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.

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.

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!

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.

Fresh Salsa


I hate that I need to go to a Mexican restaurant to eat good salsa. It actually kind of drives me a bit nuts. I’ve tried buying a ton of different brands from the grocery store and nothing compares to the fresh stuff. Luckily, our farm share has been providing us with an abundance of tomatoes and I happened to have one dinky jalapeno growing in my garden. Note in the picture above the jalapeno is the same size as a small clove of garlic and those are cherry tomatoes shown next to it! My poor garden really suffered this year because I forgot to water and it hasn’t rained much. Oopsie! Anywho, this salsa is close to what you’ll get in a good Mexican joint, but make sure to taste test (preferably with tortilla chips) and adjust seasoning as you wish.

Fresh Salsa

  • 6-8 fresh tomatoes (I used a combination of plum, beefsteak and cherry tomatoes)
  • 1/2 white or red onion
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1/4 cup poblano peppers
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste

Rough chop all ingredients and pulse in a food processer until desired consistency is reached. This will make enough to fill a large mason jar.

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