Happy New Year, friends! Is it a little late for me to be saying that? I should have said that about two weeks ago, but I have been a big cottonheaded-ninnymuggins – er, pardon my French – and have been majorly slacking off in the productiveness department.
I have to admit, the Christmas season, with all its merry festiveness, got me a bit lazy. It tends to happen. Fortunately, this year, the laziness is a bit more of a stay-warm-in-bed-do-bare-minimum type, as opposed to an eat-everything-do-nothing type. I don’t know if you have experienced those two types of laziness, but the one I have been dealing with is the less problematic of the two. Read: I didn’t have to buy a new belt.
Still, I am deep in New Year’s Resolution debt. Just me, right?
In the past, I often made the old New Year’s Resolution of working out more. But now that I am responsible for teaching several fitness classes a week, I can’t just decide not to work out. No, my friends, now the revolution – I mean resolution – or is it revolution? Is in the kitchen. I’ve barely lifted a finger to cook once since 2014 showed its pink baby cheeks. Okay, so I made a couple little things here and there, but so not worth touting around the interweb, even if I had taken a single photograph! So my goal is to put an end to the lazy-itus (a very scientifical-medical term) by posting consistently! I’ll be giving you 2-3 posts a week, including a workout. As my lazy-itus begins to wear off, you will get even more. If you can handle it!
Making my food healthier and cleaner is another must-do for 2014. And don’t deny it – you totally wanna get in on this too.
The fact that this dish is so delicious makes it even easier to get on top of – I’m kicking off my New Year’s recipes with a clean, plant based, hearty meal for cold weather that feels like the comfort we want and the restoration we need.
P.S. I want to give you a goal – or maybe just a little nudge – to let me know if you have any requests! I’m always thrilled by new ideas. The upcoming Pumpkin Protein Bars are a result of a reader request!
Also, tell me what YOUR goal for 2014 is! Let’s discuss!
Serves 4-5 as a main dish
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 cup dry quinoa
2 acorn or other small squash, cut in half and seeds removed
1 medium sweet potato, washed and skin on
2 ribs celery, diced
½ small red onion, diced
1 medium-spicy chili pepper, diced, seeds and white interior removed
¼ tsp. salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15-oz) can black beans, rinsed and dried
2/3 c. frozen corn
Up to 2/3 c. of your favorite barbeque sauce (more or less depending on thickness of the sauce – if very thick, you may need to add 2-4 T. of water to dilute 1/3 c. of sauce.)
Start by cooking the quinoa in the broth. My favorite way to do this is in a rice cooker, because I can leave it to do its thing in a corner of the kitchen until I’m ready for it – but if you don’t have one, a covered nonstick pan or pot should do the trick. Just make sure it stays moist and keeps cooking until fluffy, about 15-20 minutes.
Place the squash halves cut side down in a glass baking dish filled about ½” from the bottom with water or broth and microwave for 8-10 minutes until fork tender.
Set aside the squash halves and microwave the sweet potato (pierced a few times with a fork or knife) in the same dish with the liquid, about 8 minutes or until cooked all the way through and fork tender.
Chop up the sweet potato, skin and all, and process in a food processor until you effectively get mashed sweet potato.
Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Sauté the onions, peppers, and celery for about 5 minutes with the salt, adding more cooking spray as needed. When they have begun to soften and the onions turn translucent, add the garlic and sauté 2 more minutes.
Finally, add the corn and beans and sauté about 3 more minutes before adding 1/3 cup of sauce. If it’s a really thick sauce, you might want to add 2-4 T. of water to get the right consistency. Add the sweet potato and the quinoa and mix everything together.
Taste test to see if it needs more barbeque sauce.
When everything is well mixed together and heated through, it’s time to fill the squashes with filling! (If the squash-bowls have cooled too much, of course you can microwave them again for another minute before serving.)
You might end up with a little left over after filling the squashes, but that can only mean more delicious food for later, right?