Crockpot Mexican Qunioa with Butternut Squash

Sunday Crockpot Day!! I had a lazy morning followed by a busy afternoon and evening.. Hello Crockpot! I have never done Quinoa in the crockpot before, but this turned out fantastic! And the extra veggies makes it super healthy!
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I start with 1 cup dry quinoa in the bottom of the crock pot. I then but 1lb of raw ground turkey on top. You could easily replace this with soy crumbles or omit it all together to make this Vegan. I then added cubed raw butternut squash. Butternut squash is a little easier than spaghetti squash, it has hardly any insides to scrape out. I simply chop off the ends, stand it up and peel it down the sides.

I then added 1 can of black beans – DRAINED AND RINSED, 1 can of diced tomatoes with jalapenos – UN-DRAINED, 1 can white corn – UN-DRAINED, 1/2 bag of frozen diced onions, 1/2 bag of frozen diced green peppers. You could do these fresh as well, I just always have the frozen ones on hand, saves time and money. I then topped the whole thing with my taco seasoning: Garlic, Salt, Pepper, Chili Powder, LOTS of Cumin, Paprika, Small Red Cayenne Pepper, and Tajin. I then poured 2 cups of water over the top, closed the lid and cooked it on high for around 5 hours.

It was perfection!!!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried quiona
  • 1 lb ground turkey or vegetable protein (optional)
  • 1/2 butternut squash roughly chopped
  • 1 can drained black beans, rinsed well
  • 1 can corn with liquid
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with jalapenos with liquid
  • 1 cup frozen diced onions or fresh diced onions
  • 1 cup frozen diced green peppers or fresh diced green peppers
  • taco seasoning packet or the mix listed above – go nuts! its always going to be good!
  • 2 cups of water

Add chips and any other toppings you like, put it on a salad, wrap it in a tortilla, freeze it for later!!! Its a hearty and healthy dish. ENJOY!

What are your healthy crockpot go to recipes?? I would love to try them!!

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Turkey Cauliflower Tacos

This is a pretty simple one, so naturally I’m going to blog about it. I love turkey meat in tacos because its much leaner and healthier. And also a frozen block of turkey meat thrown into a med hi pan and covered cooks all the way through in about 10 minutes. Frozen solid beef however, takes about twenty. I also like that it can be easily ground into smaller bits, especially for tacos.

Adding in cauliflower is an easy way to sneak in a few extra veggies for my family, and they are cheap and stretch my taco meat into making more for everyone!

First lets talk about how I freeze my ground meats. I buy 3 or 5 pounds at a time. 1lb of meat will fit in a sandwich sized ziploc bag. I put them in the freezer flat and thin like books. And no I don’t buy the “freezer” bags. They only stay in the freezer for a week or two before we eat them all, so no need for pricey bags as theres not enough time for freezer burn anyway. I find this saves me a little money, and a little time.

Okay so one brick of turkey meat, frozen in a covered med-hi heated pan. I cover it with chopped onions, salt, pepper and either salsa or a can of diced mexican tomatoes. I love to add Herdez Salsa Casera, its seriously the best salsa too cook with because it has very little sugar. I also add my blend of seasonings instead of a taco seasoning packet, that again has who knows what and unneeded salt and sugar. Here is the list of things I toss in, and is always delicious in anything mexican.

Salt, Pepper, Chili Powder, Cumin (loads), Paprika, Cayenne (very small amount), Garlic, and Tajin. If you don’t know what Tajin is, you’ve got to try it! Its a bit of spice with lots of dehydrated lime in it. It adds a zing to any dish or is fantastic in a margarita.IMG_20170714_205119_602

After I have added all of the above in the pan with the onions, I then add the frozen cauliflower cover and walk away. Everyone juices right up, and in about 15mins the meat, onions and cauliflower are cooked through.

I serve this with rice and beans or even just chips. Its delicious and a family favorite.

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How do you make your ingredients stretch? What do you put in your tacos? I’d love to know! Follow me on Instagram! Link above!!

Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs

I love this recipe. It takes a little longer to cook, but its one you can walk away from. I hate babysitting the oven. This is also a GREAT alternative to pasta, which I eat way too much of anyway. And for me to say its a good alternative says something, because I do LOVE pasta.

