My Frugal, Healthy, Easy $1.15 Quinoa Lunch Recipe
My Quinoa Lunch has been described as rice-n-beans 2.0. And for good reason. Four years ago, I brought you our epically frugal rice-n-beans recipe, which is what we used to eat for lunch.
Over time, Mr. Frugalwoods and I grew tired of the rice-n-beans routine and craved something novel. We’ve eaten many a thing for lunch over the years and will surely continue our culinary explorations in the future.
For now, I’ve landed on a winner–Quinoa Lunch–which combines the three core principles that guide my life:
- Easy to do
I was going to say that these are the three tenets of our food philosophy, but I actually think this trifecta applies to everything we do. So today, join me as we venture into the land of Quinoa Lunch.
I’m going to put the recipe right here because I HATE (yes, actually loathe) when I have to scroll for nine years before finding the freaking ingredients.
Frugalwoods Quinoa Lunch Recipe: $1.15 per serving (the short version)
I make a gigantic batch, which serves me, Mr. FW, our two kids, and various house guests for lunch for an entire week. Sometimes we have leftovers and sometimes we run out, depending on how much the kids eat and how many lunch guests we have in a week. Quinoa Lunch freezes just fine, so I make as much as my pot will hold.
- 5 cups of quinoa
- 7.5 cups of water (the ratio is 1.5 cups of water per cup of quinoa)
- One 2lb bag of frozen mixed vegetables
- 1/2 of a red onion, diced
- 2lbs (give or take) of chicken thigh filets (leave out for a vegan meal)
- Optional: hot sauce, salt, and pepper to taste
- Very large pot
- Roasting pan
- Cutting board
- Large spoon
- Roast chicken in oven at 350 for 40-50 minutes
- Bring quinoa and water to a boil; remove from boil and simmer on low for 10 minutes
- Dice red onion and add to cooked quinoa
- Dump frozen veggies (defrosted or still frozen) into cooked quinoa
- Chop up chicken and add to cooked quinoa
- Use a large spoon and stir
- Serve with hot sauce, salt, and pepper for added flair!
Frugalwoods Quinoa Lunch Recipe: $1.15 per serving (the long version)
And now, I’ll do a deep dive into the ingredients, going through the three core principals–healthy, easy, inexpensive–with each. We shall begin with:
Ingredient #1: Quinoa
What is quinoa, you may be wondering? And how do you say it? According to the Harvard School Of Public Health:
Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”) is a type of edible seed that comes in various colors including black, red, yellow, and white. The plant has been cultivated for about 5,000 years and is indigenous to the Andean region of South America, specifically Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, and Peru.
The more you know!
Ok, so is quinoa good for you? Let’s go back to the Harvard School Of Public Health for their opinion:
Though technically a seed, quinoa is classified as a whole grain and is a good source of plant protein and fiber. One cup cooked provides about 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. Unlike some plant proteins, quinoa is a complete protein, meaning that it contains all nine essential amino acids that our bodies cannot make on their own. Quinoa is also naturally gluten-free and can be eaten safely if one has gluten intolerance such as celiac disease. Rich In: Manganese, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Folate, Thiamine (B1).
Good to know! Thanks to researchers at Harvard University, we’ve established that quinoa is healthy. Also, it’s gluten-free, so if you’re GF, this is good news!
Now, for core principal #2: is it easy to prepare? I will take this question:
Yes! You bring water and quinoa to a boil (inside a pot), then remove it from the boil, and allow it to simmer on low for 10 minutes. Voila! Quinoa.
As you are likely aware, I am not the formal chef of our household. I perform perfunctory cooking duties and I bake things. Mr. FW is our culinary master and the one who handles all of our dinners and breakfasts. However, lunch duties have fallen to me–former dishwasher turned reluctant sous chef.
I’ll be honest: I do not enjoy cooking. The process does not spark joy for me and before Mr. FW and I lived together, I ate Lean Cuisine frozen dinners every. single. night. Mr. FW comes from a line of superb home chefs and his mother taught him to cook when he was 12 years old.
My mother-in-law is the best home cook I’ve ever met and her food rivals five-star restaurants. It’s tough to eat out with my in-laws because it’s super unlikely a restaurant will prepare better food than my mother-in-law. So, yeah, my husband is an excellent cook. But sometimes? You just need to put food on the table.
I invented this quinoa recipe by accident and in the manner that many a great recipe comes to pass: I found an old bag of quinoa in the pantry while participating in the Uber Frugal Month Challenge (day 5 is clean out your pantry day) and decided to use it up.
Core principal #3: Is quinoa inexpensive?
Why yes, yes it is. We buy 3lb bags of organic quinoa (from BJ’s) for $9.49. See chart at the end of the post for the full cost breakdown.
It would probably be even cheaper if we bought non-organic quinoa, but I prefer getting the organic version.
Ingredient #2: Vegetables
I’ve been making Quinoa Lunch for almost a year and, in this time, I’ve experimented with a wide range of vegetables. The overarching conclusion is that you can throw any veggies you like into your vat of quinoa. They pretty much all taste fine.
In my early, unschooled days of making Quinoa Lunch, I laboriously chopped up the following:
- Green peppers
- Red onion
- Other stuff I’ve forgotten
The above veggies all taste terrific in the quinoa. However, they were impinging on the “easy to do” requirement and, as a person who does not find bliss while chopping food, I was angling for a way out of this drudgery.
Enter: the frozen vegetable.
When Mr. FW first suggested this blasphemy to me, I retired to my fainting couch with one arm held aloft to my trembling brow.
“Frozen vegetables?” I gasped! But we are a family that prizes health! We are a family that tries to feel good about itself based solely on the number of fresh vegetables we buy every week. What will everyone in the check-out line think of us?! THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!
It was time, clearly, for me to learn something new. According to the New York Times:
… the differences in nutrient levels between fresh and frozen are so minor that they would be unlikely to have an impact on overall health…
Le gasp!!! Prepare ye-self, there’s more:
Dr. Bouzari and colleagues at the University of California, Davis, compared the vitamin content in eight different fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables — corn, carrots, broccoli, spinach, peas, green beans, strawberries and blueberries — and found no consistent differences over all between fresh and frozen. The vitamin content was occasionally higher in some frozen foods; frozen broccoli, for example, had more riboflavin (a B vitamin) than fresh broccoli. But frozen peas had less riboflavin than fresh peas; and frozen corn, green beans and blueberries had more vitamin C than their fresh counterparts.
The researchers also analyzed the amount of fiber, levels of phenolic compounds (good sources of antioxidants) and minerals like calcium, iron, zinc and magnesium in the same eight fruits and vegetables. They found no significant differences between the fresh and frozen varieties.
