Chicken, Veggie & Quinoa Bake

We all have go-to recipes. Not only does it make dinner easier, but it also allows you to modify and make it your own over time. One of my favorite recipes evolved out of a (what else?) Pinterest recipe for a pasta bake. The original recipe is delicious, but leaned too heavily on pasta for my liking. First, I cut back on the pasta and upped the veggies. Then I finally perfected (in my humble opinion :)) when I eliminated the pasta all together for quinoa. Basically every ingredient can be used ‘to taste’ so this is a loose recipe. I wanted to share with you and highly encourage you to make it your own and report back. After all, there’s always room for improvement!

Ingredients:
  • Cooked chicken (I prefer shredded)
  • Cooked quinoa (or pasta), drained
  • Chive cream cheese, one package (room temp)
  • Canned tomatoes (I use one that includes chiles too since I love a kick!), one can
  • Spinach
  • Zucchini and/or summer squash, cut up
  • Peppers (any color), cut up
  • Minced garlic, red pepper flakes, whatever herbs and spices you desire!
  • ​Shredded cheese​

Preheat oven to 250. In a bowl, combine all ingredients except shredded cheese. Mix well. Ideally the quinoa/pasta is still warm enough to finish softening the cream cheese. Pour mixture into a pan, generously sprinkle with cheese and cover with tinfoil. Bake for a half hour. If needed, remove tinfoil and bake another 15 min to cook off some of the liquid and/or finish melting the cheese. Will depend on your oven and preference. I serve hot with ground pepper. Makes fabulous leftovers as well 🙂

Let me know if you try it out! I’m sparing you a picture on this post, as I’m not adept at food pics… yet.

DIY Cold Brew Coffee

I love coffee and, like any hardy New Englander, I drink it iced year round. While I know I’ll never stopping buying coffee out entirely, there’s certainly room to cut back. With that in mind, I have been saying I wanted to try making my own cold brew. So when I saw that Atlas Coffee Club was looking to work with Boston Bloggers, I knew it was sign to put my money where my mouth is…finally.

Atlas Coffee Club “sources premium single origin coffee from farms around the world and pays well above market prices for the beans, helping to ensure ethically sustainable farming practices and the highest quality coffee year after year”.  I am making a conscious effort to be more aware of what I consume, where it comes from, how it’s made and supporting businesses that are operating above board so I was happy to have the opportunity to work with them. It also fits into one of my favorite categories of things–  a monthly subscription service (individual bags are for sale too).

Based on my preferences, I went with Ethiopia, which arrived already ground. However, if you prefer to grind your own, whole beans are available as well. Either way, your coffee is roasted the same week you receive it, with the roasted date right on the package. It was cool that it came with a card explaining more about where my coffee came from, something I rarely thought about in the past, sadly.

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I loosely followed this recipe to make my cold brew, since a friend had used it and told me it was easy. And it was! You’ll need:

Pour your bag of ground coffee in first, top with cold water and put it in the fridge for a minimum of 8 hours. You can adjust the coffee/water ratio to your personal preference. I used less water than the recipe calls for because I wanted it to be stronger. I figured I could always add water to it afterwards, like you would a concentrate, if necessary.

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I let my cold brew steep for just shy of 24 hours, then I covered my fine mesh strainer with a piece of cheesecloth (remember– you want to keep those grounds out hence using both) and hoped for the best. It went well! None of the grounds got through and I had plenty of strong, cold brew to keep in the fridge. Keep in mind that this undertaking is going to be slightly messy, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I was fearing.

Now you’re ready to enjoy! Cover and refrigerate the remainder.

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I had mine with just cream, my go-to king cubes and an umbrella straw (because life is short). It was delicious!  The strength, freshness and quality all showed. I’d be interested to try this same technique with a different blend next time. To compare, but also to see if I can find my perfect coffee to water ratio.

Do you make coffee at home, buy it out, or both? Have you ever tried making cold brew before?

Disclosure: Atlas Coffee Club provided me with a complimentary bag of coffee of my choosing for my review. Using it to make a cold brew and all other opinions expressed are my own.