Quinoa Salad with Baby Spinach

Quinoa Salad with Baby Spinach

Quinoa Salad with Baby Spinach
Quinoa (keen-wa) is an ancient grain-like seed that originated in South America over five thousand years ago. This tiny seed is chock full of tons of valuable nutrients, including all eight essential amino acids. Add in lots of other highly beneficial attributes, vitamins and minerals, plus the fact that it’s gluten-free and easy to digest and it’s pretty easy to understand it’s recent rise in popularity.

However, quinoa is still a bit new to my diet. Mostly because I don’t know what to make with it. Slowly I’m learning how to incorporate this versatile seed into my everyday meals. This salad is bright, fresh and easy. And did I mention that it’s also tasty and healthy? Say hello bikini body!

Quinoa Salad with Baby Spinach

  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • generous handful of baby spinach
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • handful of pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste

Following the directions on the package, cook quinoa in the chicken broth. The quinoa should come to a boil, then cover it and put it on a low simmer and let cook for 15 minutes. Once the quinoa is cooked it will absorb all the broth. Add remaining ingredients to a large resealable bowl and shake until contents are well incorporated. Serve cold.

Green Monster Smoothie

Green Monster Smoothie

Just in time for St. Patty’s Day, I present to you with this lovely green monster smoothie. While I don’t intend on drinking these this Sunday (hey, I *am* Irish after all!), these smoothies have been my go-to for breakfast or lunch on most other weekends. They make a great, nutrient-packed meal replacer, as you are pretty stuffed after drinking one. I like them because they’re easy and quick to make when I don’t have much in the fridge or I’m nursing a hangover, much like I will be this Sunday. As always, ingredients are easily customizable to what you have available. I’ve subbed frozen spinach for fresh, greek yogurt for milk and so on. One thing to note from my experiments though, whether it’s fresh or frozen, you always need a banana. That’s what she said. HA! I just said what you were thinking. But seriously, you need a banana to help “overpower” the flavors of the other ingredients. I’ve tried it without banana and it just tastes like a weird milk and spinach smoothie. Gross.

Green Monster Smoothie

  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 banana, cut in thirds
  • 6 frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds

Add ingredients to a blender and blend, blend, BLEND! Depending on your blender, it may take a few minutes to get everything smooth or you may need to stir the mixture up halfway through. I like my smoothies to be drinkable through a straw so you may need to add or subtract liquid until you reach your desired consistency.

Spicy Black Bean and Butternut Squash Soup

Spicy Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili

The inspiration for this meal came from the one poor little butternut squash that’s been sitting on my counter since November, just begging me to be cooked. The truth is, I’m so squashed-out from all that we got from our farm share that I just couldn’t bear to eat anymore for at least a month. I knew I probably only had a few weeks left before my squash started to go bad so I searched my cupboards (AKA Pinterest) for a dish that wasn’t overly squashy. The original recipe calls for adding bulgar to add bulk and to replace the beef, but I chose not to add it. I love chili, so I knew I’d only be kidding myself into thinking it was something that it’s not. That being said, this soup definitely stacks up against the competition. It makes a hearty weeknight meal or reheats easily for lunch. Bonus: It’s 100% vegetarian/vegan if you use vegetable broth and omit the optional greek yogurt topping.

Spicy Black Bean and Butternut Squash Soup
adapted from The Bitten Word

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, hand crushed
  • 2 15.5-ounce cans black beans, rinsed
  • 2 cups frozen fire roasted poblano peppers
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2-4 cups chicken or vegetable broth, depending on desired thickness
  • juice of half a lime
  • coarse kosher salt
  • greek yogurt (optional)
  • sliced avocado (optional)

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until soft and beginning to brown, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Add garlic; stir 1 minute. Sprinkle chili powder and coriander over; stir 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes with juice, beans, poblanos, squash and oregano. Add broth and lime juice. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low, cover with lid slightly ajar, and simmer until squash is tender, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve with greek yogurt and avocado slices.

Minestrone Soup

Minestrone Soup

Since everyone is still on their new year resolution diets I figured the first official recipe post of 2013 should at least be something healthy, right? I LOVE making a big batch of minestrone and having plenty to bring in for lunch for the week or freeze for a later occasion. This version has been healthified and lightened up by using veggie pasta over regular pasta. I think the original recipe might’ve come from Martha Stewart, but I’ve been making it for years now. Feel free to experiment, use the veggies you have on hand, fresh or frozen. You really can’t screw this soup up!

Minestrone Soup

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, hand crushed
  • 4 cups low-sodium, low-fat chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegetarians)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups green beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen chopped zucchini, green pepper, yellow squash mix (I used frozen, leftover from my farmshare)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon crush red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 15-ounce can low-sodium cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup Eden Organic small vegetable shells
  • 1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese (omit for vegans)

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add the celery and carrot and cook until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, chicken broth and water. Stir in the green beans and vegetable medley, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in the kidney beans, pasta and baby spinach. Cook until the pasta and vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Season with salt. Ladle into bowls and top with parmesan cheese.

