A Salad….

Cherry-Quinoa Salad with Cucumber Ribbons

Cherry-Quinoa Salad with Cucumber Ribbons

I am in need of a salad.  The kind that’s heavy with greens and good nutrients, yet unique and full of surprises, and well,  sexy!

The kind of salad that makes you want to wear those sleek, super expensive yoga pants, if you wear yoga pants, that is.  Me?  I wear tight, super short dance skirts, or long skirts with a slit up to THERE!   You see where I’m going with this don’t you?   In short….when your shape is gonna show, make sure it’s a shape you wanna show!

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Yeah,  that’s exactly the kind of salad I’m craving.

Today we are making Cherry Quinoa Salad on cucumber ribbons.  Come on,  let’s do salad!

I love combining sweet summer fruit with salad ingredients.  It’s pretty amazing that sweet cherries, grated carrots and green onions get married in this salad starring our favorite grain, quinoa.  Now spoon that over some ribbons of pickled cucumbers.   Whaaat?   I know, unbelievable, right?  That’s what I said, until I tasted it. Now I want it for lunch and dinner every day.  Go figure.

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CHERRY QUINOA SALAD

Yield:  Makes 6 servings;  serving size: 1 cup

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegarIMG_7810
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1  3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups pitted and chopped sweet cherries
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots ( 1 medium)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions ( 2)
  • 3 tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tbsp. snipped fresh mint
  • 1/3 cup dry roasted pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped

Directions:

1.  Make vinaigrette:   in a screw-top jar combine vinegar, oil, honey, 1/2 tsp. salt, and pepper.  Cover and shake well; chill until needed.

2.  In a large saucepan combine water, wine, and 1/2 tsp. salt.  Bring to a boil.  Stir in quinoa.  Return to boiling; reduce heat.  Simmer, covered for 12 to 15 minutes or until quinoa is tender and liquid is absorbed.  Cool, tossing occasionally, by stirring with a fork.

3.  Stir cherries, carrot, green onions parsley, and mint into quinoa.  Drizzle with 6 tablespoons of the vinaigrette; toss gently to coat.

 

 

 

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Reserve the remaining vinaigrette for a later use.   Cover and chill quinoa mixture for at least 2 hours.  To serve, sprinkle with pistachios.

4.  To serve salad on Cucumber “Ribbons”:    Using a vegetable peeler, cut 1 small seedless cucumber lengthwise into thin “ribbons”.  Drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette; toss to coat.   Line a serving platter with cucumber “ribbons.”  Spoon the quinoa salad on top of cucumber and sprinkle with pistachios.

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Nutritional Profile:  (Cherry-Quinoa Salad),  322 calories, 11 g fat, 365 mg sodium, 46 g carbs, 6 g fiber, 9 g protein.

(with cucumber “ribbons”), 353 calories, 10 g protein, 49 g carbs, 13 g total fat, 6 g fiber, 431 mg sodium,

SOURCE:   Better Homes and Gardens Newsletter

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Breakfast Quinoa

Breakfast Quinoa

Breakfast Quinoa

I was excited to make this recipe to try out serving quinoa as a hot cereal.  This highly nutritious grain has been gaining favor with us ever since I first prepared it and served it in place of rice.  It’s toasty, nutty, flavor is very pleasant, to say nothing of its high protein content.  So I was particularly anxious to see if we would like it for breakfast.  I found it to be very enjoyable, but Mr. D. thought it was a little too sweet for him as a cereal.  However, I think that children might like this very much, thinking that it resembles dessert.

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The recipe is very easy to make, and you can top it off with a mixture of seasonal fruits and coconut, or nuts.  The recipe calls for using coconut milk, but I used almond milk instead.  The recipe also suggests strawberries and bananas as the fruits, but you can see by my pictures that I used mango and blueberries along with toasted coconut.  The cooked quinoa is slightly sweet, and creamy, so you can use a tart fruit as a flavor contrast.  Like most whole grains it is quite filling, and we were satisfied with just this for breakfast, but if you need more, you may want to add an egg on the side.

You will most likely be toasting the coconut, so remember to keep an eye on it as it is toasting, so that it doesn’t burn.

BREAKFAST QUINOA

Yield:   2  Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa

    coconut flakes, almond milk, mango and quinoa make up a nutritious breakfast.

    coconut flakes, almond milk, mango and quinoa make up a nutritious breakfast.

  • 3/4 cup light coconut milk ( or almond milk)
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 1 Tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup flaked unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2  cup sliced strawberries
  • 1/2  cup sliced bananas

1.  Preheat oven to 400*F.

2.  Rinse quinoa well in a fine strainer or sieve.  Place in a medium sauce pan.

3.  Combine quinoa, coconut milk, water, brown sugar, and salt.  Bring to a a boil.  Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed stirring occasionally.  Stir mixture constantly during the last 2 minutes of cooking.

4.  While quinoa cooks, spread coconut in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Bake at 400* for 5 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool slightly.

5.  Place about 1/2 cup quinoa in each bowl.  Top each serving with 1/2 the strawberries and 1/2 the bananas, and 1 Tablespoon toasted coconut.  Serve warm.

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SOURCE:   Cooking Light

Where’s the Beef—-steak?

Tomato, Squash, and Red Pepper Gratin

In this case the beefsteaks come in the form of juicy ripe tomatoes.  Combined with other fresh garden vegetables, quinoa, and eggs this casserole is a meal in itself.  We are making an effort to go meatless at least one day a week, so when I found  this recipe I decided to try it out.  It turned out to be  so hearty and satisfying all you need add is a green salad.

Quinoa is the new darling of the grain world and if you have not tried it yet this dish “hides” it so well you will not know it’s there.  Quinoa has double the protein and fiber of rice so I felt that I owed it to myself to give it a try.  I must admit I was not overly taken with it when served plain, but when combined with other ingredients it is enjoyable with its nutty flavor.   If you know someone who is a little hesitant to try something new,  this recipe will be a good way to introduce them to quinoa.

TOMATO, SQUASH, AND RED PEPPER GRATIN

SERVES    6

INGREDIENTS

  • 5 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large red pepper, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 pound yellow squash, cut into 1/4-inch slices (about 3 1/2 cups)
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced basil, divided**
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme**
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat milk ( 2%)
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheese; Gruyere, Swiss or other good melting cheese.
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • cooking spray
  • 1 cup seasoned croutons
  • 1 large beefsteak tomato, cut into 8 slices

** If fresh basil and thyme are not available you may use the following dried herbs:  1 teaspoon basil and 1/2 teaspoon thyme.

DIRECTIONS

1.   Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare an 11 x 7 inch glass or ceramic baking dish by coating with cooking spray.

2.  Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Add 4  teaspoons oil; swirl to coat.  Add onion; cook for 3 minutes.  Add bell pepper; cook 2 minutes.

3.  Add squash and garlic; cook 4 minutes.  Place vegetable mixture in a large bowl.

Stir in quinoa, 1/4 cup basil, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper.

Egg mixture with dried herbs, added.

4.  Combine remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, milk, eggs, and cheese in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Add milk mixture to vegetable mixture, stirring until just combined.  Spoon into prepared baking dish.

5.  Place seasoned croutons in a food processor; pulse until coarse crumbs form.  Instead of that, I like to put them in a zip-lock bag and pound lightly with a meat mallet to form coarse crumbs.     (no extra dishes to wash!)

Ready for the oven.

6.  Arrange tomatoes evenly over vegetable mixture.  Top evenly with crumbs.  Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes or until topping is browned.  Sprinkle with remaining basil before serving.

  

SOURCE:   Cooking Light,  August, 2012