Monday, November 12, 2018

Vegetarian Options at Qdoba, Mexican Eats; Meatless Monday



At the outset let me tell you that this post has been sponsored by Qdoba. However, anyone who knows me can vouch for the authenticity of my review.
I also have to humbly acknowledge that in the 12+ years that I have been living in this country I have never been to Qdoba. I have been to Chipotle on multiple occasions over the years.. Hmm wonder why??? Simple.. I think in NYC Chipotle is ubiquitous and there are very few Qdoba locations.

So finally I went to their location on 188 Street, Fresh Meadows. I wanted something vegetarian. I asked the guy at the counter what are my vegetarian options and he told me : “ anything here. All you have to do is skip the meat!” I was thrilled!! I ordered my favorite: burrito bowl!! The very same thing that I order at Chipotle!! 



Qdoba has 3 kinds of queso ( cheese) with different spice levels! They have more sauce options and guess what the first scoop of guacamole is free!!
I also found all the ingredients to be fresh and was very low on sodium. Overall a very healthy, fulfilling meal!!



They also have other options apart from the Burrito Bowl. My kids shared a burrito. They chomped it down in record time!! They have the quintessential nachos , quesadillas, fajitas and tacos, all of them can be vegetarian!!

I would totally go visit Qdoba again!!


Here are some interesting facts about Qdoba:

Founded in 1995, QDOBA Mexican Eats got their start over two decades ago in Denver
- They have more than 700 restaurants across 47 states
- QDOBA’s prepares many of its menu items in-house, fresh every day:
o Guacamole is hand-smashed in-house every day
o Produce: Hand-sliced vegetables, like onions, garlic, tomatoes, parsley, bell
peppers, avocados, etc.
o Proteins: Grilled marinated steak and adobo chicken over an open flame –
something a lot of competitors don’t do
o Fajita Veggies: Hand-sliced onions and red and green bell peppers, seasoned and
seared in-house
o Pickled Jalapenos: Hand-sliced and pickled in our own citrus marinade
o Our guests won’t be charged extra for adding a single scoop of our beloved 3-
Cheese Queso or hand-smashed guacamole to any entrée
o Entrees include: tacos, burritos, burrito bowls, quesadillas, nachos, salads and
Loaded Tortilla Soup
o Every meal is 100% customizable
o Vegetarian options are available
- QDOBA Catering offers a customizable spread for any event or appetite. Choose from a
hot bar option or convenient boxed lunches. Pick up and delivery are available
- Yes, they have a rewards app! Download the QDOBA app in the iTunes App Store or
Google Play
-Questions?

Contact qdoba@boltpr.com


Hope you get a chance to visit a your local QDOBA restaurant in the near future and build your own meal just the way you like it!

Monday, October 15, 2018

Stuffed Bell Peppers ( Capsicum) and a give-away..



October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. When I came to know that Dr. Kristi Funk is again giving out copies of her book, Breasts: The Owner’s Manual, I too decided to take part in the Breast Cancer Awareness campaign in spite of my crazy schedule.



For those of you who are not familiar with Dr. Kristi Funk, she is a leading board-certified breast cancer surgeon and specialist in comprehensive wellness, including nutrition, fitness, and stress management. Best known as the breast surgeon for Angelina Jolie and Sheryl Crow, Dr. Funk has compiled her accessible and powerful strategies for reducing cancer risk and achieving optimal overall health into this informative book

To get your own free copy by entering the giveaway, all you have to do is enter your email address when prompted by this page or at the top of this page where is says "SUBSCRIBE". The deadline will be October 31st. 


I am sharing another of Dr. Funk’s recipes which I have slightly modified based on my family’s preferences. I skipped the broth and used water to cook the quinoa, used mushrooms instead of zucchini and added some chili powder to give it a slight kick!



This is a very easy recipe and would be great for kids and grown-ups alike. Here is the recipe in Dr. Funk’s own words.

