Quinoa Salad with Tomatoes, Feta, Bell Pepper & Pine Nuts

Quinoa Salad with Tomatoes, Feta, Bell Pepper & Pine Nuts  (22) wm

Quinoa is an ancient grain from the Andean region of South American, including Peru.  While my husband and I were in Peru last month we actually didn’t eat any quinoa – our guide for the Choquequirao trek said that most of the quinoa is exported out of the country and what remains is expensive.  While at home in Colorado we eat a lot of quinoa, mainly in salads because it’s not so great on its own.  This is a quick and easy salad, perfect for those warm nights.

Quinoa Salad with Tomatoes, Feta, Bell Pepper & Pine Nuts  (3) wm

Serves 4-6

time: roughly 40 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked quinoa, cooked per package directions

cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

1/2  orange bell pepper, sliced in bite-size pieces

1/2 red bell pepper, sliced in bite-size pieces

green onion, sliced thinly

cucumber, peeled and sliced in bite-size pieces

kalamata olives, sliced in half

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

black pepper

kosher salt

feta cheese

pine nuts

 

Directions:

1) Cook the quinoa according to the package instructions – remove from heat and let cool.

2) After washing the vegetables cut them and set aside on the cutting board.   Slice the kalamata olives in half.

3) In a serving bowl combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, black pepper and salt.  Stir, and add additional olive oil, balsamic vinegar, black pepper or salt if needed.

4) Toast the pine nuts to a golden brown.

5) Add the quinoa and vegetables to the olive oil and balsamic vinegar mixture and stir well to combine.

6) Top with the toasted pine nuts and feta cheese (if you won’t be eating all of the quinoa salad just add the pine nuts and feta cheese to each plate).

 

 

Quinoa Salad with Tomatoes, Feta, Bell Pepper & Pine Nuts  (40) wm

Quinoa Salad with Tomatoes, Feta, Bell Pepper & Pine Nuts  (6) wm

corn, bacon & tomato salad

corn, bacon & tomato salad WM

I am pretty much excited that summer is here once again.  I am a California girl, and I live for the sun (but not the heat).  I love the water, the warm air, sitting outside with friends eating/drinking/chatting at night and most of all the fresh fruits and vegetables.  All of these things make me so happy.  This is a salad that goes perfectly well with all things summer.

Ingredients:

1 can corn, drained

red & yellow cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

baby mozzarella balls, sliced in thirds

4-6 bacon sliced, cooked and crumbled

basil, sliced

olive oil

balsamic vinegar

Lawry’s seasoned salt

black pepper

croutons

Directions:

1) Cook the bacon until it is crispy, drain off the fat and crumble with your hands once it is cooled, set aside.

2) Chopped all of the vegetables and the baby mozzarella balls.

3) Combine all of the ingredients in a serving bowl.

4) Stir together approximately 4 tablespoons olive oil, 2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with Lawry’s seasoned salt & black pepper; drizzle over the salad and stir to combine.

5) Set the croutons next to the corn, bacon, mozzarella and tomato salad so the the salad can be topped with the croutons.

Chicken & Black Rice Bowls

chicken & black rice bowls (38) chicken & black rice bowls (36)

These rice bowls were really tasty – black rice has an amazing taste, it’s really similar to a wild rice.  Be sure to marinade the chicken overnight for an extra yummy taste.

 

serves 4

marinade the chicken at least 4 hours, or overnight

chicken & black rice bowls (18)

Ingredients:

for the marinade – marinade the chicken at least 4 hours, or overnight

2 1/2 boneless & skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups orange juice
3/4 cups balsamic vinegar
1/4 cups honey
1/2 canned chiles in adobo sauce, chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin
a pinch of salt and pepper
chicken & black rice bowls (1)
black rice
2 cups dry black rice
3 cups water or chicken broth
pinch of salt
cook on the stove or in a rice cooker (this is my preferred method)
for the veggies
1 ripe avocado, sliced
handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced
cilantro, diced
green onions, sliced
handful of cashews
handful of dried cranberries
handful of crumbled feta cheese – we used Bulgarian feta which is really creamy
Directions:
1.Cook the rice per the instructions on the package.
2. Remove the chicken from the marinade, pouring the marinade into a pan and heating on medium-low heat and placing the chicken into a medium-high skillet coated with peanut oil.  Cook the chicken until no longer pink.
3. In the meantime slice all of the veggies.
4. Once the chicken is cooked and the sauce has come to a rapid boil scoop out the rice, sprinkle the veggies, cranberries, cashews, and feta on top and spoon the sauce over the rice and veggies.
5. Serve and eat.
chicken & black rice bowls (4)

Braised Mediterranean Chicken

braised mediterranean chicken (2) WM

I have so many posts that I need to catch up on, it’s ridiculous.  I made this dish awhile ago, and as always it was pretty darn tasty.  And I always I made some substitutions from the original recipe and made it my own.

braised mediterranean chicken (3) WM

prep time: 25 minutes

cooking time:  75 minutes

Ingredients:

  • chicken thighs (enough to serve those who are eating, up to 6 pieces otherwise add more of the other ingredients)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 3 cloves of smashed garlic (squeezed in a garlic press or minced)
  • 1/2 cup Marsala wine
  • 1 lemon, sliced + a couple of slices for garnishing when serving
  • handful of cherry tomatoes
  • handful of dried cranberries
  • small container of mixed olives from the olive bar
  • handful of sun-dried tomatoes, chopped coarsely
  • a few sprigs fresh thyme
  • extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

1. Combine the salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic.

2. Make a few cuts on the sides of the chicken.

3. Rub chicken with crushed garlic, paprika, salt & pepper.  Let sit for 15 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

5. Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a cast iron pan on  medium heat; cook chicken with skin side down and brown for about 10 minutes.  Flip to cook the other side and cook for an additional 10 minutes.

6. Pour in the Marsala wine and turn up the heat to high until alcohol evaporates.

7. Add lemon slices, cherry tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, cranberries and thyme.  Reduce the heat to and simmer for 5 minutes.

8. Transfer pan to the pre-heated oven.  Cook for 45 minutes or until chicken turns golden brown.  While cooking, baste the sauce over the chicken.

9. Serve with regular or Israeli couscous and garnish with fresh lemon slices.

braised mediterranean chicken (4) WM