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Make-ahead Monday: 2 nutritious powerhouses, 3 delectable dinners

Elizabeth Heiskell shares recipes for two nutritious staples: protein-packed quinoa and vitamin-rich broccoli.
Make-ahead Monday
Nathan Congleton / TODAY
/ Source: TODAY

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Springtime means farmers markets a are loaded with gorgeous vegetables and fruits. So it's time to make the most of these seasonal eats.

Chef Elizabeth Heiskell, author of "What Can I Bring?: Southern Food for Any Occasion Life Serves Up," stops by for the latest edition of our make-ahead Monday series to help home cooks use two key ingredients — broccoli and quinoa — and build three versatile, delicious dishes.

These dishes, said Heiskell, "will feed your family for a week. No one will ever know that you haven’t been sweating and working in the kitchen all week!"

So what's the secret to making beautiful broccoli that's packed with flavor? You just need to blanch it, which means plunging it into boiling water for a minute or two, and then putting it into an ice bath so it stops cooking and retains its rich green color. Not only does this veggie taste great, it also has wonderful health benefits.

As for quinoa, it's a protein-packed grain that is a good source of iron, magnesium, vitamin E, potassium and fiber.

And don't be daunted by the thought of making a quiche. It's easy, we promise! Heiskell advises home cooks to cook it "slow and low. This will keep the egg custard creamy and light."

Quinoa Avocado Spinach Power Salad

Protein-packed quinoa will give you plenty of energy to conquer the world — or at least get through another day at the office.

Broccoli Cheese Quiche

Broccoli Cheese Quiche

Elizabeth Heiskell

Quiches are often seen as too complicated but this is a very versatile recipe. It is, of course, a lovely brunch item but makes a delightful lunch or light supper when served with a salad.

Creamy Chicken Quinoa and Broccoli Casserole

This casserole can be made ahead and it freezes beautifully.

We also asked Heiskell to share her go-to kitchen gadgets, her hero products that she can't live without.


Chef'n Orange Juicer, $34, Amazon

"I love a handheld lemon juicer. It makes sure you don’t get seeds in your recipes. It’s the best tool in the world. You can get the orange one and that works for lemons and limes."

Microplane grater

Microplane Classic Zester/Grater, $13, Amazon

"The finest tool in the world. You can do garlic and cheese and lemon zest. It’s life-changing. You go slow and be careful and pay attention because you can hurt your fingers."

Cutting board

Breville Bamboo Cutting Board, $45, Amazon

"I like it to be sturdy and heavy. I like a good wood cutting board, either bamboo or pressed wood. It just makes the knife feel better. It resonates with the knife better."