Bowlin’ (read: Ballin’)

!erin-eats

The fiance and I are forever on the quest to eat healthily yet deliciously. Like most young adults, we work a lot, not leaving much time for cooking, which is why eating out or grabbing some unhealthy fast food thing is so tempting. We recently got a charcoal grill and have been smoking chicken and steaks in large quantities to save for leftovers, and keeping quick sides around the house (i.e.: black beans, green beans, spaghetti squash, etc.).

This week, we wanted to switch it up and try making quinoa bowls! I cannot eat mass amounts of the same thing over and over, which is why I usually try to keep leftovers to a minimum. I wanted a few different bowl options with cross-utilization of ingredients as not to have too much food on hand.

Pesto Bowl:
– Homemade Pesto (finely minced basil, garlic, cashews, parmesan, basil evoo, garlic salt, freshly ground pepper)
– Baby Greens (baby spinach, kale, arugula, romaine) [superfood+veggie power]
– Avocado [healthy fat]
– Roasted Cauliflower [for veggie power]
– Egg [hey, protein]
– Quinoa, of course [starch+protein+hella amino acids]

Fiesta Bowl:
– Sauteed Onions & Bell Peppers [for veggie power]
– Baby Greens [superfood+veggie power]
– Pulled, smoked chicken [protein goodness]
– Homemade Pico de Gallo (tomato, onion, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeno, s&p)
– Avocado [healthy fat]
– Black Beans [starch]
– Quinoa, of course [starch+protein+hella amino acids]

Summer Salad Bowl:
– Baby Greens [superfood+veggie power]
– Strawberries [fruit+vitamin goodness]
– Avocado [healthy fat]
– Cashews/Almonds [hella vitamins/minerals/antioxidents+quality protein+cronchy]
– Balsamic Vinegar [do it for the polyphenols, okay?]
– Quinoa, of courseĀ [starch+protein+hella amino acids]

To prepare for the week, I prepped all the ingredients ahead of time and stored them all separately so we can freestyle bowls as desired.

PREP IT UP:
– 1 cup quinoa yields about 4c quinoa. (TIP: Toast the quinoa in butter before cooking. I also used homemade veggie stock for flavor rather than just adding water. 2:1 liquid:quinoa is the magic ratio.)
– Pesto (The extra time allows the flavors to meld together and make it more yummy.)
– Salsa (See above.)
– Cook & Pull Chicken
– Dice Strawberries
– Julienne Onions & Peppers

As always, I don’t like to give measurements. I included my reasoning for the inclusion of each item in the bowl to show how to try and hit each food group and make a (mostly) balanced bowl. Add more or less according to your dietary needs. For example: the Fiesta bowl has two starches (beans and quinoa), just use less of each as not to make the bowl overly starchy.

Go forth and bowl out.

Cheers,
Erin

Erin Eats: Veggie Burgers

!erin-eats

Welcome to a new segment of the ole blog: Erin Eats! I might not use my culinary degree for much nowadays, but I can still cook my tail off. I’m the world’s worst at following recipes, and even worse at writing my own recipes down. So I’m going to attempt to start logging some of my favorite creations here. Now, a disclaimer: I don’t measure anything. Ever. So you won’t find any teaspoons or tablespoons or ounces here. Strap on your apron, pour yourself a drink, and have yourself a kitchen adventure. Cooking is an art, not a science. (That’s baking. Don’t ask me how to bake.) So to kick off this segment, I’m going to reference one recipe I created by accident, and have recreated multiple times on purpose: sweet potato & black bean burgers. (The accident was my ground turkey was spoiled so I had to get crafty.)

Not my photo, not my recipe, but it’s pretty right? In addition to measurements, I don’t really do food photography. But it’s a nice reference. So let’s dive in to what I lovingly refer to as my recipes. But as Jack Sparrow would say, the rules are really more like guidelines. So have fun with it.

Here’s what you need:
2 large garnet sweet potatoes (Garnet has more flavor imo, but regular works just fine.)
1 can black beans
1 cup oatmeal
2 tbsp(ish) garlic salt
1 tbsp(ish) black pepper
1 tsp(ish) cumin
1 tsp(ish) paprika

Optional but recommended accouterments:
roasted garlic hummus (or whatever flavor you prefer)
avocado
baby spring greens (toss in evoo, s&p for extra flair)

First, dice your sweet potatoes. I like them a rather small dice, about 1/4″ cubes. Size matters. They don’t have to be perfect but as close in size as you can get without spending hours dicing. Roast them in the oven at 350 for half an hour or until lightly browned. I don’t oil my potatoes but you can if that pleases you. (I cook on aluminum foil for easy removal and one less pan to clean.)

Put oatmeal and spices in a blender and pulse it until it forms a fine powder.

In a bowl, dump your can of beans, bean water and all. Don’t drain the beans, you need the moisture to hold everything together. Lightly mash the beans so you have some bean paste and some whole beans. Or just mash it all. Whatever suits you. Mix in your oatmeal-spice-powder. Fold in your sweet potatoes once they’re nice and crispy.

You can eat right away or store for later, usually makes 4-5 patties, depending on how big your potatoes were and how big you make your patties. The patties hold together better once chilled, so since this is fairly easy to make, I usually prep this meal while making another dinner so I have the night off later in the week. Because I’m worth it.

To cook: coat your pan with olive oil/butter/coconut oil, whatever you prefer, and cook over a medium heat. I mash my patties super thin–it’s okay if they crack or don’t hold together 100%, we’re not winning any points for presentation–that way I get lots of crunch and texture. Once crispy on both sides: you’re done! I don’t eat mine with a bun as this is attempting to be a healthy dish, so I like my patty served on top of a bed of salad greens, smeared with hummus and topped with avocado.

Happy eatings,
Erin Connor