Top Ate Quinoa Bowl Recipes

April 16, 2014

I went shopping at my favorite big box membership warehouse store, BJ's, the other day. I nearly died when I walked down the rice aisle and found that they started carrying two pound bags of quinoa. In typical Jen fashion, I made sure that EVERYONE shopping at BJ's also knew they just started carrying quinoa. I am an easily excitable person, especially about quinoa.  In addition, I have a voice that...shall we say...projects well. At times this can be a bad combination. I am sure the rest of the store could have done without my rice aisle outburst. In addition, I am sure The Hubbster wanted to crawl into a corner.

Oh well....can't sweat the small stuff.

Quinoa is HOT right now! It shows up on our dinner table at least three week nights per week. Using the same general techniques, but switching up the ingredients, allows us to eat a healthy variety of flavorful meals that cook up in no time!
A couple of tips:
  • To save time midweek, make enough quinoa for the entire week on Sunday night. Keep it in a sealable container in the refrigerator and take a couple cups out each night to mix into your other ingredients. 
  • If you aren't a big fan of quinoa, any of these recipes can be made with an equal amount of brown rice.
  • ALWAYS add a dressing or marinade to kick up the flavor. Try one of these Vinaigrette Recipes.
  • Toast it! I often toast the quinoa in a skillet with onions or shallots and olive oil before cooking it. Check out Clean Eating Asian Scallops and Toasted Quinoa Bowls or Spinach Artichoke Toasted Quinoa Bowls for the specific technique.
Caprese Quinoa Bowls
Caprese Quinoa Bowls:  Traditional Caprese salad is one of my favorite fresh summertime treats. It typically includes fresh sliced tomatoes, mozzarella and basil leaves. This quinoa includes the three key components and is dressed with homemade basil vinaigrette or balsamic vinaigrette.
Clean Eating Asian Scallops and Toasted Quinoa Bowls
Clean Eating Asian Scallops and Toasted Quinoa Bowls: I hate to play favorites with my seafood, but scallops are certainly at the top of my list. Made with some Asian veggies and soy sauce vinaigrette, this quinoa salad is sure to be a hit!
Clean Eating BLT Quinoa Bowls
Clean Eating BLT Quinoa Bowls: Salty bacon mixed with fresh tomatoes and spinach leaves are the perfect combination for this quinoa bowl. Serve it as a side or add chicken to make it a heartier main dish!
Clean Eating Seared Tuna Quinoa Bowls
Clean Eating Seared Tuna Quinoa Bowls: When The Hubbster and I go out to eat, it typically takes me about a half hour to decide what to order. There is one exception. If the menu includes seared tuna, I am automatically sold. The avocado and soy sauce vinaigrette complement to the fresh seared tuna
Clean Eating Taco Quinoa Bowls
Clean Eating Taco Quinoa Bowls: If you love tacos, you'll love this recipe! Ground turkey is seasoned with smokey paprika, cumin, onion powder and garlic powder. Fresh torn cilantro and avocado provide fresh Mexican flavor.
Lemon Basil Quinoa Bowls
Lemon Basil Quinoa Bowls: Lemon zest and torn basil mixed with this Lemon Parmesan Vinaigrette combine for perfect spring freshness in a bowl.
Pizza Quinoa Bowls
Pizza Quinoa Bowls: When cooking the quinoa for this dish, replace some of the water with prepared tomato sauce. Then, mix in your favorite pizza toppings. The result is saucy, cheesy perfection!
Spinach Artichoke Toasted Quinoa Bowls
Spinach Artichoke Toasted Quinoa Bowls: Every time we go to Max Burger, we order the Spinach Artichoke Dip topped with extra goat cheese and freshly baked pita chips. Thankfully, it's a staple on their ever-changing menu. I came up with this recipe in an attempt to achieve the creamy spinach and artichoke flavor without the added fat and calories. It's absolutely delish!

Top Ate Clean Homemade Vinaigrette Recipes

Eight Clean Eating Homemade Vinaigrettes Salad DressingsApril 4, 2014

Have you ever read the side of a salad dressing bottle? The ingredient list is not pretty. It often includes tons of refined sugar, preservatives and chemicals with names I can’t pronounce. And when the dressing is reduced fat or fat-free (they make you think it's healthier), the list of chemicals only gets longer. Yuck-a-roo!
A couple months ago, The Hubbster and I did a clean eating cleanse.  As a result of the cleanse, I rid my refrigerator of ALL most bottled salad dressings (I can't bring myself to get Marie's Blue Cheese Dressing). Since dressings (I often use them as marinades too), bring so much flavor to any dish, we couldn't completely eliminate them from our diets. So, I started making them. I began by experimenting with fresh herbs, seasonings, different types of vinegar (apple cider is my favorite), honey and olive oil. I was pleasantly surprised that each dressing came together in about 5 minutes. This list of Top Ate vinaigrettes not only pack a punch of flavor but are much healthier, chemical-free and are only sweetened naturally! I try to keep a couple in my fridge at all times so I can throw them in the skillet to add flavor to veggies, quinoa, rice or whatever might be on my weeknight menu.


