Red Quinoa Crock Pot Stew

A Big Mess of Slow Cooker Quinoa Deliciousness

Red Quinoa Crock Pot Stew

January is prime slow cooker season, as far as I’m concerned. The days are still pretty dark and pretty cold (okay, it was 70 and sunny here in Austin today, but that’s still kinda “cold” for us in Texas). When I get home it’s nice to have something hot and tasty waiting for me. (Besides my fiance. Haha. I’m fully of the jokes today.)

A lot of the popular slow cooker recipes out there are kinda unhealthy, but I’m still recovering from the massive infusion of sugar, butter, and booze I put my body through last month during the holidays, so I like to keep my January dinners fairly light. Luckily there are plenty of meals that are easy to throw in the crock pot, absolutely satisfying, AND good for you.

This red quinoa stew is one of those recipes. It’s so filling and flavorful that it seems like it should be worse for you, but it’s a paragon of good nutrition. Plenty of protein, fiber, and vegetables. This recipe makes 4-6 servings, so if you’re not feeding a big family you should have some nice leftovers for lunch the next day. The slow cooker truly is the gift that keeps on giving.

Red Quinoa Butternut Squash Stew

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Summertime Steak Salad

Savory Summertime Steak Salad

Summertime Steak Salad

This time of year, my favorite way to enjoy the long, warm summer nights is a leisurely grill & chill session. Glass of rosé in hand, lounging with friends, listening to Steely Dan (yup), and waiting for the grill to warm up. Turns out Calvin’s Dad was right.

Obviously steak is a classic grillin & chillin choice, and I’m a sucker for a big steak salad. This recipe is a great way to use a slab o’ grilled steak. Every good steak salad needs some blue cheese, so don’t skimp on this ingredient – get a nice, creamy, strong blue. Don’t skip grilling/caramelizing the onions, either. Raw onions are just not the same, although some very thinly sliced red onion pieces could work in a pinch.

Summertime Steak Salad with Worcestershire Dijon Dressing

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Spicy Shrimp Salad

Spicy Garlic Shrimp Salad

Spicy Shrimp SaladShrimp! And white wine! When it comes to this combo, consider me a regular Beaver Boy. (And if you aren’t a Tim and Eric fan, that video might not make sense, but roll with it.)

Another thing that’s great together, besides shrimp and white wine, is shrimp and avocado. Also, shrimp and garlic. This salad mixes up all of these things! You sauté fresh shrimp in coconut oil, lemon, white wine, lemon, and of course lots of garlic and red chili flakes. Then It’s tossed with a delicate green salad full of fresh avocado, cherry tomatoes, and lots of fresh cracked black pepper. Since shrimp cooks so quickly, this entire salad takes about 10 minutes to throw together. You’re welcome.

Spicy Garlic Shrimp Salad

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Ultimate Summertime Cole Slaw

Ultimate Summertime Cole Slaw

Ultimate Summertime Cole Slaw

Let’s talk summer cookouts, specifically COLE SLAW. I love cole slaw in the summer. Like, looooove. I could eat a whole head of cabbage to myself if I put my mind/stomach to it. Maybe this is thanks to my Austrian/Hungarian heritage.

Or maybe it’s just because I make one of the best cole slaws ever. I want to be modest but oh well, the secret’s out, my cole slaw is the bomb! I get requests for this slaw all summer long. Make it for your friends and you will, too.

My cole slaw is so much better than anything you’d buy at a grocery store. It’s not creamy or heavy. It’s light and bright with a bit of an Asian flair. It’s healthy, it’s inexpensive (important when you’re making slaw for like 40 drunk & hungry people), and it comes together in seriously five minutes. And it’s full of avocado. That’s the real game changer right there.

Ultimate Summertime Cole Slaw

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Seared Tuna with Ginger Wasabi Vegetables

Seared Tuna with Ginger-Wasabi Stirfry

Seared Tuna with Ginger Wasabi Vegetables

For some reason making seared tuna at home is impressive to people. I mean, I get it, seared tuna is a somewhat “fancy” thing you’d order at a restaurant, but here’s a secret: it’s SO simple (and usually more inexpensive) to prepare in your own kitchen. I promise. This recipe looks good and tastes even better, and if you have guests over they’ll be wowed. Only you have to know the truth: seared tuna takes about 6 minutes to make and is virtually fool-proof.

Tropical Seared Tuna with Ginger-Wasabi Stirfry

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Southwest Shredded Slow Cooker Chicken

Southwest Spiced Slow Cooker Chicken

Southwest Shredded Slow Cooker Chicken

Some of my friends and I are in a Bachelor fantasy league. Feel free to make fun of me, I don’t care. It’s awesome and a legit excuse to drink a questionable about of wine on a weeknight. It’s kind of like fantasy football, but we “draft” the hot messes from each season of the Bachelor franchise and then hate-watch and track whose players earn the most points (from achievements like “revealing a sob story,” “secretly has a kid,” “hot tub bonus make out” etc.).

We take turns hosting – whoever is on weekly host duty is also in charge of dinner. I hosted the premiere last week and needed to make a big batch of healthy food – and this southwest spiced chicken was perfect. I was able to prep everything the night before, throw the chicken in the slow cooker before work the morning of, and when I came home dinner was basically done.

Now that is worth some major bonus “hot tub make out” points. (If by “hot tub” we mean “slow cooker” and “make out” we mean “cooking.”)

Southwest Spiced Slow Cooker Chicken

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Thai Chicken Peanut Salad

Thai Peanut Chicken Salad

Thai Chicken Peanut Salad

So as I recently mentioned, like every other overly indulgent American, I’m ramping up my resolutions and getting back on the healthy track after a gluttonous holiday season. This means lots of salads, but as we know, I LOVE salads so this isn’t really a punishment for me.

This salad features all the aspects of Thai food that we know and love – it incorporates sour, sweet, tangy, spicy. You have tons of vegetables, protein from the chicken and nuts, but also a nice addition of… papaya! Try to get green papaya if you can, I thought I bought a green one but when I peeled it, it was definitely ripe and orange inside. How can you tell when a papaya is green versus ripe? This is something I should look into.

Thai Peanut Chicken Salad

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