Tag Archives: Recipe

Roasted Tomato & Quinoa Veggie Pot: Eat Food.

After posting my health library I realized that, while I love flipping through the pages, I’ve never fully read Michael Pollan’s Food Rules. It actually sits on my desk at work, should I ever need some very simple inspiration for a post (work-blog, not here), seminar or handout. Now, it’s sitting on my kitchen table as I realize it could be the inspiration for some new recipes.

I like to think we make up our own rules here in the DOTR kitchen, and that Mr. Pollan would approve. Our “rules” would have to mash together to form something that includes dark chocolate and a hankering for chips & salsa; there are some compromises to be made! But nonetheless, I opened the book to page 5 and started with this:

1) Eat food.

We can do that!

Today’s recipe is a simple one-pot wonder that will put dinner in your bowl/plate/mouth within 30 minutes (or less). If you wanted to roast the tomatoes yourself – power to ya! – then use this on a cooler summer evening with fresh summer tomatoes and go for it (adding some cook-time)! When they’re out of season, I reach for the Muir Glen Organic Fire-roasted Tomatoes because I know them well. The flavor can’t be matched!

Roasted Tomato & Quinoa Veggie Pot

2 cans (15 oz) fire-roasted organic tomatoes, undrained
1 can (15 oz) organic chickpeas, undrained
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups broccoli florets, chopped
1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
1 cup dry quinoa (rinsed)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp garlic powder (or one glove garlic, minced)
Salt/pepper to taste

Le Creuset Cooking

Heat oil over medium in a large pot or Dutch oven; add onion and sauté until opaque/softened. Add tomatoes, water, chickpeas, broccoli, quinoa and seasonings. Stir until mixed well; bring to boil and then reduce heat, cover and let simmer for ~20-25 minutes (until quinoa is cooked through). Stir every couple of minutes to prevent any burning.

Let it cool, and then dish it out!

Roasted tomato & quinoa veggie pot 2

This was the perfect, easy and flavorful one-pot creation on a colder DC night. Next up I might finally use that slow-cooker that’s staring at me and waiting to show its power!


What was on your dinner menu this week?



Filed under dinners, food, Nutrition, recipes, vegetarian

Basil Tofu Pesto & Pasta

With D on a ride after work, I had some extra time to assess the fridge’s contents and be creative with its dwindling supplies. I knew one thing for sure, that post-bike-ride stomach is a bottomless pit! Dinner needs to be voluminous, with all of the right nutrients.

This recipe is gluten and dairy free, but could be easily adapted either way:

tofu basil pesto ingredients

When I pick up the Trader Joe’s organic infinite Basil, it is with well intentions and an ambitious mind. It’s tricky to get through that entire box before leaves begin to bore and brown. Pesto is a quick fix for that!

Knowing that riding in the 100* heat wouldn’t create an appetite for a steaming bowl of pasta, I cooked these brown rice noodles about an hour beforehand, and let them cool in the fridge.

Then, I photographed things and got to thinking…would this work? Dinner, let’s play, and see what happens!

Basil Tofu Pesto & Pasta

4-6 oz brown rice pasta* noodles (3-4 servings), cooked & chilled
1 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1/2 block extra firm {sprouted} tofu, drained
1/4 cup raw pecans
1 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
Salt & pepper to taste
Splash of unsweetened Almond milk**

Optional add-in: steamed kale leaves, or other greens (spinach, mustard, etc.)

*Use any noodle/pasta you have on hand.
**Or other milk substitute (soy, rice, etc)

Before chilling the pasta, stir in 1/2 Tbsp olive oil and season with pepper.

