Roasted Vegetables + Lemon Feta Quinoa

Well it's Tuesday and I don't know about you but I feel as though it should be Thursday, no? Last night I worked a little late, came home and caught up on Shameless followed by Castle. Is anyone watching these shows? Castle is one of my favorites (can never get enough Nathan Fillion) and this week's Shameless really solidified its place in our TV viewing schedule.

Aside from wishing the weekend would hurry up, I want to tell you about how I hate cold lunch. It's true. I'm a hot lunch kind of girl. I'm typically not a big salad eater, unless its accompanied by something else on the side. So in order to keep the whole bring-your-lunch-to-work thing going, sometimes I have to get a little creative.

My current love? Roasted vegetables and lemon feta quinoa. Both can be made on Sunday and packed away for a few days of lunches. Oh and they couldn't be easier.

Lemon Feta Quinoa
1 shallot, finely diced
1 C quinoa
2 C vegetable broth (though since the cans are sold in 14 oz, I use that and a 1/4 C water to make up the diff)
1 lemon
1 tsp dried basil
1/3 C crumbled feta cheese
olive oil + light butter

In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil and butter. Add the shallots and cook a few minutes until soft. Pour in the vegetable broth and quinoa. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Cover and turn the heat to simmer for about 15 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Stir in the juice of 1 lemon, basil and feta.

I also think this would be utterly fabulous with some chopped up tomatoes, string beans, asparagus or any other green vegetable! Perhaps even some spinach or kale!

Roasted Vegetables
*Adapted from Cooking Light
3 sweet potatoes, cubed
3-4 parsnips (depending on size - I had particularly dinky parsnips for this batch), peeled and sliced
1 1/2-2 C carrots, sliced
1 onion, chopped into cubes
1/4 C honey
3 tbsp olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and prep your vegetables.

With all vegetables chopped up, mix them together in a big mixing bowl. Add honey, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Coat a baking dish with cooking spray. Pour in the vegetables.

Roast for about 30 minutes or more, depending on size of the vegetables and until they are tender and starting to carmelize.

These are so delicious and reheat in a snap in the microwave. The honey really brings out the sweetness in these vegetables while the onion balances that out. Paired with a piece or fruit or Greek yogurt, this is a fabulous, filling and well-rounded lunch!

So there you have it. Two easy peasy recipes that are perfect for a quick lunch or even a weeknight dinner! What do you think? And for the question of the day: Are you a cold or hot lunch person? What are your go-to's?

What We Ate Last Week

Well friends, let's just say that the Humiston house is a depressed one this morning after last night's Jets game. Luckily I didn't add fuel to the fire with a lame-o, faux green cake...

but overall, the Jets loss was one giant bummer.

On a more exciting note, today marks the end of meatless week. I've learned a few things over the last week:

1. Giving up meat was not very difficult. We found so many other options to keep us on track that I didn't once miss chicken, ground turkey or even burgers.

2. It's all about the plan. I had a pretty tight meal plan for the week and even when it got side tracked (by my refusal to cook on Friday evening after work), we still had no problems keeping the course.

3. I don't think I could ever give up meat forever. While I'm not planning to run right out for a chicken sandwich this afternoon, I still maintain that I could never truly give up meat for good. I love meatballs. And a solid steak. And dang it, I love a good cheeseburger. But I can certainly cut some of the daily meat-intake  out in favor of a more veggie-based diet. After all, I lost 3 lbs this week, so that has to mean something.

So want to know how it went down? Here's what we ate over the last week.

What We Ate Last Week
Lunch: peanut butter & jelly on a sandwich thin, 2 clementines
Dinner: mushroom and onion frittata with broccoli and cauliflower

Lunch: Black-eyed pea & kale soup, roasted sweet potatoes, parsnips & carrots
Dinner: My bro-in-law was over so the boys ordered pizza. I stole a small slice and had a little brown rice & bean casserole.

Lunch: Brown rice & bean casserole and roasted sweet potatoes, parsnips and carrots were involved.
Dinner: I had dinner at La Carbonara with a good friend. We shared a buffalo mozzarella and tomato salad and for dinner, I had rigatoni with eggplant, tomatoes and fresh ricotta. Definitely not missing meat here.

