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

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

Caprese Salad

caprese salad (19) WM

It has been raining all week here in Northern Colorado, but the weather is supposed to make a change for the better – just in time for the holiday weekend!  The nights and mornings are much more crisp, fall is totally in the air!  I love fall but am not really looking forward to the snow and the lack of summer produce like the wonderful tomatoes and basil used in this salad.  (the bowl & spoon are from Greece, how cool is that!  My husband’s parents brought it back for us several years ago.  Greece is on my list of places to visit…hopefully soon!)

This salad can either be layered in rows – tomato, cheese, basil – or mixed up like it is here.

caprese salad (9) WM

serves 4

time: quick, about 5 minutes unless you cut really slowly

 

 Ingredients:

1 tomato (or half & half of red & orange, or whatever colors – you can also use cherry tomatoes)

handful of basil, torn up

buffalo mozzarella (the kind in water, though regular mozzarella will work too but it’s not as good)

balsamic vinegar

olive oil

pepper

Lawry’s season salt

 

Directions:

1) Cut the tomatoes up into bite sized pieces, tear the basil up, cut the buffalo mozzarella into bite sized pieces (if you are doing the layering method slice the tomato & mozzarella into circles) and place is a shallow bowl.

2) Stir up the balsamic vinegar & olive oil, about 3 teaspoons of olive oil and 1-2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar.  Sprinkle in the pepper & Lawry’s season salt to taste. Pour the vinaigrette onto the tomatoes, basil and cheese – gently mix in the vinaigrette.

 

caprese salad (13) WM

Yellowfin Tuna Salad

yellowfin tuna salad (43) WM

I only make fish on a Friday or Saturday night.  It’s been my “rule” since I started working in offices. The smell of re-heated fish in the microwave is not pleasant.  This is a recipe that you can make any night of the week because you don’t really have to re-head the tuna and if you do it’s not really a “fishy” fish.

When you cook the fish you want to make sure that you don’t over do it, tuna is meant to just be seared on the outside.

I love this recipe because it is so fresh tasting, and uses Asian ingredients (one of my favorite types of foods to make as I’m sure you’ve noticed!).

 

serves 2

Tuna

 

1 Yellowfin Tuna (you can also use Ahi)
1/4 cup soy sauce

1 teaspoon corn starch

1/4 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup honey

1 teaspoon chile garlic sauce or Sriracha

2 tablespoons black and white sesame seeds, toasted

drizzle of sesame oil

 

Salad

 

square wonton wrappers, cut into strips (if you want this to be gluten free use corn tortillas)
handful of mixed lettuce
1 can pineapple, diced

1/2 cup toasted sesame oil

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons pineapple juice

2 tablespoon rice vinegar

2 teaspoon chile garlic sauce or sriracha

1 tablespoon tahini

1 lime, juiced

2 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

back and white sesame seeds

yellowfin tuna salad (14) WM
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place the wonton strips in a single layer on a greased baking sheet.  Spray the wontons with olive oil. Bake in the preheated oven for about 5-7 minutes – you don’t want them to burn (like I did!) so keep a close eye on them.   You only want them to be a light golden brown color / just crispy.  Once they are browned remove the tray from the oven and set aside.
  3. Mix together the soy sauce and cornstarch in a small pot over medium-high until well mixed.  Then add the pineapple juice, the honey and  chile garlic sauce/Sriracha.  Bring this mixture to a boil; reduce the heat to low and let simmer for about 5 minutes until the sauce has begun to thicken.  Remove the pan from the heat.
  4. Heat a large cast iron pan on high and add a drizzle of sesame oil.  Pour in the sauce mixture until bubbling.  Place the tuna steak in the pan and sear the first side of the tuna steak, flip the tuna over and sear that side.  Remove the steak from the pan and slice into strips (or bite sized pieces).
  5. In a small bowl combine the hot toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, pineapple juice, rice vinegar, chile garlic sauce, tahini,  the juice of 1 lime, the fresh ginger and garlic.
  6. Place a handful of lettuce on each plate and sprinkle a few of the pineapple chunks on top of the lettuce.
  7.  Place the tuna steak strips on top of each lettuce/pineapple on the plates, sprinkle with the black and white sesame seeds, and drizzle with the vinaigrette.  You could also serve with sliced avocado, none of mine were ripe 🙁

yellowfin tuna salad (40) WM

 

