Red Quinoa Salad with Avocado, Black Beans & Corn

Red Quinoa Salad with Avocado, Black Beans, and Corn.

I love legumes, and I am really growing to love quinoa.  I recently tried this new salad for dinner that was so so delicious, filling, and healthy.

A one-cup serving of quinoa is packed with 9g proteins, 5g fiber, and 20g carbohydrate. Red quinoa is also rich in magnesium, manganese, copper, iron and phosphorous. It contains high quantities of lysine, an essential amino acid.

Legumes like black beans and edamame are also high in protein and fiber, and avocado is extremely nutrient dense.

To eat something that is so easy, so healthy, so pretty, and so delicious is a win-win in my book!

Are you a legume lover?  Quinoa connoisseur?  I’d love to hear your favorite ways to enjoy!

Red Quinoa Salad with Avocado, Black Beans & Corn

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Red Quinoa, cooked in broth and cooled
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup corn, frozen, roasted, or fresh off cob
  • 1/4 cup Sweet Vidalia or Green Onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup edamame (optional)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Cilantro, fresh chopped, to taste
  • 1 tsp. Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Cherry tomato (optional) for garnish

Directions

Cook quinoa, and set aside to cool.

Toss vegetables together gently.  Drizzle with lime juice, vinegar and oil.  Season with salt, pepper and cilantro.  Gently toss.

Spoon quinoa onto plate.  Top with a generous scoop of vegetable salad.  Garnish, as desired, with quartered cherry tomato.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Roasted Potatoes and Fennel

Roasted Potatoes and Fennel

Recipes like this one I am sharing today are ones where I really wish I had the ability to share “smell-a-blogavision!”

The amazing aroma that filled my kitchen and nose when I roasted this fennel and potato recipe is too divine for words.  Seriously!

So after the euphoria of the fragrance faded, and I began typing this post, I was trying to find a word worthy to describe it.  It was THAT amazing!

In my “research,” I found that fennel is actually used as an essential oil and  in aromatherapy.  Well…. there you have it!  I was not kidding about how awesome it smelled!  Apparently, sweet fennel essential oil helps nourish and restore an optimal mind and outlook. It is believed to bring strength and courage in the face of adversity.

Have you cooked much with fennel?  Besides smelling like heaven, it has great health benefits too.  It is wonderfully crunchy and sweet when served raw  in salads or silky and succulent when roasted or braised.  It has an interesting licorice-like flavor.

Now… before those of you who are not licorice fans skip over this recipe….. STOP!  You have to give it a try!

When you roast this amazing celery-like root vegetable…. O. M. G!    I don’t have the words for the amazingness.

Mixed with some simple sliced potatoes and seasoning, it makes for a simply glorious addition or highlight to your dinner.

We had ours with some grilled chicken and a simple cucumber and tomato vinaigrette salad one day last week.

I will be making this again and again.  I adore it!  Hope you do too!

Roasted Potatoes and Fennel

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 small/medium potatoes (I used Yukon golds), sliced into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 large fennel bulb, cut in half and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Spread sliced potatoes and fennel in an even layer on a stoneware baking dish or baking pan.  Drizzle with the olive oil, and season with salt, pepper and rosemary.  Roast approximately 40 minutes, tossing 2-3 times during roasting, until golden brown and tender.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Chicken Salad

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Chicken Salad.

On warm Summer days, salads are so great for dinner!

And there are so many fresh ingredients available to mix and match.

I had some fresh Brussels Sprouts and thought they might work great in a dinner salad.

They are so delicious roasted simply with olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Then all you have to do is add your favorite greens to a bowl and top with some yummy, healthy additions of fruit and nuts and cheese and protein and more veggies.

The grand finale topping is the roasted Brussels sprouts and a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette.  It is a full meal deal covering all the  bases!

Here’s the recipe for the way I made it, but feel free to mix and match and tweak it up to how you like.   Roasted Brussels sprouts are a great addition to any salad!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Chicken Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. Brussels sprouts
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Chopped Romaine lettuce or your favorite mixed greens
  • 1/4 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (or almonds or pecans)
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins (or dried cranberries or cherries)
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (or your favorite)
  • 1 grilled chicken breast, sliced
  • Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing (or your favorite)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut stems off Brussels sprouts, then cut into quarters.  In mixing bowl, combine Brussels sprouts, olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.  Pour into baking pan and roast approximately 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In a bowl, add lettuce.  On top of lettuce, add carrots, nuts, raisins, cheese, and chicken.  Top with a half cup of Roasted Brussels sprouts (or as many as you like – leftovers are always delish too!)

Pour dressing on top, then mix.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi2

Creamy Avocado Pasta

Creamy Avocado Pasta.

One day this week, I was in the mood for a creamy pasta with grilled chicken and broccoli.

At first I grabbed a jar of Alfredo sauce from the pantry – thinking hubby would enjoy that – and then I thought…. “Wait!  Isn’t there a healthier way to make a creamy pasta sauce?”

I had a few avocados on hand and wondered how they might work to make a creamy sauce.  After doing a little research on the web, I found this is kind of a “thing,” and I couldn’t wait to try.

I created this recipe by researching and combining ideas from several versions of recipes I found, and I have to admit- it was seriously flippin’ amazing!

Pasta covered in a creamy, dreamy, full flavored but HEALTHY sauce!!  What could be better?!

Goodbye Alfredo sauce.

Goodbye Mac’n Cheese.

Hello amazingly divine Creamy Avocado Pasta Sauce!

I steamed some fresh broccoli, and we grilled some marinated chicken breasts.  Putting these on top of a cup of Creamy Avocado Pasta made for a full and satisfying dinner.

You’ve got to try this!  Here’s my recipe.

Creamy Avocado Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb pasta of your choice
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 large or 2 small limes, juiced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt or light sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper

Directions:

Cook pasta in boiling salted water to al dente.  Reserve 1 cup pasta water, then drain and set pasta aside.

Cut avocados in half, remove the pit, and scoop out out the green flesh from the skin with a spoon.  Discard skin.  Put avocado in blender or food processor.  Add minced garlic, chopped fresh basil and cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, Greek yogurt or light sour cream, olive oil, salt and pepper, and 1/2 cup pasta water.  Blend/puree into a creamy sauce.  Add more pasta water as needed for desired consistency.

Toss with warm pasta, and serve immediately.

You can top with vegetables of your choice like cherry tomatoes and sweet corn, peas, asparagus, broccoli, green onions, pine nuts, or whatever you like.  You can also add a protein if you like – chicken, shrimp, crab meat, lobster, pork.  Sprinkle with a bit of freshly grated Parmesan for a bit of salty, nutty zip.  Or – you can just enjoy as is.  

Can’t wait to hear from those who try and what you think of it!  I’m a total fan!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Easy Skinny Zucchini Pasta Caprese

Easy Skinny Zucchini Pasta Caprese.

I bought a few zucchini recently itching to use my Spiralizer again, and I created this super easy, wicked fast, uber healthy, gloriously delicious lunch that came together in 10 minutes.   Seriously!

I spiralized two small/medium zucchini to create the “pasta” and tossed them in a skilled with some minced garlic and a dash of red pepper flakes sizzling in olive oil.  After just a few minutes. I tossed in some chopped fresh basil, chopped campari tomatoes, and some grated Parmesan cheese.

After I poured it from the skillet to my bowl, I sprinkled it with some fresh black pepper and flaked sea salt.    That’s it!

And it was absolutely amazing!  You will seriously question if you are eating fresh pasta!   I can’t wait to make it again and again this summer when I am able to pick the fresh produce right from my yard.

Here’s the simple recipe I came up with:

Easy Skinny Zucchini Pasta Caprese

  • Servings: 1 as main course, 2 as side dish
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 2 small/medium zucchini, spriral sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Dash red pepper flakes
  • 3-4 Campari tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

Spiralize zucchini.

Heat olive oil in stir fry skillet.  Add minced garlic and red pepper flakes.  After about a minute when oil begins to sizzle around garlic, add zucchini.  Cook for 3-4 minutes, tossing every minute or so.  Add chopped tomatoes, basil, and Parmesan.  Cook and toss for about 2 more minutes.

Pour into bowl or on plate.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Lemon Butter Scallops

Sizzling Lemon Butter Scallops in Skillet

Sizzling Lemon Butter Scallops in Skillet

Lemon Butter Scallops.

If you are looking for a super quick and easy and even more super delicious scallop recipe, I’ve got a winner for you!

I picked up a 12oz bag of “Specially Selected Premium Jumbo Scallops” at Aldi the other day to make something a little different for dinner for hubby and me.

As a quick side note – I am such a super fan of Aldi.  I am a bit late to the game and was really not sure about it at first, but now…. every time I go, I love it more!  I swear it costs half of what I pay at our other local supermarkets. I am always astonished when I walk out with a cart full of food for $100 or so.  And not only is it so greatly priced, but the quality is amazing.  The produce is fresh, the selection is nice, and I feel like I am being environmentally conscientious when I pack my own bags instead of coming home with 20 more plastic bags.

These scallops were absolutely delicious, and if I recall correctly, they were less than $10.  I didn’t realize what a great source of protein they are.  A 4-ounce serving has 19 grams of protein, 100 calories and 1 gram of fat (0 saturated fat).

So here is the way I made them.  (Enough rambling – right??!!) Simple yet delectable.  We had them with some butternut squash risotto (which I also picked up at Aldi) and a fresh green salad.  (And no I am not being paid by Aldi – though I should inquire! wink!)

Lemon Butter Scallops

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. Jumbo Scallops
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • Salt & pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly minced rosemary

Directions:

Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a 12-inch skillet, add garlic and cook 1 minute.  Add scallops in a single layer to hot oil in skillet.  Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.  Brown 1-2 minutes and then turn.  Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper.  Add butter and allow to melt.  Add lemon juice, and flip scallops again to coat with lemon, butter, and garlic.  Sprinkle with freshly minced rosemary, and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Honey Sriracha Lime Salmon

Honey Sriracha Lime Salmon

Honey Sriracha Lime Salmon.

My sweet friend, Janet, visited this past week after coming to town for the wedding, and she made this amazing salmon recipe for us one night.

Hubby is not a salmon fan, but I ADORE it!  Add Sriracha, honey, lime, soy sauce, garlic, and cilantro, and I am in heaven!  So one evening when he had a late meeting, Janet and I feasted on this with some roasted veggies and brown rice.  It was awesome!

You can adjust the amount of heat or sweet to your liking.  We did from the original recipe at Creme de la Crumb.

Here is how we made it!  Let me know if you try and enjoy as much as we did.

Honey Sriracha Lime Salmon

Ingredients:

  • 1 large salmon or 4-6 individual (4-6 oz.) fillets
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup Sriracha Sauce
  • 3 Tbsp low sodium Soy Sauce (I always use low sodium soy sauce – and I am a salt lover!)
  • 2 limes (one juiced and zested, the other sliced thinly)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 Tbsp freshly chopped cilantro

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with foil.  Grease lightly, and lay salmon on top.  Season with salt and pepper.  Place sliced limes under the edges of the salmon.

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter, stir in honey, Sriracha, soy sauce, lime juice, and garlic.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium and cook for 3-4 minutes.

Pour 2/3 of the sauce over the salmon – covering completely to avoid dry spots.  Fold the edges of the foil up around the salmon so the sauce doesn’t spill out.

Bake for 15 minutes, then switch to broil and cook another 4-5 minutes.  Do not overcook.

Top salmon with reserved sauce, lime zest and chopped cilantro.

Enjoy!

Also, if you are not a salmon lover, this sauce and method would work great with chicken or pork also!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

PS  Miss you already Jan!  xo

Easter & Spring Carrot Vegetable Tray

Easter & Spring Carrot Vegetable Tray.

It’s not always that hard to be creative and fun with your food for holidays and special occasions.

For our Easter celebration this year, I made a veggie tray in the shape of a carrot with carrots and other vegetables.  A meat serving platter is a great shaped tray for creating this “design.”

We dipped our veggies in hummus.

You could also make a ranch or dill or spinach dip or whatever you like, but have fun with your food and make it a little festive with quick and easy simple touches like this!

My favorite is the sugar snap peas.  What is your favorite crudite?

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Kicked Up Scalloped Potatoes (with Roasted Tomatoes, Peppers, & Onions)


Kicked Up Scalloped Potatoes (with Roasted Tomatoes, Peppers, & Onions).

Our family celebrated Easter a week early this year by getting together yesterday.  With the traditional ham, I made a kicked up version of scalloped potatoes.

Roasted tomatoes, sweet yellow, orange, and red peppers, and sweet onions….

layered in with creamy, cheesy potatoes

made for an amazing potato casserole!

To add a bit more “zip,” I kicked it up even more by using jalepeno havarti cheese instead of plain gruyere or havarti.

We loved it!

If you are looking for a new way with potatoes to go with your Easter ham or with roast beef or pork or chicken or even by itself for any other special occasion (like Monday night dinner), this scalloped potato recipe is worth the little bit of extra effort.

Hope you’ll give it a try.

Kicked Up Scalloped Potatoes with Roasted Tomatoes, Peppers, & Onions*

Ingredients:

  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3 cups half & half
  • 1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 5 cloves minced garlic
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 lbs. yukon gold potatoes (or your favorite) sliced thinly
  • 2 cups jalepeno havarti cheese (or your favorite), grated
  • 8 campari tomatoes, sliced 1/2″ thick
  • 2 sweet bell peppers (red, yellow, or orange or combination), cut into strips
  • 1 large sweet onion, cut in half and sliced 1/2″ thick
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 Tsp. herbes de Provence (sweet French herbs and flowery lavender with Italian herbs and fennel that includes: rosemary, cracked fennel, thyme, savory, basil, French tarragon, dill weed, Turkish oregano, lavender, chervil and marjoram.
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Directions:

Whisk egg yolks and 1 cup half and half in small bowl.  Set aside.  In large pot, combine 1 1/2 cups half and half, nutmeg, salt, pepper, garlic and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low, add the sliced potatoes.  Simmer until halfway cooked, about 8 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Stir in egg-milk mixture and cheese.  Cover and keep warm.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Put the sliced tomatoes, peppers and onions on a baking sheet in separate piles.  Drizzle with olive oi and sprinkle with salt, pepper and herbes de Provence.  Bake 10-15 minutes until tender and charred around edges.

Reduce oven to 375 degrees F.  Spray 9×13 baking dish with Pam cooking spray.  Sprinkle half the panko bread crumbs in bottom of the baking dish.  Spoon half of the potato mixture into the dish.  Top with half of the roasted vegetables.  Layer the remaining half of potatoes then remaining roasted vegetables.

Bake until potatoes are tender – 50-60 minutes.

Remove from oven and drizzle with remaining 1/2 cup half and half.  Sprinkle with remaining panko bread crumbs and 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese.  Return to oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until cheese melts.  Let rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

*slightly adapted from Food Network

Un Stuffed Pepper Casserole

Un-Stuffed Pepper Casserole.  It’s what’s for dinner…

I love stuffed peppers, but for some reason, I don’t make them very often.  Not sure why.  But on a recent visit to our local John’s Bar, the dinner special was stuffed pepper casserole.  I nabbed the last one – much to some of our friends at the bar’s dismay.

I really enjoyed it and thought it must be simple to make.  And it occurred to me that we usually end up chopping up our stuffed peppers on our plate to eat, so why not deconstruct them in a casserole?!

I did a bit of googling, and I took some ideas from some recipes I found, combined them with my stuffed pepper recipe and thoughts of what I would like, and I came up with this yummy quick and easy skillet supper.

It was windy and rainy off and  on yesterday, so it was a perfect evening for a comfort-type dish.  I served ours over mashed potatoes (mainly because that’s how we like to eat our stuffed peppers too), but it is totally not necessary.  You can sprinkle some shredded cheese on top – or not – again – up to you.  You can tweak it up even healthier if you like by using ground turkey instead of ground beef and brown rice or even quinoa or your favorite grain instead of the rice.

If you’ve been hanging around here for any amount of time, you know I’m the queen of improvising on recipes.  I rarely measure, and I love experimenting.  If it calls for “this,” why not try “that.”  And cooking is really not brain surgery or rocket science, so if you add a smidge instead of a dash – who cares!  The palm of my hand is my measuring spoon.  Sometimes it works good – sometimes it’s just so-so, but as long as I am having fun creating – whether it’s food or photography or art – it’s all good.

Yep – that’s what it’s about here – being creative “in between” the times when we have to do the routine.

Hope you’ll give this yummy dish a try.  Do it my way – or do it your way.  Just have fun creating it!.

Un-Stuffed Pepper Casserole

Ingredients:

  • I Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 3 bell peppers, chopped (I used one red, one orange, and one yellow)
  • 1 1/2 – 2 lbs. ground beef (my package had 1 3/4 lb. in it)
  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika (oh how I adore the SMOKED paprika!)
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • Salt and Black Pepper to taste ( I used about 1 tsp of each)
  • 1 cup cooked rice (I used Jasmine – I love Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice – it’s NO FAIL and so easily ready in 90 seconds)
  • 1  10 3/4 oz. can condensed tomato soup & 1 can water
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, optional
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions for garnish, optional

Directions:

In a large skillet over high heat, heat the olive oil.  Add chopped onions and peppers and salt to taste.  Once limp and onions are translucent after a few minutes, add ground beef and brown until no longer pink.  Add smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Stir in cooked rice, soup, water, and diced tomatoes.  Cook for additional 10-15 minutes.

Sprinkle with cheese (if desired) and garnish with chopped green onions.  

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi