lunchbox life: chicken, black bean, and brussels sprouts nachos

image1(13)Healthy nachos…oxymoron?

Not necessarily. I had two agendas with this week’s lunches: consume more protein and not in a boring way (chicken breast and broccoli). This is what I came up with, and after having it today, I’m digging it.

So, here’s the deal: everyone knows that when you go on vacation, you eat rich food, and not in small quantities. Then you return to the real world and feel like you need to detox. For me, this usually means bumping up lean protein and leafy greens, so I went looking in my refrigerator for inspiration. I had six boneless skinless chicken thighs and half of a package of brussels sprouts. I also had some enchilada sauce in my pantry. Enchiladas? Tacos? I’ve had several variations of those before. What about nachos? No, nachos are too unhealthy, I thought.

And then I decided to make it work. I went to the store, picked out some cilantro, black beans, and organic tortilla chips, and made a game plan. While the chicken thighs and enchilada sauce simmered away in the slow cooker, I devised a plan to count out an actual serving size of chips (for this package, it was 14 chips) for each day, then place the other ingredients in a separate container to mix together just before eating. The stewed chicken has tons of flavor from the enchilada sauce, and this and the cilantro flavor the other ingredients. You can use the chip to dip the chicken mixture, break up the chips and toss them in with the other ingredients, or heat the ingredients over the chips on a plate.

I know what you’re thinking–where’s the cheese?

You could certainly add some cheese here, but you really don’t need it. Again, my goal for the week was to reset my system from overindulging last week, so I thought I’d leave the cheese out…this one time.

Chicken, Black Bean, and Brussels Sprouts Nachos

6 boneless skinless chicken thighs

1 19 oz. can enchilada sauce

1/2 lb. brussels sprouts

1 14 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

56 corn tortilla chips, separated out into groups of 14

Cook the chicken thighs and enchilada sauce in a slow cooker for 4 hours on high (or you could bake them and shred the chicken). Thinly slice the brussels sprouts, disposing of the woodsy stems. In five bowls, set up your four quadrants: chicken, brussels, black beans, and cilantro. Pair each bowl with one set of chips.

meatless monday: rice and beans and greens

image1(12)“To hand crafted beers made in local breweries, to yoga, to yogurt, to rice and beans and cheese…”–Rent

Don’t lie–you sang this song in your head when you read this title.

Oh, you didn’t? You mean you didn’t spend your teenage years singing show tunes in your room while other people went to parties? Yeah, me either…carry on, then.

Rice and beans, while a staple of many Latin American and Caribbean diets, is also a go-to for people living la vie boheme, aka ballin’ on a budget. Rice and beans together create a complete protein, meaning that it’s a filling and excellent combination of protein and carbohydrates. Instead of white rice and black beans, I used brown rice and cranberry beans, then added some swiss chard for added vitamins and folic acid. Not pictured: the heavy sprinkle of sharp cheddar on top. Since cheese is optional, that makes this dish vegan, if you’re so inclined. I’m typically not, so I thoroughly enjoyed my creamy, melty cheese mixed in with my rice and beans and greens.

The cranberry beans and swiss chard came from this week’s CSA box. Cranberry beans are also called Berlotti beans or Roman beans, showing their Italian origin. Before they cook, they look like this:

cranberryWhen they cook, however, the speckled, Easter egg quality fades away, leaving an ever so slight pink color. These beans are about the size of pinto beans and have a great nutty flavor. You can use whichever bean you like or have in your pantry, but since I had these fresh beans from a local farm, you know I had to use them–never canned, plus I didn’t have to soak them overnight.

Rice and Beans and Greens

Serves 4-6

2 cups brown rice, dry

1.5 cups fresh, uncooked cranberry beans (or beans of your choice)

4.5 oz. can diced green chiles

4 cups chicken broth (or water or vegetable broth if vegetarian/vegan)

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. white pepper

1 Tbsp. cumin

1 Tbsp. paprika

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

1 tsp. chili powder

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp. coriander

1 bunch swiss chard, stems removed, cut into 1/2-inch ribbons

1 tsp. olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

shredded cheddar cheese for topping (optional)

Combine rice, beans, chiles, stock, and spices in a rice cooker and cook until done. If you don’t have a rice cooker (and you should–go buy one, they’re cheap), bring ingredients to a boil in a pot, then place the lid on the pot, turn the heat to low, and cook for about 40 minutes.

