Simple Stuffing

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Background on Simple Stuffing

For the last five days, I have been reading Remember God by Annie F. Downs. It is good. I believe that it is a combination of things that pulls the reader in: the style of writing, the rawness of emotions, and then the fact that it is written in story form. I can’t believe that I am already on page 130 after just a few days.

There are several things that resonated with me while reading this book. I am going to discuss two: I was deep into the story of her Job experience, where everything seemed to go wrong right before Thanksgiving. Why? Because that is exactly what happened to me this year. You can find that whole story here by listening to the podcast: Dancing in the Rain.

The second thing is when she talked about the sweet spot of her life at that time. I heard one particular message on the sweet spot about three years ago, and it still resonates now. Basically, our sweet spot is the spot where we push past our comfort zone into the pain and hard work, but right where God can use this pain and tension for his glory.

I made the recipe below for a Christmas Eve get-together that I had with some dear friends who are just like family to me. Have a blessed week!

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Activity: Making Simple Stuffing

Total Prepping and Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • cumin – two tablespoons
  • basil – two tablespoons
  • onion powder – two tablespoons
  • garlic powder – two tablespoons
  • minced garlic – two tablespoons
  • two zucchinis
  • two carrots
  • one onion
  • one piece of a celery stalk
  • two boxes of cornbread stuffing
  • 6 slices of honey wheat bread
  • 2 cups of broth

Directions:

  • Boil two cups of water with butter.
  • Saute the carrots, zucchini, and onions.
  • While the vegetables are sauteing, cut up six slices of bread into cubes.
  • Season with basil, and then place in the oven for 10 minutes.
  • Add the two boxes of cornbread stuffing mix and cubed bread cubes to the water.
  • Add the sauteed vegetables, celery, garlic, seasonings, and broth.
  • Throw it into a casserole pan at 425 degrees for 25 minutes.

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Simple Spaghetti Casserole

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Background on Simple Spaghetti Casserole

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This morning was the Christmas party celebration for my Moms’ Ministry small group.  We had a ton of food and a ton of fun.  This year has definitely been an eye opener from God to me, in realizing that yes, gifts are nice.  They are wonderful.  However, the best gifts in life do not come wrapped with a pretty bow.  Because of God’s love toward us, we are indeed able to share this gift of love. 

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There is something about friendship, fellowship, food, and laughs that makes you appreciate all the wonderful blessings that life has to offer.  I think the craziest part of the morning was when we played charades, which featured words that centered around winter and Christmas time.  The highlights of this game was when I tried acting out Christmas stockings, and did a goofy swirl with my body.  Then, we had the other team recreating the nativity scene.  What fun!

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Last night, it dawned on me that I had signed up to bring cookies and a cold pasta dish to this celebration.  What I decided to do was to make spaghetti to eat, and then this morning, my wheels started turning, and that spaghetti transformed into my “Simple Spaghetti Casserole”.  You can find the last simple recipe that I made here.  I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did.

God bless!

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Activity:  Making Simple Spaghetti Casserole

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Total Prepping and Cooking Time: 1 1/2 hours

 Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons of chili powder
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 can of French cut green beans
  • 2 tablespoons of vegan butter
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1 box of spaghetti
  • 1 can of pasta sauce
  • 5 tablespoons of parsley
  • 1/2 cup of vegan or non-vegan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons of garlic powder

Directions:

  • Boil one box of spaghetti in five cups of water.
  • Pour the olive oil into the water so that the spaghetti won’t stick.
  • Saute the corn and french green beans with butter and chili powder.
  • Rinse the spaghetti when done, then add the pasta sauce, and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add all of the rest of the seasonings except for the cheese and parsley.
  • Cook for 10 ten minutes, and then dump into a large casserole pan, at 425 degrees for 25 minutes, completely covering with the shredded cheese and the parsley on top.
  • Enjoy!

 

Simple Spaghetti

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Background Story on Simple Spaghetti

I have been reading Brene Brown’s new book, Dare to Lead for a couple of weeks now.  If I was just reading that one book, I would be done by now.  However, I am reading about six books at the same time.  What I love is that the Holy Spirit has intertwined several themes across the board with all of these books:  vulnerability, shame, joy, gratitude, dealing with the unexpected, hustling for self-worth, and filling our thirst.

