Black Bean & Quinoa Enchilada Bake

Quinoa was labeled the healthiest food of 2013. I know from my mom’s experience is that it can be tricky to cook quinoa. If you don’t cook it with the right things, it has a bitter taste. But if you make it just right, its delicious! As I was browsing Pinterest to find new recipes I came across this one. Looking for healthy things for us all to eat, I was excited to try this recipe. It looked delicious, smelt delicious and tasted delicious. Put some Chalua on it and it makes it even better. My husband ate his with chips. He liked the flavor but had to get used to the texture of the dish. Sweet Baby enjoyed it as well. Recipe freezes well and I was able to assemble in the afternoon and throw in the oven when the hubby was on his way home from work.

Recipe and photo from Two Peas & Their Pod. Check out their site for more delicious recipes to try. It is a new favorite of mine and the best part is it’s only 6 WW points for one serving! Quinoa is packed with protein so one serving can go a long way! Tell me what you think!

Black Bean & Quinoa Enchilada Bake

Yield: Serves 8-10   Black-Bean-and-Quinoa-Enchilada-Bake-8
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes-includes churning time
 

ingredients:

1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed,diced
1 red pepper, seeds removed, diced
1 orange pepper, seeds removed, diced
1 cup corn frozen kernels
Juice of 1 small lime
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups red enchilada sauce  ( I put 3 cups)
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese
Toppings: Sliced green onions, avocado slices, sour cream, optional

directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

2. Add quinoa and water to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Cover quinoa and set aside.

3. In a large skillet, heat the tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeño. Sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in the peppers and corn. Cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add the lime juice, cumin, chili powder, and cilantro. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

4. In a large bowl, add the cooked quinoa and black beans. Add the sautéed vegetable mixture and stir to combine. Pour in the enchilada sauce and stir. Add 1/2 cup shredded cheese.

5.Pour the black bean and quinoa mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top with remaining shredded cheese. Cover the pan with foil. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove foil. Bake an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and edges are bubbling. Remove from the oven, and let cool for 10 minutes. Garnish with toppings, if desired. Serve warm.

Note-this recipe freezes well!

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Creamy Tomato Bisque

My favorite place to order tomato bisque is Bj’s brewhouse. Just delicious. They put these delicious, buttery croutons on top – divine! Every time I would eat it, I would turn to hubby and say, I need to learn how to make a good tomato bisque. So I found this delicious recipe from Wilderness Wife. This soup was easy to make too. It doesn’t taste like Bj’s and I’m still going to find a way to make it as delicious.  I didn’t have any curry or bay leaf – maybe that is the missing ingredient. Or as my hubby put it- everything could always use more butter!! This soup is 11 weight watchers points and serving size is 8.

Enjoy! Maybe make a grilled cheese with it. 😉 Recipe courtesy of Wilderness Wife.

Ingredients
  • ¼ lb. butter
  • 1 c. chopped celery
  • 1 c. chopped onion
  • ½ c. chopped carrots
  • ⅓ c. all purpose flour
  • 2 (1 lb. 12 oz.) cans of whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 1 tsp. marjoram
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 c. chicken broth
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • ½ tsp. curry
  • ¼ tsp. white pepper
  • pinch of salt (to taste)
Instructions
  1. Melt butter in a large soup pot.
  2. Saute onion, celery, and carrots until tender.
  3. Add the flour, and stirring constantly, cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes, sugar, basil, marjoram, bay leaf and chicken broth.
  5. Simmer for 30 minutes while stirring occasionally, then discard bay leaf.
  6. Puree using the appliance of your choice. I use an immersion blender, but a regular blender or a food processor will work.
  7. Add cream, paprika, curry, pepper and salt.
  8. Stir to combine.
  9. Serve hot or cold.

Build a Better Breakfast

A few weeks ago I created a post about to eat breakfast or not to eat breakfast. Today in my inbox I got an email about building a better breakfast from Weight Watchers. People who eat breakfast tend to weigh less than those who don’t. Choose a routine, and it’ll help you keep that appointment with your morning meal (even if you’re superbusy). Here are 24 recipes that will expand your breakfast horizons.

Building yourself a better breakfast! 

Lemon-Blueberry Pound Cake

The other night I signed up to bring a sweet dessert to my girls bible study. I was trying to decide what to make as I opened our screen door and was immediately relaxed by the warm 60 degree weather. It put me in the summer mood. I didn’t want to make something too sugary but I wanted something sweet. I looked through our fridge and saw our huge thing of blueberries (we purchased from Costco), to the right of them our lemons. Weight watchers has this delicious recipe for lemon raspberry pound cake. I decided to just substitute the raspberries for the blueberries. What I love so much about this recipe is it doesn’t taste ‘healthy’ for you. As I made it, I couldn’t stop myself from licking the empty bowl. Even the batter was delicious! I’ve taken this recipe to people and they love it! I rarely bring home left overs. It has 6 PointsPlus value for 1/12 of a cake serving (when using the egg substitute-I didn’t check how many points if you make with real eggs).

