My parents and brother have been in town today and yesterday and I have been little miss chef if I might say so myself. I am not that good of a cook and usually don't even like to cook, but every once in a while I enjoy serving my family in that way.

For some reason I like to post the recipes to what I make on here.  It is kinda weird because I never come up with any of these on my own, and they are usually very easy and nothing flashy about them, but I think that's what I like about them!  It goes well for us busy moms who want something good, nutritious and easy!

Enjoy these three things I've made this week:

#1.  Pasta Casserole – this recipe is from the fabulous Roberta Cobb

12 oz of meatless meat crumbles

12 oz box tri-color rotini pasta

2-3 cups of mozzarella cheese

Boil pasta.

Combine meat crumbles wtih spagehetti sauce and heat for 1- to 15 minutes.

When pasta is done drain and combine with meat crumbles.  Add mixture to 9×13 baking dish and sprinkle top with mozzarella cheese.  Bake at 350 until cheese melts.

#2  Black Bean Dip – from

1 15oz can black beans, drained & rinsed

1 cup salsa

1/2 tsp ground cumin

Combine beans, cumin and salsa in food processor and process until smooth.

#3  Quinoa Pilaf –

1 yellow or red onion

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped carrot

1 tbsp minced garlic

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp dried oregano

2 cups quinoa, washed and drained

3 cups boiling water or veggie broth

1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro or parsley

Saute onion, celery, carrot and garlic until they start to caramelize or turn brown.  Add cumin, oregano and quinoa.  Stir constantly and cook for about 3 more minutes to allow spices and quinoa to toast.  Add boiling water/broth.  Cover and cook for about 20 min or until all the liquid has completely absorbe and the quinoa has “bloomed:.  Do not stir during cooking and make sure the lid is tight to prevent moisture from escaping.  Remove from heat and allow quinoa to sit for 5 to 10 minutes.  Add cilantro or parsley, if using.  Fluff with fork and serve.

The pasta dish was super easy and kid friendly.  I made a whole pan for my mom with gluten free pasta and so that was fun to do as well.  The black bean dip was fabulous on chips and fun for snacking on.  A great good for you snack for young ones too.  The quinoa was a little more work, but so good.  We ate ours with our salmon the other night.  A great side dish and if you have never tried quinoa now is your chance.  Very yummy!

Jamie Ivey