Basil Vinaigrette
Basil Vinaigrette: Basil is the one herb that I've successfully grown in my backyard. This is most likely because I am so attentive to it. It's like my favorite student (to my teacher friends, don't lie to yourself, you have favorites). I use it in mass quantities when making pesto and hate having to buy it in the store because it is SO expensive. Therefore, I am careful to treat it with tender loving care so it doesn't turn brown in July like the rest of my garden. During the summer, this dressing seems to always find its way into my recipes.
Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette
Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette: It's no secret that I LOVE Mexican food. I am especially partial to it when it's made with fresh, light ingredients. While it does have its place in the world, Mexican food that is heavy, fried or smothered in cheese makes my stomach do cartwheels. Don't get me wrong, cheese is one of my favorite foods. But when eating Mexican, I prefer the fresh cilantro and lime flavors to shine through and for the cheese to complement the dish and not overtake it. This vinaigrette does just that! It's also a fantastic addition to this Clean Eating Cilantro Lime Quinoa.
Greek Yogurt Vinaigrette
Greek Yogurt Vinaigrette: The creaminess of the Greek yogurt and the tanginess of the vinegar make for a great combination with any salad. I recently added it to Spinach Artichoke Quinoa. Check back next week for that recipe!
Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette
Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette: This dressing is simply sweet yet tangy enough to tickle your taste buds!
Lemon Parmesan Vinaigrette
Lemon Parmesan Vinaigrette: When selecting your Parmesan cheese, please don't use the stuff from the green container in this recipe!  The freshly shredded Parmegiano Reggiano makes this dressing stand out from the crowd.
Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette
Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette: Spreadable roasted garlic is the highlight of this vinaigrette. I recently added it to the skillet when I was sautéing some veggies for a quinoa salad. It came out great!
Shallot Vinaigrette
Shallot Vinaigrette: Shallots have a garlicky onion flavor. While they don't do wonders for your breath, they add fantastic (and low-calorie) flavor to any dish. I recently added this vinaigrette to Clean Eating Brown Rice Bowls and was thrilled with the tasty result!
Soy Sauce Vinaigrette
Soy Sauce Vinaigrette: The Hubbster LOVES Chinese take-out. While I won't deny that nothing beats the flavor of fried, sugar-coated, syrupy General Tso's Chicken from our local Chinese joint, I'm not a big fan of the food hangover that occurs the next morning. In an effort to satisfy his our cravings but also keep his our saturated fat intake within a normal range, I've been experimenting with some Asian recipes. This dressing/marinade is a fantastic and healthy option to add an Asian flair any dish.

Top Ate Sweet Breakfast Recipes

Eight Breakfast Sweets Recipes
March 27, 2014

I just started jogging again after taking about two months off to nurse a knee injury. The injury probably didn't require two months off, but it was a good excuse. I am a fair weather runner so if it's less than 30 degrees outside or it snowed in the past couple days, I am not interested in getting out there. You may be thinking...get on the treadmill! At least, that's what I kept telling myself. I actually did a couple times once, but my son has to be sleeping for that to happen. I would rather spend the precious two hour nap time blogging. Not to mention the fact that running on the treadmill is about as interesting as watching a pot of water boil. Now that I have gotten back into running outside, I can bring my son with me in the Bob. He likes looking around and I like getting some air into my lungs!

As a result, my skinny jeans are just starting to fit again. So, this post feels somewhat justified. Let's not kid ourselves; there is nothing healthy about the ingredients in this series of Top Ate recipes. BUT, when you bite into any one of these sweet breakfast treats, the party that ensues in your mouth will cause you to forget about the calories you may be consuming.


Moist Banana Bread
Moist Banana Bread: You have not experienced banana bread until you've had THIS banana bread. From the recipe box of my biggest influence in the kitchen, my stepmother Lissa, this banana bread is a favorite at every holiday, birthday and family gathering. The Hubbster has been known to eat an entire loaf in one day. That is not an exaggeration. Make sure the bananas are SUPER ripe!
Blender Buttermilk Banana Pancakes
Blender Buttermilk Banana Pancakes: The best part about these pancakes is that the batter is mixed in a blender and poured onto the griddle with the blender jar. There is no sifting. There is no stirring. There is no mushing. There is no spilling of the batter! Throw all the ingredients in the blender, flip the switch, pour and voila; your pancakes are prepared without the mess. These are my dad's specialty. He makes them for Quinn often!
Jewish Coffee Cake
Jewish Coffee Cake: This recipe, another indulgence from Lissa's kitchen, is one of the first dishes she prepared for our family when she and my dad met. I remember thinking, "People actually make cakes at home that don't come from boxes?" I had no idea what I was in for. The sugary sweet crumb topping/filling paired with the moist sour cream cake combine to make the perfect coffee cake.
Quick and Easy Scones
Quick and Easy Scones: Scones are suppose to be crumbly yet moist so therefore require very cold butter. In fact, this recipe calls for frozen butter. Using the food processor, these scones are ready for the oven in minutes while barely getting your hands dirty!
Mini Muffins
Mini Muffins: I found a version of this recipe on years ago and make it EVERY TIME I have brunch at my house. I prepare the batter ahead of time and pop them in the oven five minutes before my guests arrive.  The house smells like fresh baked muffins and I get tons of compliments!
No Yeast Cinnamon Rolls
No Yeast Cinnamon Rolls: Baking with yeast intimidates me BIG TIME! I have yeast-a-phobia. There, I said it. I am actually not alone (see here). Finding a recipe that combined my love for caramelized brown sugary cinnamon filling with my need for yeast-free yet moist and chewy rolls was easier than I had anticipated. I am totally making these next Christmas...who am I kidding? I can't wait that long!
Clean Eating Peanut Butter Banana French Toast
Clean Eating Peanut Butter Banana French Toast: While I do realize that clean eating can sometimes mean that the dish has no taste, that is not the case here. Sweetened with raw honey, you'll forget you are eating clean while enjoying this dish.
Buttermilk Biscuits (in a food processor): Similar to the scones, these biscuits are prepared in the food processor. Smeared with strawberry jam, they are the perfect Sunday morning treat to accompany my cup of coffee and coupon clipping.