There are several things that stuck out with me so far in this book.  I would like to quote three of them:

Quote #1

“Embodying and practicing gratitude changes everything.  It is not a personal construct, it’s a human construct-a unifying part of our existence-and it’s the antidote to foreboding joy, plain and simple.  It’s allowing yourself the pleasure of accomplishment, or love, or joy-of really feeling it, of basking in it-by conjuring up gratitude for the moment and for the opportunity”. (Dare to Lead, Brene Brown, pg. 83)

This reminds of last night.  I got together with a group of friends.  I allowed myself to not dismiss the reality that my life has been filled with lots of drama and trauma within the last six months.  However, my heart was full.  It was so, so full.  I thanked God for my friends, the food, the fellowship, time to decompress, and the laughs from the movie.  I thanked him for all his goodness in spite of what my real life problems were.

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Dare to Lead by Brene Brown

Quote #2

“Something as simple as starting or ending meetings with a gratitude check, when everyone shares one thing they’re grateful for, can build trust and connection, serve as container-building, and give your group permission to lean into joy.” (Dare to Lead, Brene Brown, pg. 83)

The second quote was a Holy Spirit moment because just a week ago, I had an accident.  I allowed myself to sink in anger about all the inconveniences, but then quickly gave myself a gratitude check.  That post can be found here.  The funny thing about it is that I titled the post “Gratitude Check” prior to reading page 83 of Dare to Lead.  God knows how to bring all things together.

Quote #3

The last quote is from page 97, which was another Holy Spirit moment.  It reminded me of my IT job from years ago, where I sought to prove that I could sit at the table with others who made a certain salary, instead of being discriminated against.  I didn’t realize that the only table that I needed to have recognition at is the table of Christ.  The “Heavenly Places” blog post can be found here.

“When people don’t understand where they’re strong and where they deliver value for the organization or even for a single effort, they hustle.  The kind that’s hard to be around because we are jumping in everywhere, including where we’re not strong or not needed, to prove that we deserve a seat at the table.” (Dare to Lead, by Brene Brown, page 97)

A few days ago, I decided to try my hands at a simple spaghetti recipe.  There were very few ingredients.  It turned out pretty good.  The only problem was that I put too many red pepper flakes.  I would take a bite to eat, then feel flames at the back of my throat.  This cycle repeated itself until the bowl was empty.  Enjoy!

Here is the recipe:

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Activity:  Making Simple Spaghetti

Total cooking and Prepping Time: 40 minutes

Servings: about 12

Ingredients:  

  • 2 tablespoons of chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons of onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons of garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons of basil
  • 1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes
  • 1 box of spaghetti
  • 1 jar of pasta sauce
  • 1 small can of tomato soup (low-sodium)
  • basil or spinach leaves (for garnish and eating)

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Valley of Grace Cutting Board-Shopify Store

Directions: 

  • Boil six cups of water with olive oil or butter so that the spaghetti won’t stick.
  • Add the spaghetti to the boiling water.
  • Drain the spaghetti.
  • Dump the pasta sauce and tomato soup into the pot.
  • Add one can of water to the pot.
  • Dump all the seasonings into the pot.
  • Serve in bowls or on plates.
  • Garnish with basil or spinach leaves.
  • Enjoy!

 

God bless,

Katina

Garbanzo Beans with Peppers & Rice

Background Story on the Recipe

A couple of nights ago, I decided to make a late night concoction of garbanzo beans with peppers and rice.  It didn’t take too long, and it was surprisingly good.  That was the bonus.  Thursday was a pretty busy day, and so at a certain point, I realized that I had to give myself grace, and get some of the things done that I didn’t get done that day on Friday.  Worst case scenario: have a small layover on the weekend.  I knew God’s grace would be enough to handle what I needed for the day.  I just had to remind myself of that several times.

Watching a good movie on Pureflix after cooking this meal sounded like a great idea.  However, I guess I was more tired than I thought.  The next thing that I knew, I was waking up to the ending credits, and some good Christian music going.  I will replay the movie tonight, as well as the movie that I fell asleep on last night: “The Shunning”, by Beverly Lewis.  Guess what? I probably have a list of about 30 or more movies and television shows that I have on my “To Watch” List on my phone.  This is just from Pure Flix alone.

