Casserole · Quinoa

Quinoa Enchilada Bake


If I’m being honest, lately I haven’t felt like dedicating any time to this blog. I’ve just been lazy and worn out. There has been a lot of unfortunate drama at work lately that has been bringing me down and that added onto a few other things and I just don’t want to put any effort into anything. This blog is still important to me and I really hope that I get my motivation bake soon!

In the mean time, I’ve got a handful of yummy recipes that I’ll be typing up posts for today so at the very least those will be here to get me through the next 2 weeks or so!

My eating has really transformed over the last few months. Vegetarian has become easier and easier and I honestly don’t really have a desire to eat meat right now. It’s becoming easier and easier to find meals that don’t have meat in them and I’m learning to find ways to get enough protein without it. It has been a process though and one of the things that I’ve really missed that normally has meat in it is Mexican food. I know it’s easy to substitute beans for meat in most recipes, but a lot of the time that’s just not the same.

I came across this recipe and knew it was something I needed to try. I’ve been on kind of a quinoa kick lately. I really love texture in my meals and quinoa fits that perfectly.

You could definitely add some shredded chicken into this if you’re not vegetarian. Or different color bell peppers. Whatever you like! It seems very versatile to me 🙂

Quinoa Enchilada Bake

Recipe from Two Peas and their Pod

Serves: 8-10


  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups water (or 2 cups veg/chicken broth)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed,diced
  • 1 red pepper, seeds removed, diced
  • 1 orange pepper, seeds removed, diced
  • 1 cup corn frozen kernels
  • Juice of 1 small lime
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups red enchilada sauce
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

2. Add quinoa and water to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Cover quinoa and set aside.

3. In a large skillet, heat the tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeño. Sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in the peppers and corn. Cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add the lime juice, cumin, chili powder, and cilantro. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

4. In a large bowl, add the cooked quinoa and black beans. Add the sautéed vegetable mixture and stir to combine. Pour in the enchilada sauce and stir. Add 1/2 cup shredded cheese.

5.Pour the black bean and quinoa mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top with remaining shredded cheese. Cover the pan with foil. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove foil. Bake an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and edges are bubbling. Remove from the oven, and let cool for 10 minutes. Garnish with toppings such as avocado, green onion, and sour cream, if desired. Serve warm.


Casserole · Pasta · Vegetarian

Caprese Mac and Cheese


Let me start off by saying that I am not a tomato lover and I enjoyed this mac and cheese a lot! It was kind of like a tomato based pasta bake mixed with mac and cheese. Plus basil. So good!

This is definitely not as indulgent of a recipe as it could be. I served a portion of this with a big portion of veggies on the side (lots of broccoli, my favorite!) so I didn’t feel weighed down by a dinner of just pasta.  Give this recipe a try, it’s unique and delicious!

Caprese Mac and Cheese

Original recipe from Prevention RD

Serves: 5


  • 10 oz whole wheat elbow macaroni (uncooked)
  • 1 cup 1% milk
  • 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅛ tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 cups part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • 3 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 20-30 basil leaves, chiffonade and divided


  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Bring 3-4 quarts of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Add pasta, stir, and cook 8-10 minutes or until al dente; drain and set aside.
  3. In the meantime, whisk together milk, vegetable broth, flour, chili powder, salt, and pepper in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Bring sauce to a low boil over medium heat; simmer for 4-5 minutes or until sauce thickens, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat and pour over hot, drained pasta, along with 1 cup of the shredded mozzarella; mix well.
  4. In the bottom of a 2 quart baking dish, spread tomato sauce on the bottom to coat completely. Add half of the macaroni mixture over the tomato sauce, top with half of the tomato slices, ⅓ of the basil, and 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat with macaroni, ⅓ of the basil, remaining 1 cup of mozzarella, and tomato slices, in that order.
  5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until bubbly and just beginning to brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining ⅓ basil before serving.
Casserole · Holidays · Vegetarian

Enchilada Casserole


I grew up with my mom calling this dish “taco lasagna” but now I’ve seen it called “enchilada casserole” more and more.

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, obviously I had to make some Mexican food for myself 🙂

This is super easy to make, much easier than enchiladas, and it has the same flavors.

I made this vegetarian but you can cut back on the beans and add some chicken if you would like!  This would also be really good with some olives in it…somehow I managed to totally forget about those little guys!