Not only are frozen vegetables as good as fresh vegetables, in some instances they’re BETTER. Mind. Blown.
Furthermore, NPR notes:
When you freeze fruits and vegetables, it locks in nutrients, and several studies have shown that this helps retain high levels of vitamins. “You can store them in the freezer for a year and the nutrient level pretty much stays the same,” says plant scientist Hazel MacTavish-West…
Wow. Ok, so after these scientists convinced me that frozen is fine (and potentially even better), I was converted. Our weekly grocery cart looks like we robbed the frozen vegetable section. Because we pretty much do. Although to be clear, we pay for these vegetables. No robbing going on here.
Frozen Vegetables = Triple Win
Oh yes, frozen vegetables are the hidden superstars of Quinoa Lunch as they’re:
- Cheaper than fresh ($1.99 for a 2lb bag!)
- Easier to prepare than fresh (just open a bag and dump–no washing or chopping required!)
- Just as healthy (if not healthier!)
Since this revelation, my family now uses frozen vegetables and fruits as much as possible. Here’s what we still buy fresh:
- Salad greens
- Cucumbers: to cut into slices for the kids to dip in homemade hummus and for inclusion in salads
- Carrots: ditto
- Green peppers: ditto
- Sweet potatoes: I’d happily buy these frozen, but our supermarket doesn’t have them and Littlewoods loves them
- Clementines: for the kids’ snacks
- Avocados: excellent for sandwiches since Kidwoods’ preschool classroom is nut-free
- Bananas: we all eat one every day for breakfast (along with our infamous oatmeal)
- Limes and lemons: for use in recipes (including my healthy pumpkin oatmeal bars) and, of course, in properly made gin-n-tonics
- Onions, ginger, and garlic
In our garden and yard we grow:
- Hot peppers
- Ground cherries
- Berries (blackberries, blueberries, black raspberries)
More about our gardening efforts (and failures) in my This Month On The Homestead series.
Back to the recipe at hand. If you go the frozen route–and you’re super lazy like me and only want to cut open and pour one bag of veggies–I have one word for you: Succotash. This is a mixture of frozen carrots, green beans, peas, lima beans, and corn. Done. I dump that puppy into the cooked quinoa and call it a day. I usually forget to defrost it ahead of time and it works fine to pour frozen veggies in (the heat of the cooked quinoa thaws them out… mostly… it also helps it you have low standards like me).
Ingredient #3: Red Onion
The lone hold-out for my chopping block is the red onion. Not a required member of the recipe, but I find it adds much flavor and buoyancy. Much yum. And so, weekly I chop half a red onion and pop it into the pot. Onto our next ingredient!
Ingredient #4: Chicken
Number four is optional and, if you prefer a vegan lunch, then quinoa + veggies will suit just fine. If you want some meat in your Quinoa Lunch, I use chicken because it’s cheap, easy, and healthy. You could sub in any other protein of your choice: beef, fish, black beans, hard boiled eggs, etc! Let’s see how chicken performs on the healthy, easy, inexpensive scale.
Is chicken healthy? There are differing opinions out there and, if you prefer not to eat chicken, I’m not here to convert you. You do you!
If you’re genuinely wondering about the health benefits of eating chicken, then you might be interested in this academic study, which I found via the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health while researching this article:
A variable but moderate energy content, highly digestible proteins (with low levels of collagen) of good nutritional quality, unsaturated lipids (mainly found in the skin and easily removed), B-group vitamins (mainly thiamin, vitamin B6, and pantothenic acid), and minerals (like iron, zinc, and copper) make poultry meat a valuable food. Epidemiological studies performed across the world, in highly diverse populations with different food preferences and nutritional habits, provide solid information on the association between poultry consumption, within a balanced diet, and good health.
Consumption of poultry meat, as part of a vegetable-rich diet, is associated with a risk reduction of developing overweight and obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Also, white meat (and poultry in particular) is considered moderately protective or neutral on cancer risk. The relevance of poultry meat for humans also has been recognized by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), who considers this widely available, relatively inexpensive food to be particularly useful in developing countries, where it can help to meet shortfalls in essential nutrients. Moreover, poultry meat consumption also contributes to the overall quality of the diet in specific ages and conditions (prior to conception, during pregnancy up to the end of breastfeeding, during growth, and in the geriatric age) and is suitable for those who have an increased need for calorie and protein compared to the general population.
Good enough for me, let’s get to our second consideration:
Is chicken cheap?
Well, it depends. We don’t buy the dirt cheapest chicken, we buy all-natural, hormone-free, steroid-free, antibiotic-free, cage-free chicken thigh filets, which are more expensive. However, even with this expense, the cost per serving is still super cheap (see spreadsheet below for full breakdown).
We buy a 2.73(ish) lb package from BJ’s for $2.99/pound. I don’t use the whole 2.73lbs in Quinoa Lunch because I set aside several thighs for the kids to eat plain (or dipped in spicy mustard as Kidwoods prefers).
Would it be cheaper to buy a whole chicken? Yep. However. Roasting and breaking down a whole chicken would impinge too much on my third goal of Easy To Prepare. There’s a limit to how much time and energy I want to spend in the kitchen and, in the case of chicken, I’m happy to spend more money in order to spend less time on prep.
How do you cook your chicken, Mrs. FW?
The dirt easiest way: I plop it into a roasting pan and shove it in the oven at 350 for 40-50 minutes. That’s it. I don’t add anything to it, I don’t turn it around or over or sing it a song. I just throw it in there and set the timer. Or I forget to set the timer and eventually remember and it seems to always be fine. After it’s cooked, I chop it up into bite-sized pieces, remove the fat, and toss it into the vat-o-quinoa.
Cooking In Bulk: Friend of Those Who Hate To Cook and/or Don’t Have A Lot Of Time
I cook once a week. One day per week, usually Thursdays, I cook everything I need to cook for the entire week. Mr. Frugalwoods does the same with his cooking responsibilities. Here’s what I cook on my cook day:
- Quinoa Lunch: lasts in the fridge all week. Some weeks I freeze some of it and it defrosts just fine too.
- Pumpkin Oatmeal bars: I freeze half the batch and keep the rest in the fridge. My recipe is here.
- Bread: I bake whole wheat bread (using this recipe) in my $5 garage sale bread machine (an upgrade from my first bread machine, which was a free hand-me-down and which bit the dust).
