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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

{Asian Quinoa Salad}

Two weeks ago Derek and I road tripped down to Indianapolis to attend a basketball game at my Alma Mater, Butler University (Go Dawgs)!   It was the first time I had been back to Butler for a game, and Derek’s first time cheering on the Bulldogs at Hinkle Fieldhouse!  To say I was excited for the weekend would have been a huge understatement… I was ecstatic. 

We (my sorority sisters and I) had a full weekend of fun activates planned!  Catching up while making dinner, the Butler Basketball Game (we won BTW),  checking out a few new bars on our old college stopping grounds and a fancy dinner to wrap up the weekend at Harry and Izzy’s!  It was a fun jam packed weekend!

But let’s back track and talk about Harry and Izzy’s for a hot minute, because I absolutely love that restaurant (and not even because of their steak).  I love the atmosphere, the service, and their famous shrimp cocktail.  Harry and Izzy's was the perfect way to end a perfect weekend with friends.   As part of my meal I had the most delicicous Asian Quinoa salad that I paired perfectly with my grilled salmon!  Harry and Izzy's Asian Quinoa salad was filled with edamame, red pepper, and kale and had a light dressing that was slightly sweet but absolutely magical!   After my first bite of the salad I was in quinoa heaven and knew I needed to recreate the salad at home... so I did! I guess you can say I brought a little bit of Indianapolis home with me in this recipe, I hope you enjoy! 

Asian Quinoa Salad 
Brunch N'Cupcakes - Inspired by Harry and Izzy's 
Serves 4-6 


1 Cup Quinoa Cooked According to Package Directions 
1 Cup Shelled Edamame - Thawed if Frozen 
1 Red Pepper Chopped 
2 Green Onions Chopped 
2 Cups Chopped Kale 

1 Tablespoon Low Sodium Soy Sauce 
1 Tablespoon Honey 
1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil 
4 Tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar 
1 Teaspoon Ginger - Freshly Grated 
1 Garlic clove minced 
Sesame Seeds for Garnish 

1- In a large bowl combine cooked quinoa, edamame, pepper, onion and kale.  Toss until well combined and set aside. 
2- In a smaller bowl whisk together dressing ingredients until well combined.  
3- Carefully pour salad dressing over quinoa and vegetables and toss until salad is evenly coated in dressing.  Serve immediatly. 

Note - will keep in fridge for up to a week, kale will soften as salad sits.  


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

{Chicken Sausage Skillet with Peppers and Onions}

Guys, I have a confession to make... Derek and I still have our Christmas tree up, and all our Christmas decorations!  I just haven't had the time (or energy) to take them down, and I still feel like I am playing catch up from the holidays.  Anyone else feel like that?  Or is it just me?

Anyways, these days I am all about simple meals with big flavors.  The type of meal you can make in one pan and take under 20 minutes to prepare.  That way I can spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying a lovely meal with Derek.  

This delicious Chicken Sausage Skillet with Peppers and Onions has become a favorite for Derek and I and has been making a regular appearance in my weekly menu planning.  I love how simple yet delicious this meal is and absolutely love all the bright colors this dish offers.  I use spicy chicken sausage, because I absolutely love spice and by Trader Joe's Frozen Organic Brown Rice to help keep this meal quick and simple!  

Chicken Sausage Skillet with Peppers and Onions
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Serves 4-6

1 Package Chicken Sausage Sliced (Pack of 5, I use Trader Joe's Jalapeno Chicken Sausage) 
1 - 15 Oz Can Fire Roasted Tomatoes - Undrained
1 Yellow Pepper Roughly Chopped (or any color you like) 
1 Onion Roughly Chopped 
2 Cups Spinach 
1 Cup Black Beans 
1-2 Bags Trader Joe's Frozen Organic Brown Rice (or quinoa)

1- In a large skillet coated with cooking spray saute peppers and onions until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic to skillet and cook an additional 2 minutes. 
2- Add chicken sausage to skillet and saute for 5-8 minutes until chicken sausage is warmed through and slightly browned. 
3- Carefully pour tomatoes and black beans into the skillet and stir until well incorporated with the peppers, onion and chicken sausage.  Add paprika, pepper and chili powder to skillet and simmer for 5 minutes. 
4- Add spinach small handfuls at a time to skillet and allow to wilt.  While spinach is wilting heat rice. 
5- Serve immediately once spinach is wilted and rice is warm, spooning sausage, pepper and onion mixture over brown rice.  

Check out these other great one pot recipes from around the web:

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

{Tortellini Vegetable Soup}

Happy New Year, yes I am a few weeks behind... but better late then never!  

2016 is already off to a busy start, but I love it!  I spent the last few days of 2015 and the first few days of 2016 reflecting on where I had been and where I wanted to go in 2016.  2015 was a big year for me.... there was good, bad, happy and sad.  I married my best friend in April, transitioned to married life, started a new job, and saw successes and defeats in my running.  Derek and I celebrated new beginnings and witnessed loss but all in all 2015 was a good year. 

I opted not to make New Years resolutions this year... instead I decided to pick a few words that I wanted 2016 to be shaped by, they are strength, determination, love, and faith.  I want to use these words to define my daily actions in my relationships, career, running and personal life.  I will still set smaller monthly goals, but overall I want these 4 words to define my year and help me grow!  Will see how that goes! 

So now that I have told you where my head is at for 2016 how 'bout I share a delicious veggie packed soup that will warm you up from the inside out!  This Hearty Tortellini Soup is everything I want to eat in 2016!  The soup gets a nutrition punch from all the veggies, and great flavor from the tortellini, plus it is the perfect meal to warm up with during these chilly winter months!  The addition of chickpeas adds protein and keeps this yummy soup vegetarian!  Make a big pot on Sunday and enjoy for lunch/dinner all week!  Enjoy! 

Tortollini Vegetable Soup 
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Serves 6-8 

1 Large Onion Coarsely Chopped 
4 Medium Carrots Peeled and Coarsely Chopped 
2 Medium Zucchinis Chopped 
4 Garlic Cloves Minced 
2 Cups Baby Spinach 
2 - 15 Oz Can Diced Tomatoes with Onion and Garlic 
4 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth 
1 - 16 Oz Package of your Favorite Tortellini (Dairy Free or Vegan - Toffuti has a variety I like)
1 Cup Chickpeas
1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning 
Cooking Spray 

1- Sautee onions and carrots in a large stock pot coated with cooking spray until tender.  Add zucchini into pot and cook 3 minutes or until zucchini is tender.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant (about 2 minutes). 
2- Carefully add canned tomatoes and broth to the stock pot with Italian seasoning.   Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer for 5 minutes.  
3- Add tortellini to the stock pot and cook tortellini according to package directions. 
4- Once tortellini is cooked add spinach and chickpeas to the pot and simmer until spinach is wilted.  Serve immediately. 

Other great recipes from around the web!