When the rice and beans are done, heat the tsp. of olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat, then add the garlic. Next, add the swiss chard and cook for about 1 minute. Next, add the rice and beans and toss with the swiss chard, then smooth over the top of the mixture with a spoon and let cook for about one minute. Stir, then repeat this. Next, plate the rice and beans in a bowl and top with cheese, if desired. Devour.

lunchbox life: late winter three bean turkey chili

image4I think I speak for many of us when I say that I’m ready for spring to begin. The official beginning of spring is March 20, so regardless of the shadow your favorite groundhog saw or didn’t see, I’m counting down the days until this date. I thought, however, that this week might be a good time to throw together one more warm and hearty bowl of soup or stew for lunches. As produce is concerned, late February-early March is a lean time for fresh and new fruits and veggies, so I thought I’d focus on protein and legumes for this lunch.

Talk about a one-pot easy meal. There are a million ways to make chili, but this recipe is lean, mean, and spicy. It’s the last hurrah of warm winter goodness with a bevy of nutrition packed inside. This was the perfect throw-it-together week of lunches that took about 20 minutes to prep and about an hour to simmer on the stove. This was just fine with me–this chili simmered away as Alex and I watched the the latest episode of The Walking Dead, so I wasn’t worried about watching the pot.

Aside from spices, here are the ingredients for this chili:

image3Quality ingredients are key here. Even when using organic and all natural ingredients, this 8-serving pot of chili totaled less than $20–that’s five lunches, plus leftovers. Using ground turkey keeps the protein high and the saturated fat low, and the use of three different beans is great for variety and texture. I chopped up the green chiles for extra heat because I like my chili to be spicy.

Late Winter Three Bean Turkey Chili

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 onion, peeled, halved, and sliced

1 lb. ground turkey

4 oz. green chiles, chopped

1 Tbsp. chili powder

2 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

salt and pepper, to taste

2 28 oz. cans whole peeled tomatoes

1 15 oz. can black beans, drained

1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained

1 15 oz. can kidney beans, drained

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a heavy-bottomed pot. Add the onions, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper and stir. Cook the onions until translucent, about 4 minutes. Next, add the ground turkey and spices. Use a spatula to break up the ground turkey into crumbles. When the turkey is cooked, Add the whole tomatoes and liquid and use the spatula to break up the tomatoes. Add the drained beans, stir to combine, then bring to a boil. When the liquid boils, place the lid on the pot and reduce the heat to low, cooking for 1 hour.

lunchbox life: slowcooker smoky chicken, sweet potato, and kale soup


…with quinoa, red beans, tomatoes, and lots of spices. Once again, I ate too much over the weekend and was in want of something filling, yet nutritious for this week’s lunches. Let’s be honest, though–that’s always the goal. I don’t use our slowcooker as often as some people, but slowcookers are a great way to multitask if you have several chores around the house and don’t have time to do intricate cooking. This soup couldn’t be easier, plus it’s very adaptable–you could substitute a myriad of ingredients in or out. You don’t even cook the chicken or quinoa beforehand–they cook in the soup liquid! Here’s what it looks like going into the crock pot:

image(77)And here’s what it looks like after six hours of warmth and slowcooker love:

image(78)The protein from the chicken breast, quinoa, and red beans are a great pairing with the good carbs from the quinoa (again), beans (again), and sweet potato. The fiber from the quinoa, beans, and kale will keep you full all afternoon, too. I ate one serving of this, along with an apple, at lunch today, then ran 4 miles after school and wasn’t hungry until dinnertime.  Speaking of dinnertime, this would be a great weeknight dinner with a green salad!

Slowcooker Smoky Chicken, Sweet Potato, and Kale Soup

1 1/2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed

1 bunch kale, torn into bite-size pieces

15 oz. red beans, drained

1 cup quinoa, dry

28 oz. diced tomatoes

2 medium sweet potatoes, small dice

5 cups chicken broth

1 Tbsp. salt

1/2 Tbsp. pepper

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. ground coriander

Combine all ingredients in a slowcooker and cook on high for six hours.

lunchbox life: baked sweet potato with turkey chili


If you love baked sweet potatoes like I do, then you’re going to love this. If you also love chili like I do, but don’t want to overdo it with an onslaught of toppings (sour cream, cheese, crackers), then this is also for you.

