Pretending It’s Summer Quinoa

Pretending It's Summer Quinoa

Pretending It's Summer Quinoa

I’m over winter. Quite frankly, I just don’t feel like dealing with it anymore.

Now I get that this is what happens when one chooses to live in the Midwest. And generally I can accept it. What I get sick of is the tease. Yes, Weather, I said it. You’re a tease and I don’t appreciate it. You give us two gorgeous days when I was able to leave the house in jeans and a sweater MINUS a coat and scarf, then it snows. Snow! And wind! Lots and lots of wind.

I’m over it. I just am.

So in protest I made a summer quinoa dish with avocado, tomatoes and black beans. It was delicious and even made me temporarily forget that my winter boots are still sitting by the front door because, you know, just in case… (we don’t like to jinx things here in Cubs land).

If you’re anything like me and aching for Spring to start in reality and not just on the calendar, then make this dish. It’s easy, is great as leftovers, and can be served cold or heated if you really need to ward off the winter’s chill.

Pretending It's Summer Quinoa

Pretending It's Summer Quinoa

Here’s the recipe:

Read more of this >>

Share

Soy-Maple Glazed Salmon with Cauliflower Puree

Soy-Maple Glazed Salmon with Cauliflower Puree

Soy-Maple Glazed Salmon with Cauliflower Puree

After a week-long vacation filled with all-you-can-eat buffets followed by the sobering reality that can only come from a high school reunion, today was the day I had to start eating healthy… again.

I keep trying to stick with this healthy eating concept but my plans always seem to get derailed, which I’m certain has absolutely nothing to do with my complete lack of self-control. Instead I’m blaming everyone around me who requests dessert that I have to make over and over until they come out just right. And while I’m at it I’ll blame the crappy Chicago weather for the short growing season and currently uninspiring local produce, and of course let’s not forget my mom because she thinks I blame her for everything (not true, love ya mom!).

Soy Maple Salmon01 Soy Maple Salmon03 Soy Maple Salmon06

Soy Maple Salmon02 Soy Maple Salmon04 Soy Maple Salmon05

Okay, enough with the excuses. Tonight I made a delicious meal for myself that was pretty darn healthy: soy-maple glazed salmon with cauliflower puree. Sure, I used maple syrup in the glaze but it’s a natural sugar, and you can be certain it was pure maple syrup and none of that corn-syrupy fake stuff. And there’s a little bit of non-dairy sour cream in the cauliflower puree, but it’s just the right amount to add a bit of zazz to an otherwise perfectly healthy side dish.

And what did I think of my oh-so-healthy dinner? It was great of course. The salmon was baked with a sauce made from shallots, soy sauce, maple syrup and lemon juice, which was sweet and a little tangy. The cauliflower puree was smooth and creamy with just a hint of tang from the (non-dairy) sour cream, and was enhanced even further by eating it with a drizzle of the glaze. All in all, a good first step.

Here are the recipes:

Read more of this >>

Share

Spinach, Cannellini Beans & Chicken Thighs in White Wine Sauce

Spinach, Cannellini Beans & Chicken Thighs in White Wine Sauce

Spinach, Cannellini Beans & Chicken Thighs in White Wine Sauce

I’m happy to announce my bout with foodblock seems to be letting up a bit. Granted, it’s not as severe as swine flu or something like that, but it has been a bit debilitating for me this past week. Luckily, I’m seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

Again, I turned to Twitter to help conceptualize the ingredients I wanted to work with. I was almost there on my own but needed to verbalize it, which is why I’m grateful for social media sites like Twitter: they give communicative and sometimes indecisive people like myself an audience to bounce ideas off of.

Chicken thighs02 Chicken thighs01 Chicken thighs03

Chicken thighs04 Chicken thighs05 Chicken thighs06

Even better, the final dish turned out wonderfully. Basically, I made a one-pot meal of braised chicken thighs with caramelized onions, a lot of garlic, spinach and cannellini beans in a white wine sauce. It was easy, inexpensive and healthy, loaded with protein, fiber and all sorts of good nutrients.

Here’s the recipe:

Read more of this >>

Share

Curried Cauliflower Coconut Soup

Curried Cauliflower Coconut Soup

Curried Cauliflower Coconut Soup

A year ago I would’ve told you I hated cauliflower, but the truth was I didn’t understand it. But that changed last winter when I challenged myself to find the brighter side of cauliflower, a side different from the mushy cauliflower mess served in elementary school lunches mixed with overcooked and tasteless carrots and broccoli. And it turned out cauliflower that I did like cauliflower with it fairly neutral astringent taste that works in many cooking methods, although my favorites are roasted and pureed.

Cauliflower Soup: Sweat aromatics Cauliflower Soup: puree Cauliflower Soup: add spices

This soup takes the pureed route. The cauliflower is simmered with onions, garlic and ginger in a chicken broth-coconut milk liquid. Once soft, the mixture is pureed into to a silky smooth texture and seasoned with spices. And voila, a beautiful, smooth, subtly spicy soup with a hint of sweetness from the coconut milk.

Curried Cauliflower Coconut Soup

Curried Cauliflower Coconut Soup

Oh, and did I mention it’s healthy and nutritious?

Here’s the recipe:

Read more of this >>

Share

Swiss Chard & Roasted Red Pepper Turkey Meatloaf

Swiss Chard & Roasted Red Pepper Turkey Meatloaf

Swiss Chard & Roasted Red Pepper Turkey Meatloaf

Comfort food usually comes in the form of sweets or carbs for me, but one night last week I found myself craving a homey meatloaf instead. So off to the store I went to buy ground turkey (for the record I just LOVE having a grocery store right across the street) then raided my refrigerator for forgotten vegetables accumulated over the last two weeks.

That’s what’s beautiful about meatloaf, the ground meat (in this case turkey) serves as a fairly clean canvas to add, or paint, other flavors and ingredients. You can go sweet with ketchup and brown sugar, like the meatloaf I grew up eating, or make it savory as I did last week.

Turkey Meatloaf01 Turkey Meatloaf02

Here’s what I found during the raid: leek, garlic, red bell pepper, Swiss chard and a small butternut squash. The first step was to roast the red pepper because it would take the longest (about 20 minutes plus cooling time). I use the broiler method at home because I don’t have gas burners (electric, boo) and the broiler works just as well.

Next I minced the garlic, chard (separating the stems and greens first) and leeks, then sauteed them until very soft because I’m not a fan of crunchy meatloaf. Except for the top of course. A crunchy top is good but the center should be soft. After that, all that was left was to cool the vegetables then mix them with the ground turkey and other seasonings, and bake in the oven.

Turkey Meatloaf03 Turkey Meatloaf04 Turkey Meatloaf05

I did not include the butternut squash in the meatloaf, it just seemed like it would be too much. So instead I peeled, seeded and cubed the squash and roasted in in the oven with a few garlic cloves alongside the meatloaf. Instant side dish!

The best part is how healthy this turkey meatloaf is. First, I used lean ground turkey (not extra lean, I like a little fat for moisture). And second, the vegetables mixed in were extremely nutritious, especially the Swiss chard which is loaded with vitamins A and C.

And in case you haven’t heard yet, I should mention that I had a minor crisis when baking the meatloaf. Rest assured I’ll be okay in time.

Here’s the recipe:

Read more of this >>

Share

Blog Widget by LinkWithin