Meeska… Mooska… Mouseka-Cakes: Zucchini Quinoa Lunchbox Patties

5 Aug

Sunday morning, I woke up feeling icky!  As can be expected when you have a toddler in the house, Baby Bird sensed this and decided to wake up extra early while Daddy was our for his long run and swim.  She pampered me with lots of hugs and kisses- which I adore from my sweet girl- but she also wanted my undivided attention directed towards making character voices for all of her Mickey Mouse Clubhouse character dolls.  Not exactly a relaxing moment of recovery.  Though caffeine is normally avoided in our household, caffeine made a welcome appearance as I did my very best Goofy impersonation waiting for Daddy to make it home.

Go Running, Mama!

I do my best to be a super healthy gal, but sometimes this happens.

Since there is no such thing as a mama sick day, I knew I wasn’t going to get tons of rest which meant I needed to try to buy myself some time wherever possible.  On top of that, I wanted to attempt to stay in my home in my yoga shorts, sweatshirt, compression socks, and totally-not-of-the-moment-for-a-30-plus-year-old-mother messy bun barring medical emergency or fire.

One problem- I needed to go to the grocery store.  Aside from a major run on the market last week for end of the season peaches, I hadn’t purchased much produce lately as I was working through what he had in the fridge.  I also haven’t gotten a CSA order in a few weeks since we have been in and out of town.  And, thanks to feeling icky, I forgot to confirm this week’s Monday order so I wont start my week off with a rescue box of goodies.

Even if I had remembered to confirm my order I still would have been in a jam because Baby Bird has Mickey Mouse Dance Camp this week thus a yummy lunch that is both toddler friendly and toddler manageable must be packed for 5 days.

So my choices were a) go to the store b) make it work and get creative in the kitchen.

I’m sure someone is looking at that and thinking “hmmm… isn’t ‘c) send your husband to the store’ an option?”

In short- no.

No, it’s not an option.  My husband is very helpful.  He is very kind.  He will shop for every item on our list.  But he will also call me about each item as though I must guide him to the exact location for each and every thing like I’m the world’s only grocery Onstar.  He is a perfectionist and wants to bring home exactly what I needed.  But when I’m feeling bleh- done is better than perfect, so that was a no-go.  Plus, his weekend time is far better spent loving on Baby Bird than going Whole Foods Orienteering.

Don’t fret!  There’s a little something you should know about Jenn- cooking is almost like breathing to me.  Seriously… if I haven’t cooked something recently it’s possible that I’m dead.  Running, dancing, and cooking are cathartic experiences for me and since we don’t have a treadmill or a dance room at our house, a good deal of home time is spent in the kitchen having fun.  And anyways, this past Thanksgiving when I was so sick with the “super flu” that I could barely stand up I managed to rally and cook a 5 course meal (in aseptic technique a la the science lab teacher I used to be) that I couldn’t even eat so feeling icky is just a minor bump when it comes to food action.  I may train for marathons on the pavement, but I also train for moments like this in my kitchen.  Trust me- there are at as many miles on my Kitchenaid stand mixer as there are on my most recent three pairs of Adidas Bostons combined!

But I digress.  Back to the challenge at hand…

The produce situation was abysmal.  There were some berries (score for lunch bag snacks!) and TWO ZUCCHINI left over from the previous evening’s zucchini pie.  That’s it for fresh and seasonal.  Sad.

Luckily, last week my sweet friend Laura and I were chatting about the big hits in our toddlers’ dining repertoire as we waited for our girls in toddler yoga and she happened to mention that her little one could always be counted on to eat quinoa patties.  Quinoa patties are awesome because they are an easy “disposal” food for any leftover chopped veggies you have on hand as well as an ideal vehicle in which to hide nutrient dense greens that can sometimes be a struggle for picky eaters. Plus they freeze really well.  I had totally forgotten about how great and easy they were and made a mental note to make some for Baby Bird soon.

Go Running, Mama!

Baby Bird still hasn’t quite grasped the hand placement for bridge!

Since we always have a plethora of quinoa on hand, soon became Sunday as I knew they would pack will in a toddler lunch and require no utensils.  Quinoa patties were a perfect fit for some grated zucchini and they also gave me the opportunity to use up some leftover black beans and corn kernels from last Friday night’s Southwestern pizza.

