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Have I mentioned that I am currently obsessed with bite-sized food? If I haven’t yet, I’m sure it will be quite obvious soon, seeing as this is the second “bite” recipe I’ve posted in a row with quite a few more to come. What can I say? Sometimes things just taste better in tiny, handheld, fun, well…bites.
A few years ago, I made some baked arancini (Italian risotto balls) and I’ve been itching to make them ever since. So, being the proactive person that I am, I waited two years and then completely changed the recipe.
Since quinoa is cooked like rice, I thought it must work well in a risotto, too! It did. But normal risottos can be pretty high in calories, so I just decided to revamp the entire recipe. After a complete overhaul, it is still creamy, cheesy, flavorful and only 118 calories for 4 bites (according to my calculations)!
And it’s completely versatile. I absolutely loved the bell pepper and carrots, but I’d love to mix it up next time with spinach, peas, or a number of other vegetables!
If nothing else, making things bite-sized has helped me with portion control. Instead of trying to estimate eating 1/2 cup of something, I can just count 4 bites. Or 8 bites. Or however many bites as I want. But it’s much easier for me to see how much I’m eating, so I’m more conscious of how much I’m taking in. Mindless eating is something I’m trying to eliminate. I’d rather not focus on counting calories for the rest of my life, but eating in moderation is what I want to focus on and these are just little things (literally!) that help me do so.
And if you don’t feel the need to make all of your food bite-sized, feel free to stop at step 8 and leave out the egg and flour. You’ll still have delicious quinoa risotto!
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 1 cup diced onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup diced carrot
- 3 cups low sodium chicken broth, hot
- 1 cup diced red pepper
- 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
- 1 Tbs flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
- Soak quinoa for 15 minutes. Rinse.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat.
- Add onions and garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes.
- Add carrots, quinoa, and 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth.
- Bring to a boil and cook for about 6 minutes, covered and stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
- Add 1/2 cup more chicken broth and cook about 4 minutes, covered and stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Repeat until all of the chicken broth is absorbed.
- Remove pan from heat and stir in red peppers, parsley, cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, flour, salt, and pepper.
- Spoon mixture into greased mini muffin tins, using about a tablespoon of mixture in each cup.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes.
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