We live in a world that is all about convenience and making things easy. Eight Minute Abs, microwave dinners, drive thru everything, gas attendants to pump your gas for you… the list goes on and on.
Let’s just be honest, it is always convenient and easy to eat unhealthy. We get busy, the kids are hungry… we will start again tomorrow.
Eating fresh, real foods does take work and planning… but is not impossible!
For me, it is a passion. My heart skips a beat when I walk into the produce section at Whole Foods. Yes, I know I am weird. Yes, I know that not everyone shares the same level of excitement over vegetables and grocery stores as I do. For some of you cooking is stressful. For others, you simply don’t know where to begin.
The first step in eating well is planning. Planning is something we all know how to do. We plan our days, our weeks, our vacations…
I know that life gets busy and we can’t eat perfect all the time… but may I encourage you to think ahead a bit? Look at the week ahead and plan for the days that you know will be busy and leave little time for cooking. Keep ingredients in your pantry and fridge that you can throw together quickly.
This week’s recipe is one of those meals for us. My husband, Brook, often works several long days in a row and needs meals he can take with him and heat up later.
This meal stays tasting great for several days in the fridge and can be made in the morning and heated up for dinner.
I would love to hear your questions and the tips you have learned along the way for meals in a pinch!
Serves 6 – 8
- 1 large bell pepper, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 C chopped broccoli
- 1 C chopped mushrooms
*You can use any combination of veggies you like so feel free to add or substitute.
- ½ C chopped cilantro
- 1 T minced garlic
- 1 Can each of the following:
Corn (check the ingredients to make sure there is no added sugar)
Diced tomatoes (I used no salt added diced tomatoes)
Diced green chilies
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 T garlic powder
- 3 T chili powder
- 1 T cumin
- ¼- ½ tsp cayenne pepper (optional: we love spicy food. If you don’t want much of a kick then omit this part)
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- ½ – 1 C vegetable broth (the Trader Joe’s Organic Hearty Vegetable Broth is my favorite)
*The key to this dish is making sure you use enough spices to make it burst with flavor so don’t be afraid to add more and do lots of taste tests!
- 2 C quinoa (rinsed)
- 4 C vegetable broth
*Brown rice also works well if you are not a fan of quinoa
You can really top these with anything you like but here is what we do:
- Shredded purple cabbage – adds a nice crunch and pretty color
- Fresh cilantro
- Crumbled feta or goat cheese (optional)
- Homemade Quick Guacamole:
1 – 2 ripe avocados
1 T minced onion
1 tsp garlic powder
Juice from a lime
4ish dashes of Tapatio hot sauce
*Mash it all together with a fork until it is the texture you prefer
Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. I use a big pot to cook mine so it doesn’t spill over the edges.
Add onions and bell peppers and cook just until they start to soften a bit.
Add broccoli, mushrooms and minced garlic and cook for a few minutes.
To avoid the vegetables being soggy at the end, make sure you undercook them at this stage. They will have more time to cook as you add the remaining ingredients.
Add black beans, kidney beans, corn, tomatoes and green chilies. Stir all together.
Add garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper and vegetable broth. Stir well and bring to simmer.
Simmer for about 10 minutes and add cilantro. Give it a taste and see if you need to add more spices. You can also add more vegetable broth if you want. Remember that some of the liquid will cook out as you simmer. Let it cook for about another 8 min for all the flavors to combine.
While the mix is cooking, start the quinoa. I just throw mine in a rice cooker and it does all the work. If you don’t have one, put quinoa and vegetable broth in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 15 minutes.
*If you don’t have a rice cooker, I HIGHLY recommend them! They range in price but even the $20 one from Target works perfectly.
Using a bowl, place quinoa on the bottom and mexi mix on top. Garnish with toppings.