This recipe could not be easier: wrap five small sweet potatoes in aluminum foil and bake at 400 F for one hour. While the potatoes are baking, you make the chili on the stovetop. I like this chili recipe because it’s healthy, flavorful, and has a whisper of sweetness from the addition of ground cinnamon.

I think this would also be a great weeknight meal. Once you put the potatoes in the oven and assemble the chili, you can do a few chores around the house, and an hour later, you can slice up the potatoes, ladle on the chili, and dig in.

Baked Sweet Potato with Turkey Chili

Makes five lunches. The chili makes six servings, so save the last serving for another meal.

5 small sweet potatoes

1 lb. ground turkey

1 Tbsp. olive oil

15.5 oz. kidney beans

15.5 oz. Great Northern beans

28 oz. crushed tomatoes

2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. white pepper

1 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. cumin

green onions, chopped (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Wrap each sweet potato in aluminum foil and bake for about an hour.

In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Brown the ground turkey in the oil. When the turkey is cooked, add the beans, tomatoes, and seasoning to the pot. Stir to combine. Bring the chili to a boil, then place the lid on the pot and turn the heat down to low and let simmer.

When everything is ready, take the potatoes out of the oven and discard the aluminum foil. Slice the potatoes lengthwise and cut a crosshatch pattern into each side’s flesh. Top with chili and green onions.

tasty tuesday: chicken, lentil, and acorn squash soup with rosemary and bacon, plus bourbon apple butter


Fall is a delightful time to be in the kitchen. It’s full of warm, enveloping smells and recipes that take time, but you don’t mind. It’s fall. Braising and roasting doesn’t happen in an instant, and your olfactory senses thank you.

I must confess, however, that I look forward to each changing season and become sad at the end of each season because of the star ingredients we gain and lose. The abundance of tomatoes, peppers, and melons in the summer is so lovely, but the gourds and greens of fall and winter are great, too. The photo above is an interesting study in seasonal transition: an autumnal soup accompanied by a hunk of bread with apple butter and…roasted okra? Okra is decidedly from the summer’s bounty, and it may be the last we get of it from our CSA this year, but it came in the same box as a pumpkin.

This soup, though…this soup should be as ubiquitous as a sorority girl’s pumpkin spice latte. The decadence of the bacon, the heartiness of the acorn squash, and the fragrance of the rosemary marry together in a swirling bowl of fall. The truth about soup is that it’s a great way to remix leftovers. In our refrigerator, I found leftover smoked chicken from Sunday night, some bacon, and some chicken stock that Alex made from the leftover chicken parts from Sunday. I knew we had lentils in the pantry and rosemary in the front yard, so I went to the store, bought an onion, the acorn squash, and some bread. Voila!

Now, a word on the bourbon apple butter. Y’all.

We’re heading out of town tomorrow for my cousin’s wedding in New Hampshire, so I knew that I wouldn’t be able to use all six North Georgia apples we received in our CSA. We’re not big dessert people, so pies, cakes, and muffins were out. I finally settled on apple butter as a way to use the apples, but I could only find recipes that called for apple juice or apple cider as the liquid. Out of laziness and lack of desire to go to the store for one item, I wondered: what could I use instead? Bourbon immediately popped into my head–the flavor profile would certainly work, and it’s something that we always have on hand. I tried it and really liked the result. The flavor from the bourbon is very subtle, but I think it gives the spread a nice depth. The thing I like best about this apple butter is that it’s not sticky sweet. The sweetness is there, but it’s a natural taste that tastes like fruit more than dessert.

