I’m constantly on the lookout for new meatless recipes and while I mostly want them to be healthy – so, mac and cheese doesn’t count – if they do happen to be made with a cheesy sauce, they also need to be loaded with veggies and protein. It’s sort of a head game I play with myself. I’ve made Annie’s cheesy broccoli quinoa casserole a handful of times in the past year and we’ve seriously loved it every single time. It certainly fits my criteria.
The recipe makes about 8 servings and I’ll usually eat it for a bunch of lunches during the week as well but I got a fierce hankering for poached eggs last week that I couldn’t knock. I had some of this quinoa left in the fridge and though I hadn’t ever eaten it for breakfast before, I figured what the hell?
I mixed a teaspoon of sriracha in my warmed up quinoa, poached a couple of eggs (using this tutorial), and squirted some more of the spicy stuff on top before popping that gorgeous egg open and digging in. I kid you not – the thought of this breakfast got me through a Saturday morning workout that I thought was going to break me. This was so so satisfying! Creamy and spicy quinoa underneath a couple of runny eggs? I may never make this quinoa without the sriracha and poached eggs again!
Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa with Sriracha and Poached Eggs
Total Time: 1 hour
Yield: 8 servings
A perfect brunch recipe, this quinoa with poached eggs would be equally as excellent as breakfast for dinner.
For the quinoa:
1 ½ cups quinoa
1 head broccoli, cut into small florets
3 tbsp unsalted butter
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 shallots, diced
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp dry mustard or ½ Dijon mustard
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
2 cups milk
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups shredded or chopped cooked chicken
8 poached eggs
Cook the quinoa according to package directions.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400° F. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat and whisk in the flour, shallots, garlic powder, mustard, and cayenne pepper. Cook for 1 minute then slowly whisk the milk in until no lumps remain. Bring the mixture to a simmer and allow the milk to bubble and thicken, about 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and stir in the cheese, a handful at a time. Season with salt and pepper.
In a very large bowl, stir the quinoa, broccoli, chicken, and cheese sauce together until well-blended. Lightly grease a 13x9-inch casserole dish and pour the quinoa mixture into the dish, smoothing out the top with a spatula. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the top is lightly browned.
As you serve the quinoa, stir some sriracha into each serving, to taste. Top each quinoa serving with two poached eggs and serve hot.
Smells Like Home original | quinoa recipe adapted from Annie's Eats
I can’t remember the last time it was that I made risotto but I’ve been craving it something fierce since early fall. It’s not that risotto is hard to make and I certainly don’t mind pulling up a counter stool to the stove to stir for 30 minutes. So why I don’t make it more often is beyond me because I looove it so. Creamy rice that is just tender to the tooth – it’s a perfect meal! But when you add caramelized onions, fresh thyme, and a big handful of Parmesan cheese? Holy heck. I served this as a side dish with some roast chicken and braised Brussels sprouts one Sunday night a few weeks ago but it would be just as amazing served as a meatless main dish – either by itself or perhaps with some roasted shrimp.
This is by no means a quick meal (risotto never is) but it's definitely a satisfying one, especially if you love risotto like I do. While the risotto simmered, I roasted some bone-in chicken breasts and made dijon-braised Brussels sprouts to round out the meal. A perfect Sunday dinner, indeed.
1 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano, aged Gouda, fontina, or Gruyere cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
3 tbsp fresh thyme, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Warm the chicken broth in a small saucepan over medium heat until just steaming; lower the heat to keep the broth warm, but don't allow it to boil.
Once the onions have cooked, transfer them to a bowl and cover it to keep them warm. Pour ½ cup of the broth into the hot Dutch oven and scrape up the bits from the bottom of the pan. Transfer the liquid and the brown bits back to the small saucepan with the rest of the broth.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in the Dutch oven over medium heat. Toss the rice around in the butter, and gently stir it, allowing it to toast and turn translucent around the edges, about one minute.
Pour in the wine and allow it to absorb into the rice. Ladle in enough broth to just cover the rice, about ½ cup, and simmer, stirring gently, until the rice has absorbed the liquid. This should take a couple of minutes and you'll know when to add more liquid when you pull a wooden spoon across the bottom of the pan and rice separates cleanly, without any broth pooling in the bottom of the pot. Add in another ladle of broth and repeat the process until all of the broth has been added and the rice is creamy. This should take about 25 to 30 minutes. Stir in the remaining butter, cheese, thyme, and most of the onions. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top the risotto with the remaining onions and serve hot.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve been sharing tid-bits of what I’ve been loving in a series I’ve called Obsessed. The bummer about this series is that I boxed myself in with the title I chose and I feel like I have so much more to share with you about our little life here in CT than just what I’ve been obsessing over. I want to give you a snapshot of what makes me tick; a slice of my life, if you will. And I really want to hear what makes you guys tick too so feel free to chime in!