Beer Glazed Citrus Chicken

Beer Glazed Citrus Chicken (29) WM

This dish had the perfect amount of citrus – it made me wonder why I never make dishes with orange in them.  I don’t like orange marmalade on it’s own, like in a sandwich, but man oh man is it good in this dish!  And, if you add arugula, tangerines and pine nuts to any dish you have a winner!  In the summer I also aim to have “summer” dinners and this one sure hit the mark!  It was light, fresh, super tasty and refreshing!

Serves 4

Beer Glazed Citrus Chicken

1/2 cup wheat beer
1/4 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons orange marmalade
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 – 2  pounds mix of boneless chicken thighs and drumsticks
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Orange Arugula Salad

handful of baby arugula
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
canned tangerines
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeeze orange juice
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

Beer Glazed Citrus Chicken (16) WM

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2) Combine the first 1/4 cup beer plus the orange juice, orange marmalade, and garlic in a small saucepan over medium heat; whisk until the mixture comes to a boil then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 10 minutes.

3) Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil.  Add the salt & pepper seasoned chicken to the hot skillet, browning on both sides (about 5 minutes per side).  After both sides are brown add the beer mixture to the skillet and use a wooden spoon to scrape any bits off the bottom of the pan. Pour in the remaining 1/4 cup of beer scraping off any stuck bits off the pan; stir in the beer & orange marmalade mixture and turn off the heat.

4) Place the chicken in the oven uncovered basting the chicken with the glaze in the bottom of the pan every 5 minutes and bake for about 20 minutes / until the chicken is cooked through.

5) Whisk together the olive oil, orange juice, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper until combined.  Toast the pine nuts.

6) Place a handful of arugula, tangerines, red onion and one chicken breast on each plate.   Drizzle with the dressing and sprinkle a few toasted pine nuts on top.

Beer Glazed Citrus Chicken (26) WM

Beer Glazed Citrus Chicken (6) WM

 

Wild rice, Chicken, Sweet Potato, Cashew Arugula Salad

wild rice salad (83) WM

I love adding wild rice to my salads, I am now a believer in adding sweet potatoes to my salads too!  Did you know that wild rice isn’t actually rice?  It is actually four species of grasses forming the genus zizania and the grain which can be harvested from them.  

 

Chicken Marinade:

3-4 chicken breasts, sliced into fourths

1/2 cup orange juice

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup honey

1/2 teaspoon red chili powder

pinch of salt

wild rice salad (43) WM

Salad Ingredients:

cooked wild rice (we used 2 cups uncooked, this was too much)

1 sweet potato

Arugula

cashew pieces

dried cranberries

olive oil

salt

pepper

 

Dressing:

2 lemons, squeezed

1/3 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons honey

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1/4 teaspoon salt

 

Directions:

1) Combine the ingredients for the marinade (minus the chicken) and boil on medium heat for about 10 minutes until the sauce becomes thick.  Cool for about 10 minutes and pour over the chicken pieces.  Marinade for at least 1 hour (which should be the amount of time it takes to prepare the rest of the meal) or overnight.

2) Cook the wild rice.

3) Heat your oven to 375 degrees F.  Peel the sweet potato and cut into 1/4″ squares.  Place into a baking dish drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt/pepper, stir to coat.  Bake for about 30-40 minutes stirring every 10 minutes to make sure the sweet potatoes do not burn.  Once they are cooked through remove from the oven and set aside.

4) Combine all ingredients for the dressing and place in an airtight container so you can shake and combine the ingredients more easily.

5) Cook the chicken pieces in a medium-high heat skillet pouring in the marinade.

6) Once the rice/chicken are cooked, place a handful of arugula on each plate, place a scoop of rice on top of that, add a few pieces of chicken, and top with the sweet potato pieces, cashew pieces, dried cranberries and sprinkle with the lemon honey dressing.

wild rice salad (80) 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.