Black Bean Quinoa Burgers



First off, these are called burgers.. but they are NOTHING like a burger. They are closer to a patty. And have NO meat. Quinoa is an excellent source of protein as well as black beans. SO, these two together are protein packed and also great as a side for breakfast. They are so quick and pretty tasty.

What you will need:
1 cup of cooked/cooled quinoa  (its fine if its not entirely cooled- but if its too hot it could cook the egg)
2 cans of black beans
various colors of peppers ( I used 6 small colored peppers)
1 tablespoon of crushed garlic
2-3 eggs
3 stalks of chopped green onion
3/4 cups of dried breadcrumbs (I ran out but used crackers pulsed in the food processor)
*optional: cheese, avocado, your favorite salsa... the possibilities are endless!

**This is enough for 4 adults and possibly a few kiddies... if you are making this for 2-def  cut everything in 1/2. You can always make this amount, form the patties, use wax paper to store and freeze them in quality tupperware. And defrost when you need them. :)

**You can def get creative and use any veggie in the patties that processes well. Zucchini, carrots, peppers, mushrooms... it's up to what you like or as is the case in my home, whatever I seem to have on hand.

Drain and rinse your black beans- put them through a food processor to break them down- not to a complete puree, leave them a course chop.

Food process your peppers, green onions and garlic.
Adding everything to one large bowl

In a large bowl toss in beans, pepper/green onion/garlic mixture, breadcrumbs, cooked quinoa. Beat eggs and add to the bowl now mixing all the ingredients. Add a 1/2 tablespoon of salt and as much cracked pepper as your palate prefers.
(optional flavor trick- I have a go to green salsa from Trader Joe's I sometimes use in this mixture to bump up the flavor, as well as add it to the finished product as garnish/flavor... your palate will determine your preference.)

Everything mixed

In a large saucepan liberally coat the pan with EVOO on medium heat. Form patties no bigger than the palm of your hand. Place them in the medium heat and cover for 4-5 minutes then flip. Watch the heat... the quinoa can burn if your heat is too high- and you def want to cook this for that time b/c of the raw egg.
Finished product w/out cheese or salsa. 

When you have browned both sides serve with veggies/salad of your choice. Garnish with your favorite cheese, avocado, and salsa.

 Bueno Provecho!

Warm Chicken Quinoa Salad



Quinoa is an amazing grain to add to your diet. It is VERY high in protein and is the best choice when it comes to grains you want to choose for your pantry, even over brown rice. It also doesn't leave you feeling heavy like rice or pasta does. It's a wonderful blank canvas that you can add so many things to.  A quick tip, I bought a bag at a local grocery store and it set me back close to $11. I went to Big Lots and they had the same bag for $3... so, if you find someone who says its too expensive to eat well, tell them they need to do their HW. Nothing of value comes easy... that includes taking control of your health!
With all that said :) here's an EASY and fresh salad I think is perfect for all year around. This recipe yielded approx. 4 medium sized servings. But I was using leftover chicken and made too much quinoa, so I suggest doubling everything except the quinoa.

1/2 cup of Quinoa (it doubles once cooked)
*optional- I season the water with a pinch of Chicken Bouillon

2tsp EVOO
TJ's Green Salsa
1 avocado
2 cups chopped or shredded chicken (I had 1/2 of a SMALL store roasted chicken, and used that)
1 green onion sprig
6-7sprigs of fresh cilantro chopped
1 1/2 cups (or more depending on your palate, we like to add more veggies) chopped veggies
  *I purchased a mixed bag of veggies that included purple onion, green/red peppers

OPTIONAL- I used a jalapeño for heat.. if you have a lighter palate omit it.
Also, I keep jars of Trader Joe's green Salsa on hand, it is incredibly fresh and a good way to add a lot of flavor in a cost effective way. I HIGHLY suggest keeping a bottle on hand. You can always use what you need and freeze small amounts in baggies/tupperware if you aren't a salsa family. This one is fairly mild in flavor.
Salt/Pepper to taste

Cooking Quinoa is fairly simple. The bag usually gives you cooking directions but if you happen to buy it in larger quantity at markets who sell it by the barrel... it's a 2:1 ratio.
So, boil 1 CUP of water (add bouillon if you have it, if not no biggie), add 1/2 cup quinoa cover it with a lid and leave it to simmer for 12 mins. DO NOT OPEN IT! Until 12 mins are up...
After 12 minutes, I realized I needed to let it sit for a few minutes b/c I added a little too much water.

Meanwhile add EVOO in a large saucepan and chopped veggies, cilantro, jalapeño, generous pinch of salt/pepper and sauté until onion starts to look translucent, about 5 min on medium heat. Add chicken and heat through for about 2 mins. Add 1/2 cup of TJ's green salsa, and stir.

Ready to saute 
Quinoa should be cooked, use a spoon/fork to fluff up and pour it into a large bowl. Add chicken-veggie mixture and mix through. CAUTION do NOT over mix it, or it will look like mush, it will taste fine but no one wants to look at mush right?!
Taste it, if it needs salt or pepper add it a pinch at a time. And continue to taste until it reaches your liking. I like to add more fresh cilantro ( I'm obsessed w/ cilantro) and a bit more TJ's salsa. If you feel it needs a bit of EVOO to soften it up, that works too, just watch your hand.
Salad ready to eat! All it needs is avocado :)

Serve salad with slices of avocado and voila!

To bump up the health factor I serve this with a spinach salad.. I have previously made this salad with zucchini, carrots... different veggies. You really can't go wrong- any veggie you choose... with the exception of asparagus.

Zuppa Toscana 2.0


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My friend Jamie made this soup for us a while back, and I wasn't sure I would like it because it has garbanzo beans, and I'm not much of a garbanzo bean kind of person. BUT, it is such a great blend of flavors that I happily filled my tummy to the brim with this soup and didn't even mind the fact that it didn't have the usual cream the soup calls for. In fact, I dare to say this version is my favorite... Jamie, you win!
All games aside, Jamie is an amazing cook, and I can't wait to blog his version of white lasagna which we were invited to try last night and it BLEW me away.. I woke up counting down the minutes until leftovers for lunch..ahh I digress, with that said here's the Katie version of  the new and improved payanx version of zuppa toscana.

1 medium onion chopped
1 bay leaf
3 Hot Italian Sausages (usually they come in 1lb. pkg I used 1/2 and froze the remainder, also if you aren't a spicy kind of person just opt for a mild spice)
2  chopped/minced garlic
Pinch of salt and pepper
1 tablespoon EVOO
1 32oz carton of chicken stock
1 15oz can of garbanzo beans rinsed
6 roughly chopped fingerling potatoes OR 1 large russet diced with skin ON ( chopped about the size of a large grape)
3-4 cups of washed/roughly chopped kale: I buy the prepackaged Trader Joe's Kale.. save yourself the time! You use 1/2 the bag.

In a large stock pot on medium heat sautee EVOO, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, bay leaf. Let onion get slightly transulcent, add spicy sausage and use the spoon to break apart the sausage. When sausage has cooked, add chopped potatoes, chicken broth and garbanzos. Let this come to a boil allowing the potatoes to fully cook. Turn heat to LOW and add chopped kale, cover with a lid and let the steam soften the kale, mix it a few times over so the kale can get covered in broth. Simmer on low until you are ready to serve.
Before you serve it make sure to DISCARD the BAY LEAF.

Simmering and ready to be devoured!