Chicken and Acorn Squash Soup with Rosemary and Bacon

Yields 4 large servings, can easily be doubled or tripled

2 large chicken breasts, cooked and cubed

1 acorn squash, halved, scooped of seeds, peeled, and diced

5 bacon slices, cut in half

1 sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced into half moons

1/4 cup fresh rosemary, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 cups chicken stock

1/4 cup dry green lentils

salt and pepper

In a pot, place bacon slices on the bottom and heat over medium-high heat. You may have to do this in two shifts to avoid crowding the pan. When bacon is done, place on a paper towel and reserve to use as a topping. Turn the heat to medium low and add the onions. Stir onion slices in the bacon fat, then add the garlic, rosemary, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper. Let simmer for about 10 minutes. Next, add the acorn squash and stir to combine. After that, add the chicken stock and lentils and bring the liquid to a boil. When the liquid is boiling, place the lid on the pot and turn the heat down to low; cook for 20 minutes. Add the chicken to the soup about five minutes before serving.  Serve in individual bowls with the crumbled bacon on the top.

Bourbon Apple Butter

6 large apples, any variety

1/3 cup bourbon

1/4 cup honey

1 Tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. cloves

1 tsp. ginger

1 tsp. cardamom

Core and dice the apples, leaving the skin on. Place all of the ingredients in a heavy bottomed pot, give them a stir, and heat over medium-low. Let this cook for about two hours, stirring occasionally. After two hours, blend the mixture either with an immersion blender or in a food processor. Makes about 6 cups and keeps for about 1 week.

meatless monday: double stack black bean burgers with avocado


Do you have a favorite black bean burger recipe? I’ve tried several, and I think this one is my favorite so far. Before this attempt, I’ve never been happy with the exterior texture of my burgers; they’re mushy and almost runny. These, however, were full-bodied and full of texture because of the quinoa on the inside and the panko breadcrumbs on the outside. The classic combination of black beans and avocado works well here because of the flavor profile of the black bean burgers: the cumin and red pepper flakes bring a smokiness that is cooled down by the avocado spread.

I served these burgers with crispy, seasoned oven fries from a previous blog post that I adapted from a Skinnytaste recipe. The great thing about this supper is that I was absolutely full and happy after the meal, and when I looked up the nutrition information, I could not believe how healthy and low calorie it was. Upon a closer look, it should really come as no surprise: think about all of the fiber in this meal! The black beans, quinoa, and avocado are filled with the stuff, and the potatoes from the oven fries are also a fiber contributor.

The brioche bun is clutch here because of its ability to hold its form. Be sure to toast it for maximum support for this hearty not-burger!

Double Stack Black Bean Burgers with Avocado

Serves 4

15 oz. black beans, drained and rinsed

2 cups quinoa, cooked

1 shallot, sliced thin

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 ear of corn, kernels cut off

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup fresh cilantro, plus about 1/2 cup chopped for avocado spread

1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs

cooking spray

1 avocado

juice of 1 lime

1 tsp. hot sauce

other garnishes (I used sliced tomato, refrigerator pickles, and alfalfa sprouts)

4 brioche buns, split and toasted

In a small skillet, heat the olive oil over medium, add the shallot and garlic, and cook for about 2 minutes. Next, add the corn, cumin, red pepper flakes, and salt and cook for 1 minute more, then remove from the heat. In a food processor, combine the black beans and veggies and pulse to combine. Next, add the quinoa and cilantro and pulse to combine and incorporate. Remove the blade from the food processor bowl and form 8 thin patties with your hands. Place the patties on a cookie sheet lined with nonstick parchment paper, then cover with another sheet of parchment paper and refrigerate for about an hour. When you’re ready to cook the black bean burgers, heat a grill pan to medium high and spray with cooking spray. While the grill pan is heating up, press about 1 tsp. panko onto each side of the burgers, then cook for about 5 minutes on each side on the grill pan.

While the burgers are cooking, split and scoop out the avocado and place it into a small bowl with the remaining cilantro, lime juice, and hot sauce. Mash until it turns into a spread, but leave a few chunks of avocado for texture.  Using the back of a spoon, spread the avocado mixture onto both sides of the toasted brioche buns, then add two black bean patties to each sandwich and top with your choice of toppings.

meatless monday: butter bean falafel pitas

image(59)Happy Monday, folks!  Hopefully your week is off to a better start than mine.  This morning began with an intention of a great attitude, but when I got to school and realized I left my lunch on the counter, that noble aspiration dashed away.  Add typical Monday readjustments and the “what goes up must come down” folly of having a great weekend, today was not my favorite.  I did, however, manage to find some shoes and jewelry for this weekend’s Taste of the Arts: Studio 54 event, and my day was mostly salvaged by taking some time to cook in my kitchen.  I did some meal prep yesterday when I was putting together my lunches, so this afternoon was met with only a few tasks before supper was on the table.

