Autumn Quinoa with Kale, Cranberries, and Golden Beets

Autumn Quinoa with Kale, Cranberries, and Golden Beets

*Please note: This post is sponsored by TruRoots. I have received compensation for this post, but all content and opinions are my own.

It’s official. As of last Friday, FALL IS HERE!!!

So let’s waste no time jumping right into delectable fall goodies.

Like this Autumn Quinoa Salad with Kale, Cranberries, and Golden beets.

Autumn Quinoa with Kale, Cranberries, and Golden Beets

Whole grain salads are one of my favorite things to make each fall.

They’re so easy to throw together, and can be customized to feature whatever vegetables look the best at the market that day.

Since they can make a HUGE batch, they’re perfect for when you have family and friends over for pumpkin carving, or even just to cook up on Sunday and feed yourself for lunch all week!

Plus, since the weather is cooling down, you don’t have to worry so much about turning on the oven, so you can incorporate some deliciously roasted vegetables into your dish. (Not gunna lie, I look forward to those all summer!)

While you can certainly throw together a pilaf with any whole grain, I really like to use TruRoots Organic Quinoa. (Save 30% now when you purchase through this offer at Target!)

It’s organic, pre-washed, and ready in just 15 minutes. Plus you can stock up and buy the gigantic 2lb package that will last you forever.

Autumn Quinoa with Kale, Cranberries, and Golden Beets

I’m dropping some nutrition nerdiness right now.

Did you know that quinoa is one of the few complete protein sources for vegetarians?

This means that quinoa has all the essential amino acids (the ones you have to get in your diet since your body can’t make them) in each and every grain, just like animal products!

This also means it’s nice and filling, and will keep you satisfied for hours.

Autumn Quinoa with Kale, Cranberries, and Golden Beets

Want to whip up this delicious quinoa pilaf?

It’s ready in about an hour, and is pretty freaking easy!

Simply cook the quinoa in a rice cooker or on the stove, roast some cauliflower and golden beets, and toss together with some nuts, seeds, cranberries, and cheese. Drizzle with a homemade lemon honey dressing, and you’re done!

 

5 from 2 votes
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Autumn Quinoa with Kale, Cranberries, and Golden Beets
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
1 hrs
 
Servings: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 4 golden beets, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 10 oz bag of pre-chopped curly kale
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 10 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup roasted salted pepitas
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 7 oz Gruyere cheese, diced
  • 1 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. First, cook the quinoa in 3 cups of water until tender and the water is absorbed (about 15-20 minutes). I used a rice cooker so I could set it and forget it, but you can also cook it on the stovetop. To do so, place the quinoa and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover the saucepan, and cook until the quinoa is tender and the water is absorbed. When the quinoa is done cooking, fluff it with a fork and transfer to a large serving bowl. 

  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the chopped cauliflower and beets on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss the veggies to coat evenly, then shake to redistribute across the baking sheet. Place in the oven and roast for 20-25 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and golden. When they are done, add the vegetables to the large serving bowl with the quinoa. 

  3. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the kale and sliced garlic. Saute, stirring often to prevent the garlic from burning, until the kale is bright green and just tender (about 5 minutes). Add the kale and garlic to the bowl with the quinoa and roasted vegetables.

  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, and honey. Season with a sprinkle of kosher salt and ground black pepper.

  5. Add the almonds, pepitas, cranberries, gruyere, and Parmesan cheese to the serving bowl and pour the dressing on top. Toss until well combined. Taste and season with salt and pepper to your liking. Serve right away!

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Chicken Breasts with Balsamic Mushrooms

Pan Seared Chicken Breasts with Balsamic Mushrooms

It’s been awhile since I’ve added a new chicken recipe to my dinner repertoire.

But chicken is such an easy weeknight choice.

I always keep a few pounds of frozen chicken in the freezer for dinner emergencies.

It can be baked from frozen, or defrosted and quickly added to curries, stir fries, pasta dishes, or anything, really! You can even plop frozen chicken breasts in a pot of boiling water, cook until no longer pink, and then shred the meat for easy salad mix-ins or protein for wraps.

Chicken Breasts with Balsamic Mushrooms

For this recipe, you better bet I utilized my frozen chicken stash.

Once the chicken is defrosted, this meal comes together in just 45 minutes.

Simply dredge the chicken in flour, pan sear until golden, toss in some mushrooms and garlic, then balsamic, broth, and herbs. Cook down into a sauce & finish with a pat of butter.

Easy. Delicious. Yummy.

