Sunday, August 10, 2014

Spicy Fried Quinoa

I love having this for dinner!  It's another clean out the ice box meal.

I made a batch of plan quinoa in my rice cooker (1 1/4 cups of quinoa and 2 1/4 cups of chicken broth/water).

I then used the same technique I use to make fried rice.  I stuck with leftover veggies for this, but if you wanted, you could put any kind of protein you wanted in it.

I usually don't include traditional recipe formats with my blog posts, but I'm going to give it a go here.

Spicy Fried Quinoa
Served 1

1 large egg
Coconut Oil- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon
Onion- half of one small, chopped
Garlic- one clove, minced
Thai Birds' Eye Chile- thinly sliced
Fresh Ginger- about 1 tablespoon, grated with a microplane grater
Corn- 1/4 cup (I used frozen white shoe peg corn)
Peas- 1/4 cup (I used frozen)
1 cup of cooked quinoa
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons sriracha sauce
Cashews- 1/4 cup (unsalted)
Sesame Seeds- 2 tablespoons
Cilantro- one handful, roughly chopped

Put an 8 inch non-stick skillet over medium heat, and toast the cashews and sesame seeds.  When they are fragrant, park them on the plate off which you plan to eat your dinner.  Put skillet back on the heat and add a teaspoon of coconut oil.  Lightly beat the egg, then scramble it in the skillet.  When it is done, add it to the plate with the cashews and sesame seeds.

Put the skillet back on the heat and add the remaining tablespoon of coconut oil.  Add the onion, garlic, chile and ginger.  Allow the oil to come up to temp with the aromatics.  This builds a layer of flavor for your finished dish.

After about a minute, add the corn and peas and allow them to warm up.  Stir in the cooked quinoa and allow to heat for a few minutes.  Stir in the soy sauce, fish sauce, hoisin and sriracha.  When it is evenly distributed, stir in the cashews, sesame seeds and scrambled egg.

Put it on the plate and garnish with the fresh cilantro.





Saturday, August 9, 2014

Thai Red Chile Garlic Lime Wings!

How comes it seems like the best tasting food I make is always difficult to photograph?

I love wings.  My husband doesn't.  So when he goes out of town, I always make sure I grab some at  the store so I can gorge on them while he's gone.

This was another one of those clean out the ice box deals.

I bought a big bag of frozen wings at the grocery store.  They were huge!

I grabbed 4 of them and put them on a foil lined baking sheet and threw it in a 400 degree oven for about an hour.  I didn't even defrost them!  I did rub them with olive oil, salt and pepper before they went in, though.

After about an hour I pulled them out of the oven and began contemplating what flavor I wanted to make them.

I put about some olive oil in a skillet and grated about a tablespoon of fresh ginger in the oil.  Then I minced about 5 cloves of garlic, zested a lime and dropped some Thai red chile paste in with it.  I turned the heat on medium and let the oil and seasonings begin to sizzle.  After about a minute, I put the wings in a bowl and tossed them with the seasoned oil.

These were great!  I think I'm going to pull a few more wings out of the bag and have these again tonight!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A New Favorite Snack- Plentils!

After deciding to cut back on gluten and dairy, I am on a mission to find snack foods that are better for me than the normal salty, fat-ridden things I usually go for.

While looking around at Natural Grocers today, I found these.  They are called Plentils.  They come in several flavors, but I chose the light sea salt variety.

They taste really good!  And I don't mean they taste good for a health food.  I mean they really taste good- addictive, in fact.

I can't wait to go back and try some of the other flavors.  If you want information about them, visit their website and find a store near you.  If you can't find one, you can order them online!

Keeping Up with the Garden

This is about the amount of stuff I get out of our garden every morning.

If I had a big family, I'd run through this stuff easily.  But I don't.

So it's about this time of year when I desperately comb Pinterest looking for ways to use summer squash and peppers.

So far I've been able to keep up.  I've been roasting the peppers and freezing them.  I've found enough summer squash recipes to keep my head above water.

I certainly don't want to sound as if I'm complaining.  After all, we plant the garden every year so we can get food out of it.  Sometimes it just seems so overwhelming to avoid wasting anything!

Our tomatoes aren't doing so hot this year.  I've gotten the handful of pear tomatoes you see in the picture, and our heirloom bushes have a few blooms on them.  Tomatoes seem to be the one veggie I don't mind having a ton of!  Last year I roasted and froze them, which means I had a great start on red sauces for the rest of the winter.

Every year we harvest, and every year we learn.  I really can't imagine not having a garden.  I know it would make life easier in several respects, but we'd miss out on the satisfaction of eating something we grew ourselves.

I think we'll keep plugging away at it!

Quick Breakfast and Some Dietary Changes

In addition to always being on the look out for summer squash recipes, I'm also constantly searching for quick, easy breakfast ideas.

As much as I hate to face it, school will start very soon, which means my days of leisurely cups of hot tea and late breakfasts are over.

This summer I've been trying to cut back on the amount of gluten and dairy I eat.  I have had numerous conversations with my doctor, and although I'm not allergic to either one, the inflammatory reaction caused by both of those types of foods can make life unpleasant.  Some of the aches and pains I contribute to getting old, could be mild reactions to gluten and dairy.

Now I will tell you right up front, I won't give either up entirely.  There are just some things that need gluten and a healthy dose of cheese (macaroni and cheese, anyone?).  But if they aren't necessary to the quality of the meal, I am trying to avoid them.

So I've been experimenting with some gluten and dairy free products.  The one I tried on this particular morning was Udi's Gluten Free Bagels.  I toasted one and then put a little dairy free cream cheese on it.  Then I put thin slices of cucumber, capers and sliced smoked salmon on it.

Was this as good as a deli bagel with lox and cream cheese?  No.  Was it pretty good and slightly better for me?  Yes.  I think this will become part of my weekday breakfast rotation.

It beats the heck out of almond milk and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. :)

Summer Squash and Corn Chowder

My garden is producing more yellow squash than I could possibly ever eat.  We have eaten squash in some form pretty much every day for the last week.

Because of this, I'm constantly on the lookout for new ways to use squash.  And when I saw this recipe on Pinterest, I knew I had to try it.

I knew from past experience that yellow squash and corn play very well together.  Making a soup out of them is a no-brainer!

I got this recipe from a blog called Cooking Classy. It was very easy to do, and the leftover soup just got better after sitting in the icebox overnight.  It made an even better lunch the next day!

The only thing I added to the recipe was a liberal dash of hot sauce.  I really felt that once the milk and cream were added to the soup, there needed to be something to punch through the richness.  I might also add some roasted poblano or even jalapeño pepper next time I make it.  And there WILL be a next time!

Oven Roasted Chicken Thighs

In my opinion, life would be bleak without roasted chicken.  It's one of those things that makes you feel better.  It makes you feel like a good cook.  And luckily, it's easy.

I usually by a package of 8 thighs and roast them all at once, then put whatever doesn't get eaten for dinner in the ice box for later in the week.

The prep is very simple.  I loosen the skin on each thigh, and rub down the flesh and skin with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Then I put a slice of lemon and sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme under the skin.

I put a thermometer in the largest thigh and roast them in the oven at 400 degrees until the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees.

Usually my husband likes these with molasses bbq sauce.

I served these with corn on the cob and sautéed swiss chard.
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