Slice tofu block into pieces; add to food processor with pecans, basil leaves and salt/pepper. Pulse for 2-3 minutes. Drizzle remaining 1/2Tbsp oil and add in a splash of Almond milk (or other milk substitute). Continue pulsing for an additional ~3 minutes, until reaching a smooth, creamy texture.

tofu basil pesto

Stir tofu basil pesto with pasta to coat and mix together. Add in steamed greens.

tofu basil pesto pasta bowl

Quick, easy and perfect for a hot summer evening! The texture was the middle ground between traditional pesto and alfredo sauce, without any heavy cream or excessive oil. The sauce was smooth enough to spread around easily, but strong enough to really stick onto each twisted noodle.

I added in kale leaves because we had them on hand and I love an extra dose of color for nutrients and flavor. Any vegetable of preference could be substituted in there, or even a medley of them – I’m thinking sautéed summer squash & red onions, or sun-dried tomatoes and spinach for next time!

Either way, this tofu basil pesto will not disappoint, and could even trick a meat-eater with a bowl of creamy pasta & a full on flavor punch. You have your protein, multiple sources of healthy fats, carbohydrates and veggies! In other words, you can’t go wrong with this staple.


Happy Friday!

Have you tried a twist on the traditional pesto before? Our last experiment involved avocado and sunflower seeds, and that was a hit, too! Pesto can wear many hats.


Filed under dinners, new things!, recipes, vegetarian

Summer Yogi Salad

Biking to and from free Yoga (courtesy of the Running Yogis!) at the Georgetown lululemon last night provided the sweat-overload that the unheated class did not. A mere 6 miles on the bike should never be that taxing, but Summer has its point to prove.

The absolute last thing I would’ve done is turn on the oven to cook/bake. Our kitchen is narrow and cozy – cute? Yes. Airy and Open? Not so much.

We barely avoided the cereal-for-dinner trap, instead deciding to use up the last of our salad greens (spinach leaves & lettuce) to fill up on real nutrients.

{Simple} Summer Strawberry Salad

Perfectly refreshing after a hot summer workout – whether your version of that involves heated vinyasa, cycling, running, etc.

Strawberries, sliced
Cucumber, sliced
Pecans, crushed
Tofu (sautéed in olive oil)
Salad greens
Balsamic Vinaigrette

Measurements are up to you – fill up and enjoy!

Strawberry tofu salad

There is nothing out-of-this-foodie-world creative about this salad. It’s simple, and sometimes we need a good reminder that that’s just fine. We gave ourselves points for going with a colorful bowl of fresh produce instead of what we’d probably have for breakfast less than 12 hours later. Tofu is our choice of protein, but to each their own!


What’s on your go-to oven-free dinner menu?

We have our first 100* day here in the District, with many more surely to come. All suggestions welcome!


Filed under dinners, food, groceries, Lululemon, lunches, recipes, Yoga

Arborio Rice: Vegan Risotto & Atop Greens

A box of Arborio rice found its way into our Trader Joe’s cart last Sunday, along with my ambitions of finally tackling the art of risotto. This Italian short-grain rice is a member of the “grass” family, akin to corn, oats, rye, millet and, of course, wild rice.

Arborio is higher in starch, compared to say brown or jasmine rice; this characteristic lends itself to the creamy texture of risotto. Ergo, it’s an asset to the dish! I won’t try to mess with Italian assets, or their traditional dishes.


I’ve never made risotto, and I’m sure many chefs and foodies in the world would argue that this version doesn’t count. Admittedly, there was neither wine (in the cooking process) nor parmesan cheese. There was Arborio rice, and a process of stirring.

I count it, so there’s that.

risotto cooking

This recipe came to our kitchen thanks to Jen Reilley’s Cooking with Trader Joe’s: Skinny Dish. I am lucky enough to work with Jen on occasion, and snagged a copy of this a few months ago. It has proven itself invaluable in our TJ’s stocked kitchen. I rarely make any recipe by the book; these are no exception. But a huge thanks goes to Jen for her genius vegan-friendly vision. I prefer my white wine in a glass, and had no parmesan on hand.