Here is the recipe:

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Garbanzo Beans with Rice & Yellow Peppers

Activity:  Making Garbanzo Beans with Peppers & Rice

Garbanzo Beans with Rice & Yellow Peppers, food, food blog, food photography, recipe, healthy eating, health, quick recipes for dinner

Total Prepping and Cooling Time: 35 minutes

Garbanzo Beans with Rice & Yellow Peppers, food, food blog, food photography, recipe, healthy eating, health, quick recipes for dinner

Ingredients: 

  • 1 1/2 cups of rice
  • Mixed Greens with garlic, Onion, and Sea Salt
  • 2 cans of Garbanzo Beans
  • 1/2 cup of Nutritional Yeast
  • 2 tablespoons of turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin
  • garlic powder
  • two yellow peppers

Directions:

Cook the rice in two cups of water.

While the rice is cooking,

  • cut up and saute the yellow peppers.
  • saute the mixed greens.
  • boil the beans.

When the rice is done, dump it into the mixed greens, along with the yellow peppers and all of the rest of the ingredients, adding about a cup of water to the mix.

It’s amazing how much flavor the nutritional yeast gives this recipe.

Enjoy!

 

Katina

 

 

Vegan Black Beans with Quinoa & Zucchini Mix

Background Story

This past weekend was one of a lot of relaxation, mixed in with an onset of allergies that came crashing my way.  When my allergies get this bad, the best thing for me to do is to try to relax as much as possible, although this was my plan for the weekend anyway.  While relaxing, I got caught up on the episodes of Baked in Vermont and Focus on the Family that were sitting in the DVR box.  I am not a super sweets person.  However, by the time that you finish watching this show, you’ll be wanting to bake with whatever ingredients that you can get your hands on.

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On Sunday, I stopped at the grocery store after church to get the ingredients for this super quick vegan meal.  I love the challenge of making healthy meals involving all different kinds of beans and legumes.  One thing about this meal is that it only requires a few ingredients.  I made the same recipe a couple of weeks ago.  However, I used black-eyed peas instead of black beans.  Both meals were good and filling.  The black bean version kept me full longer.  If you decide to give it a try, send a comment down below, or an email with your thoughts on how it turned out.

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Here is the recipe:

Activity:  Making Vegan Black Beans with Quinoa & Zucchini Mix

Total Prepping and Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 teaspoons of onion powder
  • 3 zucchinis
  • 3 cans of organic black beans
  • 1 box of Earthly Grains Quinoa/Brown Rice Blend with Rosemary and Olive Oil (from Aldi’s)
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil or butter
  • vegan, black beans, zucchini, recipes for dinner, healthy eating, healthy recipes, food, blog, food photography

Directions:

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  • Place the three cans of black beans and the brown rice with rosemary packet into a pan of two cups of water. (I only used a fourth of the packet to cut down on sodium).
  • Add the onion powder.
  • Cut the zucchini into strips with a potato peeler.
  • Saute the zucchini strips.
  • Dump the zucchini into the pan after about 18 minutes, letting the mixture cook for another 12 minutes.
  • Enjoy!

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“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35, NIV

Have a blessed night!

 

Katina

Gemelli Pasta with Zucchini

As you all know, I like mixing all different ingredients together to see what kind of concoction that I can come up with.  The other night, I decided to make gemelli pasta with sauteed zucchini.  It was quick and tasty.  When the kids and I lived in our last place, I got the idea of using the potato peeler to peel my zucchini in strips, and then saute them.  On one particular night, I made zucchini strips, tried out a couple of strips, and then went upstairs to do something.  By the time I got back, all of the strips were gone.  My daughter said, “Oh, those were good”.  She had just told me that she didn’t want any.

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One thing about pasta is that it is inexpensive, and you have the option to do a lot of different things with it:

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  • eat it hot or cold
  • use salad dressing, butter, pesto, or pasta sauce as a topping
  • dump meat or vegan alternative to add protein
  • add vegetables to make it more colorful and exciting
  • season with pepper and olive oil to add more flavor

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Here is the recipe:

Activity:  Making Gemelli Pasta with Zucchini

Total Prepping and Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • two teaspoons of onion powder
  • two teaspoons of italian seasoning
  • two teaspoons of garlic powder
  • two teaspoons of cumin
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1 box gemelli pasta
  • 2 zucchinis
  • 1 jar of pasta sauce

Directions:

  • Add pasta to boiling water.
  • Add olive oil to water so that the pasta won’t stick.
  • While the pasta is boiling, cut the zucchini into strips using a potato peeler.
  • Saute the zucchini, and rinse the pasta off using a colander.
  • Dump the zucchini, and all the rest of the ingredients into the pot and serve.
  • Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.  John 15:4

Mexican Crumble Chili

Background to the Chili Story

Last week, I went on an adventure of trying to figure out what meals to make with the ingredients that were left.  You know that it’s time to go grocery shopping soon when you start getting really creative.  Either that, you’re feeling adventurous, or you’re bored.  One of the three.  What I ended up doing was making my own version of chili.  It turned out pretty good.  Last night, I decided to make it again since I had leftover ingredients.  My son actually gave me a thumbs up.  If he doesn’t like how something tastes, trust me, he isn’t scared to speak his mind in that area.

