Brown Rice and Black Bean Casserole

brown rice and black bean casserole
(the end of my busy picture season is wrapping up so I'll hopefully be back to more frequent posting soon!)
This is a perfect meal for fall and winter! It's has the cheesiness I love in casseroles, but without the guilt because of all the added veggies and lowfat cheese. I saw this recipe on Peachtree Cooking and luckily I loved it enough to eat it for lunch and dinner for days in a row...the rest of my family were not fans :-). I would still make it again though! I think I would use a low-fat cheddar on top that melts a little easier and just use the swiss mixed in with the casserole itself.

Ingredients:
1/3 cup brown rice
1 cup vegetable broth (I used chicken broth)
1 Tbs. olive oil
1/3 cup onion, diced
1 medium zucchini, chopped or thinly sliced
2 chicken breasts, cooked and diced (I used 1 can chicken)
3/4 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 tsp. cumin
Salt, to taste
Cayenne Pepper, to taste
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (4 oz.) can green chilies
1/3 cup carrots, chopped small
2 cups shredded swiss cheese (I used 2% swiss slices and shredded them)

Directions:Mix the rice and chicken broth in pot on stovetop, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 45 minutes, or until rice is tender. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a medium-sized casserole dish (I used 9x9). Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook the onion until tender. Mix in the zucchini, chicken, and mushrooms. Season with cumin, salt and cayenne pepper. Cook and stir until zucchini is lightly browned and chicken is heated through. In a large bowl, mix the rice, onion, zucchini, chicken, mushrooms, beans, chilies, carrots, and half of the swiss cheese. Transfer to the baking dish and sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Cover casserole dish loosely with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 more minutes, or until bubbly and lightly browned.

Fall Vegetable Curry

fall veggie curry
So, the last couple weeks I have been getting serious about eating healthier and working out again. This is a recipe I had saved from Cooking Light (way back in Dec 2010) and finally got around to making. It was super healthy and surprisingly delicious. Next time I will definitely add more sweet potatoes and cauliflower because I thought the ration of beans to veggies weighed a little too heavy on the bean side :-). I wish my family had loved it as much as I did! I had some friends over for lunch the next day though and they all loved it. The cashews in the rice added the winning touch in my book!

Ingredients:
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup diced peeled sweet potato
1 cup small cauliflower florets
1/4 cup thinly sliced yellow onion
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 cup organic vegetable broth (I used chicken broth)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt (I used FF)

Directions:
1. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sweet potato to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Decrease heat to medium. Add cauliflower, onion, and curry powder; cook 1 minute, stirring mixture constantly. Add broth and next 3 ingredients (through tomatoes); bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with cilantro; serve with yogurt.

Crock Pot Country Chicken

chicken bake
I was excited to try this recipe because the potatoes in a roast are my favorite part and this dish (from Real Mom Kitchen) gave me those, but in a healthier way. It was super simple but still delicious!

Ingredients:
◦8 Yukon gold potatoes, halved or quartered depending on their size (I used red)
◦6 carrots, cut in half lengthwise and cut into large pieces
◦2 celery ribs, sliced
◦4-6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
◦3 Tbsp. cornstarch
◦1 1/4 cup chicken stock, cold or room temp
◦2 tsp honey dijon mustard
◦1 1/2 tsp. dill
◦1 tsp salt
◦pepper to taste

Directions:
1.Spray the crock pot with non stick cooking spray.
2.Place the vegetables in the bottom of the crock pot followed by the chicken breast.
3.In a bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and chicken stock until well blended.
4.Then whisk in the mustard, dill, salt, and pepper until blended.
5.Pour the mixture over the vegetables and chicken in the crock pot.
6.Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4 hours.

Quinoa Black Bean Salad

quinoa black bean salad
This recipe comes from Our Recipe Box and made for some delicious lunches for me last week! A couple days I ate it plain and one day I melted some cheese on top...it was delicious both ways. I like to have something healthy and tasty ready to eat at lunch time and this was a perfect solution!

Ingredients:
1 cup Quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water (I used chicken broth)
1-2 Limes
Cilantro
Olive Oil
Salt

Lettuce or Spinach
Avocado, diced
Red or Green Peppers, diced
Tomatoes, diced
Black Beans, rinsed

Directions:
Rinse quinoa well under cold, running water. You'll need a fine, mesh strainer for this or you can place a paper towel in a colander. Quinoa has to be rinsed because it has this funny taste/scent if you don't. (the quinoa I use comes rinsed already so I skipped this step)
Pour rinsed quinoa into 2 cups of boiling water and turn down the heat to medium. Cook for about 10 minutes and then turn off the heat and let it sit. When you turn off the heat it might look oatmeally, but give it 15+ minutes and it will become light and fluffy. Transfer quinoa to a large salad bowl.
Chop cilantro and throw into quinoa. Squeeze fresh lime into quinoa mixture. Add salt and olive oil to taste.
The rest of the ingredients can be thrown into the quinoa, according to personal preference. (I added 1 red pepper, tomatoes, ` can black beans and avocado)

For My Gluten Free Readers

Living Social has a deal today for gluten-free products HERE!
For $25 you can purchase $50 of products and shipping is free on orders of $50 or more.
Just thought I'd pass it along if you hadn't seen it yet. I'm excited to try some new things...like gluten-free oreos :-)!

Mexican Chicken Stuffed Peppers

mexi chicken stuffed peppers
I knew I would love these when I saw them on Cassie Craves! Initially I was also excited about the fact that it was also a crock pot meal, but then the day I had this on the menu got crazy and I forgot about it. So, I ended up using 1 can of chicken instead and mixing the other ingredients in a saucepan. They still turned out delicious!

Ingredients:
3 chicken breasts
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can corn, drained
1 package taco seasoning
4 cups salsa, divided
4 large bell peppers, any color
Shredded Mexican-blend cheese

Directions:
1. Put chicken breasts, black beans, corn, taco seasoning and 2 cups salsa in the Crock pot. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Shred chicken with two forks and mix well.
2. Using a sharp knife, halve peppers and pull out all the seeds and ribs. Stuff each pepper half with chicken mixture.
3. Spread 1 cup salsa on the bottom of a baking dish. Place peppers in dish and top with remaining 1 cup salsa. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until peppers are soft.
4. Top with shredded cheese and cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

Mediterranean Pork

mediterranean pork
I have been making a lot of oldie but goodie recipes lately, but last week did try a couple new ones. This one comes from Mel's Kitchen Cafe. It was our slow cooker meal of the week and it was really easy and tasty too. She suggests serving it with couscous but I found a quinoa/brown rice mix at the store and used that instead, making for a pretty healthy meal.

INGREDIENTS:2 to 2 1/2 pounds boneless pork loin, trimmed of fat (or the equivalent of boneless pork chops)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 tablespoons paprika
1/2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1-2 cups couscous, prepared according to package directions (or rice, quinoa, etc.)

DIRECTIONS:In a liquid measuring cup combine the oil, broth and spices. Cut small slits with a paring knife into the pork roast (or pork chops). Place the pork in a 4-quart slow cooker and pour the broth/spice mixture over the top of the pork. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 7-8 hours until the pork is tender.
Remove the pork from the slow cooker and shred into pieces. Return the shredded pork to the slow cooker and toss with the juices/liquid. Serve the meat/juices over couscous.