Chipotle’s Cilantro Lime Rice

Sometimes rice can be a little bland, which is why I love Chipotle’s cilantro lime rice–it is SO flavorful! If you are looking for a great addition to your Mexican dinner night, you need to make this rice. It will kick your tacos or rice bowls up a notch!

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All that’s required to totally transform your rice are a few simple ingredients: fresh cilantro, lime juice, and oil. After cooking your rice, simply toss it together with those 3 ingredients and all of a sudden you will have Chipotle-style rice ready for eating! We love it with my easy crockpot Mexican shredded chicken for tacos, rice bowls, quesadillas, etc.

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I used brown rice because it is much more nutritious, but you can certainly use white rice or whatever your favorite is! Also, honestly, the cilantro measurement is really an estimate–I LOVE cilantro and sometimes add more. I like to make sure every bite will be speckled with the green herb, but if you are not as big of a fan of the flavor I’d definitely stick to just the 3 tbsp. You can always taste it and add more if you think it needs it!IMG_20140219_175001827_HDR
Chipotle’s Cilantro Lime Rice

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups cooked brown (or white) rice
  • 1/2 lime, juice of
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tsp oil
  • salt, to taste

1). Prepare rice according to package directions.

2). In a bowl, mix together the hot rice, lime juice, cilantro, oil, and salt. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.

Serving size: 1/2 cup cooked rice. Servings: about 6. Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 163 Carbs: 33g Fat: 1g Protein: 4g Fiber: 2g Points+:4

Recipe adapted from: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2009/03/chipotle-cilantro-lime-rice-4-pts.html

Crock Pot Pinto Beans

I may never buy canned beans ever again after having made this recipe!! It does not get any cheaper, faster, or tastier than this. So long sodium-ridden canned pinto beans, hello crock pot beans!

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This recipe may or may not be as earth-shattering for you as it was for me. I have always been a bit intimidated when it comes to preparing dry beans. I didn’t want to bother having to remember to let them soak over night to be able to cook them for dinner the next day. For years I have been buying the canned beans and rinsing them a profusely in hopes of washing off the sodium. After my husband and I got married, my wonderful mother-in-law told me about making beans in the crock pot. It has been in the back of my mind until this past week, when I finally made them. These have SO much more flavor than what you get in the can! And they are so much cheaper! Win-win. There is half a seeded jalapeño in this batch to add a very subtle kick, but they are not spicy at all!

These pinto beans are vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, and fat free! This recipe also makes a lot, so if you have a small family you may want to cut the recipe in half.

My crock pot cooked these beans perfectly in just 3.5 hours on high. I would suggest checking on them after 3-3.5 hours, but depending on your slow cooker you may need to add additional time.

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Easy Crock Pot Pinto Beans

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 onion peeled and halved
  • 1.5 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed
  • 1/2 large jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2.5 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 5 cups water

1) Rinse pinto beans and place in crock pot with all remaining ingredients.

2) Turn crock pot to high and let cook for around 3.5 hours. If possible, stir occasionally. Beans should  be soft and a lot of the water should have evaporated but you don’t want them to turn to mush, so I would check them around 3 hours, then 3.5 hours and if they aren’t done let them go up to 4 hours. You want them to be soft so they melt in your mouth!

Servings: 12. Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 34 Carbs: 12gh Fat: 0g Protein: 4g Sugar: 1g Fiber: 7g

WW PP: 2 Old points: 0!

Recipe adapted from: http://www.theaprongal.com/2012/05/crock-pot-pinto-beans.html 

Farmer’s Market Quinoa

Audrey’s Apron has a fresh new look for spring! Let me know what you think of the new blog design!

Spring finally feels like it is here (or maybe summer…it’s in the mid 80’s in Georgia today!) and farmer’s markets are a bustling place on Saturday mornings! If you are in need of a healthy side dish or need to clean out your fridge of a random assortment of vegetables from your last trip, you must try this recipe!

There are so many things I adore about this dish:

#1. I love quinoa (and shared some of the health benefits associated with it in this post.)

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#2. It is BEAUTIFUL! Look how colorful and bright the red of the tomatoes is when paired against the vibrant yellow corn and deep green spinach! You just know it is going to taste delicious.

#3. The homemade “dressing” is actually oil-free. The lemon juice and zest make the quinoa tangy and delicious.