Racing to Get Out

It’s funny because I heated up a bowl of chili.  Then, I decided that I would take a walk for some fresh air, and also drop three books off at the Train Station library while I was at it.  Right before leaving out, I went upstairs to grab something.  That’s when my son asked, “What are you eating down there?”  And to which I replied, “A chili concoction that I made.  Do you want some? Of course, the answer was yes.  I had to quick heat him up some because it was starting to get dark outside, and then rush to take a quick fifteen minute walk and head on.  If you are feeling adventurous, how about giving it a try.  Drop a line below to let me know how yours turned out.  Here is the simple recipe:

Activity:  Making Mexican Crumble Chili

Mexican crumble chili

Total Prepping and Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons of garlic powder

2 teaspoons of onion powder

2 teaspoons of turmeric

2 teaspoons of cumin

2 teaspoons of italian seasoning

3 teaspoons of chili powder

2 teaspoons parsley

1 cup of tomato juice

1 pack of Lightlife Vegan Mexican SmartGround Crumble

3 cans of black-eyed peas

3 cups of vegetable broth (for vegan) or chicken broth (non-vegan)

1 cup of water

1 cup of cheese

Directions:

Dump all of the above ingredients into a pot and heat up for 30 minutes.

Garnish with cheese on top.

Optional to crunch in crackers while you’re at it.

vegan chili, healthy eating, healthy recipes
Mexican Crumble Chili

 

Have a blessed night!

Katina

Vegan Mexican Hashbrown Bites

Because of the fact that my daughter is vegan, I am constantly trying to come up with vegan recipes that are fun, tasty, and simple.  For quite some time now, I was thinking of trying to make vegan hamburger patties using the ground crumble, but I was unsure of what the results would be, considering that the ground crumble could simply fall apart if it isn’t bound well.

Finally, last week I gave it a try.  To be more specific, I gave the vegan bites a try.  The hamburger patties will be for another day and another post.  I made one big bowl of this mixture.  At first, I only cooked about 20% of the bowl, and refrigerated the rest.  Later that day, I cooked the rest of the bowl.  I noticed the difference immediately.  Refrigerating the mixture causes it to stiffen and thicken up to a better consistency.  Thus, my recommendations for you would be to make the mixture, and refrigerate the mixture for one hour, and then start scooping the bites.  The one thing that I like about this recipe is the fact that the Mexican crumble has enough of a spicy kick, that you don’t need a lot of seasoning.  Please enjoy and have a wonderful Labor Day!

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Activity:  Making Vegan Mexican Hashbrown Bites

Total Prepping and Cooking Time:  95 minutes

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Ingredients:

 

Directions:

  • Dump all of the above ingredients, except the oil into a bowl.
  • Use a small cookie scoop or your hands to roll the bites.
  • Place the bites into the oiled skillet, turning them every so often with a small spatula.
  • Enjoy the vegan bites!

 

You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.  Psalms 128:2

 

Blessings,

Katina

Vegan & Ground Turkey Slow Cooker Bread Casseroles

Why the Slow Cooker Casserole?

Well, as you have probably figured out by now, there can’t be any cooking going on in this house without a little bit of drama attached to it.  A couple of weeks ago, my daughter called me while I was over my friend’s house, and she stated that the oven had been on preheat for 40 minutes, but still didn’t come on.  Hmmm.  Okay, breathe.  She proceeded to tell me that she didn’t realize we had just ran out of oil, so the meal that she tried cooking stuck to the bottom of the skillet, and she had to end up throwing it out.  Okay, breathe.  I definitely had to take a few minutes to process this one.  This became number 4 on our list of repairs that needed to be done, and will have to wait.