In place of the two, this dish uses one can of coconut milk + 1.5 cups of water. I substituted in diced mushrooms for the cubed butternut squash, and added a dash of red curry sauce instead of curry powder.

racy risotto 006

This delicious combination will be undoubtedly be repeated, and gets a colorful stamp of approval from this apartment kitchen! I have a few vegetable substitutions in mind to keep it seasonal and fresh, and to keep having an excuse to make creamy risotto.


In the next experiment, there was Light Vanilla Silk (Soy-milk).

Sweet potato arborio & greens

Sweet Potato Arborio over Cooked Greens

1/2 dry arborio rice
2 tsp olive oil
1.5 cups water
1/3 cup Light vanilla soy milk (or other milk alternative)
1 medium sweet potato, peeled & cubed
Salt, Pepper, Nutmeg
2 cups mixed cooking greens (collard, mustard & kale)
Trader Joe’s sells a bag of “Cooking greens”, near the salad options.

Heat the oil over medium in a deep sauce pan. Add dry rice and stir to coat; add water 1/4 cup at a time, stirring frequently, and mixing in the sweet potatoes + seasonings to taste. Add the water slowly, putting more in once the liquid is almost entirely absorbed. Add soy milk, continue stirring. Once all liquids have been added, cover to keep steam in (softening the sweet potatoes), remove from heat and stir frequently.

While the rice is cooking (and you’re busy stirring!), steam the mixed greens. That’s it. They’re easy. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until dark green. Serve rice + sweet potato mix atop the cooked greens. Sprinkle with pepper to taste, and enjoy!


Arborio has been a good friend to our dinner plates and lunch leftovers this week! We’ll be having dates with this Italian “grass” more often.

What’s your favorite way to cook it?


Filed under dinners, food, recipes

Black, Green & Red Stuffed Peppers

I had my first date with a homemade stuffed pepper last night; it made quite a first impression, as most South-westerners do.

Aptly inspired by Alysa’s “Simple Stuffed Pepper” recipe, I immediately wondered why these had never seen the inside of my oven. They’re delicious. I would order them in a restaurant. I know exactly what I would put in my own version.

WHY have I not made these before?!

Also, why has no one figured out how to grow green chiles in the Northeast?? (Ya know, in these dry, arid conditions up here…) I can’t keep basil alive, therefore I’m not putting a favorite spice at the mercy of my green thumb. But seriously, someone?

No answer to those mind-boggling inquiries yet, but we do have a DOTR-highly-recommended Vegetarian-friendly dinner to show for the efforts.

Quinoa Bean mixturePeppers before baking

Black, Green & Red {Quinoa} Stuffed Peppers
for two

2 Large bell peppers (color is totally up to you)
1/2 Avocado, sliced
3/4 cup (cooked) black beans, rinsed
1/4 cup diced green chiles (find ‘em where you can! TJs carries the Hatch brand.)
1/4 cup diced red onion
1 tsp oil (canola or olive)
3/4 cup cooked Quinoa*
2 Tbsp shredded cheese – optional
Cayenne pepper, salt/pepper

*I cooked one cup (dry) of quinoa, so I had plenty of leftovers, and just used 3/4 cup for this. While it was cooking, I added a dash of cayenne & black pepper to the water for flavoring. Optional: cook in low-sodium vegetable broth.

Preheat oven to 400*.

Heat oil over medium; add onions, green chiles and black beans. Season to taste. Heat through; add in quinoa and stir to mix well (see photo above).

Prepare the peppers – cut around the top edge, take off the “lid”  and remove the seeds (like when you carve pumpkins! Exactly the same thing.). Stuff with quinoa and black bean mixture (I put about 1/2 cup + an extra spoonful in each, with a little bit leftover), and top with cheese.

Place the lid back on top. Bake in a small glass dish (helps prevent tipping over) for 30-35 minutes, until peppers are soft.

baked stuffed red pepper

Please excuse the iPhone photos.

