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.

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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.

Pumpkin Spice Granola

Pumpkin Spice Granola

What’s super easy to make, healthy and also makes a really tasty snack? GRANOLA!

I really can’t understand why I ever spent money on granola in the past. I guess just always assumed I couldn’t make it at home. Well, you already know what happens when you assume. That’s right. I’m a total ass for never making this before. There’s a whole heck of a lot less sugar in my version then there is in the store bought stuff. Plus, you know all the ingredients that are going into it and it’s totally customizable. Oh AND it’s WAY cheaper! My grocery store charges almost $7 per pound for the pre-made stuff. My version probably costs around $2! It really doesn’t get much better than that.

Pumpkin Spice Granola

• 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats (not quick cooking)
• 1/2 cups nuts or seeds
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1/3 cup honey
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 3 tablespoons pumpkin spice
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 cup dried fruit or chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine the oats and nuts or seeds. Add in all ingredients except dried fruit or chocolate chips. Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet covered in aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 15 to make sure all pieces bake evenly. Remove from oven and allow to completely cool before adding dried fruit or chocolate chips.

Sausage-Apple Slow Cooker Stuffing

Sausage-Apple Slow Cooker Stuffing

Ok, so maybe I’m a month late to the game on posting this one, but better late than never right? I figure stuffing is pretty versatile and you don’t necessarily need to wait until next Thanksgiving to make. Serve it up with some pork chops or stuff it inside some chicken breasts. The way I see it, you can’t go wrong with stuffing, ever. Hopefully everyone had a fantastic holiday filled with lots of fun, food and family. See you peeps in 2013! Cheers!

Sausage-Apple Slow Cooker Stuffing

  • 1 bag of seasoned croutons
  • 1-1/2 pounds spicy chicken sausage, casings removed, browned and drained
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, diced (no need to peel) you could also use 1 cup of craisins
  • 2 small onions, diced
  • 4 celery ribs, diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups chicken broth

Brown the sausage on the stovetop and drain. (I browned the sausage and chopped all the other ingredients the night before.) Toss the croutons and sausage together in your slow cooker, and pour in the melted butter. Add apples, vegetables, and seasonings. Use two large spoons to toss the ingredients and disperse the spices. Pour in the chicken broth, and stir gently to coat bread and veggies with broth. Cover and cook on high for 2 to 3 hours, checking occasionally. Stir well, and keep on the warm setting until meal time.

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.

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.

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