First lets discuss the spaghetti squash. It’s the YELLOW one shaped like a small oblong watermelon. There are several usually grouped together, but this one in particular is more of a SUMMER squash, thus its light texture and flavor vs the butternut or acorn squash that are WINTER squashes with dense heavy flesh, and more of a sweet potato taste. All great. But obviously the SPAGHETTI SQUASH is for SPAGHETTI. Duh.

All of these are cooked the same way in my house. First I grab a BIG knife. And I cut it down the middle long ways. These squashes do not saw like pumpkins!! I kind of stab it and move it a little down and stab it again, and wiggle the sturdy big knife to make it crack a little, and move my knife further down. So stab and crack, stab and crack. Eventually you’ll make it all the way around, and be left with two oblong halves. Scoop out the seeds and the slimy bits, doesn’t take very long, and a soup spoon works great. 20170712_22295520170712_22304820170712_223124

 

I season these clean halves with a small drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper, then place them face down in any dish. I like to cover mine with aluminum for easy clean up later, and about a half cup of water in the bottom. Basically the water steams up, helping keep the skin and flesh soft to scoop out.

 

I bake this at 400ºF for around an hour. I know its done when the top of the squash skin is sagging down into the squash and when I poke it, its soft. Like a baked potato.20170712_223158

 

And wham! Done! There are a thousand things you can do with this beautiful roasted squash. The spaghetti and meatballs is one of my family’s favorites.

While that’s roasting in the oven, I go about making my spaghetti sauce. I’m sure most people have their own special way of doing it, but this is mine. Keep it simple.

I take a generic jar of sauce. I really strive to buy the cheapest one–WITH the least amount of sugar. Some of those sauces have 10g of sugar per 1/2 cup serving. ??? I’d rather save my sugar intake for dessert. So I get a jar of decent sauce. I also keep canned tomatoes and minced garlic around, and onions, peppers and zucchini’s and mushrooms depending on my grocery store selection. I also buy pre-made meat balls. I’m sure they’re gross, and here I am preaching about sugar in the sauce and god only knows what the hell is in those frozen meatballs. But I’ll be damned if they aren’t quick, tasty and cheap. Judge all you want, but I can’t afford to be top shelf on everything.

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I love to make sauce in my dutch oven pot thing. I always wanted one of these, because every chef on TV uses one, for just about everything. But any pot will do. The rest is simple. In a medium heated pot goes the olive oil, to cook the onions and peppers, then the softies like zucchini, squash, and mushrooms. When they’re almost done, in goes the super wimpy softie, garlic. Then when they’re all happy and mostly cooked, I like to add butter, because why not. And some salt and pepper. I then add those frozen balls of  mystery meat deliciousness. I let them get pretty warmed up, and pour in my sauce and a can of Italian tomatoes. I also then fill the sauce jar with about half cup of water, shake it up, and pour that in too. You wouldn’t believe how much sauce your wasting by throwing out that un-rinsed jar! And the extra bit of water seems to really help my sauce. Sounds weird, but it works. Then they just cook along on med -low stirring less than occasionally until the squash is done.

I just added the sauce on the squash and baked it with the cheese until melted. It was so easy, the foil was already lined in my pan! After I melted the cheese I just scooped out heavy portions for everyone in a bowl, served salad and called it a night. Delicious, mostly nutritious and CHEAP.

 

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Ingredients

  • 1 spaghetti squash per 3-4 people, 2 people if you’re really hungry
  • 1 jar of your favorite sauce
  • 1 can of Italian tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 green pepper (or a cup of frozen peppers – try these. cheap and EASY)
  • 1 pkg mushrooms
  • 2 small zucchini’s
  • 2 small yellow squash
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil, for roasting the squash and for starting the sauce
  • 1 tbsp butter – not required, just can’t seem to help myself
  • frozen meatballs – I used a fourth of a very very large bag. probably half a regular grocery store bag.
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

What are some of your favorite healthy substitutes?? I’d love to try them!! Follow me on Instagram Link on my page!