Fiesta Friday #17 and Quinoa Burgers

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Happy Friday everyone! I’m super excited to be co-hosting Fiesta Friday today along with Selma and Jhuls and of course the lovely Angie! I hope many of you have a long weekend coming up and can kick it off with today’s Fiesta! For anyone who doesn’t know or who hasn’t joined yet Fiesta Friday is a weekly blog party. Please join us, it’s tons of fun to see what everyone is making and bringing to the party! You can check out all the details here. I hope you join us!

Today I’m bringing quinoa burgers to the party. Yes, I’ll be that person that’s bringing the healthy dish, but I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy it! I really like these burgers because you can change them up however you like. Add different vegetables or spices to either use up what you have in the fridge or put your own spin on them!

You can of course eat these with a bun like a regular burger, but I prefer them with just lettuce, tomato and a little chipotle ketchup. Add a side of sweet potato fries and you’ll feel like you’re eating at your favorite burger joint!

Quinoa Burgers
Yield: 10 Burgers
3 cups water
1 1/2 quinoa
3 carrots
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin

1. Preheat oven to 350. Add the water and the quinoa to a pot and bring to a boil. Once it begins to boil lower to a simmer and continue to cook until all the liquid has evaporated. Add the cooked quinoa to a bowl and let it cool off a bit.

2. Chop the carrots and parsley in a food process, or by hand if you don’t have one. Add the carrots, parsley and chopped green onions to the bowl with the quinoa.

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3. Add the eggs and spices to the bowl with the quinoa and combine them all together.

4. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Form the mixture into 10 good sized burgers and place them on the baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, until the top starts to brown. Enjoy!

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Chicken, Quinoa, Pesto Bowl

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The inspiration from this dish comes from one of my all time favorite lunches. On nice sunny warm days I love taking the opportunity to walk to one of my favorite lunch spots, Protein Bar . While their menu is full of great healthy options, I’m particularly fond of their spinach pesto bowl. Given that the closest location is nearly a mile from my office, and the temperatures this winter have been absurdly terrible, I haven’t felt like making the trek there at lunch so, I decided to try to re-create the bowl myself.

I substituted kale for the spinach and added some grape tomatoes because I like their fresh bite. I used chicken thighs for the meat because that’s what I had but chicken breasts would work just as well if not better. This didn’t come out exactly like Protein Bar’s bowl, but it was pretty darn close and still pretty good!

Chicken, Quinoa, Pesto Bowl
4 chicken thighs or breasts
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 bunch of kale (about 6 leaves)
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup quinoa
3 Tablespoons pesto
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
salt
pepper
fresh parsley (optional)
fresh basil (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a baking dish and place your chicken on top. Season the chicken with half of the rosemary, oregano and some salt and pepper. Turn the chicken over and season the other side with the rest of the spices. Bake in the oven for about 45-60 minutes until cooked (cooking time will depend on the size of your chicken pieces).
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2. While the chicken is cooking begin preparing your kale. Wash the kale and cut into bite sized pieces. Add 1 Tablespoon of olive oil to a medium pot. Then add the kale and season with salt and pepper. Cook the kale until it begins to soften and wilt, about 7 minutes.

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3. Next, add the chicken stock to the pot with the kale. Then add the quinoa and bring to a boil. Turn it down to a simmer and let it cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 10-15 minutes. When the liquid is gone stir in your pesto.

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4. When the chicken is cooked, take it out and use two forks to pull apart the meat. Add the meat to the quinoa and stir to combine. Finally, turn the heat off on the pot and stir in your tomatoes. Season with more salt and pepper if needed and top with fresh parsley and basil if you want. Enjoy!

Vegetable Quinoa Salad

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the lifestyle changes I’ve adopted since moving to DC a little over two years ago.  I went from driving a gas guzzling Jeep which I had no intentions of giving up to a much more eco-friendly Subaru.  I went from thinking 65 degrees meant time to pull out dresses and flip flops to grabbing a scarf and sweater at the first mention of a breeze. I went from thinking playing tennis three times a year counted as ample exercise to making an honest attempt to make it to yoga at least once a week. And, I went from thinking the only starches worth eating were bread, pasta and potatoes to regularly enjoying quinoa.

Quinoa is a really versatile ingredient. The first time I had it, I didn’t know quite what to expect.  I assumed I wouldn’t like, but it turns out it was actually pretty good – and it’s extremely healthy! Ever since, I’ve been thinking up ways to work quinoa into my regular repertoire of recipes.    This salad is a great way to introduce yourself to this uber healthy grain.  Adding quinoa to the salad makes it much more hearty and fulfilling.  This salad also keeps really well so you can make a large batch and keep the left overs for a healthy and satisfying lunch the next day.

Vegetable and Quinoa Salad
1 1/2 cups quinoa – prepared according to the instructions on the package
1 pint grape tomatoes
1/2 red onion
1 cucumber
1 package arugula

Dressing
1/8 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon parsley

1. Prepare the quinoa according to the instructions on the package

2. Wash and dry the arugula and add it a large bowlquinoa4

3. Cut up the cucumber, onion and tomatoes and add them to the bowl with the arugula

4. When the quinoa has finished cooking let it cool down a bit, if you put it in while it’s too hot the arugula and tomatoes will wilt too much

5. While waiting for the quinoa to cool mix together the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl

6. Add quinoa to the bowl with the vegetables and top with the dressing, enjoy!