#4. You can use whatever vegetables you have on hand…thus the title of the recipe! Extra zucchini, squash, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, etc., are all welcome to this skillet quinoa. Herbs too. Fresh basil, oregano, parsley…or dried. Whatever. The quinoa provides a blank canvas for you to be as creative as you would like to be!

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While I do not think this dish is complicated or labor-intensive, keep in mind it will take at least 25 minutes to make because the quinoa requires 20. Once the veggies are sauteed and the quinoa is cooked, combine them in a giant skillet with the dressing and serve.

This can easily be a main dish for vegetarians (use vegetable broth or water instead of chicken broth), and even vegan by using agave nectar instead of honey and omitting the feta cheese. As a side dish this serves about 7 people, so it is perfect for a large family or if you would like to have leftovers throughout the week!

Farmer’s Market Quinoa

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 3/4 cup low-sodium fat free chicken broth (or vegetable broth, or water)
  • 1 tablespoon EVOO
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach (or zucchini, etc.)
  • 2 ears or about 1 1/2 cups sweet corn (if using canned, rinse and drain first)
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat crumbled feta
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped (or 1 tablespoon dried)

For the Honey Lemon Vinaigrette:

  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced or microplaned
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

1). In a medium sauce pan, bring chicken broth to a boil. Add quinoa, cover, and reduce heat to low. Let simmer for about 20 minutes or until broth is absorbed.

2) For the vinaigrette: whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.

3). In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and sautee for about 30 seconds. Add corn, green onions, fresh spinach and season with salt and pepper. Sautee until barely tender, about 4 minutes. Add cooked quinoa and half the honey lemon vinaigrette. Stir and cook for about 1 more minute.*

4) Add remaining vinaigrette, tomatoes, feta cheese, and basil to the skillet. Mix well and taste for seasoning preferences. Enjoy!

*If you want to make this a cold salad, cool cooked quinoa and veggies separately, then mix with the remaining vinaigrette, tomatoes, feta cheese, and basil, and chill completely.

 

Serves: about 7 as a side dish. Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 184. Fat: 5g Carbs: 28g Protein: 6g Sodium: 160 mg

Recipe adapted from: http://iowagirleats.com/2012/05/14/farmers-market-recipe-collection-farmers-market-skillet/ 

 

Cool Couscous Salad

Chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, chickpeas, and a homemade vinaigrette are tossed together with whole wheat couscous to make this delicious side salad!

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As many of you probably know, couscous is a super tiny pasta that cooks very quickly. Literally, in about 5 minutes it can be ready to go! Couscous can be very nutritious depending on how you prepare it and the type you buy. I always select the whole wheat. I almost compare this dish to an interesting twist on a traditional pasta salad, but honestly it is so much better than that! This recipe stands alone for uniqueness and taste. It is much lighter than a traditional pasta salad due to the homemade vinaigrette, and the fresh vegetables explode with refreshing flavor in every bite!  In addition to the bright taste from the vegetables, the balsamic vinaigrette adds a tangy flavor that is offset beautifully by the feta cheese. I used reduced fat feta crumbles that I sprinkled on top and then mixed into the salad.

Keep in mind this is a great option to bring to your next gathering because it serves a huge crowd and can be made the night before! You can make the vinaigrette, cook the couscous, chop your veggies, and mix them in a bowl ahead of time. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. This side can be served cold or at room temperature.

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My dear friend Jana passed along the base of this recipe to me back in college. I altered it quite a bit, and today it is still one of our favorites! Thank you, Jana!

Cool Couscous Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 box whole wheat couscous, prepared
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 4 oz reduced fat feta cheese
  • Lettuce leaves (optional)

For the vinaigrette:

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

1). In a small saucepan, bring water to boil. Stir in couscous. Cover and remove from heat; let stand 4-10 min or until water is absorbed. Fluff with fork; Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hr.

2). Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette: mix together the olive oil, balsamic, honey, dijon mustard, salt, and pepper until well combined.

3). In a large bowl, combine the garbanzo beans, cucumber, tomato, and couscous. Pour vinaigrette over mixture and toss to coat. Place lettuce leaves on plates. Top with couscous mixture; sprinkle with feta cheese.

Serving size: 1/2 cup. Servings: 16. Nutritional Information per serving: Calories: 174 Fat: 9g Carbs: 20g Protein: 5g Sugar: 4g Sodium: 334 mg