- Salad: I prep a giant salad (greens, peppers, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, green onions) once a week and it usually stays fresh all week. I keep it in the fridge in a stainless steel bowl with a lid. This occasionally experiences mortality over the course of the week, but since it’s all veggies, I can compost it.
- Veggie sticks: I chop raw carrots, peppers, and cucumbers for veggie stick snacks.
- Hard boiled eggs: I boil up hard boiled eggs for me and Kidwoods–the only family members who appreciate them. I stand by my resolution that they make a great snack!
- Sweet potatoes: I roast these in the oven for Littlewoods. I typically roast 7 or 8 taters at a time and freeze half of them (whole, with skin on).
I like doing all of this in one day because it allows me to focus my energy in the kitchen and make efficient use of my time. For the same reasons, I do all of our laundry in one day and all of my computer work in two days. More on my time-use approach another time because I need to get back to what I’m supposed to be writing about today…
Quinoa Lunch FAQs
Q: Feeding Quinoa to Babies and Toddlers: Should I Do It?
This depends on how much you enjoy cleaning quinoa out of the crevices of your floorboards. If you enjoy such work, then yes, by all means, feed quinoa to your babies. Bonus: picking up individual grains of quinoa and flinging them against the wall is an excellent fine motor skill building activity for baby.
Pro tip: send quinoa with your preschooler to school for school lunch to avoid having quinoa consumed in your own home. Alternately, feed quinoa to children outside to avoid peppering your home with granules of quinoa.
Q: Is Quinoa vacuum-able?
Yes, oh yes it is. I vacuum it up on the regular, by which I mean whenever we eat it, which is every day.
Q: Is Quinoa Lunch portable?
Totes! I pop a serving into one of these glass containers for Kidwoods to take to school and she feasts on it for lunch (affiliate link). Or she leaves it untouched and complains that she’s been hungry all day. Even odds, that.
Total Cost Breakdown
And now, what you’ve all been waiting to nerd out over. I present to you–courtesy of saved grocery store receipts and an excel spreadsheet–the precise cost per serving of Quinoa Lunch:
|Ingredient||Cost||Size of Package||Amount Used in Recipe||Cost Per Unit||Cost Per Recipe|
|Quinoa||$9.49||3 lbs||5 cups (2.5 lbs)||$3.16 per lb||$7.90|
|Chicken||$8.16||2.73||2 lbs||$2.99 per lb||$5.98|
|Frozen vegetables||$1.99||2 lbs||2 lbs||$1.99 per package||$1.99|
|Red onion||$1.29 per pound||1 onion (0.27 lbs)||1/2 an onion (0.14 lbs)||$0.17 per half onion||$0.17|
|Total Cost (14 servings):||$16.04|
|Cost Per Serving:||$1.15|
I will note that the per serving amount is actually lower because:
- Our kids eat it too (although not daily)
- Lunch guests (if we have any) eat it
Since I can’t precisely pin down those two variables, we’ll stick with $1.15 per serving. By the way, if you’re ever curious about your cost-per-serving for something you prepare, use my above spreadsheet to punch in your numbers.
I think I can conclude that Quinoa Lunch is: frugal, healthy, and easy to make! I’ll concede that it’s a trifle more expensive that my Epically Frugal Rice and Beans Recipe, which clocks in at $0.39 per serving. So if you’re looking for the cheapest option, rice and beans still wins. But if you want to shake things up a bit, try out Quinoa Lunch and let me know what variations and substitutions you come up with!
What do you eat for lunch? Will you try out Quinoa Lunch and report back?
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I love quinoa and this looks great! One question though, other than hot sauce, what herbs and spices do you use? Salt? Pepper? Garlic?
I’ve made a similar recipe and tossed it with homemade salad dressing. It’s flexible—you can do whatever you like!
I do sometimes put salt and pepper on top, but I don’t bother with garlic. It would probably be wonderful with garlic, though! I’m just too lazy to chop it up ;)!
For the last few years, we’ve been getting an absolute monstrosity of a jar of minced garlic from Costco- it seems to last ages, and we have yet to mince a single head!
I have long wished that onions came in this form also. Open jar. Scoop out what’s needed. Reseal jar. Get on with life.
I like to add Bragg’s Liquid Amino to any rice/veggie or quinoa/veggie dish–good flavor & not spicy!
This looks good, but do you add any seasoning or even salt and pepper? They’re not indicated in the recipe. Thanks for sharing, we will have to try this next!!!
Ahh yes, Mr. FW and I do add salt and pepper to our individual bowls. I’ve updated the recipe to reflect 🙂
I’ve been looking for lunch solutions. I’m the worst at packing my lunch, so thank you for sharing. I don’t cook with quinoa often. Do the different colors have different flavor or texture?
They have different flavors. If you google “quinoa different colors different flavors” there are a couple of sites that do an excellent job. There might also be a cost difference.
This looks *fabulous*! A tip for giving the quinoa a deeper flavor: I saute some onion in a little oil, then after translucent, I add the quinoa, and stir it around the pot for maybe 5min until they are a toasty light brown. After that, I add the liquid and cook as usual. Definitely ups the flavor.
Agreed. Also, cook it in veggie or chicken broth for extra oomph!
Thank you for your recipe and the breakdown. I am far less disciplined than you and would use the whole packets so I had no leftover bits and bobs. That is me through and through.
Curious why you said leave the chicken out if you want a gluten free meal? Chicken is always gluten free. Marinades & sauces could change that but just chicken is fine. This entire meal is GF (assuming your veggies don’t have a sauce in them).
Looks delicious. If quinoa hadn’t been my last meal before I caught the stomach flu a few years ago I’d give it a try. As it stands I still can’t cook/eat it.
Ahh yes, that makes sense! Of course chicken is gluten-free! Clearly we are not GF, so I wasn’t thinking clearly :). I’ll update the recipe to note that.
I’m going to try this with lentils and (Costco) feta! Does Kidwoods take this for lunch at preschool? Thanks for this—the monotony of feeding a family requires these kinds of hacks!
Yes! I rotate this in her lunchbox for preschool. Her other fave lunch items: avocado on whole wheat bread, rice with whatever Mr. FW makes for dinner, and whole wheat pasta with tomato sauce.
I love quinoi, rice of any kind, black beans which you could easily rinse and add a can to the quinoi, all Veges too. Kale in quinoi would be delicious too. I cannot understand how people are thought to be starving if they have less than 100 a month to spend on food for one person or how food budgets become so inflated. I have always budgeted our food. I can remember my first husband and I had 15 dollars a week to spend when he was finishing his last year of college on the GI bill back in 1969 and 1970. I shopped 3 stores within walking distance of each other. We made a whole chicken feed the 2 of us for 4 nights. Back then it was 29 cent per pound and cheaper if on sale. We bought one 6 pack of coke a week and one frozen cream pie per week. We ate well on that amount of money. No chips, no candy and no alcohol though. Just the basics. I would not want to do that again but it can be done when needed or when budgeting good food instead of junk food.
