquel

How To: Add More Protein

What is protein? Protein is a class of organic compounds that are made up of one or more long chains of amino acids and are an essential part of all living organisms. It makes up the structural components of body tissues such as muscle, hair, and collagen and as enzymes and antibodies. There are nine essential amino acids that we must get from our diet because our body does not make them. Bonus: there are some foods that are “complete” proteins which contain all of the amino acids. Proteins derived from animal foods including meats, fish, poultry, milk and eggs are complete. Complete proteins that are vegetarian are quinoa, buckwheat, hempseed, and edamame.

How much protein do you need? The DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) for protein is 0.8 grams of protein/kilogram of body weight or 0.36 grams of protein/pound of body weight. On average this equates to 56 grams of protein for men and 46 grams of protein for women.

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There are four main categories of foods that are high in protein. Add these to your diet throughout the day and you’re well on your way to reaching your protein goals. There are some vegetables that are higher in protein than others, but this list contains the most bang for your buck.

One: animal protein. This includes beef, pork, chicken, turkey, game meat, seafood, and dairy and eggs. Choose lean cuts of these choices to decrease the fat and calories while getting the same amount of protein. Do use the egg yolk however you enjoy eggs because that is where most of your protein is! Two: legumes. This includes lentils, peas, beans, such as black beans, kidney beans, white beans, chickpeas, and edamame. One cup of black beans or lentils provides about 18 grams of protein! This is almost half the amount you would get from one cup of animal protein. Plus, as mentioned before, edamame is a complete protein containing all of the essential amino acids. Three: nuts and seeds. All nuts contain at least 4 grams of protein per 1 ounce. Pumpkin seeds have 8 grams per 1 ounce and sunflower seeds have about 5 grams of protein per 1 ounce. Also, hempseed is a complete protein that contains 9 grams of protein in three tablespoons. Four: grains. Quinoa, buckwheat, and wild rice top this list. Both quinoa and buckwheat are complete proteins and wild rice contains 7 grams of protein per one cup. Combine grains with animal protein or legumes to create a high protein meal.

How do you add more protein? Adding more protein throughout the day is essential. Being aware of adding more servings of protein at each meal and snacking smart is simple. Consider adding eggs, milk, or yogurt at breakfast. For lunch and dinner choose an animal protein plus legumes or a high protein grain. Sprinkle salads and other dishes with hempseed or nuts. When snacking think nuts and seeds, yogurt, or cheese along with your regular snacks. If exercise is a large part of your lifestyle consider using whey protein or vegan protein powder after a work out. For a quick and easy protein boost choose a protein bar that has less than 10 grams of sugar and at least 8 grams of protein. Adding one or two more servings of protein a day will help you reach your goal.

Raquel

October Meal Roundup

Here is a roundup of my October eats:

pancakesPumpkin Pancakes with a side of raspberries

These amazing pancakes were made with Trader Joe’s pumpkin and waffle mix. I used pumpkin puree in place of the butter to reduce the fat and add some real pumpkin! This was a delicious fall breakfast that I may have also had for dinner.


Panchos Nachos with Chicken @ El Camino, Philadelphia, PAimage4

Happy hour is a necessity and Mexican food paired with margaritas always does the trick! Guacamole, nachos, fried calamari, tacos, and a salad satisfied the cravings. Plus endless laughs with friends doesn’t hurt either.


image2Quinoa, Black Bean, and Spinach Quesadilla

Using cooked quinoa, canned black beans, and fresh spinach I made a cheesy quesadilla with whole wheat tortillas. A side of avocado plus salsa and Greek yogurt to dollop on top makes these a healthy treat!


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“Fries” @ Tria Taproom, Philadelphia, PA

These “fries” are smashed fingerling potatoes with the most amazing truffle-taleggio fonduta on top. They were finger-licking good especially paired with a large glass of pinot grigio (my drink of choice of course). The Kennett Square flatbread pizza with fontina, wild mushrooms, zucchini, red onion, truffle puree was also on the menu.


image2 (1)Fresh Salad with hemp seeds and an avocado dressing

I love a simple salad packed with veggies for a quick and easy lunch. Topping this with hemp seeds adds protein and healthy fats! Even more healthy fats come from an avocado dressing made with half an avocado, about two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, a pinch of garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Yum!


Life of Pie Pizza @ Grain + Verse Bottlehouse, Harrisburg, PA
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The cool atmosphere, beer, and creative menu names can be found just outside Harrisburg in an unexpected location. Life of Pie was made up of fig marmalade, house made duck prosciutto, aged provolone, and toasted barley. As usual, sharing is always the answer when you want to try everything!


image3Avocado Toast with Egg

This is a great quick meal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. A piece of whole wheat toast topped with half an avocado and a cooked egg sprinkled with pepper. What could be better?

 

Raquel