Cheesy Quinoa with Kielbasa

It’s December.

When did this happen and why did nobody tell me?

Okay, okay. The decorations in my house and the beautiful tree (which IS getting decorated tonight if I can stop procrastinating!) would indicate that I’m well aware that it’s December. But, I’m having a hard time remembering that November happened. Heck, I vaguely remember October!

I feel like the days are just flying by right now and this is the time of year when I really want them to last. I absolutely love the Christmas season and it always seems to go by too quickly. Do you ever just want to savor everything? I know I do – I can’t wait for a night when I can go home, hang out by the fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate, listen to Christmas music and stare at our beautiful Christmas tree (again, once it’s decorated!).

But right now, I feel like I’m in a race with time. Working long hours to try to get lingering deadlines met before people are out for the holidays. Coming home and trying to put together Christmas lists. Getting Christmas cards ordered. And don’t you know, the parties are coming up. I love me a good party…but when I don’t get to be “at home” for 5 or 6 straight nights, I am just exhausted!

It is this time of year when I find it really difficult to eat well. I always feel like I just don’t have the time to cook, so it’s easy to grab something on my way home…because I have too many things to do once I get home. That’s fine every now and then, but when those nights are frequently wedged between dinner parties and cocktail hours, sheesh, no wonder my clothes feel a little snug come Christmas Day!

So here’s a little recipe I adapted from Food Network Magazine that is easy, filling and pretty darn low in fat/calories. I also feel like it’s a bit of a comfort food – so perfect for a chilly night. It takes about 30 minutes total – so a simple meal for this busy (but wonderful!) time of the year.

I hope you can take the time to sit back and enjoy this beautiful and festive season with some delicious food, quality company, and anything else it takes to get you feeling all holly ‘n jolly. You know, like some peppermint schnapps in that hot chocolate.

Cheesy Quinoa with Kielbasa (Serves 2 / 10 WW points per serving)

Cheesy Quinoa_Ingredients

Adapted from original recipe found here.

1 1/2 tsp. olive oil, divided

1 tsp. minced garlic

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed

1/2 cup fat-free chicken broth + 1/2 cup water

1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped

7 oz. turkey kielbasa (I prefer Jennie-O), sliced thin

8-10 spears asparagus

1 cup fat-free cheddar cheese, shredded

Heat oven to 350. Brush 1/2 tsp. olive oil over asparagus and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Roast 15 minutes. Remove and set aside until cool and then cut into 1-2 inch pieces.

In a large saucepan, heat 1 tsp. olive oil. Add garlic and saute 1 minute. Add broth, water and quinoa. Bring to a boil for 3 minutes. Cover, reduce and simmer for 15 minutes until cooked through and liquid is absorbed.

Steps for Cheesy Quinoa

In a small non-stick skillet, add kielbasa slices and saute over medium for 4-5 minutes. Stir in onion, flipping kielbasa slices and cooking another 4-5 minutes.

Once the quinoa is cooked, add to a medium bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir in 3/4 of the shredded cheese until blended.

Plate the quinoa and top with chopped asparagus and kielbasa and onions. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

 

Dig in and enjoy!

Cheesy Quinoa with Kielbasa

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Stuffed Italian Zucchini

I realize Father’s Day was like, so last month. However, today’s blog post is a special one or my Dad, or as I call him, my “Duddy.”

I cook a lot of things, and sometimes they sound appealing to people. Sometimes they don’t. My darling Biffer is so supportive of my blog endeavor, even though she hates a very major ingredient in a lot of my recipes – cheese.

So I was describing this particular dish the other day to my Dad, who is going to be a bachelor next week as my mom is traveling, and he told me I had to post it immediately. I think I actually heard the drool through the phone.

You see, my dad loves Italian foods. There’s an awesome Italian festival in Memphis every summer and if he decides to brave the heat (he’s what I call, “heat intolerant”) to attend, his trip is not complete without an Italian sausage and pepper sandwich.

As they say, the apple does not fall far from the tree – because as soon as I saw this recipe on Skinnytaste, I knew it had to happen in my kitchen. So I hope y’all enjoy this one as much as I think my dad will!

Stuffed Italian Zucchini (Makes 8 “boats” / 3 WW Pts. each)

Ingredients

4 medium zucchini

1/4 yellow onion, chopped

1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper

1 tsp. olive oil

1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic

1 1/2 cups marinara sauce

1/2 cup reduced-fat shredded mozzarella

2 links hot Italian turkey sausage (I use Butterball brand), cooked and crumbled

8 tsp. reduced fat Parmesan

Preheat oven to 400.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

While everything is heating up, slice your zucchini in half and scoop out the insides, leaving a border about 1/8 – 1/4 inch think. Reserve about half of what you scoop out and chop it up.

In a medium skillet, heat olive oil. Add chopped bell pepper, onion and garlic. Saute 3-5 minutes. Then add zucchini, cooking another 2-3 minutes. Finally, add the sausage and and cook for 2-3 additional minutes.

Scoop and Saute

Place hollowed out zucchini halves in boiling water for about 1 minute each.

In a large baking dish, pour a light layer of marinara sauce on the bottom. Arrange boiled zucchini halves on top of sauce. Distribute the sausage-veggie mixture in the zucchini. Then top with marinara sauce (about 2 Tbsp. per half). Add shredded mozzarella (about 1 Tbsp. per half) and grated Parmesan.

Stuff Top Bake

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, until cheese is melted, zucchini is cooked through, and your kitchen smells amazing. How could it not – look at these babies!

Close up - Stuffed Zucchini

The husband and I each enjoyed 3 for dinner with some yummy french bread, and he took the remaining 2 for lunch the next day. However you divvy them up, I’m sure you will love them…

Stuffed Italian Zucchini

Hope y’all have a great weekend!