Adjusted for inflation, $15/week in 1969 is $104.86/week today, or $454.39/month. So if your no-frills food budget costs 450 per month ,adjusted for inflation, for two people, or 225 per person per month per person, you can see how less than $100 per person per month can be considered untenable.
yes, this completely! Also, when it’s endless, when that no-frills, literally-nothing-extra budget goes on and on and on forever, people get bored and miserable, or at least many of them do.
I disagree. It can be done if needed and many people do it on a daily basis. No it is not ideal but if circumstances call for it, it can be done easily. A 5 dollar roasted sams club chicken can be used in many different ways to feed one person for Over a week, freezing of course to prevent spoilage. Even cheaper if you roast your own bird. Many stores offer bogo on items or store brand such as frozen and canned veg. There are discount bread stores in many cities where good bread can be bought for 99 cent or less to make toast for breakfast. Oatmeal is cheap, so is potatoes. You have to check store flyers and purchase on sale items. It is not untenable if you do due diligence. Many of our seniors living on less than 1000 a month in social security manage it everyday.
I agree with you, Jean. Many of us even choose to live on less than $100 a month per person for food. Our family of 3 adults and 1 teen lives very well and healthy on $250 a month total. We don’t garden, but do cook all our own food. This budget includes meat, good cheese, and wine. We can afford an affluent lifestyle but prefer quality home cooking. Everyone shops differently but purchasing food on sale and mostly more inexpensive, healthy foods makes this easily doable.
I wear plastic gloves when preparing garlic because I don’t like the smell on my hands. I just peel the garlic, cut off the ends, then smash slightly with a knife and cook this whole. This gives the flavor with less effort. You could also use a garlic press which is quicker than chopping. The only issue is cleaning out the press wholes with a tooth pick. Garlic is very healthy so worth adding.
Thankfully, Mr. FW puts copious amounts of minced garlic into our dinners :)! YUM.
Tip: cut onion and garlic with bare hands. After, wet your hands/fingers and run them over something stainless steel — I use the kitchen faucet. Chemical reaction — smell instantly gone.
Yup, this works! I was oh so happy to discover this, it is the only thing that gets rid of garlic and onion hands for me. They even sell cute stainless steel items that can sit by your sink and sponge (we have a fish-shaped one) that you can rub like a bar of soap and then rinse your hands.
Or the free version is to rub the neck/faucet of the sink. My husband and I have joked that this technique is ‘jerking off the sink’…for obvious imagery…
These recipes look delicious! Thank you!
Great ideas here! I also have a kiddo who loves sweet potato. How to you defrost/serve it once it’s been baked and then frozen?
I just set it on the counter to defrost. I peel and slice it up to serve. Very basic, but the baby seems to love it that way!
With regard to keeping the costs of chicken down, I do regularly roast a whole chicken (from the market so it tastes like chicken!) and any meat left over after 2 meals is taken off the bone, chopped and bagged up in the freezer. These left overs are great for throwing in paella and risotto (in this house) and would work great for quinoa as well. Also, as they are small, precooked pieces I just dump them in the pan frozen and heat them through. I’m all for shortcuts!
How long does it take you to break the chicken down? Maybe I’m overestimating how long it would take me… it is appealing to me to go the whole chicken route.
It’s super easy to rip the meat off a chicken once it’s roasted! And you use the bones for stock.
Yes, make sure you pull the meat off the chicken while it’s still warm from roasting. If you refrigerate the whole thing (which I’ve been known to do with a Costco rotisserie chicken), it is MUCH harder to get every speck of edible meat off the carcass! Once in a great while, I do make stock from the carcass (with onion, celery, carrot, thyme, salt & pepper thrown in for flavor), but generally, it’s less hassle to just buy the quart-size cartons of organic chicken stock from Costco. To me, the cost is a reasonable trade for my time.
I usually cook my whole chicken in the crockpot so it’s ready when I get home from work. At this point you’re just pulling meat off the bone that’s practically falling off anyway, so it only takes a couple minutes to break down. Sure it’s messy, but not really time consuming. Then I dump all the bones and skin back in the crockpot, fill it up with water, add some onion skins, celery, and carrot ends that I store in the freezer from other meals, and cook through to the next day for bone broth. More bang for your buck from one chicken that generally costs me around $.95 per pound for an Aldi whole chicken (non organic).
One thing I might do when I try your recipe (thank you for sharing) is to putt the frozen vegetables (still frozen) in with the chicken so they cook in the chicken juices and get some nice roasty color. Yum.
This sounds like a system even I could handle! I wonder if my crock pot is big enough…
For me personally, a whole chicken is a PITA. I never seem to get all of the cartilage, bones and other undesirable bits out even if I shred and paw through it to the best of my ability.
What we do is have a roast chicken for dinner from time to time, I generally then roast 2 whole birds and then just rip the left over meat off. it isn’t ”instant”, but of course it’s already cooked and very flavourful.
You’re so funny. Thanks for your humor. It takes the sting out of me when I realize how far my thoughts go when purchasing foods and how deep the dive I go into letting the Nutrition/Food of the month/Must eat autocrats dictate to me (Moi?!! :-0)..”…“Frozen vegetables?” I gasped! But we are a family that prizes health! We are a family that tries to feel good about itself based solely on the number of fresh vegetables we buy every week. What will everyone in the check-out line think of us?! THINK OF THE CHILDREN!! LMAO. I’ve raised three nurslings and I no longer like to cook, but I need to eat…So Ta for the good receipe!
Mmmm I love making big batches of quinoa for lunch too! I saute a couple links of spicy turkey sausage in my Instant Pot, throw in 1-2 cups of quinoa and water, cook it, and the add a bunch of torn kale leaves to wilt in the heat. The final touch is lots of Sriracha and it’s a work lunch I look forward to every single day.
THANK YOU for putting the recipe up front. One of my biggest pet peeves is all of the recipe blogs that start with “funny” anecdotes, then get into why they like the food, then post a bunch of pictures, all so you have to scroll through dozens of ads just to get to the recipe.
This recipe sound good and I will try it. It’s been a while since I’ve made your rice & beans meal. I’ve never thought of adding frozen veg, even though I do not have an anti-frozen veg bias. I forget that they’re even pre-cut. What a no-brainer.
