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

Orzo & Wild Rice Pilaf

Orzo & Wild Rice Pilaf (11) WM

What a thought to mix orzo and wild rice!  It’s a pretty good combo.  Add sun dried tomato pesto, kalamata olives, feta cheese and toasted pine nuts and it’s amazing!

  • 1 cup wild rice & water (or chicken broth) per package instructions
  •  1/2 cup orzo pasta & water per package instructions
  • coconut oil (or other high-heat oil)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or grated
  • 1/3 cup kalamata olives
  • Sun dried tomato pesto
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Bulgarian feta (if you can find it, if not regular feta)
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts

1) Cook the wild rice according to the package directions.  It usually takes close to an hour to make in my rice cooker, so plan accordingly.

2) After the wild rice has started to cook, boil about 1.5 cups of water for the orzo.  Add the orzo once the water has boiled and cook on medium heat until cooked through (it’s pasta, so it should be al dente).

3) When the wild rice and orzo have finished cooking combine and fluff in a large bowl.

4) Heat up a small skillet and toast the pine nuts – be sure not to burn them.

5) Use the skillet from toasting the pine nuts and add a bit of oil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and add the crushed garlic.  Saute for a minute until it is golden brown, be sure to not burn it.

6) Stir the sauteed garlic into the wild rice and orzo mixture; scoop out about 2-3 tablespoons of the sun dried tomato pesto and stir until combined.

7) Add a bit of salt and pepper (to taste) and kalamata olives to the wild rice, orzo, garlic and olive oil salad.  Stir to combine.

8) Scoop out the wild rice and orzo pilaf onto individual plates and sprinkle the toasted pine nuts and feta cheese over the tops.

 

Orzo & Wild Rice Pilaf (16) WM

Orzo & Wild Rice Pilaf (6) WM

Millet Salad

Millet Salad (4) WM

Millet is a grass, it has a sort-of corn taste.  I found that it required a tad bit more water than stated in the cooking directions, which I account for here.  1 cup dry, raw millet yields about 3 ½ cups cooked millet.

 

Ingredients:

1 cup dry millet

2 1/4 cups water

salt

pepper

olive oil

balsamic vinegar

can black beans, drained and rinsed

avacado

tomato

bell pepper

feta or goat cheese

 

Directions:

1) Boil the water, add a pinch of salt & millet – cover and cook on low for about 20 minutes without opening the lid.

2) When the millet is cooked it will be soft; remove the cooked millet from the stove, leave covered and let stand for about 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes take the lid off and let cool completely.

3) While the millet is cooking, drain/rinse the black beans and chop the avocado, tomato and bell pepper.

4) After the millet has cooled add olive oil & balsamic vinegar – roughly 2 tablespoon of olive oil to 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar – add salt & pepper to taste.  Stir to combine.

5) Add the chopped black beans, avocado, tomato, and bell pepper  – stir to combine.  Crumble the feta or goat cheese on top of the mixed salad.

6) Serve chilled.

 

Millet Salad (1) WM

 

millet salad x (3) WM

Kale Salad with Peaches and Balsamic Vinegar Mustard Dressing

Kale Salad with Peaches (3) WM

ok, ok.  I know that it’s snowing in Colorado and is cold pretty much every where in the country, but I wanted to post this recipe that I made in the summer.  You can still get kale, so that’s good.  Maybe add fall fruit like an apple?

Serves 2

time: 10 minutes or so

 

Salad Ingredients:

handful of kale per person, washed and torn into small pieces

2 peaches, pitted and sliced into bite sized pieces

goat cheese (or feta), sprinkle for each person

 

Dressing Ingredients:

2 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic binegar

1 tablespoon whole grain mustard

1 tablespoon honey

salt & pepper to taste

 

Directions:

1) Wash / tear the kale.  Wash / cut the peaches.

2) Make the salad dressing in a small bowl stirring vigorously to combine all of the ingredients.

3) Add the kale & peaches to the salad dressing, mix to coat the produce.

4) Place salad on each plate and sprinkle the crumbled goat or feta cheese on top.