Lunch: I was in Philly for work and had a tomato and mozzarella sandwich with salad.
Dinner: Homemade pizza. I picked up some whole wheat pizza dough, layered on some sauce, low fat cheese and mushrooms.

Lunch: Black-eyed pea & kale soup
Dinner: I originally planned to make a vegetable stir fry but refused to cook, so we ordered Indian food. We got a palak paneer (spinach with cheese cubes), an okra and cauliflower dish and garlic naan.

Lunch: We were on the go, so we had some bananas, Babybel cheese and clementines. (This is not recommended as a full lunch! We were starving and super sleepy after a morning workout)
Dinner: We went to Cara Mia in NYC - I had eggplant parm, he had a mushroom papardelle dish.

Lunch: I made yummy eggs, toast, and cut up fruit for brunch, post-gym.
Dinner - We had a hodge podge of game day eats, including crab dip, homemade potato chips and coconut shrimp.

So there you have it. The roundup of our Meatless Challenge. Oh and to add more protein, we ate a lot of Chobani Greek yogurt. Overall, both Shaun and I loved all the food that we ate this week! We tried lots of new dishes and kept it interesting. So what do you think? Did you eat any new/fun/exciting dishes over the last week?

Black-Eyed Pea + Kale Soup

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Shaun and I are still going strong with our meat-free eating. I’ve been downing lots of fruits, veggies and Chobani yogurt, not to mention very lightly salted fresh popcorn for snack. On the morning of day 4, I’m starting to realize a few things:

1. Today I’m heading to Philly for a business trip and was initially wishing for a Philly cheesesteak. I know Shaun is secretly hoping I’d bring some home for us.

2. I don’t really miss meat. You know, aside from the above.

3. I’m very hungry. I had zumba and pilates on Tuesday night (which rocked my world) but yesterday I was ready to chop up my desk and start downing it, Cookie Monster-style.

4. I have significantly less energy. Though I think this is caused by the overall lack of protein, aside from some beans and Greek yogurt. Whew! I knew I made a mistake by not accounting for the lack of protein I’d be getting, but I swear, getting out of bed yesterday I thought my legs were filled with lead.

5. I’m kind of into the less meat thing and once I get some of the kinks worked out (like wanting to nap all day long), I feel confident that this might actually work.

So that aside, I’m excited to share another delectable recipe that I got from my Food Network Magazine. It was chock full of great stuff this month!

I had been wanting to experiment with kale so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity. It’s kind of like spinach but...different. Leafier. But tasty. I also love black-eyed peas (not to be confused with my hatred for actual peas). I whipped up this soup on Monday evening so that the man and I would have lunch for a couple of days. And guess what? It was good! And filling! And meatless! We all win! Hurrah!

Black-Eyed Pea + Kale Soup
*Adapted from Food Network Magazine
3 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 small onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, chopped with ribs & seeds removed
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Kosher salt
Black pepper
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 ½ teaspoon paprika
2 14 oz cans low-sodium vegetable broth
1 pound kale, ribs/stems removed and roughly chopped
1 can black-eyed peas
Parmesean cheese, for serving if desired
Brown rice, for serving if desired

In a large pot (I used my big stockpot, though an oversized saucepan would work too), heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the flour and mix until combined and golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add the onion, pepper, celery garlic, 3 tbsp water, ¼ tsp kosher salt and few hits of black pepper.

Continue cooking on medium heat until the veggies are very tender, about 7-8 minutes. Add the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and paprika, stirring to combine. Add the 2 cans of vegetable broth and mix altogether, scraping up the brown bits of delicious on the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil.

I used this opportunity to rinse and chop up the kale. I simply ran my knife along both sides of the stem to remove the leaves and then bundled it all up to give it a nice rough chop.

Add it to the soup along with a can of drained black-eyed peas. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover with the lid slightly ajar so that steam can escape. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.

To make the rice, I simply cooked it in some veggie broth and put a little scoop into the soup to serve. Shaun had the idea to put a few parmesean shavings on top.

So there it is a soup-er dish. Did I take it too far? It's not overly brothy, so if you want it that way, I recommend adding more vegetable broth during the cooking. In the shot above, most of the broth sunk down over the rice - but it was pretty fabulous this way. So what do you think? Have you ever tried kale? And any tips to share about getting more protein sans meat?ο»Ώ