How do you store your bread to keep it fresh all week? Where I live it can be humid during the summer and dry in winter, and I have a lot of difficulty keeping it fresh without all of the preservatives in the store bought stuff.
Yes I am curious too!
Perhaps I’m not picky enough, but I always keep bread in the fridge. Even the processed stuff goes moldy after a few days on the counter in this (very humid) neck of the woods. Sliced bread also seems to freeze ok if you have more than you’d need for the current moment (I just leave it in the fridge until it defrosts).
Good question! I’ve tried a number of different storage systems over the years of baking my own bread (wrapped in a tea towel, aluminum foil, kept it in the fridge) and what I’ve landed on as the best solution is to freeze half the loaf in a plastic zipper bag and keep the other half in the pantry, also in a plastic zipper bag. Then, I just alternate between these two plastic bags–one is always in the freezer and one in the pantry. This keeps our bread fresh, doesn’t waste plastic bags, and I find it defrosts just fine.
In my experience, bread (we make our own) is best kept in a plastic container but wrapped in paper towel. We keep our bread box in the pantry. The paper towel seems to absorb any dampness which accumulates. Our bread will last the week out easily.
I know, I know, I’m a heretic but quinoa is so not happening in my world. And yeah, no kale either. But beans and rice in varying forms? YES, bring it on. And since I’m cooking for one, I love bags of frozen veggies. I can cook just the amount I want and avoid any waste.
Quinoa is literally one of the greatest things in the world. You can do ANYTHING with it! I love a Mediterranean mix with some Kalamata olives and artichoke hearts. No – not as cheap, but so delicious!
I have to say, I’ve struggled with the frozen veggies though (other than a specific bag of peas I really like) because they always seem mushy. Is there a certain type or brand you found that keeps the somewhat crisp texture even after being cooked?
Hmmm, I think all the frozen veggies are pretty mushy, but that suits us well because my littlest can’t crunch raw veggies yet and for Mr. FW and me, we’re usually putting them into cooked recipes (curries, stews, chilis, etc). I buy fresh veggies for our salads since I’m not a fan of the mushy frozen veggies in a salad.
If I may – Costco has a bag of stir fry veggies that we feel like keeps better than just straight mush. Still isn’t as good as fresh though. We haven’t had leftovers for more than two days though – it’s amazing the first day.
Just came to say that even though you committed the unthinkable in the blogging world and (gasp) put the recipe at the top(!!!!) I still read the whole post! You’re just that good. Thanks for the inspiration, and for those of us that think quinoa could pack a better punch in the flavor world, try cooking it in chicken/beef broth or in a vegetable stock made from all those veggie scraps you accumulate. It elevates the flavor x10.
Good idea, thank you! And I appreciate that you kept reading beyond the recipe ;). I just hate the scroll, scroll, scroll when I’m trying to cook
You could also dump the chicken straight from the package into a crockpot and cook on high approx 3ish hours, then take out and shred. IMO easier than baking in the oven–doesn’t heat up the kitchen, don’t have to touch the chicken or anything.
Thanks for reminding me about my old friend quinoa! I used to regularly make a really delicious southwestern quinoa salad for our lunches with a can of black beans, chopped red pepper, chopped red onion, cilantro and a lime vinaigrette. Sometimes we might throw a sprinkle of cheese on top if we’re feeling fancy. So cheap and so good.
Oh! That sounds delicious!
Sounds yummy! I’ll be a dollop of sour cream and/or salsa on top would be good, too….oh, how I do love food….
“bet,” not be
I have a slightly different strategy that combines the beans and rice with quinoa, oatmeal, barley, whatever grain-y thing. I make a big batch of some kinda rice. It may be brown, jasmine, wild, TJs California Sprouted Rice — 5 or 6 cups in my rice cooker. I may or may not add in a supplemental grain. Sometimes cooked together with the rice, sometimes cooked separately. Then I add in beans (canned wins out my cost vs time calculation) so that it’s about a 50-50 ratio. Sometimes it’s all one kind, but usu it’s a mixture of beans. Then I freeze this mixture into individual 1/2 cup servings. I bulk cook chicken to freeze in individual servings (2-3 oz), and supplement that with leftover meats from dinners or meals out. Same thing with veggies. Then I take a rice mixture packet, a meat packet and a veggie packet to work with me to zap in the micro for lunch. I often add a head of romaine and other fresh veggies. This way, I have an easy-peasy go-to lunch, but there is a bit of variety. This typically nets me 2-3 months of lunches.
I love succotash and make it from scratch! I thought we were the only people eating it. I put bacon in mine, using a Mary Berry recipe. Not sure how authentic it is but really tasty. Roast whole chicken (organic from Aldi) in oven and roast veggies and bake potatoes at the same time. Make the most of your oven when it is on. It takes no time to strip chicken from the carcass, which is then used for stock. Use it to make chicken and mushroom risotto or soup. I also use a stock cube if it needs a bit more flavour.
Onion pro tip – I, too, hate the monotony of chopping vegetables, but I love adding diced onion to all the things. Turns out, diced onions freeze beautifully. So occasionally (when I am smart), I will dice up a whole bunch of onions and pop them in the freezer, to be pulled out and added to dishes at my leisure. This is especially nice when/if there is a sale on those massive 5lb bags of onions.
Great tip, thank you! Maybe Mr. FW and I can have an onion dicing party…
Does it make a difference whether you use red, white, etc., quinoa? I see many kinds at our supermarket (Stop & Shop) & am not sure which one to choose. I want to buy a small quantity in case we don’t like it.
I don’t think it matters!
I frequently roast whole chickens in the crock-pot! A new concept to me, I stumbled across this amazing idea over the summer when it was WAY to hot to be using an oven. It is SO EASY! But note that you won’t get beautiful crispy skin doing it this way – it’s not pretty but certainly does the job when you need chicken for a recipe such as this.
Congratulation on making it into the kitchen – big moves, Mrs. FW 🙂
Almond butter is LIFE CHANGING for kid lunches sine peanut butter is banned at most schools… and it’s so YUMMY!!
We are big fans of almond butter! Unfortunately, Kidwoods’ classroom is 100% nut-free, so no almond butter allowed either. But she really likes avocado on bread, so that’s a winner!
Sunbutter (made from sunflower seeds) is a great nut-free alternative! It makes great peanut-style sauces, too.
Since it looks like no has mentioned it here, we do a variation at our house once a week for stir-fry dinner where we throw frozen veggies with available protein and a pre-packaged stir-fry seasoning mix (the horror) which all goes over rice/cauli rice. It is quick, easy, and has my family eating more veggies so, winner!