Serves 4 - 5 

Ingredients:

• 3 red peppers halved lengthwise 
• 3 green peppers halved lengthwise 
• 2 cups dry quinoa (4 cups already cooked)

• 4 ½ cups vegetable broth ( I used the same amount of water)
• 1/2 cup dry lentils

• 8 basil
 leaves, finely chopped
• tsp fresh oregano (preferred) or 1/2 tsp dried oregano 
• 1/2 tsp salt

• 3-4 T of your favorite red sauce ( you can use pasta sauce, tomato sauce) 
1/2 tsp red Chilli powder 
• 
2-3 zucchini
, finely chopped ( I used  mushrooms, around 6-7 large ones)
• 1/ 2 cup whole grain bread crumbs 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Roast peppers cut side up in until they are soft but holding their shape (about 25 mins). 
While the peppers are roasting, prepare the quinoa. Gently boil 3 1/2 cups veggie broth and then add 2 cups (well rinsed) quinoa. Shut the heat off when the quinoa has fully opened and is almost done (as a sign, at around 15 minutes, you should see a tiny bit of water or broth at the bottom of the pot), fluff it, then put the top on. 
Prepare red split lentils by combining 1/2 cup lentils with 1cup broth or water and simmer until soft but not mushy (about 15 mins). 
Heat another pan with a tiny bit of broth just covering the bottom of the pan. Once the broth is simmering, add the chopped finely chopped zucchini with salt and oregano until it is soft and fully cooked. Add the chopped basil leaves and add to zucchini. 
Combine the zucchini and the lentils and the fully cooked quinoa together, mix, then stuff into the peppers (they will look like cute little pepper boats).Top with a couple tablespoons of bread crumbs and, if desired (unless avoiding oils), addtsp melted Earth Balance vegan butter
Put back back in the oven for about 15-20 minutes until browned a bit on top. Peppers get sweeter as they cook… but lose their structure. More delicious butslightly less attractive peppers win out every time in our house! ;) 
Tip 1: You can add whatever veggies you want to this one! Onions taste great in here, as does garlic. Add them when you sauté the zucchini. You can also add finely chopped mushrooms, kale or spinach for even more of a nutrient punch! 
Tip 2: Batch cook quinoa every week so you have it ready to go when needed, and can cut out that step.You can also use precooked lentils from a can or refrigerated package which cuts out another step. Black lentils work well in this too, but in the interest of time, I use split red ones, since they take so much less time to cook.


My family loved it. I hope yours does too..
It is never too late to eat healthy!!

Please do share your thoughts. Your opinion matters!


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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Summer Salad



It is the first official day of summer!!! What this means is that not only will it be super hot, we will be spending more time outdoors than indoors!!! There will be trips to the beach, lots of picnics, barbecues.. what better side than an easy to put together salad!! Summer time you drink more than you eat..
Therefore salad makes for a perfect meal, be it lunch or dinner. You can make ahead and keep it and use the dressing at the last minute!You can use any kind of dressing with this one. This salad goes perfect with a basic vinaigrette as it has fresh mozzarella cheese and watermelon in it!  Sometimes I use a fruit-based vinaigrette such as raspberry vinaigrette.Actually, it is one of my favorite ones. It just adds to the flavor. Try different permutations and combinations and choose the one that works best for you..




Servings: 5-6


Prep time: 15 minsCook time: 0Total time: 15-20 mins 


Ingredients: 


Romaine lettuce: 1/2 head 
Sweet peppers: 3-4 
Persian cucumbers: 2-3, sliced thin
Cherry/grape tomatoes: 8-10 sliced into halves
Watermelon cubes: 1 cup
Bite-sized mozzarella cubes: 1 cup

Dressing of your choice on the side.

Method: 


Wash, clean and chop the lettuce into bite sized pieces. Add this to a bowl. 

Slice the peppers thinly. Add to the bowl. 

Add the tomato halves and the cucumber slices. 

Top it with watermelon cubes and mozzarella cubes. 

Serve the dressing on side. 

Once served into individual plates/bowls, just  before eating, add the desired amount of dressing. 

Mix and eat. 

Enjoy! 

Cooking made easy:


You can add sliced red or white onion, craisins, walnuts and or sunflower seeds if you wish. You can also add other fruits such as pineapple, green apple, strawberries and blueberries if you wish..