 vegan, ground turkey, bread casserole

Fast forward, my son and I were in the grocery store early last week, and I decided that I would make two breakfast bread casseroles.  They would last for a week, and the kids could heat them up in the microwave and head out to school.  After getting all of the ingredients except the tin foil pans from Dollar Tree, I thought, “Wait a minute.  The oven doesn’t work.”  This is when Plan B went into effect.  My grandmother used to always say, ” There’s more than one way to skin a cat.”  Although I don’t think anyone would do that.  Back to the story.  I kept thinking to myself would it be possible to make a bread casserole in a slow cooker.  I checked Pinterest, but their slow cookers were rectangular shaped, and their casseroles were not like mine.  Well, you know me by now.  I decided that the worst thing that could happen is that the casserole didn’t come out right.  Praise God!  It was delicious!  I hope you feel brave enough to try my concoction.  My kids loved it.  I made a vegan one, and then the next night, I made a non-vegan one.  Please feel free to email me with your favorite slow cooker recipes with permission, and I will post it for others to see.  Have a blessed night, and happy cooking!

 

Activity:  Making a Vegan & Ground Turkey Slow Cooker Casserole

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Total Prepping and Cooking Time:  2.5 hours

vegan, ground turkey, healthy eating, bread casserole

Ingredients:

  • 1 pack of hash browns
  • 1 pack of ground turkey
  • 1 pack of Lightlife Meatless Mexican Crumbles (vegan casserole)
  • 1 can of fire-roasted salsa style diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of cut-leaf spinach
  • 3 tablespooons of oil
  • 3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
  • 2 cups of low sodium vegetable broth (vegan casserole)
  • 2 cups of unsalted chicken broth
  • 3 teaspoons of onion powder
  • 3 teaspoons of garlic powder
  • 3 teaspoons of cumin
  • 3 teaspoons of turmeric
  • 3 teaspoons of marjoram
  • 3 slices of vegan bread
  • 3 slices of non-vegan bread
  • 1 cup of water
  • 3 cups of milk

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Directions:

  • Make a layer of eight to ten hash browns for layer 1.
  • Add the layer of uncooked meat, making sure to even distribute across.
  • Add half of the can of spinach.
  • Add half of the can of tomatoes.
  • Break up three slices of bread into cubes.
  • Add the water, broth, nutritional yeast, oil, and all the rest of the seasonings.
  • Add 1 1/2 cups of milk.  (I used oat milk.)
  • Cook on high for 2 1/2 hours.
  • Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

vegan, ground turkey, healthy eating, bread casserole

I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD. Psalms 122:1, KJV

vegan, ground turkey, healthy eating, bread casserole

Vegan Spinach, Spaghetti, & Quinoa Twist

I guess if you haven’t realized it by now, I love pasta.  The second two things that have really been my go to is cut leaf spinach and fire-roasted diced tomatoes(salsa style).  You can’t beat buying four cans of this duo for only $3.20.  The quinoa helps to fulfill the protein requirement, which is a bonus.  

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I am not able to tolerate really spicy foods.  However, these tomatoes give just the right kick to chili, burgers, avocado, homemade salsa, and several other things, without being too overwhelming.  This meal was ready in no time.  Since I decided to use two pounds of spaghetti, I had to use a large stock pot.  Please feel free to email me your favorite recipe for spaghetti and I will feature it as a blog post.  Have a blessed weekend!

spaghetti, quinoa, spinach, fire-roasted diced tomatoes, vegan, healthy recipes

Activity:  Making Spinach, Spaghetti, & Quinoa Twist

Total Prepping and Cooking Time:  40 minutes

Ingredients: 

  • 2 pounds of whole grain spaghetti
  • 2 cans of cut leaf spinach
  • 2 cans of fire roasted with garlic salsa style diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon of marjoram, italian seasoning, or basil
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 1/2 jars of pasta sauce (tomato & basil, garden vegetable, garlic)
  • 1 tablespoon of parsley
  • 1 cup of red quinoa

Directions: 

  1. Bring four cups of water to a boil, then adding spaghetti with one tablespoon of oil added to prevent sticking.
  2. While this is going, bring one cup of red quinoa to a boil.
  3. Boil the quinoa for twenty minutes.
  4. Saute the spinach and diced tomatoes with olive oil, grapeseed oil, or whatever oil you have.
  5. Drain the pasta with a colander or top of the pot.
  6. Add the pasta sauce, vegetables, quinoa, and seasonings.
  7. Makes 15 servings.
  8. Enjoy!

 

I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

Psalms 23: 4, NIV