 

Kale Salad with Peaches (11) WM

Orzo, Arugula and Tomato Salad

Orzo, Arugula and Tomato Salad (8) WM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

1 cup cooked orzo

baby arugula (or spinach)

cherry tomatoes

goat or feta cheese

balsamic vinegar

olive oil

salt

pepper

 

 

Directions:

1) Boil orzo according to package directions.  Rinse in cold water and let cool.

2) Wash the arugula and cherry tomatoes; slice the tomatoes in half.

3) In a large boil mix together about 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar (more/less of each depending on preference).  Add a pinch of salt & pepper (again, more if you want).  Mix the dressing up.

4) Put the cooked/cooled orzo, wash arugula, tomatoes and a handful of goat or feta cheese in the dressing.  Stir to coat.  Serve immediately.

 

Orzo, Arugula and Tomato Salad (5) WM

Orzo, Arugula and Tomato Salad

Orzo, Arugula and Tomato Salad (8) WM

I love salad, and I like interesting salads.  This one combines arugula (though I’m sure it would be just as yummy with spinach!), orzo pasta, goat (or feta) cheese and tomatoes.  Super simple and full of flavor – how can you go wrong!??

 

serves: about 6

time: 20 minutes

 

Ingredients:

baby arugula

1/2 cup dry orzo, cooked

tomatoes (I used cherry), sliced

goat or feta cheese

5 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

salt

pepper

 

Directions:

1. Boil the dry orzo according to package directions.  After it has cooked let it cool.

2. Wash and chop the tomatoes.  Wash the baby arugula

3. Mix the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt & pepper (to taste) together in a large bowl.  Throw in the baby arugula, cooked & cooled orzo, cut tomatoes and a handful or so of goat or feta cheese (the amount of cheese is to taste).

4. Gently stir the salad to combine all ingredients, serve immediately.

 

 

Orzo, Arugula and Tomato Salad (5) WM

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)

fancy pizzas

fancy pizzas (5) WM

I love pizza.  I could eat pizza at least once a week.  The thing is, pepperoni and cheese just ain’t my thing.  Call me a snob, but I like amazing, fresh ingredients on my pizzas.  I also like thin crust.  I don’t want dough to be the star of the pizza.

We made two different pizzas this night for dinner, and I have NO idea which was my favorite…they were both so dang good!

Ingredients for pizza #1:

crust of your choice (plus cornmeal to dust the top of the pan)

thinly sliced zucchini

thinly sliced Brussels sprouts

thinly sliced tomatoes

thinly sliced mozzarella cheese

thinly slice prosciutto

crumbled feta cheese

sun dried tomatoes

tomato paste with seasonings

fancy pizzas (1) WM

fancy pizzas (2) WM

Ingredients for pizza #2:

crust of your choice (plus cornmeal to dust the top of the pan)

thinly sliced tomatoes

thinly sliced bell peppers

cooked and drained ground chorizo sausage

thinly sliced mozzarella cheese

tomato paste with seasonings

fancy pizzas (3) WM

If you don’t like these ingredients get creative!

to assemble the fancy pizzas:

1. Begin by rolling or tossing the dough into the size of your pan.  Then place it on the pan that is lightly dusted with cornmeal.

2. Spread a thin layer of seasoned tomato paste over your dough.

3. Layer your toppings.

4. Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the crust is a golden brown.

fancy pizzas (4) WM

Quinoa, Cucumber, Olive, and Feta salad

quinoa salad WM

I love fresh summer salads, and quinoa is a great base for various types of salads with lots of yummy ingredients – a simple olive oil dressing is all that it needs.

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa (2 cups water)

2 lemons, juiced

3 tablespoons olive oil

red onion

green onion

half cucumber

feta cheese

olive mix from the olive bar at the grocery store

garlic (I used marinated and roasted/marinated garlic from the olive bar at the grocery store)

tomatoes – red and yellow – sliced

salt and pepper to taste

quinoa salad 2 WM

look at this great olive and garlic mixture!

Directions:

1. Cook the quinoa according to the package instructions; let cool.

2. Juice the lemons.  Slice the red onion, green onion, cucumber, the olive and garlic mix, and tomatoes.

3. Combine the lemon juice and olive oil and pour over the cooled quinoa. Add the sliced veggies and olive/garlic, salt and pepper to taste.

4. Serve cold with BBQ or any other main dish!