Once they’re done, slice up an avocado garnish and grab your utensils – fork + knife. Dig in! You’ll wonder where this easy, vegetable-centered, high-protein dish has been.


Filed under dinners, Meatless Monday, recipes

Fueling with Fish & Farfalle

Getting ready for a long training run requires some dietary preparation. Two to three days before LRs like this (or races), I’ll start to increase the carbs and focus on some key nutrients. Visiting my parents for the weekend allows for some entree exploration!

Friday night: A Cooking Light recipe was on the menu, with a few adjustments.

NM 009

Warm Pasta Salad with Shrimp & Beans
Recipe doubled, serves 6-7

1.5 lbs Medium Shrimp, peeled
2 cups Cannellini Beans, drained & rinsed
1 bag Raw Spinach Leaves
1 tbsp Garlic, minced
1/2 cup Purple onion, chopped
1 tbsp Olive Oil
Salt, Pepper
5 cups Farfalle Pasta
1/4 c Fresh Lemon Juice
1/4 cup Light Italian Dressing

Cook pasta as directed. In a frying pan, heat 1 tbsp  Olive oil over medium and add shrimp, garlic, onions, salt and pepper. When the shrimp is cooked and pasta is done, combine (over low heat) and add remaining ingredients (Beans, Spinach, Dressing, Lemon juice). Toss until spinach is cooked and the mixture is heated through.

NM 020

Carbs: Pasta, beans
Protein: Shrimp, beans
Fat: Olive Oil, dressing

Nutrient-loaded for 20 miles? Check!

Next up: The hilliest 20-miler that was.


Filed under dinners, family, Nutrition, recipes, weekends, what to eat

Flat Pedals & Fish

My weather report read 56* at 8:30 a.m. yesterday. What?! My first thought was “Fall? You’re here? Already?”, followed by “I get to wear my Long Sleeve bike shirt!”. Nothing like a taste of Autumn for a morning ride with the lovely Ashley.

Confession: I rode with my flat pedals. No clip-in shoes or pedals. Old school style.

This being only my second ride since the mishap, I’m still not 100% comfortable in those attachments. Riding with a new friend, on new city streets did not seem like the ideal time to gather my ego back and test out my skills.

It did seem like the time to remember how fun it is to cruise on a trail for 2o miles!
(Photos courtesy of a sweaty blackberry camera, pardon the blur)


Colorado, you have my heart. Water, you are too cold for today.


REI, you are enormous. What is in there?! Curiosity piqued.


Ashley and I shared a Carrot Cake Larabar (first-timer here…YUM), sipped some h2O, and rode on! We ended up back at her house after 23 miles (90 min) and I wasted no time planning Bike-Date number Dos. 😉


We may not eat meat around here, but an occasional grocery store splurge lands two MahiMahi steaks in the freezer (or Salmon!). Said steaks were defrosted, meaning the fridge was ready to spit them out (don’t leave fresh fish alone for too long!), and the Broiler was ready to heat them up!

Mahi Mahi Steaks with Rice & Beet Tops

Mahimahi 004

Photo courtesy: D the Mahi chef!

For the steaks: drizzle with olive oil, season with black pepper & cumin, broil for 3 min on one side, flip for 2 min on the other side.

Cook rice first, as it takes the longest. Meanwhile, set the oven to broil, and heat 1 tbsp Olive oil over medium. Sauté chopped yellow peppers (or vegetable of your choice!); once soft, toss in the Beet tops (yes, they’re edible!). Drizzle with a little extra oil if needed, and salt/pepper to taste.

Mahimahi 002

Protein: MahiMahi
Carbs: Rice
Fat: Olive oil

How do you like your fish? Did you know you could cook the tops of beets?

It was new info to us (thank you, Farmer’s Market!)! I’d definitely have these again, though I do recommend removing the stems. Oops. 🙂


Filed under bike rides, dinners, meetups, recipes, weather love