I made a little more quinoa than I needed for the patties as well so I could whip up a batch of Cinnamon Quinoa Lunchbox Bars that could pack easily for snack time at camp as well as make an easy breakfast if I wasn’t in tip top shape by morning.

Instead of the usual round patties, I went for a Mickey Mouse shape.  How fun will that be for Baby Bird when she eats her Mouseka-lunch at Mouseka-camp!?

The quinoa patty experience reminded me one of one of the biggest encouragements for starting this blog- remembering all the things I’ve done that I feel are worth repeating!  On that note… thanks for virtually hanging out with me and helping to clear my never ending case of Mommy-brain.

Enjoy!

Go Running, Mama!- Zucchini Quinoa Lunchbox Patties; easy, healthy, make ahead meals in fun character shapes

Zucchini Quinoa Lunchbox Patties

  • 1 1/2 c quinoa, prepared and cooled to room temperature (about 1/2 c quinoa cooked in 1 1/2 c water or stock)
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 c diced onion
  • 1/2 corn kernels (I used frozen- defrosted)
  • 1/3 c black beans
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbs flax meal
  • 2 tbs water
  • 1 tbs chives, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp prepared dijon mustard
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs all-purpose flour
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Position a box grater over a kitchen towel. Grate the zucchini onto the towel.  Gather the shredded zucchini in the towel and wring over the sink to remove excess liquid.

In a small mise en place bowl, mix flax meal and water and allow to congeal.

Heat olive oil in saute pan over medium high heat.  Add onion and garlic and saute until translucent.  Add corn, beans, and shredded zucchini and season with salt and pepper.  Toss to incorporate and remove pan from heat to cool.

In a mixing bowl, lightly beat the egg.  Add flax meal mixture, flour, and chives and beat once more to incorporate.  Add the quinoa to the egg mixture. and mix.  Turn the zucchini mixture onto a cutting board and roughly chop before adding to the egg mixture.  Mix well to combine.

Go Running, Mama!- Zucchini Quinoa Lunchbox Patties; easy, healthy, make ahead meal

Spoon mix into cookie cutter

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Using a cookie cutter (Our Mickey Mouse cutter encompasses the combined area of a 3.5 inch biscuit cutter, so if you are making these for adults a round cookie cutter about 3.5 inched in diameter will work perfectly!) spoon the mixture into the cookie cutter until it fills the cutter halfway.  Gently slide the cookie cutter off of the patty and repeat, making sure to space them out enough that you can flip them halfway through cooking with a spatula without disturbing the shape.

Go Running, Mama!- Zucchini Quinoa Lunchbox Patties; easy, healthy, make ahead meals in fun character shapes

Remove cookie cutter carefully to maintain shape

Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven to flip and then bake for another 15 minutes, rotating the pan when you return it to the oven.

Makes about 16 patties (8 servings)

Question for y’all: Does anyone else have a great, easy tried and true recipe you wish you didn’t frequently “forget?”

5 Responses to “Meeska… Mooska… Mouseka-Cakes: Zucchini Quinoa Lunchbox Patties”

  1. Kate | Food Babbles August 5, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

    How creative! I love quinoa and I’m always on the lookout for new ways to use it. I’ve never made patties with it. We love quinoa at our house and now I can’t wait to make these patties. Yum!

    • Jenn August 6, 2013 at 12:30 am #

      Let me know how it goes when you make them. They are super easy to customize and I’d love to see what you come up with!

  2. startraci August 11, 2013 at 12:59 am #

    Wow! Well done! That was way more thinking that I can do when not feeling well so I am doubly impressed. Love that they are Mickey shaped.
    Hope you’re feeling better!
    🙂
    Traci

    • Jenn August 11, 2013 at 11:49 pm #

      Thanks so much Traci!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Top 13 in 2013 | Go Running, Mama! - January 2, 2014

    […] Meeska… Mooska… Mouseka Cakes: Zucchini Quinoa Lunchbox Patties (August)- Healthy food tastes even better in Mickey Mouse […]

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