It happens. You get home at the end of the day, without having planned dinner. There is nothing that resembles dinner sitting in the fridge and you start to consider all of the options that are not in alignment with your healthy eating plan.

It happened to me last Friday. My husband was out of town. I picked the kids up from school after finishing a few errands, except for one thing: the groceries. I announced that “we just have to stop at the grocery store quick” and I was met with a resounding “Noooo!” The children just wanted to go home and, quite honestly so did I. I decided I’d “figure something out” knowing fully I may not… At least I knew I had broccoli in the fridge…

Once home, I rummaged through the kitchen, and found the following:

onion, garlic, a bunch of basil, small white button mushrooms, broccoli, a red pepper, some pine nuts, a package of red quinoa.

Now, let’s be honest. I am not exactly “creative in the kitchen”. But I know the internet is full of recipes, and so I did a search for quinoa dishes that included basil and broccoli, since I figured these two might work together. I found a few recipes and got to work, creating as I went.

I cooked up some quinoa using organic veggie broth, which I also had on hand. (1 cup quinoa, 1 1/2 cups veggie broth) I took a large piece of broccoli and cut the florets into small pieces. I cut up half a red onion, and chopped a couple of handfuls of small white button mushrooms.

Next I toasted 1/2 a cup of pine nuts. While the pine nuts were toasting, I sautéed half a chopped red onion, the chopped mushrooms and broccoli, and once they were pretty well done, I tossed in the (chopped) red pepper and a clove of minced garlic. I didn’t even use water to sauté, since the water from the mushrooms was sufficient.

I chopped the basil and popped it into the pot of quinoa once the quinoa had finished cooking but before I fluffed it. This steamed the basil for a few minutes.

And then, I combined everything in a casserole dish: the quinoa and basil, the sautéed veggies, the toasted pine nuts. Last I combined a minced clove of garlic with 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice and just 1 teaspoon of olive oil. (I am not an oil user generally, but sometimes just a tiny amount will make a dish like this more palatable for my kids)

As well, I added a little freshly ground pepper and salt to taste. You know what? It looked beautiful and it was a hit. We finished the whole thing. And there is nothing like hearing two teenagers say “Wow Mom, this is really good!”

My message here is that more often than not, dinner is in your kitchen. Sometimes you just have to dig a little deeper to find it. If we find some recipes that include the ingredients we have on hand and get a little creative, it can be fun to make nutritious, tasty meals!!

I hope this is helpful. Give it a try!

Love Margot xo