Enchilada Casserole

Recipe adapted from Gimme Some Oven


  • 3 cups red enchilada sauce
  • 16 corn tortillas, halved
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained (or fresh corn! I used the kernels from 2 cobs)
  • 6 scallions (green onions), thinly sliced
  • 3 cups shredded Monterrey Jack or Mexican blend cheese
  • 1/2 cup loosely-packed chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Pour about 3/4 cup enchilada sauce in the baking dish, and spread until the bottom of the dish is coated. Top with a layer of about 8 tortilla halves so that the entire dish is covered. Sprinkle evenly with 1 can of beans, 1/2 cup corn and a fourth of the green onions. Then sprinkle with about 3/4 cup shredded cheese.
  3. Repeat with a second layer of tortillas, then sauce, then beans, corn, green onions, and cheese. Then a final layer of tortillas, sauce, beans, corn, green onions, and cheese.
  4. Conclude with a final layer of tortillas and sauce (reserving about 3/4 cup of cheese to add partway through baking).
  5. Cover the pan with aluminum foil, then bake for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove pan and remove aluminum foil. Sprinkle the top of the enchiladas evenly with the remaining 3/4 cup of cheese, then return to the oven (uncovered) and bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
  7. Remove pan and cilantro and remaining green onions. Serve warm topped with sour cream and some avocado.


Casserole · Chicken

Lightened Up Chicken Buffalo Mac and Cheese


Buffalo sauce AND mac and cheese? There is no way I could say no to the recipe. No way at all.

I’ve been in such a comfort food mood lately anyways that when I saw this recipe on Prevention RD I knew I had to make it.

It was an excellent decision too!

Lightened Up Chicken Buffalo Mac and Cheese

Original recipe here


  • 2 cups dry whole wheat elbow macaroni (about 7.25 oz)
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup nonfat milk
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • ¾ cup Frank’s Buffalo Wing Sauce
  • pinch dry mustard
  • 8 oz Cabot 50% less fat extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 8 oz part-skim (2%) Colby cheese, shredded
  • ⅔ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 lb cooked chicken, shredded
  • ¼ cup panko


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a large baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and keep warm.
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the celery and bell pepper, cooking until soft, about 5 minutes. Add flour and stir to coat; cook 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add milk and half and half and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Once simmering, stir in wing sauce, dry mustard, and shredded cheeses. Mix until cheese melts; remove from heat and stir in the yogurt, mixing well. Mix in cooked pasta and shredded chicken.
  4. Transfer pasta to the baking dish and top with panko. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until bubbly. Serve hot.
Casserole · Vegetarian

Red Beans and Rice with Guacamole

So my meatless month is over half way done and on May 16th I will be able to eat meat again!  The funny thing is, I don’t know if I’m going to or not.  I’m thinking I’ll save meat for more special occasions or situations where there just isn’t really anything meatless that I want to eat.  I’m thinking mostly of restaurants here.  I might slowly adopt a total veggie diet, or I might not, and I’m not too worried about trying to figure it out right now.

One really good thing about this vegetarian diet is it has made me expand my food horizons.   This recipe is not the best representation of that statement, but it was really freaking tasty and I already want to make it again!

This recipe is super simple which I love! I found it off of Eat, Live, Run and I kid you not, within two weeks of her posting the recipe I saw it on multiple other blogs and all over Pinterest.  Probably because no one can resist a super simple recipe AND one that looks delicious.

I tweaked it a little by adding some textured vegetable protein (TVP) along with the rice, mostly to add protein, and because I think I’m a little bit obsessed with trying to find recipes I can use it in.

Anyways, if you’ve never heard of TVP it’s just simply defatted soy protein.  It doesn’t have much flavor on it’s own and is really easily disguised in rice or ground meat dishes.  My mom used to put in her hamburger meat to make it stretch farther and as long as you don’t add too much, it doesn’t affect the flavor or texture.



I use Bob’s Red Mill, mostly cuz the store is on my way home, but I know it’s easy to find at the grocery store.

Now on the the recipe!

Red Beans and Rice with Guacamole 

Original recipe here


  •  3/4 cup brown rice, dry
  • 1/4 cup TVP, dry
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 8-oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 14.5 oz can beans {I used kidney beans — drained and rinsed}
  • 1 4-oz can diced green chilies
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 avocados, very ripe
  • 1 whole jalapeno, minced
  • pinch of cumin
  • big pinch of garlic salt
  • juice of 2 limes


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a 9 x 13″ pan, combine the rice, broth, beans, tomato sauce, green chilies, cumin, chili powder, salt and garlic powder. Stir well then cover TIGHTLY with tin foil. Place in oven and bake for 90 minutes and DO NOT peak before the time is up.
  3. To make the guacamole topping, mash the avocados with the minced jalapenos, cumin, garlic salt and lime juice. Season with additional cumin and garlic salt to taste.
  4. Serve rice and beans with a scoop of guacamole on top.


I served mine with a side of spinach salad and it was very filling! Go try this, it’s delicious!

Servings: 4

  • Calories: 415
  • Total Fat: 12.7 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 439 mg
  • Total Carbs: 66 g
  • Protein: 13.6 g

If you want to lower the calories and fat content, simply omit the guacamole portion of the recipe.