Tip for healthy living:

Use as less dressing as possible with your salad. Using a low fat dressing like a vinaigrette is much healthier than a high fat dressing like ranch or Cesar.


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Monday, June 4, 2018

Simple Spring Salad; Meatless Monday



As it is getting warmer outside, the desire to eat food that is light, refreshing encourages. One does not wish to slave in front of a stove when it is hot outside ( well, I never slave in front of the stove anyways!) Quite often you are not even hungry! I tend to make and eat more salads during summer. This is also excellent for BBQs and picnics. It’s makes for a perfect lunch. The kids also like it. You can use any kind of dressing with this one. I like to use a basic vinaigrette. Sometimes I will use a raspberry vinaigrette. My husband likes to pair it with creamy dressing such as Ranch or poppy seed dressing. Either ways this is a salad that is simple and quick to make and something everyone can enjoy! 

Servings: 5-6


Prep time: 15 minsCook time: 0Total time: 15-20 mins 


Ingredients: 


Romaine lettuce: 1/2 head 
Sweet peppers: 3-4 
Persian cucumbers: 2-3, sliced thin
Cherry/grape tomatoes: 8-10 sliced into halves

Dressing of your choice on the side.

Method: 


Wash, clean and chop the lettuce into bite sized pieces. Add this to a bowl. 

Slice the peppers thinly. Add to the bowl. 

Add the tomato halves and the cucumber slices. 

Serve the dressing on side. 

Once served into individual plates/bowls, just  before eating, add the desired amount of dressing. 

Mix and eat. 

Enjoy! 

Cooking made easy:


You can add sliced red or white onion, craisins, walnuts and or sunflower seeds if you wish. 

Tip for healthy living:

Use as less dressing as possible with your salad. Using a low fat dressing like a vinaigrette is much healthier than a high fat dressing like ranch or Cesar.


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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Pineapple Chick’n with Sriracha





This recipe has been made using Gardein’s Teriyaki Chick’n Strips. They are vegan yet taste like meat. They are made from plant based ingredients that are kosher with no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. The primary ingredient in the Chick’n strips is soy and ancient grain flour. I hope you had a chance to look at my post regarding vegan burgers from Gardein. You can check it out here. Yesterday I had the chance to try their Teriyaki Chick’n strips. I made Pineapple chicken with it. I spiced it with Sriracha of course! 



As you can see, my family likes spicy food so we always add a touch of Sriracha which gives it a nice kick.  Cooking the Chick’n strips hardly takes any time. The recipe for he pineapple Chick’n  is  on the back of the pack. But I will write it below for you. 



Serves: 4


Prep time: 10 mins Cook time: 10 mins 


Ingredients: 

Gardein Teriyaki Chick'n Strips: 1 package 
Pineapple cubes: 1 cup
Sriracha sauce: 2 tsp 
Scallions, finely chopped: 1 tbsp
Cashewnut halves: 1 tbsp 

Method: 


Cook teriyaki chick'n strips as per package instructions until addition of the sauce. Don't add the sauce. Add the pineapple pieces and cook for 2 mins. 

Now add the sauce and cook for another minute. 

Add the Sriracha sauce. Mix well. 

Garnish with scallions and cashewnut pieces.

Serve with rice. 




Enjoy! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. This is a perfect meal for a weeknight dinner or a relaxed summer evening.

You can check out all the other Gardein products here

I am looking forward to trying the remainder of their products in the near future.


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Monday, May 14, 2018

Spicy Vegan Burgers with Sriracha; Meatless Monday

At the outset I would like to inform you that this post is sponsored by Gardein and is a review of their vegan products. 