I’m a product of the 80s and 90s who grew up with parents whose music choices never really left the 60s and 70s. My mom was of the opinion that “this is my car and I choose the music.” You don’t mess with that. As a teenager, I fell in love with The Beatles and nearly wore the Red Album *cough* CDs out (if that was even possible). I never got tired of listening to Billy Joel either. These days I’m finding myself craving James Taylor and Simon and Garfunkel. I downloaded the Carole King and James Taylor Live at the Troubadour album over the weekend and omgomgomg I seriously can’t stop listening to it. My childhood wrapped up in one nice little package! I need to find the full PBS special and sit down with some coffee one night to watch the full show.
Beauty + Fashion Love:
Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream. I have some pretty strong reddish facial undertones and for a while, I’ve been looking for a cream foundation to use when I don’t feel like using powder. So after agonizing over the decision of which BB cream to try (hi. terrible decision-maker here.), I went with Clinique’s CC Cream after reading this guide and a ton of other info on the web. CC cream is sort of the next-gen of BB creams, incorporating the power to color correct (hence, CC) uneven and reddish skin tones. It’s a miracle cream for me! The cream blends flawlessly with my skin color and it’s so light that I don’t feel like I’m wearing anything. It also covers up all the reddish tones without looking like I’m wearing any cream at all. And with SPF 30? This stuff is amazing.
they’re real! by benefit. The best mascara I’ve ever tried. Ever. I was looking for a eyelash curler a couple months ago when one of the sales associates suggested this mascara instead. It layers on medium-thick but not at all clumpy and the little bristle tip at the end separates and lengthens the lashes. It is a little pricey for mascara but so worth it to me, considering I really only wear make-up on my eyes and my overall yearly make-up expenses are so insanely low. The large version (0.3 oz) lasted me 7 months.
Thanks to Annie for touting these headbands a few months back. I ordered a bunch of designs from Crimson Tate and am in love! They come in especially handy when my bangs grow out to that unsightly length between cuts.
It’s garden-prep time! We’re going to get our peas, tomatoes, and eggplant seeds started this weekend! What do you want to plant this spring/summer?
Trader Joe’s Toasted Coconut Cookie Thins. Oh.my.gah. I can’t get enough of these cookies! To me, they are sort of like the Milanos my mom used to hide from me and my brother in her purse: special little cookies that you’ll want to hog all to yourself. Hah! Also? Those chocolate-dipped Dunkers? Save me.
Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Hand Soap. Or more specifically, the honeysuckle scent. The honeysuckle is like late June country air in a dollop of hand soap. It’s heavenly and reminds me so much of driving down my grandma’s street with my mom – windows down with heads stuck out. And the apple? Dare I say it’s delicious? Seriously, it’s like fresh apples in a bottle and my mouth waters every time I wash my hands…which isn’t a bad thing since it makes me want to eat apples. I may or may not have bought a case of apple on Amazon. I’ll be in big trouble if this company ever comes out with a brownie scent.
Please tell me you’ve seen House of Cards if you’ve got Netflix? I don’t know how it happened but we got sucked into another amazing series and now we’re withdrawing from the binge of Seasons 1 and 2. Kevin Spacey is top notch here and Robin Wright is so evil she could pass for Cruella de Vil (even though she didn’t make The Huff Post’s list of potentials). Up next: Scandal.
Disclaimer: I do not have affiliations with any of the companies mentioned here nor was I compensated for touting any of these products. I just love this stuff and want to tell you all about it!
Even though I’m totally ready to shovel out the grill and make some chicken fajitas, this slow cooker beef chili is still a much more relevant meal for March in New England. And hey, with more snow forecast again this week (and maybe next week too!), I might just take advantage of this one-pot, cook-all-day-long recipe by busting out the slow cooker this week.
I made this slow cooker chili for my book club girlfriends a while back and since being out of the house for a minimum of 10 hours each day prevents me from being able to spend the time I want to devote to cooking a fantastic meal for them, I thought this would be perfect. Served up with lime tortilla chips and all of my favorite chili toppings, this chili knocked it out of the park on a cold night in with great friends and a few bottles of wine. And quite befitting of our group, where we always have more to talk about than the book itself, we lingered at the table over dinner and dessert, long into evening. A good night, and meal, with friends indeed.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, chili powder, tomato paste, cumin, red pepper flakes, and ¼ teaspoon salt, and cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions have softened. Stir in the diced tomatoes and their juices and scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
Transfer the onion mixture to the slow cooker and mix in the beans, tomato puree, soy sauce, oregano, sugar, and chipotle until evenly combined. Season the ground beef with salt and pepper (just on the exterior of the molded chuck of meat) and break it up into smaller pieces in the slow cooker while you stir it into the other ingredients. Cover and cook on 8-9 hours on low or 5-6 hours on high.
