Fresh Quinoa Avocado Spinach Salad

Sunday night I went to a marriage mentor group and it was requested that I bring a salad! I do love a fancy salad! Getting creative and figuring out how to make a new dressing, using fun ingredients and pumping up the taste and flavors… the BEST!

This one I found the original recipe on a website about the Mediterranean Diet and altered the salad adding a bit more flavor to it and hit the JACKPOT! It was delicious! The only thing I’d change is that I would have made it a bit more dry than I did. I added WAY more olive oil and lemon juice than they did originally… and I’d go half-way between the two… So the recipe below is exactly halfway between what I made, and the original recipe (on the amount of olive oil and lemon juice)

This one can be filling as a main dish for lunch, or an awesome side dish for a grilled hamburger night, or brats or pizza!

Make this one tonight! 🙂

wpid-1430760259854.jpg

Fresh Quinoa Avocado Spinach Salad

Ingredients

1/2 cup uncooked Quinoa, rinsed and drained*
1 cup water
1 vine-on medium tomato – seeded and chopped
1/2 cup shredded fresh spinach – chopped or torn into large pieces
1/3 cup diced FRESH basil
1/3 cup finely chopped yellow sweet (1 small)
1/4 cup fresh squeeze lemon juice (and the zest of 1 lemon)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/8 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
 1 ripe avocado sliced and diced (pit removed of course!)
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 of a English Hothouse cucumber sliced and quartered

wpid-1430760454567.jpg

*Rinse quinoa thoroughly before cooking to remove a bitter substance called saponin that coats the seeds.

Directions

  1. In a 1-1/2-quart saucepan combine quinoa and water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. (OR, as I did, use your Rice Cooker… EASY!)
  2. Transfer quinoa to a medium Mixing Bowl. Add tomato, spinach, basil, cucumber, and onion; stir to combine. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, garlic powder, oil, and salt. Add to quinoa mixture; toss to coat. Add the diced avocado and gently toss.
  3. Sprinkle with some of the feta. Makes 4 main-dish servings.

wpid-1430760379847.jpg

Fresh AND filling!!

And now, for the quote of the day:

Advertisements

Lemon Thyme Chicken Thighs and Potatoes

I have seen a lemon thyme recipe on pinterest for the last few months and I’ve been craving it this whole time. I kept putting it off for other recipes for reasons unknown. So… the other night I decided that I was going to finally make this dish… with my own twist of course.

image

Ingredients

6 boneless, skin-on chicken thighs
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/2 tsp chili powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon dried thyme
4 potatoes diced
2 TB parsley chopped for garnish

image

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Season chicken thighs with chili powder, paprika, salt and pepper, to taste.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large oven-proof skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken, skin-side down, and sear both sides until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side; drain excess fat and set aside.
Melt remaining tablespoon butter in the skillet. Add garlic and diced potatoes (I used Yukon gold), and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in chicken broth, lemon juice and thyme.Bring to a boil. Return chicken to the skillet.
Place into oven and roast until completely cooked through, reaching an internal temperature of 175 degrees F, about 25-30 minutes.
Remove from oven and stir in the heavy cream and Parmesan and stir until well blended. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.
Serve immediately.

image

This had a TON OF flavor! It was absolutely delicious! I loved every bite, as well as the leftovers today!  You definitely want to try this one! Taste as you go so you don’t put touch salt in it! And use low sodium chicken broth to make sure that, along with parmesan cheese, it doesn’t get too salty. 🙂

And now, for the quote of the day:

image

Chicken and Veggie Parmesan Skillet

I can’t believe I forgot to post this last night! This one was so fresh… and the veggies added a nice crunch! We did eat a bit later last night though.
This one took me about 20 minutes. It’s quick, easy, low carb (unless you have bread as a side like I did… haha) fresh and summery! Perfect quick dish on a weeknight!
My mom had my daughter last night, so I had just my son when I was making dinner. Isn’t it strange how when you go from 2 kids (or however many you have) to 1 less… the world suddenly seems so easy? Everything is simple all of a sudden . Butterflies are everywhere, birds are chirping, you can smell the roses… lol. But seriously. I sat and talked with him and had time to give him my full attention… and he LOVED IT! I’ve gotta do that more. Have focused one on one time with each of them. They just BLOOM (only term that seemed to properly describe it) in that time. I learn new stuff about them, they talk and just snuggle into me. I cherished it. 🙂
Ok, back to food.

image

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 tsp garlic, minced
2 TB olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon (about 1 TB)
6 chicken tenderloins (or 3 chicken breasts)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp dried oregano
Dash cayenne pepper powder
1/4 cup white wine (or chicken broth)
2 TB butter
1/4 cup chopped onion
3 sweet mini peppers chopped
1/2 cup frozen broccoli florets
1 cup frozen veggies: carrots, green beans, etc. Your choice
3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

image

DIRECTIONS:

1. Cook garlic, carrots and onions in a large skillet over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Add chicken, salt and pepper, oregano, cayenne powder and lemon juice and the black pepper; cook 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until chicken is done (165º F.).

2. Add in the vegetables and white wine (or chicken broth) and butter; cook 2 to 3 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally.