Falafel is a delightful Middle Eastern street food in which many vegetarians and omnivores delight.  Usually made with chickpeas, these beany balls of fried goodness are best enjoyed wrapped in a pita or on their own with a side of tangy tzatziki sauce.  For a southern twist, I used butter beans and lady peas (same mixture as the salad from this week’s lunches) in place of the chickpeas, and it worked beautifully.  This falafel is full of similar flavors from the traditional take: tahini paste, lemon juice, fresh mint and parsley, and of course, garlic.  They are fried in vegetable oil, drained, then tucked into pita pockets with lots of crisp romaine lettuce, ruby red farm tomatoes, thinly sliced cucumber and radishes, salty feta, fresh parsley, and drizzled with tzatziki. Check out this lovely mise en place I did before I dressed the pitas:


These pitas are so filling that you’ll think you cheated at Meatless Monday!  They’re also very easy to make.  Don’t let the deep frying intimidate you; because the falafel balls are pre-cooked and aren’t meat, you won’t have to worry about cooking the meat to a specific temperature.  All you’ll need to watch is the golden brown exterior that looks like it will give your falafel a nice crunch on the outside.

Butter Bean Falafel Pitas

Serves 2-4 people

1 1/2 cups cooked butter beans

2 Tbsp. tahini paste

juice of 1 lemon

1/2 cup fresh parsley

1/4 cup fresh mint

5 garlic cloves, paper removed

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

about 1/3 cup flour

32 oz. canola or vegetable oil

4 pita pockets

1 small tomato, sliced

2 radishes, thinly sliced (sub red onion if you like)

1/4 of one English/hothouse/seedless cucumber, thinly sliced

4-8 leaves of romaine lettuce

2-4 oz. feta, crumbled

any additional fresh parsley

for tzatziki sauce: 4 garlic cloves, 1/4 of one English/hothouse/seedless cucumber, 1/3 cup fresh parsley, 1 cup 0% Greek yogurt, juice of 1 lemon, 1/2 tsp. salt

In a food processor, combine butter beans, tahini paste, garlic, lemon juice, parsley, mint, salt, and pepper until a dough forms.  Remove mixture from the food processor and form about 16 golf ball sized balls.  Place falafel balls on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

When you’re ready to cook the falafel, heat oil in a deep, heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat.  While the oil is heating, roll the falafel in the flour to coat them.  When the oil is ready, drop about four falafel balls in per batch and cook until golden brown (about 4 minutes for each batch).  Place cooked falafel on a paper towel-lined plate.

In the meantime, combine tzatziki ingredients together in a food processor to combine.

To assemble the pitas, tuck 1-2 romaine leaves into each pocket, then dress with a few slices of tomato, cucumber, radish, and parsley.  Place about 3 falafel balls in each pocket, then sprinkle with feta and drizzle with tzatziki.  Enjoy!




lunchbox life: butter bean salad with pea shoots, chicken, and goat cheese

photo(10)Happy Sunday, everyone!  Alex and I enjoyed a lovely Saturday and Sunday morning on Lake Sinclair with some fine folks, and I hope that you had a great time with your friends and family.  Now that the weekend is winding down, it’s once again time to chronicle this next week’s lunches for Mrs. Morrison, your favorite US HIstory teacher.

I am so excited about this week’s lunchbox life, mainly because I relied on our trusty Dirt Farmers CSA box to show me the way.  We received a plethora of goodness this week, and I was particularly curious about what to do with the butter beans and lady peas.  Sure, I knew I could simmer them in some chicken stock and serve them as a side, but I wanted to do something a little different this time.  I’m using the bean/pea combo for both my lunches and for tomorrow night’s Meatless Monday, so stay tuned for butter beans and lady peas, part two.  You might recognize the butter beans in the photo, but the smaller peas alongside them are called lady peas or lady cream peas.  This Southern Living article does a great job at breaking down the differences in summer beans and peas, but suffice it to say that both of these lovelies are mild in taste and creamy in texture.