Before serving, skim off any visible fat floating on the top of the chili. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with toppings.
The name of this cookie definitely spells out what’s in the cookie but the combination all baked up – toasted coconut, melted chocolate, and a punch of coffee flavor – is something to behold. I couldn’t restrain from testing one straight from the oven and it nearly knocked my socks off. If you remember the toasted coconut chocolate chunk pancakes I made last year, these cookies are totally on the same level of deliciousness. Go make them now!
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract or flavor
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
Preheat oven to 350° F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, and espresso powder together in a medium bowl; set aside.
Beat the butter and sugars together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Blend in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix the vanilla and coconut extracts in until combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low until they are just incorporated into the batter. Stir in the chocolate chips and coconut either very briefly with the mixer on low or by hand.
Scoop out rounded 2-tablespoon-size portions of dough with a medium cookie scoop and place them on the cookie sheet (12 dough rounds per sheet). Bake for 13-15 minutes, until the cookies are set and lightly golden brown around the bottoms, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time. Transfer the sheets to wire cooking racks and allow the cookies to cool on the sheets for 5 minutes before transferring them to the racks to cool completely. Cookies will keep for 3-4 days at room temperature in a tightly sealed container.
It feels like sort of a mouthful of a title for this simple gnocchi dish but you certainly won’t be able to stop filling your mouth once you start eating it either. It’s sort of like when you get home from the grocery store after running a few errands and you have the make sure the Talenti didn’t melt too much…while you hover over the counter with a spoon that has a mind of its own. Yep, it’s just like that.
This brown butter Brussels sprouts gnocchi is a simple dish: shaved Brussels sprouts cooked up with fresh thyme in some brown butter, all poured oh so purposefully over a plate of homemade gnocchi and topped with salty Parmesan cheese. Yes, yes, you could use store-bought gnocchi (I hear Trader Joe’s brand is pretty good in a pinch) but if you’ve got some time, try making this gnocchi. If you really want pillowy puffs of potato dumplings, you’ll want to make your own (and hey – they freeze great too so make a big batch!). And since the Brussels sprouts equaled nearly a full serving of vegetables for this meal, I consider this a big-time win!
½ to ¾ cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting surface
For the brown butter sauce:
3 tbsp unsalted butter
4 oz Brussels sprouts, stems and outer leaves with dark spots removed and discarded, thinly sliced
2 tbsp fresh thyme, leaves removed from the stem - no need to chop
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan cheese, shaved or grated
To make the gnocchi: Bake potatoes in a preheated 400° F oven until they are baked through - 40 to 50 minutes. Allow them to cool for 10 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.
Peel and discard the skins and run the potatoes through a food mill or potato ricer set over a large bowl. Allow the fluffy potato to cool another 10 minutes before mixing in half of the beaten egg (discard the other half) and the salt with a rubber spatula. Stir in ¼ cup flour until combined. Continue mixing in flour by the ¼ cup until the dough is soft, tacky, and able to hold its shape. (I have made this recipe a couple times now and always need all of the flour.)
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it together briefly (less than a minute). Quarter the dough and roll one portion into a long rope, about ¾-inch in diameter. Cut the rope into ¾-inch pieces and transfer the pieces to the prepared baking sheet, spacing them so they don't touch. Repeat with the remaining portions of dough. Once you have cut up all of the dough, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
To make the sauce: While the water boils, make the sauce. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and add the butter. Allow the butter to melt and when brown bits start to form on the bottom of the pan, swirl the butter around the pan. Keep it moving until the butter is lightly golden brown. Lower the heat to medium and toss in the shaved Brussels sprouts and thyme - take care as they may splatter - and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, tossing frequently. Season with a pinch of salt and a few cranks of freshly ground black pepper. In this time, the butter will continue to brown and the Brussels sprouts will crisp up a little. Turn off the heat but leave the pan on the stove top.
Once the water boils, carefully drop in the gnocchi and cook until they float, about 2 to 3 minutes once the water starts to boil again. With a slotted spoon, scoop them out of the water, allow them to drain off over the pot, and add the gnocchi directly to the pan with the brown butter. When all of the gnocchi have been added, turn the heat back up to medium to warm the butter for just a minute or so while you toss the gnocchi around in the pan. Transfer the gnocchi and the sauce to two plates and top with Parmesan cheese before serving hot.