I arrived home from work to a hot and sweaty daughter studying at the computer. When I mentioned dinner, she replied – anything but not hot. Salad season is on folks, especially now. This is the best time for fresh salads because salad greens love early spring best. They don’t do so well in the super heat of the hazy summer end, but planting seeds outside in the end of winter will bring you perfect greens in the beginning of spring when the bugs are still on vacation. I hope to have a few more cool evenings with warm tomato soup, stew or a roast, but I’m looking ahead to more salad days.
Tonight’s dinner was both quick and easy to prepare and all the ingredients in my fridge, so I didn’t have to run out for anything. The quinoa was made up in a big batch but frozen in dinner size portions. You can set it to defrost in the fridge, or if you are like me and deciding at the last minute, you can microwave for one minute, stir it around a little and it’s ready to go. The rest of the ingredients came together into a nice salad topped with a sun-dried tomato vinaigrette. Not only was it declared delicious by my college girl, but she made herself a second round. Yummy.
- Salad greens
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 can tuna (drained)
- 1 avocado
- 1 tomato chopped
- small bunch of olives (for me only)
Spring is crazy right now with this really strong winds and storms blowing through. In the middle of it all, my garden started growing. We have raised beds so our veggies don’t get over sogged and root rotted. Too early for tomatoes, cucumbers, summer squash, but I have broccoli rabe. I’ve never tried eating broccoli rabe before never mind growing it, but that’s the way I roll; grow it and see what we think. I was surprised at how fast it sprouted up and grew tall with little floret heads. For our roasted veggies on Easter, I threw in some rabe, tasting it with my mother in law first to try it out. It had a little bit of a sharp taste – maybe bitter, but pretty good. It was even better cooked. So tonight’s meal I decided to cook up some goat to go over quinoa, and for the side I went and picked a bunch of broccoli rabe from the garden. It’s amazing how much more there is today, just a few days later.
The goat was really tasty too. I don’t know why it isn’t more mainstream. I sauteed onion and garlic in oil along with the goat meat, then added beef broth and let it simmer for about 45 minutes. Delicious and tender. In another pan, I sauteed onions and garlic in olive oil and threw in a couple of pieces of prosciutto When the prosciutto was crispy, I added the rabe and sauteed that too until it was limp. It was a really tasty meal. Not much prep time, or cooking effort, but pretty darned delicious.Diana
Quick Quinoa Burgers is from The 150 Healthiest 15-Minute Recipes on Earth by Jonny Bowden and Jeannette Bessinger. When Deb, Desiree and I were younger, my dad tried the meatless burger thing. He used birdseed – or rather millet, but they were dry and not very tasty. I tried this meatless burger thinking it would end on the same note, but I really was surprised at how good they were. No, they don’t taste like burgers, not at all, but they are packed with flavor. Where the recipe said to use a quality salsa – I used my canned salsa. Where it said to use canned kidney beans, I substituted pinto beans that I made up earlier in the week, and it had a little garlic flavoring in it. I also topped the burger and sauce with chopped avocado. Deb are you listening – this meal had quinoa, avocado and salsa in it, you will like it.
- 1 can (15 oz) kidney beans
- 1/4 cup quick cooking rolled oats
- 2 oz grated or crumbled cheese (or 1/4 cup nutritional yeast for a vegan option)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup cooked heirloom quinoa ( I used red)
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1/2 cup prepared salsa
- 2 tbs low fat plain yogurt
- 1 tbs lime juice
- 1 tsp maple syrup or agave nectar
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
Place the beans, oats, cheese and salt in a food processor in that order and pulse until combined and holding together but still chunky, about ten quick pulses (I think I probably over pulsed, but it came out nicely). Turn the bean mixture out into a medium bowl, add the quinoa, and mix, with your hands just until it holds together well.
Heat the oil on a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat (or just below medium in a regular skillet to prevent sticking), and form the quinoa mixture into four patties.
Place the burgers in the pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side in until heated through. Patties will be soft, so handle gently.
