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.

Spicy Sweet Potato and Ham Hash

Spicy Sweet Potato and Ham Hash

This dish is a bright and colorful take on the traditional breakfast staple. Plus, sweet potatoes are loaded with beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin E and potassium. Bonus! Tastes great and healthy! I wish I could say that about everything.

Here I used some frozen leftover honey baked ham that I defrosted the night before. I also used frozen poblano peppers from my farm share from over the summer. Sigh. I really miss our weekly bag of fresh veggies. I also miss those long summer days. This whole dark-when-I-go-into-work-dark-when-I-get-home thing is really cramping my style. First world problems. I know, I know. That’s what lack of sunshine will do to you!

Spicy Sweet Potato and Ham Hash

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups diced ham
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 poblano pepper, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, add all ingredients and mix until well combined. Spread mixture onto a large rimmed cookie sheet and bake in oven for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Top with an over easy egg or, since I was out of eggs, a sprinkle of feta cheese.

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 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.

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.

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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