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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Potato and Corn Chowder

Um, hi. It’s November. As in I won’t run screaming logging into Facebook for much longer because the election is over next week. As in Thanksgiving is in 3ish weeks. As in 53 days until Christmas.

But most importantly…we gain an hour of sleep this weekend!

If you didn’t know that, you’re welcome. If you did know that, isn’t it just nice to hear anyways?

This Fall has been so awesomely chaotic – but I’m ready for things to wind down a bit! I’m ready for enjoy the cold weather and turn our fireplace on! I’m ready for sweaters and boots and coats and festive decor!

So Wednesday, it was Halloween and it was time to get down to celebrating! The husband and I carved our pumpkins on Tuesday night…

…and on Wednesday, I was ready to whip up a yummy, healthy Fall dish for us to enjoy between the doorbell ringing.

Obviously it was a night for soup – so I merged a few recipes into a corn chowder that’s low on points. Hey, had to be good with all of that leftover Halloween candy hanging around…

Potato and Corn Chowder  (Serves 3 – 7 WW pts. per serving)

1/4 cup onion, chopped

1/2 Tbsp. reduced-calorie margarine (I use Blue Bonnet Light)

3 oz. Turkey kielbasa, diced (I use Jennie-O brand)

2 cups baby potatoes

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/8 tsp. Tabasco salt

1 can yellow corn, drained

2 cups fat-free milk

1 Tbsp. white whole-wheat flour

3 Tbsp. fat-free cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400. Add potatoes to a roasting pan and bake about 20 minutes until tender. You can always microwave them if you prefer – just pierce them before you do!

In a medium saucepan, melt your margarine. Add chopped onion and kielbasa and saute 3-5 minutes until onion is tender.

Add your canned corn and stir with onion and kielbasa. Sprinkle in your salt, pepper and add a few glugs of Tabasco. Stir well.

Next, add your potatoes. They should be tender and chopped into bite-sized pieces. If you don’t want to bother with the little potatoes, one large russet potato should suffice!

Pour in milk over potatoes. Add turmeric and stir well – it will give your chowder a beautiful golden color!

 

Now you can turn heat to medium-low and let the chowder come to a simmer. Probably check on it around the 7-8 minute mark. You don’t want to bring it to a boil because it’s milk – and well, boiled milk just sounds nasty!

Once it’s at a light simmer, add in your flour and stir well. You can also mash down a little on the potatoes to help thicken it up a little. Allow to come back to a light simmer and then reduce heat, cause you’re ready to dive in!

Pour into bowls and to each with 1 Tbsp. shredded fat-free cheddar.

Yup, it officially feels like Fall!