While the burgers are cooking, place the salsa, yogurt, lime juice, syrup, cumin, and chili powder into a blender (or a small bowl, and use an immersion blender) and blend until smooth. Serve burgers with a generous helping of the dressing.Diana
We went to a family/friend gathering at my brother in law’s today. Though the day was a little warm, sitting under the shade trees, it was a pleasant cookout with lots of great food. My contribution was Quinoa Berry Salad. I went out and picked some parsley and mint to add a little hint of something. When I asked my husband if I should add some walnuts, the answer was a resounding yes. I’m not a big fan of syrup for the berries, I want it less sweet, so that I can taste the sweetness of the berries, so instead I added Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette. This salad went over so well, the two year old little boy from next door kept coming back for more.
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1/2 cup strawberries sliced
- 1/2 cup blackberries
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1/2 tbs minced parsley
- 1/2 tbs minced mint
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette to taste
Put all the ingredients into the bowl (except the vinaigrette) and toss. Pour the vinaigrette over top, and toss a little more.Diana
Yesterday I posted a picture of Black Quinoa. We’ve mentioned quinoa before, it’s one of the best grains to get on your plate. Black Quinoa was one of the main ingredients I used in my dinner the other night. I liked the contrast that the Black Quinoa added to the bowl, they’re the little speckles in with the bigger grains.
The black quinoa has a little more earthy flavor than the white quinoa, and also a little bit crunchier texture. Therefore it takes longer to get to a mushy texture than the white quinoa. You have to be a bit more careful with the white than the black, I think. I got my package of black quinoa from Alter Eco to try out, so this quinoa is fair trade as well as organic.
Quinoa is also gluten free. My daughter often uses leftover quinoa for a salad the same as she does with leftover couscous. If you desire gluten free ingredients, quinoa is a good substitute for couscous and also, if you cook it a little longer you can substitute it for oatmeal and eat it as a hot cereal.
I found a box of Ancient Harvest Inca Red Quinoa at the grocery store. I haven’t tried it yet, but I wanted to let you know it’s available to add to your dishes. I like the idea of having the red grains in my recipe for a little color. When I visited the Ancient Harvest website, I found they have quite a few recipes . They also have pastas, flours and flakes made out of quinoa too and kosher products. However, I don’t know that they are a fair trade product.
Don’t hesitate to add quinoa to your dishes and try out something healthy and new. My family is enjoying my foray into wholegrain goodness. (Robyn sorry, I probably can’t help your husband and son.) Give it a whirl and see what you think.Diana Diana
Tonight’s dinner was inspired by a store bought frozen lunch I had today. It had beans, whole grain orzo, dried cranberries, spinach and a little bit of cheese. I enjoyed it quite a bit and thought I would use it as inspiration to create my own big bowl of whole grainy goodness. Even though the barley and quinoa stuck to his braces, my son thought it was delicious. My husband also liked it a lot too. I know my daughter would have enjoyed it, and that she would have grabbed the leftovers thrown salad dressing over top and had it cold for lunch the next day. One thing I would have changed would have been to add in more chard. I dug through the snow to find what chard I could from the raised beds in the garden. I found some small leaves, only about 7 or 8, but it was enough to give it a little color and flavor. I just wish I had more. It’s so cool to go dig through the snow for chard in the middle of winter, but your fingers get awfully cold and you have to be careful that they don’t stick to the door knob when you try to get back into the house. Maybe gloves would be a good idea. No gloves needed to eat it though, just a fork.
- 1/2 cup black quinoa
- 1/2 cup bulgur
- 1/2 cup orzo
- 1/2 cup barley
- 1/2 onion diced
- 1 celery stalk diced
- 1 bag dried cranberries and spiced apple (I think they were dole)
- 1 can garbanzo beans
- 1 quart vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup Carr Valley Apple Smoked Cheddar diced
Cook the quinoa, bulgur, orzo and barley according to package directions using vegetable broth instead of water. I took turns with two different small pots on the stove. In a separate medium size pot, pour in the rest of the vegetable broth. Simmer the onions, and celery in a shallow amount of vegetable broth. When they start to become translucent, add in the rest of the broth, the cranberries and spiced apple, the beans and chopped up chard. Heat up and add in the grains, and the herbs and spices. If it seems too dry, add a little extra liquid (water) when heating. Serve in bowls and sprinkle the cubed cheese on top.
Note: To make it vegan, leave out the cheese.
The dried fruit gives it a fruity flavor, with the smoky cheese to help balance it out. The whole meal is delicious, and very quickly comes together.