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 grated lemons zest

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground allspice

6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

The recipe calls for 2/3 cup egg substitute I used 3 eggs instead

1/2 cup light sour cream, room temperature

1 cup fresh blueberries (raspberry, blackberries-anything berries!)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 4 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch loaf pan with nonstick spray.

Whisk 2 cups flour, grated zest of lemons, baking powder, baking soda and salt and ground allspice in bowl.

With electric mixer on medium speed, beat softened butter and vanilla 1 minute.

Gradually add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, 4 minutes.

At low-speed, gradually beat in 2/3 cup egg substitute.

Alternately add flour mixture and 1/2 cup light sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture, and beating just until blended.

Gently fold in fresh blueberries.

Scrape batter into pan; spread evenly.

Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 1 hour, 10 minutes.

Cool in pan on rack 10 minutes.

Remove cake from pan and cool completely on rack.

Quesadilla Casserole

I love Mexican food. I could live off chips and salsa (if I weren’t on weight watchers and chips weren’t high in points!). This is my favorite, go-to meal for my family. Its a great meat free dish-but feel free to add some chicken or ground beef! It’s perfect to make a head of time then pop in the oven when ready. Like last night, I put it together while Sweet Baby was napping around 3:00 then put it in the oven at 5:45 when hubby was on his way home from work. It’s from Rachel Ray but I’ve added a few changes to make it my own. I double the black beans and corn. She said this is a good dish and that its good for you! But according to weight watchers, its too many points! 11 Points a serving (if recipe doubled-if made as below its 21 points). 
 
Quesadilla Casserole
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion (I add a couple of cloves of garlic)
  • 1 29-ounce can black beans, drained, 1/2 cup liquid reserved
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (I use fresh cilantro instead of parsley)
  • 5 10-inch flour tortillas
  • 8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup store-bought green enchilada sauce (last night anciently I used red enchilada sauce-it was still yummy)
  • I put a can of diced jalapeno because I like spice!! 
Yields: Serves 4
 
Preparation
Preheat oven to 400˚F.
In a skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes (Its best to put the oil, onion and garlic in the pan then turn it on. To heat all the ingredients at once infuse the flavor!) . Add 1/2 the beans and mash into a chunky paste. Stir in the reserved liquid.
Grease a heavy, ovenproof skillet. In a bowl, combine the corn, parsley and remaining black beans. Place a tortilla in the skillet and spread with 1/3 cup of the mashed black bean mixture. Top with 2/3 cup corn-bean mixture and 1/2 cup cheese. Press to compress the layers. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, mashed black beans, corn-bean mixture and cheese.
Bake until cheese is melted and the casserole is heated through, about 30 minutes. Transfer to the broiler and cook for 1 minute. Serve with the enchilada sauce.

Bye Bye Baby Fat!

After having my Sweet Baby I lost a lot of my baby weight by my 6 week appointment. I was so excited and proud of myself. But I continued to eat for two, since I was nursing. I ate whatever I want thinking, I’m nursing its ok. Ignoring the fact that my clothes were getting tighter again. Finally I went to the doctors and was weighed. I had gained all my pregnancy weight back. I weighed just shy of 5 pounds-what I did 9 months pregnant! I fought from bursting into tears right in the waiting room. I saw the weight when I looked at pictures of myself with my Sweet Baby. I started getting depressed and continued to eat. I had no motivated to eat right or work out. My in-laws joined weight watchers and mentioned they have a program for nursing mothers. Then for my birthday in May, they gave me money to pay for the first 3 months of weight watchers. The first of June I joined weight watchers, Nursing Moms Weight loss. Within a week I had lost 5 pounds. I love weight watchers, it has helped me make the right food decisions. It helped me think about my portion sizes. My husband can eat as much as he wants and he never gains weight. So when we got married when he’d go back for seconds, so would I. No wonder I gained weight! It also makes me think before eating something unhealthy, “Is this worth my points?” A month and a half after joining I’ve lost 18 pounds! I haven’t weighed myself for over a month (I have history with becoming obsessive about weighing myself) so we don’t own a scale. But I’ve been going off how my clothes are fitting and the compliments. A few people have asked me if it has affected my milk supply. My milk supply has dropped but I’m pretty sure it has more to do with me nursing him less. The drop in milk hasn’t affected Sweet Baby. I have tried several weight watchers recipes and they really good. I love using the weight watchers mobile app, I can track my food right there. There is also a weight watchers scanner app where I can scan bar codes and get the WW points! I love it for when I’m grocery shopping. They also have a recipe builder on their website so I can put my favorite recipes to see what the points value is. They base the points off: fat, carbs, fiber and protein. Most all fruits and veggies are zero points, which helps me munch on those instead of the can of Pringle’s that are staring at me as I type. (Yes I gave in at the store and purchased them). What I love is I’ve been able to take it day by day. I have bad days and rather often. I can’t control myself from eating crap I shouldn’t. I still track my points no matter how embarrassing it is, and tomorrow its a brand new day. I forget about yesterday and just start over. The only thing I still need to do is start working out. But with Sweet Baby I’m a little busy. And when I have free time the last thing I wanna do is work out! I hope to weigh myself soon-so come along with me on my journey to lose twenty more pounds. If you are where I was, I suggest joining Weight Watchers. Believes, because it works!