I also ordered pea shoots this week–pea shoots are a mild, delicate, and slightly bitter microgreen that add a nice pop of dark green to any salad.  I sliced up some radishes for color and a hint of spice.  I don’t care for raw red onion, but you could use some thinly sliced red onion or thinly sliced radishes here interchangeably. Also making appearances in this salad are chicken for protein, parsley and lemon juice for brightness, and goat cheese for…well, do you really need a reason for goat cheese?

I paired this salad with some chunks of white-fleshed sunburst melon from our CSA box.  It’s a lovely melon that looks like a cantaloupe, yet tastes like a cross between very ripe honeydew and cantaloupe.  Yum!

Butter Bean Salad with Pea Shoots, Chicken, and Goat Cheese

Serves 4-6 as a main dish or 8-12 as a side dish

2 1/2 cups fresh or canned butter beans and lady peas (or just butter beans)

4 cups chicken broth + 1 tsp. salt (if you’re using canned butter beans, you won’t need this)

about 10 sprigs fresh thyme (or about 2 tsp. dried thyme, only use if you’re using fresh beans)

2 chicken breasts, cooked, cut into cubes

8 oz. soft goat cheese, crumbled

1 cup pea shoots (substitute arugula, chopped, if you can’t find pea shoots)

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

4 radishes, thinly sliced

juice of 1 lemon

If using fresh beans: in a medium-sized pot, bring beans, broth, salt, and thyme to a boil and cook for about 20 minutes.  You can also do this in the rice cooker.

Combine cooked beans, chicken, goat cheese, pea shoots, parsley, radishes, and lemon juice in a large bowl.  Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight and serve.

WW info: 5 servings, 8 PP each

lunchbox life: mexican quinoa bowls

image(48)Welcome back to school, gang!  Back to school means back to school lunches, so this is the official fourth semester of lunchbox life.  I started Instagram-ing my lunches in January 2013, then we started the blog in April 2013, so happy fourth semester of lunchbox life to everyone!

This week’s plan includes a stellar list of healthy and seasonal items: quinoa (the super grain), black beans, zucchini from our CSA, and local Silver Queen corn.  After an indulgent weekend of eating in Athens (watch for a blog post about that trip soon!), I knew I needed a restart in the healthy eating department.  The quinoa and black beans are excellent sources of protein in this meatless lunch, plus I’ve added mushrooms and Cotija cheese to round out this healthy and filling dish.

You could eat this bowl as a cold salad, or you could heat it in the microwave as a burrito bowl, or you could do both and figure out which way is your favorite throughout the week.  Today, I ate it cold and thought it was fantastic.  It has a pasta salad or rice salad feel, and the flavors from the Mexican seasoning really stand up to the ingredients in this dish.  As always, feel free to modify the recipe based on your preferences.  I added cilantro and green onion because I enjoy the brightness of flavor, but you could always leave them out or substitute fresh oregano or parsley.

WW info: 5 servings at 10 PP each–a complete meal, for sure!

Mexican Quinoa Bowls

1 1/4 cup quinoa, uncooked

3 cloves garlic

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 large zucchini, diced

1/2 lb. white mushrooms, sliced

3 ears Silver Queen Corn

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

zest of three limes (use juice in dressing)

4 oz. Cotija cheese, diced (you could also used crumbled queso fresco)

2 green onions, thinly sliced (optional)

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped (optional)

salt and pepper


juice of three limes

2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 Tbsp. organic taco seasoning (seriously buy the organic–the lack of extra preservatives is worth the extra cents)

Cook the quinoa according to package directions, and throw in the peeled garlic cloves to the pot or rice cooker.  Preheat the oven to 400 F.  Toss the diced zucchini and sliced mushrooms in the olive oil, red pepper flakes, and about 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.  Arrange them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and roast for 20 minutes, flipping the vegetables at the 10 minute mark.  Lightly char the corn on a grill pan, then slice the kernels off.

When the quinoa is cooked, add it to a large bowl along with the black beans, lime zest, corn kernels, zucchini, and mushrooms; toss to combine.  Next, add the dressing ingredients together and either whisk them in a small bowl or shake them in a small jar.  Add the dressing to the quinoa mixture and allow the quinoa to soak up the dressing.  Next, add the cheese, green onions, and cilantro.  Refrigerate for four hours or overnight.