Eating Right

Creamy-Caprese-Quinoa-Bake-1 This year one of my New Year’s resolutions is to really start working out and eating right. I know that is totally cliché, but since having a baby this past summer I have found every excuse to not work out, the main one being that I hate leaving my chubby cheek nugget for even a minute!

I have also thoroughly enjoyed being able to drink cocktails again and have been enjoying Chicago’s amazing new restaurants a little too much lately (have you been to Mott St. or Nico Osteria yet? YUM!). So, I have sworn to get back into the gym in 2014 and back onto a healthy eating regime. I am back to cooking healthy meals and thought I’d share one of my absolute favorites to make. I cook Sunday night dinner every week and my house is an open door that night for friends and family to come over. It’s a tradition we’ve had for years and it’s my all-time favorite during the winter months. This is something I would make on a Sunday. It’s simple, substitutes pasta for quinoa and is a great winter meal filled with tons of flavor and none of the guilt of eating an entire bowl of pasta.

Caprese Quinoa Bake Cook Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 25 minutes

Serving Size: 3-4


§ 2 cups cooked quinoa § 1 cup of your favorite pasta sauce § 2 tablespoon tomato paste § 1/3 cup parmesan cheese § 1 cup low-fat mozzarella, divided § 1/2-1 cup grape tomatoes, halved § 1 large bunch fresh basil, cut into ribbons § 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Instructions 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 2. Heat tomato sauce and tomato paste over low heat in a large saucepan. Once warm, stir in parmesan, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and stir in the quinoa. Fold in half of the mozzarella and half of the tomatoes, then chop 6 fresh basil leaves and add them in too. Once combined, spray an 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish with non-stick spray and pour the entire quinoa mixture into the dish. Top with fresh mozzarella rounds or shredded mozzarella and the remaining tomatoes. 3. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes and then turn the broiler on and broil for 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbly. 4. Remove from the oven and top with fresh basil ribbons. Allow to sit five minutes and then serve.

** This recipe is modified from one I found on Half Baked Harvest

Annie Block Vice President