Many weeks I leave Monday morning and get back late Thursday night. Those four days are also filled with airport meals and restaurant dinners after work.
By the time I get home on Thursday night, I'm hungry. I also can't bring myself to purchase another meal from a restaurant. I actually crave a cold, fresh salad that is not doused in a creamy dressing or is prefaced by the word "potato" or "pasta".
The other edge of this sword is that I can't really have fresh lettuce waiting for me as soon as I walk in the door on Thursday. Most weeks both Kenzie and I travel, and no one wants to go to the grocery store at 9:30 pm after a day of work and travel.
This conundrum has made way for my go-to pantry/freezer dinner. It's light, filling, and packed with veggies and protein. I can also keep every ingredient in my house without worrying about it rotting or being wasted.
Quinoa (keen-wah) is a superfood grain that is gluten-free, packed with protein, and really quick and easy to make. Just throw it in a little pot with 2:1 ratio of liquid to grain. I used vegetable stock here to make it a bit more flavorful, but salted water works fine too. Stir occasionally, and you'll know it's done when the liquid is absorbed and the grain is no longer crunchy (it should still have a toothsome feel though). A good indicator is that the little ring around the grain is pulling away.
Then throw your freezer veggies into another pan with a smidge of olive oil. I'm partial to green beans and broccoli.
Fun Fact: Freezer veggies can be even more nutrient packed the the fresh variety. Since they are flash frozen right after they are picked, they don't have the open-air time for them to lose their nutritional value before they get to the grocery store. No excuses not to eat your vegetables when they're in the freezer!
I threw some chickpeas into the mix because I had them on hand, but they also pump up the protein if you're into that.
After that pan is all hot and toasty, throw your cooked quinoa into the mix too.
Once all of your ingredients have gotten acquainted, Put it into a bowl!
A few takeaways:
1) Make quinoa your friend.
2) Keep veggies in your freezer.
3) Never worry about what you're going to eat when you get home from a trip again.
Quinoa, Green Bean, and Broccoli Bowls
makes 2 servings
1/2 cup dry quinoa
1- 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups frozen vegetables (I chose green beans and broccoli)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup drained and rinsed chickpeas (optional)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
Put quinoa and stock in a lidded pot. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more liquid as needed if the quinoa is not completely cooked.
Put frozen vegetable in a saute pan with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and stir until cooked. Add chickpeas and saute with vegetables until heated through.
When quinoa is finished cooking, add it to the chickpea and vegetable mixture. Split into servings and top with parmesan. Enjoy!