This meal is comfort food in one pan.

Pan Seared Chicken Breasts with Balsamic Mushrooms - by dietitian Erica Julson

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Pan Seared Chicken Breasts with Balsamic Mushrooms
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 
Servings: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 medium boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • 12 ounces white button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Instructions
  1. Season the chicken breasts on both sides with a sprinkle of kosher salt and pepper.

  2. Spread the flour out on a large plate and sprinkle with salt and pepper. One at a time, dip the chicken breasts in the flour, turning to coat. Shake lightly to remove any excess, then set the chicken breast aside on a clean plate. Repeat with all 4 chicken breasts.

  3. Add the oil to a large nonstick skillet and warm over medium-high heat. Add the chicken breasts to the pan, and cook on one side for about 6 minutes, until nicely golden brown. 

  4. Turn the chicken breasts over and add the garlic cloves and mushrooms to the pan. Cook for another 3 or 4 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to redistribute the mushrooms and garlic while they cook.

  5. Add the balsamic vinegar, chicken stock, bay leaf, and thyme to the pan. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pan, and continue to cook for 10 minutes, turning the chicken breasts halfway through. 

  6. Uncover the pan and remove the chicken breasts to a plate. You can lightly tent them with foil to keep them warm.

  7. Let the balsamic-mushroom sauce continue to cook, uncovered, for another 5 minutes or so, until reduced to a sauce consistency. Stir in the butter and cook for another 2 minutes or so until melted and combined with the rest of the sauce. 

  8. Remove the bay leaf, then plate each chicken breast and spoon the mushroom sauce over the top. Enjoy!

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Easy Egg Fried Rice

Easy Egg Fried Rice

One of my favorite traditions growing up was choosing dinner on your birthday 🙂

We started this tradition at a really young age, as far back as I can remember in elementary school.

When you knew your birthday was coming up, you got to pick what your parents made for dinner that night!

As a kid, I had two favorite meals:

  • Pepperoni pizza from the local pizza joint, Mission Pizza
  • Homemade lemon chicken & fried rice

Like, I could eat those 2 meals all day every day and be 100% happy.

So, every year, on my birthday in February, I would special request lemon chicken & fried rice, with my favorite strawberry shortcake for dessert 😉

(I know, I was clearly skilled at menu pairing from a young age…)

Easy Egg Fried Rice - a vegetarian side ready in under 30 minutes

Over the years, I’ve tweaked the classic fried rice recipe a bit.

I doubled the amount of egg and green onion (because let’s be honest, that’s the best part), and added a cup of frozen mixed veggies to give it a little pop of freshness.

Easy Egg Fried Rice - my favorite way to use up leftover rice from takeout!

This has become my favorite way to use up leftover white rice from Chinese, Thai, or Indian food takeout.

It’s soooooo easy!

Since the rice is already cooked, the recipe comes together in just minutes.

(If you don’t have any leftover rice, you can also just cook some earlier in the day & let it cool uncovered in the fridge until dinner. The goal is to have it be slightly dried out before stir frying.)

Simply scramble some eggs in peanut oil (cooking them extra long so they get nice and golden and crispy), then stir fry the rice and green onion together. Stir in some frozen veggies, chicken broth, soy sauce, black pepper, and sesame oil, and you’re done!

Easy peasy.

Easy Egg Fried Rice - one of my favorite family recipes of all time. Better than takeout!

 

Print
Easy Egg Fried Rice
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 
Servings: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons unrefined peanut oil, divided
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 5 1/2 cups cooked, cold, preferably day old, medium grain white or brown rice
  • 2 cups chopped green onion
  • 1 cup frozen peas and carrots mix
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 2/3 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
Instructions
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons peanut oil in a large wok or nonstick skillet over high heat. Meanwhile, crack the eggs into a small bowl along with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and beat with a fork or whisk until well mixed.

  2. Pour the egg into the warm wok or skillet and cook, stirring constantly with a spatula, for 5 or 6 minutes, until the egg is broken up into small pieces and is crispy and golden. Remove the egg from the pan and set aside for later.

  3. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons peanut oil to the wok or skillet and keep the heat on high. Add the rice and green onion and stir fry for about 10 minutes until the green onion is cooked. 

  4. Next add the peas and carrots, chicken broth, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and soy sauce and continue to cook for about 5 minutes until hot and well mixed. Add the cooked egg, ground black pepper, and sesame oil, stir to mix well, and remove from heat. Enjoy while hot. (Although it makes great leftovers too!)

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