I try to be equivocal about most things in life.. however, there are some things that I am passionate about. One of them is healthy eating. Therefore, I am a staunch proponent of the Meatless Monday Movement. If people make a start by going vegetarian atleast once a week, it will go a long way towards a healthy body and a healthy lifestyle. The issue for most people is that they have difficulty finding or preparing vegetarian food that is palatable to them to the same extent that meat is. Most vegan products that are used for substituting meat/chicken available in the market are dry, chalky, cardboard-like and tasteless, therefore not appealing to the masses. When I was approached by Gardein Brand via Meatless Monday to try their vegan products, I was curious and interested. I signed up for it and soon a nice cooler package arrived with the following items in it: 
  • Ultimate Beefless Burger
  • Black Bean Burger
  • Veggie Burger
  • Meatless Meatballs
  • Crispy Chick'n Patty
  • Barbecue Chick'n Wings
  • Mandarin Orange Chick'n
  • Seven Grain Crispy Tenders
  • Teriyaki Chick'n Strips
Gardein is committed to provide high quality vegan, plant based products that are kosher and do not contain any artificial flavor, color or preservatives in them. So far I have tried the Seven Grain Crispy Tenders, the Veggie burger, the Ultimate Beefless Burger and the Crispy Chick’n Patty. All of them are quick and easy to prepare items, making them perfect for a weeknight dinner. 



The first item I tried was the Seven Grain Crispy Tenders. It was so good that my kids ate it without realizing that it was not chicken. This is high praise indeed coming from my 6 and 9 year olds as both of them are very picky eaters who don’t really like to try anything they are not familiar with. They polished their plates off in no time! The crispy tenders are made with primarily from grains such as Kamut, khorasan wheat, amarnath, millet and quinoa. This takes these Tenders to a higher nutritional level and more bang for the buck. Check the other ingredients here.

Barbecue Chick'n wings were easy to make. I transformed them into hot wings by mixing a little bit of Sriracha into the sauce and basting the wings just before serving. It would make for a great appetizer or as a side for a BBQ. The taste was quite close to the boneless chicken wings. The primary ingredient used in these wings is the ancient grain flour, potato starch and other ingredients which you can check here

I have made these spicy burgers on three different occasions, all of them for weeknight dinner when I was rushing. I have used the Veggie Burger, The Beefless Burger and the Chick’n Patty. Each one of them had it’s own unique taste and was delicious in it’s own way. We were not disappointed by any of them. 



The first burger I tried was the Veggie Burger. I made it with Sriracha Vegan Mayo and it was truly delicious! The burger was light and tasty. This is one of the 4 gluten free products from Gardein. The burger patty is made from brown rice, roasted vegetables, rolled oats and some spices. 


The next one was the crispy chick'n patty which came out nice and crisp. I served it with ketchup for the kids and made a burger for us. It was really good with the Chick’n patty crispy with the texture similar to that of a chicken patty. The patty is made from ancient grain flour similar to the one used in Tenders. Check out all the ingredients here.


The third one was the Ultimate Beefless Burger which when cooked and made into a burger, had the appearance of a regular Burger. The patty was moist with a meat-like texture. I layered this one with spicy vegan mayo, onion, tomato, pickle and lettuce and served it with grilled asparagus. The end result was one of satisfaction. This is made from soy and ancient grain flour among other ingredients which you can find here


You can use any of these burger patties or any other made by Gardein and transform it into this delicious spicy vegan burger for your Memorial Day barbecue or any summer barbecue. If nothing you can make this for your weeknight dinner, sit on your porch/terrace and savor the summer evening. 



Servings: for one burger. Each packet of burger has 4 patties in them which can be used to make 4 burgers.

Ingredients:


Burger patty of your choice from Gardein: 1 
Burger bun of your choice: 1
Sliced onion ring: 1 slice of onion cut in a circle.
Tomato slice: 1
Lettuce: 1-2 slices the size of the burger bun. 
Pickle: 1, sliced 
Sriracha spiced Vegan mayo: 1 tbsp 

To make the spiced Vegan Mayo, mix together 1 tbsp Sriracha with 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise. 

Method:


Toast the burger bun lightly on a skillet. 

Spread 1 tsp spicy vegan mayo, place the lettuce, one slice of tomato, burger patty of your choice, onion ring, pickle if you wish. 

Top it with some more spicy vegan mayo.

You can always serve ketchup on the side or on top of the burger if you wish. 

Serve this to your guests. I will bet that most won’t notice the difference. 
Gardein products and definitely that good!! 



Enjoy! 



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