Grilled Corn & Kale Salad

contributorbutton

Hey everyone!  Happy Tuesday!  I am excited to announce that I will be a recipe contributor to A Dose of Paige.  What does that mean?  Well, you may remember when Paige & I swapped blogs a while back.  She shared a DIY for spices jar labels & I shared a DIY homemade taco seasoning on her blog.  We loved doing the swap and both had a ton of great feedback from our readers.  That being said, she asked if I would contribute a monthly recipe to her blog.

Be sure to check out her blog every 3rd week of the month for a delicious dose of Paige.  June’s pilot recipe features a lot of fresh ingredients while using the grill.  Grilled Sweet Corn & Kale Salad!  Yum.  Sweet & smokey corn, crunchy kale, juicy tomatoes.  Have I got you intrigued yet?  Head over to her blog to get all the details:

A dose of Paige:  Grilled sweet corn & kale salad

IMG_4172

 

IMG_4177

signature

Spaghetti with Kale Pesto

Hi everyone!  Happy Tuesday :)  My blogger friend, Becca at Two Places at Once contacted me to do a guest post on her blog while she is off getting married.  If you’ve been a frequent reader, you will remember that we did a swap back in February.  Blueberry Scones on this blog & Steamed Mussels on hers.  Of course, I didn’t pass up the opportunity to appear on her blog.

I love pesto, but my basil plant is not yet producing enough leaves so I put a spin on it & tried kale!  It was super delicious so head over to Two Places at Once to see my post & the recipe!

kalepestoNSD.jpg

signature

Curried Cauliflower

{whole foods copycat}

IMG_4038

See what I did there?  bolded the cat part.  Crazy cat lady at heart :)

You guys, I love Whole Foods.  It’s too expensive for my lifestyle though.  The main thing I love is the salad bar and prepared foods section.  It’s about a $9 lunch so I only allow myself to go about every 2 weeks.  I have several favorites all of which I plan to recreate.  To name a few:  Sriracha brussell sprouts, cold sesame noodles with cucumbers, balsamic roasted beets, artichoke spinach dip, casear pasta salad, and the curried cauliflower.

My goal is to try to make my own version of these and compare them to the real deal.  I only get the curried cauliflower every once in awhile because they are pretty rich and a flavor that requires “having a taste for”.  But I mean, who wakes up and says “Omg I am totally in the mood for curried cauliflower”  No one.

 

And that’s the special  thing about the Whole Foods prepared food section.  The one by work varies often so when my favorite ones appear that “taste” immediately happens.

I usually get the little plastic container thing and give myself a small little bit of several items.  Note to self:  do not overload on cherry tomatoes their weight makes your salad $15.  It really is the perfect lunch.  I don’t think there is a Love Your Lunch recipe that beats a Whole Foods lunch.

IMG_4040

However, if I can recreate all the delicious things at Whole Foods I will be able to bring them to lunch myself (and probably be cheaper too!).  I am going to attempt a little series that will be my Not So Doughie (not that WFs is doughie) version of my Whole Foods favorites.  So up first:  Curried Cauliflower

curried cauliflower

Recipe By:  Sara
Prep Time:  5 minutes   |||   Cook TIme:  25-30 minutes   |||   Servings: 4 |||   Difficult Level:  Low

Ingredients:
1 head of cauliflower, cut into pieces
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 Tbsp cumin
1/2 tsp Garam Masala
1/2 tsp fennel seed
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup frozen peas

Directions:
1.  In a small bowl, combine the oil and all of the spices and garlic.  Stir to combine.
2.  Toss in the cauliflower and use your hands to thoroughly coat the pieces.
3.  Spread over a baking sheet and put in the oven at 350 degrees.
4.  Roast for about 25-30 minutes until fork tender (depends on size of the pieces)
5.  Remove from the oven and put into serving dish.
6.  Add the peas and cilantro, stir and set aside.  The heat from the cauliflower will “cook” the peas.
7.  Serve warm or chilled.

IMG_4035

Enjoy!

signature

Speedy Parmesan Thyme Risotto

{creamy, savory goodness}

risottoNSD1.jpg

If you follow along with me on Instagram, you most likely saw my picture of my visit to the meat market.  I was introduced to this little gem and will be headed there on a weekly basis.  The place is called Market Place Meats & Deli and is relatively close to our house.  It was bright and sunny 2 Sundays ago so I went on a solo adventure to the meat market.  I fell in love.  Not only are there a huge selection, but the prices are amazing.  Added bonus, my butcher is Polish and said each Sunday he will teach me a couple of words/sayings.

