Chicken Quinoa Chili

Happy New Year’s Eve! I am excited to see what 2015 has to offer. I’ll be turning 25, finishing another 2 semesters of grad school, and hopefully doing more traveling! I also plan to just enjoy life as it happens, save more money, and make more time for friends and family, despite my busy schedule.

This post about 15 things to STOP doing in 2015 also really struck me, since I could agree with all of them! Especially “stop saying yes all the time;” this is something I’m very guilty of. Looking forward to trying to cut down on these things in the new year.

This week has been freezing here in New England, so I wanted to cook something warm and filling for dinner. I found a recipe for chicken quinoa chili on Pinterest and adapted it a bit. It was delicious and perfect for this chilly weather!

Chicken Quinoa Chili

Adapted from: iFoodreal

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 lbs. chicken breast tenderloins (I used 2 lbs and thought it was a lot)
  • 1 cup frozen diced peppers and onions
  • 15 oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15 oz can black beans, drianed and rinsed
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • cooking spray/olive oil
  • shredded cheese for garnish (optional)

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray a large baking dish with cooking spray/olive oil and place raw chicken in it. Top with a sprinkle of the taco seasoning and bake about 20-30 minutes, or until chicken is done.

2.) While chicken is baking, spray a large deep skillet with cooking spray and place over medium heat. Add peppers and onions and saute until soft, stirring occasionally.

3.) Add remaining ingredients, except cheese, and stir. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until quinoa is ready (it will look like it has popped open).

4.) Remove from heat, add in cut-up chicken, and let sit for 10 minutes. Serve warm with shredded cheese on top!

**I used my Dutch oven and it wasn’t big enough, so I couldn’t add the chicken since I thought it would overflow. I ended up adding the chicken once I had portioned out the chili into 7 containers. But if your skillet is big enough, I would recommend adding the chicken once the chili is done and then let sit.

Nutrition Info With A Sprinkle of Cheese (Per serving, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 479
Fat 12 g
Fiber 11 g
Carbs 52 g
Sodium 945 mg
Protein 42 g

2014: My Blog In Review!

Check out the annual report for my blog…this was the year I started Sequins and Sushi and it was fun to look back on all that I have posted. Enjoy!

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,600 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 43 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Chickpea, Tomato, and Mozzarella Salad with Pesto

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! I had a great time catching up with friends and family, relaxing and enjoying some delicious food and drinks! Although it was in the 50s in New England, we still got into the holiday spirit 🙂 Now that I am back at work and back “to normal,” I was ready to make something light to eat after the holiday feasting! I had found this recipe on Pinterest and decided it would be the perfect way to switch up my normal lunch salads. I added avocado because I think avocado makes everything better, and it reminded me of the avocado, mozzarella and tomato salad I made for a party this summer that was a huge hit. But this salad was delicious without avocado as well, in case you aren’t a fan, and let me know if you think of other ways to jazz it up too!

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Chickpea, Tomato, and Mozzarella Salad with Pesto

Adapted from: Two Peas and Their Pod

Ingredients:

  • 30 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1-2 cartons grape tomatoes, cut in half (I only used one and thought it wasn’t enough!)
  • 1/2 cup pesto
  • 8 oz mozzarella “pearls”
  • 5 small avocados (optional)

Directions:

1.) Mix everything except avocados in a large bowl. Portion into 5 containers.

2.) If using avocado, dice and add to the salad the day you plan to eat it, then mix. Add salt and pepper if desired. Enjoy!

Nutrition Info Without/With Avocado (Per serving, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 342/ 494
Fat 16.4 g/ 34 g
Fiber 9.3 g/ 12.6 g
Carbs 30 g/ 36.4 g
Sodium 792 mg/ 792 mg
Protein 17 g/ 18.6 g

Lightened-up Broccoli Mac and Cheese

So it’s snowing as I type this. Welcome to New England winters! Therefore, it’s the perfect time for comfort food. This week I made another recipe from The Skinnytaste Cookbook (of course): Skinny Broccoli Mac and Cheese. I made it with whole wheat pasta to add some healthy whole grains and fiber. It was delicious and a very filling meatless dish, but I assume it would also be good with some bacon or chicken (maybe next time 🙂 ). Enjoy!

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Lightened-up Broccoli Mac and Cheese

Adapted from The Skinnytaste Cookbook by Gina Homolka

Ingredients:

  • 1 12 oz. bag broccoli florets (I use Steamfresh so I can steam them right in the microwave!)
  • 12 oz. whole wheat pasta
  • 2 tbsp. butter (I use Earth Balance Organic)
  • 1/3 cup onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I used 1 1/2 cups reduced fat and 1 cup regular)
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

Directions:

1.)  Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with oil.

2.) Steam broccoli in the microwave. Cook pasta, drain, and set aside.

3.) In a large skillet (or I used my Dutch oven) melt butter over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook until soft.

4.) Add flour and cook for 1 minute, then whisk in milk and broth. Increase heat to medium-high and whisk until it boils. Cook until sauce gets smooth and thick.

5.) Season with salt and pepper and remove pan from heat. Stir in cheddar until it is melted, then add in the broccoli and pasta and stir.

6.) Pour mixture into the baking dish and top with bread crumbs. Bake for 18-20 minutes, then turn oven to broil and cook until breadcrumbs are golden brown (keep an eye on it so it doesn’t overcook!)

Nutrition Info (Per serving, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 457
Fat 13.8 g
Fiber 6.7 g
Carbs 57 g
Sodium 601 mg
Protein 21.5 g

Lightened-up Chicken Parm with Spaghetti Squash

I love chicken parm, and this recipe from Skinnytaste was perfect! Another win for the Skinnytaste Cookbook 🙂 The whole wheat bread crumbs add great flavor, as well as all the benefits of whole grains, and since it’s baked and not fried you save a ton of calories! I decided to serve it with spaghetti squash to keep the calories low. Enjoy!

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Lightened-up Chicken Parm with Spaghetti Squash

Adapted from The Skinnytaste Cookbook by Gina Homolka

Ingredients:

  • Cooking spray
  • 12 chicken tenderloins (about 27 oz)
  • 2/3 cup seasoned whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp melted butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 jar marinara sauce
  • 2 medium spaghetti squash
  • Shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1.) Cook squash (see oven instructions here). I like to cook the squash a day ahead, if I have time, and let it sit in a baking dish with paper towel overnight to soak up moisture. I didn’t have time to do that this time, so I just baked the squash before cooking the chicken!

2.) Preheat oven to 450 F and spray a baking sheet. Combine the breadcrumbs and parmesan in a small bowl. In another small bowl, melt the butter, then add olive oil.

3.) Brush butter and oil on both sides of chicken tenderloins, then dredge chicken in bread crumb mixture. Put tenderloins on greased baking sheet. Lightly spray top of chicken. Bake for about 20 minutes, turning over halfway through.

4.) Heat up marinara sauce on the stove or in the microwave.

5.) For each serving, top about 2 cups spaghetti squash with 2 tenderloins. Serve with marinara and mozzarella cheese!

Nutrition Info (Per serving, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 347
Fat 12 g
Fiber 6 g
Carbs 28 g
Sodium 910 mg
Protein 37 g