Twice Baked Winter Squash Gratin

attendees for the November Supper Club

attendees for the November Supper Club

the delicious menu

the delicious menu

Twice Baked Winter Squash Gratin

For our second Supper Club our host chose Crockpot and Stovetop dishes as her theme, as she is in the middle of a kitchen renovation. While this dish was neither (no one ever said I was good at following the rules), I figured I could just bring it over hot. I had (and still currently have) so much winter squash left from my farm share that I really needed to use it up. And since the hubs doesn’t eat it, this was really the only opportunity I had to use some of it up. It came out pretty good for just winging it! The only issue I ran into was when I was running the onions through the food processor. They kept getting stuck around the blades so I needed to make sure to check that those got pureed. Other than that, this dish was delish!

Twice Baked Winter Squash Gratin

  • 1 butternut squash, acorn squash and red kuri squash (or any other combination)
  • 4 small onions
  • 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, plus 3 tablespoons extra
  • pinch of fresh or dried parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice squash in half, scoop out seeds and cut the onions in half. Coat the cut sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Lay the squash halves, cut-side down, on a baking sheet. Place the onions under each squash cavity and place in the oven. Roast until very soft and fork tender, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle. Scoop out the flesh from the squash halves and place in food processor with the roasted onions. Purée until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and mix with ricotta and parmesan cheese until well incorporated. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Fill a shallow dish with mixture. Sprinkle the top with remaining parmesan cheese, parsley and a light drizzle of olive oil. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Place under broiler for 5 more minutes, until top of gratin has browned.

Roasted Red Pepper and Gorgonzola Dip

Roasted Red Pepper and Gorgonzola Dip

Roasted Red Pepper and Gorgonzola Dip

Roasted Red Pepper and Gorgonzola Dip

Roasted Red Pepper and Gorgonzola Dip

Our farm share recently provided us with a TON of peppers that they wanted to pick before the first frost. I ended up cutting and freezing most of them, but I decided to try roasting a few, too. This was my first attempt and it was pretty easy to do, but rather time consuming from start to finish. The best part for me was picking off the skins after the peppers had cooled down. My husband loves to get on me about always picking at things, like my cuticles or grosser things that we don’t need to get into right now. So it only makes sense that I’d find picking off pepper skins enjoyable. Can you say weirdo?!

Roasted Red Pepper and Gorgonzola Dip

  • 3 red carmen peppers, halved with stems and seeds removed
  • 2 ounces of gorgonzola cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • handful of fresh oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste

Place peppers, cut side down, on a foil-lined broiler pan. Set broiler setting to high and place peppers under heat for 5 minutes. Remove from broiler when the skins are bubbly and charred. While hot, carefully place peppers in a ziplock bag, seal and set aside for 20 minutes. When cool, remove as much of the skins as you can from the peppers. They should easily ‘pinch’ off, but if they don’t that’s ok. Chop the peppers into smaller pieces and place in the bowl of a food processer with remaining ingredients. Pulse until almost smooth. This can be served hot or cold. If serving warm, place mixture in an oven safe dish and bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees or until bubbly.

Roasted Acorn Squash Seeds

Roasted Acorn Squash Seeds

Last Wednesday I hosted a supper club at my house and served stuffed acorn squash as my main dish (more on that later). I never knew you could roast any seeds other than pumpkin, but since I was roasting six acorn squashes I didn’t want all those the seeds to go to waste. After some googling, I learned that acorn squash seeds actually are edible, along with butternut squash seeds. Seriously. Who knew? There so many things I’ve learned by having my CSA and this is just another thing! These came out great and would make a tasty snack or the perfect accompaniment for a fall meal.

Roasted Acorn Squash Seeds

  • six acorn squashes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • generous amount of salt
  • 3-4 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut squash in half using a large butcher knife. Scoop out the seeds from the halved squash. In a colander, run the seeds underwater, separating them by hand and discarding any bits of squash left attached. Place clean seeds on a kitchen towel and allow them to completely dry. On a cookie sheet, spread the seeds out, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pumpkin pie spice. Mix until well coated. Bake for 10 minutes or until the seeds begin to brown.

Goat Cheese Tortellini with Roasted Vegetables

Goat Cheese Tortellini with Roasted Vegetables

  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 3 small beets
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • olive oil
  • handful of fresh herbs, stemmed and chopped (rosemary, oregano, thyme and chives)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 package of goat cheese tortellini (in the refrigerated section)
  • parmesan cheese
  • crushed red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Prep the butternut squash by peeling the outer skin and removing seeds, dice into 1-inch cubes. Peel beets and dice into small cubes. Cube the eggplant and zucchini and toss all vegetables in olive oil, fresh herbs, salt and pepper. Place on a large cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooked. Cook tortellini according to package directions. Drain and toss with the roasted vegetables, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes. Serve and enjoy!

Mini Jalapeño Cornbread Muffins

Mini Jalapeño Cornbread Muffins

  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup corn meal
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup chopped jalapeños, fresh or canned

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 24-cup mini muffin tin with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Stir in milk, oil, egg and jalapeños, mixing just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter into muffin tins. Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Popular Posts

Older Posts

Twitter

Error: Please make sure the Twitter account is public.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive new posts by email.

Foodie Blogroll

Foodie Blogroll
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 615 other followers

%d bloggers like this: