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.

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.

White Bean Soup with Sausage and Collard Greens

White Bean Soup with Sausage and Collard Greens

It’s been getting pretty chilly in Buffalo (queue the snowing in July jokes) so, oh baby, does this soup hit the spot on those frigid days! The white wine and spicy chicken sausage really help to pack a flavorful punch into each bite. It’s so hearty that it’s more like a stoup (stew + soup), rather than a soup, but we’ll keep it simple for now and stick with calling it a soup.

White Bean Soup with Sausage and Collard Greens

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound spicy chicken sausage, casings removed
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3/4 cup carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 potatoes, halved and sliced with skins on
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup dry white wine, Chardonnay
  • 1 16 ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups finely chopped collard leaves, thick stems removed
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add sausage. Using a wooden spoon or similar, break it up into smaller pieces and cook until no longer pink. Add in the onions, carrots, celery and garlic, and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the potatoes and rosemary. Add the chicken broth, water and white wine and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Add the cannellini beans, collard greens, salt and pepper. Simmer covered for 30 more minutes.

Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed with Sausage, Quinoa and Apple

Supper Club Place Setting

Service for 10!

Supper Club Menu

The menu!

Supper Club Attendees

The gorgeous group of attendees!

Sausage, Quinoa and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

Sausage, Quinoa and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

I mentioned last week that I hosted my first-ever Supper Club. As the host, I was responsible for the main dish and everyone else brought sides that went with our theme for the month, Fall. I decided to go with stuffed acorn squash because I could make all the ingredients the night before and just reheat the day of. I’d say it worked out pretty well. So well that we ate and drank ourselves into mini food comas and we even had leftovers for a few days. Bonus!

Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed with Sausage, Quinoa and Apple

  • 6 acorn squash, rinsed
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1-1/2 pounds spicy chicken sausage, casings removed
  • 2 Fuji apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 small green pepper, diced
  • 1 small jalapeño, minced
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut each squash in half crosswise; scoop out seeds and save for Roasted Acorn Squash Seeds. Cut a thin slice off the bottom of each half so they can stand upright. Season the inside of each squash well with some of the olive oil, salt and pepper. Place each half, cavity side down on a cookie sheet and bake until tender when pierced, about 45 to 50 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet over medium-high heat, add remaining olive oil, chicken sausage, apples, peppers, jalapeño, onions, garlic, shallots, salt and pepper. Stir often until apples are tender when pierced, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cook quinoa according to package directions, substituting the chicken broth for water. When cooked, add quinoa to the apple-sausage mixture. Fill each squash equally with sausage-quinoa-apple mixture and bake, uncovered, until filling is slightly browned on top, about 15 minutes longer.

Southwestern Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is a great, healthy alternative to pasta if you’re trying to limit your carbs. Why you’d ever want to do that I have no idea, but if you are, this dish is so good you won’t even miss them! If you’re running short on time, cook the squash a day or two before and heat up when ready to serve. If you’re going for a vegetarian and low carb meal (that’s just crazy talk!) you can omit the ham and use vegetable broth instead. Although I think the ham adds a really nice smokiness to the dish and makes it a bit more of a hearty meal for the winter.

Southwestern Spaghetti Squash
adapted from here

  • 1 medium-sized spaghetti squash
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halfed
  • 1/4 cup frozen vegetable medley of corn, carrots and green beans
  • 1/2 cup diced ham
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon Penzey’s Adobo seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried minced onion
  • juice of 1/2 fresh lime
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut squash in half lengthwise (this will take some serious muscle) and discard the seeds. Coat the flesh in olive oil, salt and pepper. On a baking sheet lined with foil, roast squash flesh side down for 50 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium high heat, add remaining ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes. When the squash has cooled, use a fork to scrape up the flesh. Top the ‘spaghetti’ with the bean mixture and serve warm.

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