3. Sprinkle generously with the Parmesan cheese.

Serve! This makes 3 – 4 servings depending on the size of serving you take. I served it with a couple of slices of bread. You can do quinoa, pasta, or some fruit! Totally up to you! This one was amazing!

image

 

And now, for the quote of the day:

 

!

Lemon-Dill Salmon Over Buttery Pasta with Peas and Spinach

I’ve been trying to perfect salmon for a WHILE. Like, a serious while. I can’t quite get it perfect, but I’m getting there!!!

I have definitely learned to not attempt to cook it from frozen. Always thaw it. Ha. Should be obvious, but I like to try shortcuts. 🙂

I have also learned, yesterday, that it’s hard to cook it perfectly while paying attention to it when you have two little kids. Most likely, on that day, your three year old will run into the kitchen with blood pouring out of his lip while he is scream-crying with your 5 year old girl running after him (also crying) screaming “I didn’t do it on purpose!”. Yes, that happened last night while I was trying to perfectly cook my salmon. Let’s say that it was ALMOST perfect! Pretty good huh??!!! I was proud of that accomplishment after such a “traumatic” incident. He was fine by the way… his big sister just bopped him… hopefully it really was “by accident”.

So, luckily at that time, the salmon had JUST gone into the oven to finish, and my pasta was done and was “marinating” in the butter. So, if I can do it, YOU CAN TOO!! 😉

Try this one out if you like Salmon!!

wpid-1428501908180.jpg

This is for 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tso kosher salt
  • 2 medium salmon steaks (filets)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1TB olive oil
  • 3 TB butter
  • 1/2 lb. farfalle (bowtie) pasta
  • 1 large handful of baby spinach rough chopped
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp fresh or dried Dill Weed (I used dried)
  • 1 Tb parmesan cheese
  • splash of white wine for cooking and deglazing the pan

wpid-1428501408393.jpg

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Meanwhile, if you’re using whole grain pasta, cook it in water according to package directions.
  • Drizzle olive oil in an oven safe skillet like mine or Oven Safe Chef’s Classic Skillet and heat to medium.
  • Place salmon steaks skin side down into the hot skillet to get a nice crispy skin.
  • Top the salmon with salt, pepper, lemon zest, lemon juice, minced garlic and the dill.
  • Place the butter into the pan with the salmon and melt. (Put skillet onto medium low – 3, and melt butter).
  • Put a splash of white wine into pan if desired.
  • Spoon the butter/lemon/wine sauce over the salmon for 2 minutes and then place pan with the salmon in it directly into the oven. (Which is why you need to have an oven safe pan shown in the link above or similar).
  • Bake for 6-8 minutes depending on the thickness of your salmon. Remove the salmon from the oven BEFORE the white albumin starts to ooze out. It’s not fun to have on your salmon. REMEMBER TO USE A HOT PAD  WHEN YOU REMOVE IT!! Once the salmon is removed from the oven, remove salmon from pan and SAVE the sauce. Place the salmon onto a plate and let sit for 5-7 minutes.
  • Transfer the noodles and peas into the butter sauce remaining in your skillet and toss to coat.
  • Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and garnish with dill.
  • Serve into bowls.
  • You can either leave the salmon steak whole, or you can “shred” it with your fork and disperse it throughout the dish as I did below.
  • ENJOY!! This one is a winner!!

wpid-1428502145990.jpg

And now, for the quote of the day:

Most won't think this belongs here, but emotions can run hot sometimes and peaceful protests can get out of hand. So this is an important thing to remember, for everyone involved.

Lemon Ricotta Spaghetti with Spinach

So, as I have decided to lose a few LB’s and cut out my carbs except for at dinner, carbs are kind of my focal point at dinner. When you look forward to it ALL day… it’s a special meal! I never knew you basically go through a type of detox from carbs and sugars when you start to cut them out. I mean, back in college I did the “South Beach Diet” and I remember something about that. 🙂 I truly am realizing it though. Cravings because your body is wondering what the heck is going on!
So, I decided I need carbs. I do need to cut back as I’ve previously said because it gets a bit ridiculous. … but I needed more veggies and greens and FRESH fruits in my life!
At least this pasta dish has spinach greens and lemon zest! Right?! 🙂 Ricotta cheese adds protein too!  I calculated an approximate 8g of protein per serving, and if you toss some shrimp or chicken in it (as suggested by my awesome friend) it will up that protein content quite a lot!

image

Ingredients

Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 pound spaghetti
1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 TB lemon juice
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 cup chopped (or whole) baby spinach
2-3 tsp. Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 cup pasta water set aside

image

Preparation

Prep: 5 Minutes
Cook: 10 Minutes
* Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add spaghetti and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes.
* In a bowl, stir together ricotta, olive oil, lemon zest and salt&pepper, garlic salt, grated parmesan, lemon juice, oregano and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.
*Drain spaghetti, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water. Return pasta to pot and stir in ricotta mixture, spinach and 1/4 cup pasta cooking water. Toss well, adding more pasta cooking water 1 Tbsp. at a time, if necessary. Serve hot.

image

This was quite delicious! Filling as well! I enjoyed every last bite! 😉

And now, for the quote of the day:

My husband’s current favorite meme going around the Internet

image