I came here to say this! 🙂 Love the stir fry. We always have a bag of “stir fry veggies” from Market Basket in our freezer. We throw in whatever protein (or none at all) is laying around, some veggies from the fridge… it comes out really good. I either do it with rice or noodles, and its done!
Hi Mrs FW,
I always enjoy your writing and humour, thank you!
For a bit of variety, a big dollop of pesto (or vegan pesto) stirred through quinoa and veggies is very tasty, and some baked smoked tofu would work well for vegans. In the U.K. we can buy frozen chargrilled Mediterranean veggies which are good. And finally quinoa is a good repository in an avocado crisis.
HAH: “quinoa is a good repository in an avocado crisis.” And so true!!!
I love quinoa – I often mix it with rice when I make any rice dish. I don’t eat it for lunch though. I’ve got a desk job, and I realized about 5 years ago that lunch carbs make me sleepy. (I had switched to salad for lunch to lose baby weight, and recognized later the added benefit of no 2:30 pm sleepies).
So, I eat salad for lunch almost every. single. day. If we are out of greens, it might be a tomato salad, or carrot salad. On occasion a stir fry. I don’t eat very many frozen veg these days (used to) as I’m trying to avoid plastic wherever I can. Since I’m lucky enough to live in California with year round produce (that people deliver in boxes to your DOOR!!!), I go with that. Prepping every damn vegetable we eat does get wearying though, not gonna lie.
and yes, scrolling for 9 years is the literal worst
Hah! The actual worst indeed
For me, it’s the endless scrolling AND intrusive ads that get in the way of even finding the ingredients and instructions.
We eat a vegan diet and I can get a block of organic firm tofu for $2.99 which would be a perfect replacement. Sub 2 bricks of tofu for 2lbs of chicken thighs to add protein and the numbers work out the same for cost. Cube and bake tofu in the oven with salt/pepper/amino acids to taste. I wonder if I break down the math for my husband if I could get him to sign up for eating batch cooked lunch like this… I used to eat (well) off $30/week by doing this for both lunch and dinners when was a single young woman on my own. Now with a family of 3, I’ve spoiled them and they expect a unique 3 course dinner nightly and are finicky with leftovers. We’re probably missing out on $30-40 of weekly grocery savings due to silliness.
This is my new favorite post yet!!! Perfect blend of food, frugality, spreadsheet, kids, and humor:)
I’m confused by “Dump frozen veggies (defrosted or still frozen) into cooked quinoa” . Does this mean you don’t eat it then?
You should give millet a try in place of the quinoa. Cheaper, and just as nutritious. Millet is a staple grain (seed) in many countries, just like quinoa is in the Andes.
I make a similar recipe with couscous, adding Garam Masala as the main flavoring, and throw it together with home made falafel. This quinoa recipe might be a good change with some marinated tofu and different spices.
The cooked quinoa defrosts the veggies. I stir it around, cover the pot, and let it sit for a few minutes and the veggies get defrosted. You could also plan ahead and defrost the veggies–I just usually forget 😉
We do meal prep on Sunday for my family! Two working parents means we need easy to grab foods: hard boiled eggs, veggie sticks, mason jar salads, and boiled chicken*. We also make breakfast sandwiches and they’re a huge hit in my house! We figured that our sandwiches will be about $0.80 per serving. 🙂 And on Sunday we also divvy up ground meat into easy servings for when it’s just me and my daughter for dinner.
*Boiling the chicken makes an easy chicken stock as well. I use the shredded chicken for bbq chicken sandwiches, taco salads, my bf tops his salads with chicken. We’ve managed to cut back on our grocery spending and eating out.
Another suggestion to change up the flavor, while making the recipe slightly less frugal, is to swap the water with chicken or vegetable stock. Which is exactly what I’m going to do in a minute while I’m looking in my freezer for a random bag of frozen veggies. Daily lunch conundrum = solved!
Ha! I loathe blogs that make you scroll a year to get to the recipe too. A link is much appreciated! My go to lunch prep is a very inauthentic chili, just tinned tomatoes, beans, fresh capsicums (or frozen over winter) and various spices. Tasty and healthy, and can bebulked out with rice.
Also in New Zealand, our food is very seasonally priced, so I try and work around this (1 more month until fresh tomatoes!).
Very well written post! I also like chicken, but am concerned about food safety. Do you take any steps to ensure proper food handling in the kitchen? How does that fit in with a quick and easy meal preparation? Here is what I am basing this on:
Yes I was concerned about the idea of keeping chicken in the fridge for a week. I’ve always read it’s a max of 72 hours for most leftovers, especially when meat is involved. Do you freeze everything at a certain point? That wasn’t clear from the post.
I keep leftovers in my fridge for a week and have never had an issue. I do the smell test- if it smells bad, I don’t eat it. If its been around for a while, I heat it up super hot and then let it cool a bit and eat. Remember that public health guidelines are public health guidelines. They’re made to be the safest possible, for the largest number of people. Your mileage will vary on most food leftovers. I do like to refrigerate right after eating (even though 4 hours at room temperature is technically safe).
I’ve been making big batches of rice and beans pretty much since the original recipe was posted, for some reason we have yet to tire of it. We do eat it with spicy lacto-fermented carrot on the side, which does really liven things up.
On the more expensive chicken that was mentioned and pictured, I’m sorry to say buyers are getting short changed. There is a frustrating label frenzy going on in the grocery store of today, it seems with the intent of sowing confusion and misdirection. Most likely that Perdue chicken is not significantly different than any other, but asks a higher price ($2.99/lb).
Getting into the label weeds…
“all-natural”: natural can be applied to essentially all chicken per USDA regulations, and thus is meaningless
“cage-free”: no chickens raised for meat are kept in cages in normal practice (it’s egg layers that are commonly caged)
“hormone-free”: FDA prohibits the addition of hormones, so this would be illegal anyway
“steroid-free”: FDA prohibits the addition of steroids too, thus illegal
“antibiotic-free”: may have some meaning but is not independently verified and there are additional caveats
Certified Organic by the USDA, while not perfect, is the only common certification/label for chicken that I am aware of that holds real meaning and is verified through independent inspection. Organic chickens are not fed antibiotics, are required to have access to the outdoors, and perhaps most significantly are fed certified organic food (which cannot contain animal by-products or GMOs and cannot be grown using persistent pesticides or chemical fertilizers). When you add up the costs of these changes plus the costs of certification to the farmer, it’s understandable why organic chicken costs more. So my suggestion to those looking to pay a little more for something better would be to go certified organic or local.
Regarding the healthiness of chicken, I’m sure you didn’t know this, so it’s not your fault, but there is a ton of marketing masquerading as science.
The paper you referenced is very, very, biased. It includes this at the bottom, just above the references: “The preparation of this consensus document has been made possible by an unrestricted grant from Unaitalia.” What is Unaitalia, you might ask? They tell us on their website https://www.unaitalia.com/
Unaitalia è l’associazione di categoria che tutela e promuove le filiere agroalimentari italiane delle carni e delle uova.
Rappresenta oltre il 90% dell’intera filiera avicunicola nazionale ed una fetta molto cospicua di quella suinicola, e ne valorizza in ogni sede la relativa immagine.”
Oh, you don’t speak Italian? No problem, neither do I! But Google Translate does!
“Who we are
Unaitalia is the trade association that protects and promotes the Italian food and meat supply chains.
It represents over 90% of the entire national poultry chain and a very large slice of the pork sector, and enhances its image in each location.”
Thank you for putting the recipe near the top. 🙂 I live on quinoa salad for lunch all summer long. Quinoa and whatever veggies I have on hand (fresh or frozen) tossed in a quick homemade vinaigrette. Sometimes I add chickpeas or beans.
Making this for my lunches next week! Thanks!
Someone’s already suggested cooking the quinoa in stock or broth for added flavour, but the other thing that came to mind (if the cutting veges vibe happens to feel strong one day) is to make a sort of tabbouleh with your cucumbers and tomatoes instead of the frozen veg.
If you’re feeling super energetic, you could also make a dressing from some basil pesto and lemon juice, and stir through for a different flavour (I use a 200g pot of store-bought pesto and maybe 1/8-1/4 cup lemon juice?). And we often throw in a decent handful parsley from the plants that seems to sprout every summer in our garden, and mint if that’s around too.
Pesto would be amazing! Great suggestion.
I specifically make quinoa tabouli. One of my kids is deathly allergic to wheat (so no bulger). In fact, I made quinoa tabouli to serve 200 at a bar mitzvah lunch. Got more requests for that recipe than anything else.
Sounds delicious! Could you share the recipe here?
I am at a disadvantage for cheap eating: I cannot stomach the smell of every bean I have ever tried, I hate most grains, and rice is not big around here either. In fact, if I go to a Chinese restaurant, I tell them not to bother bringing rice in any form. We end up eating soup for lunch almost every day of the week. I really have tried to learn to appreciate beans and grains (not so much rice) but I finally decided that being miserable every meal was not for me. Soup is cheap and health, too, and we can make one large pot on Monday and eat it every day until Friday, usually with a different roll or bread I have made to provide some variation.
We do something similar but use kale instead of the frozen veggies. I season with pepper and low sodium soy sauce. Delicious!
I read your post when I got out of bed and went downstairs to make some “fried rice quinoa” for lunch today! I threw in what veggies we had plus some egg and soy sauce. I then threw in some gyoza from the freezer for a little variety. (Trader Joe’s Gyoza are my “frozen pizza”. I like them because I can heat up five or six for a small dinner if I am getting home late from work and didn’t eat….) I *may* have eaten several spoonfuls before even getting to work today… 😉
I hate quinoa, but I may try doing this with rice. I like beans and rice but could not eat it every day. Chicken and rice and veggies, I could, though…
I like quinoa and use it a lot. It is important to note , however , that some quinoa needs to be rinsed. Always check your package to see if it has been rinsed or if you need to do it.
Yes, well said. And rinsing gets rid of that soapy/bean taste that quinoa can have! Adding in the onion right after cooking quinoa also improves the flavour.
I want to add my voice to those saying: cook a whole chicken. Really, it’s super fast and easy. There’s no hands on because it’s just in the oven. Taking the meat off the carcass takes maybe 10 minutes. And it’s incredibly economical. I only buy humanely raised free range chicken and a whole chicken feeds our heavy-eating family of four multiple meals plus other meals with the broth I make. Just throw it in the oven and you don’t even have to do anything special with seasoning other than sprinkle it with kosher salt. I usually do more, but you don’t need to. When it’s done let it cool a bit. I always use all the bits and the dark meat first, for chicken salad and lunches and what not. The giblets I have already pulled out ahead of time and simmered in some water on the stove. Chopped up, those become dog training treats. The chicken breasts feed us in sandwiches or stirfries the next day. I throw the whole carcass along with a halved onion maybe a carrot or a piece of celery, water and salt and it just simmers all day while I’m doing other things. Or you could leave it in a crockpot overnight on lowOr just freeze the carcass in a gallon size Ziploc bag till you feel like puttering in the kitchen.. Freeze the broth or use it right away. ( pressure can mine but I realize you are not as into cooking as I probably am.🙂). We get so many meals out of a whole chicken. I consider it a real convenience food.
PS… I know this comes from a place a relative privilege in that we are family with two jobs and we can afford to buy chicken that has been raised better than mass-market chicken., but if you can do it, try not to buy the cheapest meat in the grocery store. I will also say we have raised meat chickens in our city backyard successfully and processed them ourselves and they had a good life for the amount of time they were with us and it still was under $10 a whole bird for us to do it. As long as I have the means, and we are still eating meat, I try to buy meat that came from animals treated well during their lives. No judgment on those who make other choices however! 🙂
Thank you for sharing this! I can’t wait to try it and love all of your other food ideas too!
I have been doing a quinoa salad for a while where I take a huge mixing bowl full of kale and add a couple cups of cooked quinoa. Then, I add a tbsp of olive oil and basalmic vinegar and then any other add ins we have around like shredded carrots or dried cranberries and pecans. Everything I’ve tried is yummy and I like it best when it’s warm!
Please! Make your Time Use approach your next post. I could dearly use some pointers!
If you have any place that sells from bulk bins (our local food coop does), you can probably get the quinoa cheaper in bulk than by the bag. I know I can, here. I read once that quinoa is much better when rinsed before cooking. I tried it rinsed and un-rinsed, and definitely preferred the rinsed. It might have been the power of suggestion, of course. Do you rinse yours?
I second, third, fifteenth, whatever, the advice that cutting up a chicken is really not that big of a deal, and if you cook it first until it’s tender, it really is a case of pulling meat off of the bones and removing skin and gristle. I’ve bought as many as five plucked and cleaned chickens from a local farmer and cut them all up in one go. I bag up pieces according to how I’ll cook them (like all thighs or all wings together) and freeze them, ready to thaw and cook later. Just be sure your knife is sharp when cutting up an uncooked chicken.
Since organ meat is really super nutritious, you could try cooking livers and chopping them up small to add. I personally struggle with liver’s taste and texture, but chopped up small and mixed in a tasty dish, I can eat it.
I’m a frozen vegetable fan for some things. I can pay $6 or $7 for two bunches of organic fresh kale that cook down to two cups, or buy it frozen so that it’s already shrunk, getting more organic kale in the bag for $2.29. I can nearly cut my thumb off cutting into hard winter squash, and spend an hour baking it to scoop it out of the rind, or struggle for half an hour to peel it while raw, or I can buy a bag of frozen butternut squash that is peeled and ready to cook. I can even get organic cauliflower already riced and frozen. It’s a no-brainer to me.
I loved this post. It was a fun read, and add my approval for putting the recipe near the top!
This was SO good! I took another commenter’s suggestion and sautéed a bit of onion and then toasted the quinoa before boiling it! Also, if you are near a Trader Joe’s, they have a bag of frozen vegetables called “Soycutash”. It’s corn, red peppers and edamame! Works well for this recipe. So YUMMY!
Here’s a hack for chicken when you don’t want to use the oven: marinate it for an hour or so in a combo of Italian salad dressing and hot sauce and then grill. Fyi, the hot sauce isn’t too spicy- just gives a little zing.
Quinoa ROCKS! I purchase organic quinoa in bulk as it is FAR cheaper than pre-packaged and I can avoid packaging waste (a goal of mine). I have these netted veggie bags that are reusable instead of using the plastic ones at the store for bulk and vegetable purchases. The quinoa from the bulk bin does not leak out of the netted fabric and I can get as much or little as I need – WIN! I like the red quinoa simply because it’s pretty in my opinion. My favorite recipe is: quinoa, chopped green olives, chopped cherry tomatoes, black beans and corn with balsamic vinegar and olive oil – YUM! I add it to casseroles and soups too. Frozen veggies are AWESOME! I can get 5 pound bags (organic) at the bulk store on the super cheap and use them in soup, casseroles, QUINOA salads, etc. I saw that one of your followers mentioned not liking that frozen veggies come in plastic bags. I can SOOOO relate! What I’ve been doing for years is using most of the plastic and jar/can packaging I can’t avoid as trash containers. After evaluating my trash (yeah, I did that), I realized that most of it was packaging so, I just began using the packaging for collecting my trash. Haven’t purchased trash bags in years which is really just spending money on something meant to be thrown away; may as well just throw that money directly into the dumpster. The unavoidable trash (frozen veggie bags, yogurt containers, wine boxes 🙂 etc.) has worked well having at least one more use before hitting the landfill… Not practical for every family but the trash bag cost to our budgets and the earth are worth looking into alternatives! For those wanting to cut out another plastic, single use/purchased item, replacing zip locks with re-usable silicone bags has also been super simple. They can be run through the dishwasher and just need to be dried out. The 30 seconds of my time to dry them by hand is worth not spending the money for an item that has only one, and possibly, a couple more uses before being thrown away. Not a fan of throwing away money or plastic after only one use! BIG FAN of bulk purchasing for cost saving and less waste! And, of course, the healthy, tasty and flexible quinoa!!!
I’m super intrigued by these re-usable silicone bags! Could you share a link to the ones you like? Many thanks!
Love it! And yes, recipe up top!
My only issue with quinoa was that I usually found it too mushy. For the base, this recipe has my favorite ratio for crunchy goodness quinoa: https://fountainavenuekitchen.com/helpful_tips/perfectly-cooked-quinoa/#comment-536513
Also the hipster restaurants in Seattle have it toasted too, which I’d love to try one day.
Have you ever made your own kimchi? Also extremely cheap, and my favorite thing to munch on standing in front of the fridge.
It’s essentially a heated salad, for which no recipe is needed. Combine whole foods together in whatever proportions you like is the main instruction for almost any batch cooking – or cold dish – that’s not baked goods. Because baking involves chemistry, certain proportions need to be applied.
I love this combination! Looks very similar to a cauliflower chicken fried rice thing that my husband and I make. We haven’t tried quinoa yet, but maybe we can one day.
Inspired by this post, I made quinoa for dinner tonight. I added a bit of curry powder at the end (spicy, not heat). Absolutely delicious. Your kids might like it too, as curry powder (the good kind) is not hot. Otherwise, add the curry powder after you separate the kids portion.
Onion tip: I hate chopping onions so I use our food processor. Generally try to do a few onions at a time and freeze them so I always have chopped onions on hand! I will add garlic to the food processor with the onions if I know I need both.
This sounds like something I could add to my lunch prepping schedule! Don’t get me wring, I love rotating spag bol and green curry (the usual recipes) but this would be an easy one to add in.
Interesting! What I’ve been doing lately for my work week lunches: Make quinoa (half cup), toss some frozen veggies in a pan until they’re semi cooked. Then add the cooked quinoa & veggies in a bake dish, add eggs, seasoning and cheese on top. While that bakes for 20 minutes, I fry up some veggie or turkey patties to have on the side. I take a portion of my quinoa bake & a veggie or turkey patty to lunch. Lasts me all week. I used to use sausage but I’m trying to not eat that as much, though it did taste amazing. I guess I could try turkey sausage as well.
Quiona seems to get bad press for being dull and boring, but I eat a lot of eat, added to other ingredients and lots of herbs and spices it makes a good meal.
This looks really good and I have been interested in incorporating quinoa in my diet. Does anybody make this recipe in an InstanPot? If so would you be willing to share how this would be made in one? Thanks in advance
i do Quinoa salad with a lemon(we have trees) dressing
Making this again today…..I love having ready to go lunches for days and days! (I freeze what I won’t eat this week.) I feel so healthy when I have this in my lunch! So many veggies! Thanks!
A boring but important food safety comment: it’s worth cooking the frozen vegetables in boiling water, rather than letting the residual heat defrost them. There have been quite a few cases of frozen veggies being recalled due to the presence of listeria bacteria, which is something that would be destroyed by cooking them in boiling water. This is the reason that the manufacturer’s instructions always state this on frozen veggies!
Any ideas on what would be good for a meatless dairy version. I am not quite sure what would hold up, but would appreciate ideas. I can always throw in some beans when it is dine
I am currently wolfing down a bowl of this as I type – delicious and so versatile! I love that it’s something I can serve to all of my family, adding chicken for those who eat it, leaving it out for those who don’t. I added a package of frozen eggplant (that’s a thing her in Japan), a generous couple teaspoons of garlic, all sautéed with the onion and other veg…literally cleaned out my freezer. Thanks so much for the inspiration!