He suggested some “petite steaks” which were sliced flat iron pieces.  He said they are great for weeknight meals because they can be put on the grill for a few minutes and be done.  I got a couple of other things:  chicken breasts, chicken sausages, and ground chuck, all for $19.00.

The night I planned to make the steak I wanted to pair them with some bold side dishes.  I planned to make my Lemon Parmesan Risotto recipe, but knew I had to hurry home from work in order to get it going in time.  Needless to say, I didn’t get home early enough.  However, I still wanted to make it.

PHOTO BOMB!!!!!

PHOTO BOMB!!!!!

Do you have a recipe that you love, but wish it was easier/quicker to prepare?  Risotto is one on my list.  I love risotto.  I don’t have time for risotto.  Therefore, our relationship is very weak.  To make an absolutely delicious and A+++ risotto you must be prepared to be patient and have about an hour to stand around, periodically stir a pot for about an hour.  This working lady ain’t got no time for that kinda dinner.

Fear no more.  I cheated on the slow cooking risotto and sped up the process resulting in a creamy risotto.  I even used brown rice!  The key to my speedy risotto is to cook the rice according to the directions on the package and before all the water is absorbed you add a little more at a time.  At first I thought there was no way this was going to work, but it did and I am happy & ready to experiment with different flavor combinations.

In the next few posts, you will notice that I will be featuring a lot of side dishes.  This is because the meat market pieces don’t require a lot of jazzy sauces and recipes.  They are simple and can be accompanied by a fancy side dish for a perfect weeknight meal!

Sara’s speedy parmesan thyme risotto

Recipe by:  Sara
Prep Time:  5 minutes   |||   Cook TIme:  25 minutes   |||   Servings: 4-6  |||   Difficult Level:  Low

Ingredients:
1 cup brown rice [preferably 15 min or less cook time rice]
2 cups water + an additional ~2 cups
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper

Directions:
1.  Combine rice and water in a medium sauce pan.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat.
2.  When a small bit of water remains, add 1/2 cup and increase heat to medium.  Stir often.
3.  Slowly add 1/4-1/2 cup water at a time until the rice start to become creamy.
4.  Add butter, parmesan and spices.  Stir to combine.  You may need a small amount of water again.
5.  Stir in thyme and season with salt and pepper.IMG_4016

signature

it’s my birthday, I’ll eat quinoa if I want to…

…but in all reality, I definitely don’t want to.  Who eats quinoa on their birthday?? Birthdays are supposed to be about cupcakes, sprinkles, cheesecakes, drinks and whatever ones birthday heart desires to eat, right?

So yes.  Today marks the 6th anniversary of my 21st birthday:

21stbday

Or the 26th anniversary of this pretty cute DOUGHIE baby.:

doughbaby

I am not a huge fan of being a grown up and having a birthday. Everyone should get their birthday off work, it be acceptable to still wear a crown, and drink all day long while carrying a Strawberry Shortcake balloon around town. Unfortunately, that’s not much of the case anymore and I am working all day instead. However, I will be enjoying a beautiful evening dining somewhere delicious with Bryan.  So back to food talk….

So don’t get me wrong.  I do really like quinoa and we already reviewed its amazing benefits here.  However, today in fact is my birthday and I choose to not eat quinoa today.

I am choosing to share this delicious quinoa salad recipe with you all.  I made it over the weekend to bring to Easter dinner at Bryan’s grandparents.  They are trying to eat really healthy and I was on the list to bring a cold, non-lettuce, salad.  At first, I thought perhaps my jicama or cabbage salad, but those didn’t have enough UMPH to be served as an Easter side dish.

My recent quinoa experience steered my brain towards a healthy grain salad.  In addition, I wanted to incorporate bright, springy vegetables considering it was going to be gorgeous spring weather.  While at the store, I bought a variety of peppers and a pop of crunchy sweet corn. I decided on a pretty simple Honey Lime Vinaigrette to marry the quinoa and veggies together.  It was very flavorful, but not overpowering and it accentuated the sweet notes of the peppers.

I am also choosing to share this post today as part of the Love Your Lunch series.  It definitely is a salad that is better the next day.  The flavors are much stronger and delicious after marinating together overnight in the fridge.  Since we had plenty of leftovers, I took a tupperware to lunch & it was so tasty and kept me full and satisfied until dinner.

My main plan was to just use the sweet corn, cilantro and the vinaigrette in this salad, but the peppers were on sale and too pretty to pass up.  The vegetables can be easily swapped for whatever is your preference or on sale at the time.  Try a combination on snap peas, red pepper, and feta cheese.  Or asparagus, eggplant and goat cheese.  The options are endless.

IMG_3943

So no.  I will not be eating quinoa today because I ate it all up yesterday.  Today, I am allowing myself to wander outside the office walls for lunch for some fresh air… it is Earth Day after all!

spring quinoa salad with honey lime vinaigrette
recipe by:  Sara
Hands on Time:  15 minutes   ///   Cook Time:  15-20 minutes   ///   Servings:  6-8

Ingredients:
1 & 1/2 cups quinoa
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 orange pepper
3 ears of sweet corn
1 jalapeno, minced
1 tsp ground chipotle powder
1/4 cup finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp honey
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt & pepper

Directions
1.  Cook quinoa according to package instructions then place in fridge to cool.
2.  Cut the peppers into a small dice and remove the corn from the ears.  Combine in a bowl with the chipotle seasoning and jalapeno.
3.  In a small bowl, combine the lime, honey, olive oil, and garlic with a whisk until thoroughly mixed.
4.  Season with salt and pepper.
5.  Add the cooled quinoa to the pepper and corn mixture.
6.  Pour dressing over salad and stir to combine.
7.  Stir in cheese and season salad with salt and pepper to taste.
8. Chill for 30 minutes or until ready to serve.

IMG_3949

signature

Mexican Quinoa Bake

{keen-wah}

quinoabakeNSD

I am assuming by now everyone has heard of quinoa.  It’s the new black of the grain world, even though some others are trying to stomp it out (barley, bulgur etc…)  I can’t really remember when I first tried it, but I know I liked it.  I mean, it really doesn’t taste like anything.  The little granules have a nice little crunch to them, but not that “ew this is a raw piece of rice” crunch.  They also allow sauces and spices to adhere well to the pieces therefore taking on great flavor.

IMG_3848

So like I said you probably heard the name quinoa, but do you know how great it is for your health?  No?  Well read on for some fun facts about the grain.

+  Did you know the grain is from the GOOSEFOOT species?

+  Quinoa is actually a seed.

+  The food  has earned it spot on the prestigious SuperFood list.

+  It is a great source of protein, containing all 9 essential amino acids

+  Gluten allergy? No worries here, quinoa in gluten-free.

When it comes to grains, I typically am grabbing the couscous off the shelves at the store.  Lately, I try to avoid carbs so rices and pastas haven’t made an appearance on my dinner plate.  However, after religiously documenting my food intake with My Fitness Pal I noticed my daily fiber being rather low.  After reading some articles, I decided that quinoa would be the best grain to add to my diet – high in fiber (keep me full longer), high in protein, and lower in calories.

IMG_3851

So be prepared to see the good old quinoa around this blog here often in upcoming posts.  First on the menu, Mexican Quinoa Bake.  Hearty enough for a meal or satisfying as a side dish served with tacos (leave out the black beans).  This casserole has a bit of a heated punch to it, but not too powerful. The quinoa absorbs the flavors and gives tremendous texture.

Mexican quinoa bake

Recipe By:  Sara
Servings:  6-8 [depending on entrée or side]   ///   Prep Time:  5 minutes   ///   Cook Time:  30 minutes

Ingredients:
1 cup dry quinoa
1 can Southwestern style dice tomatoes
2 Tbsp taco seasoning or 1 packet
1 small can of diced green chilis
1 cup frozen corn
4 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese + 1/4 cup for topping
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 can black beans, drained [optional]
sour cream, hot sauce

Directions:
1.  Bring 2 cups of water to a boil.  Add the quinoa and stir to combine.
2.  Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook covered for about 15-20 minutes or until the water is absorbed.
3.  In a casserole dish, combine the diced tomatoes, chilis, seasoning, corn, 4 oz. cheddar and beans if using.
4.  Add the cooked quinoa and cilantro, stirring everything together.
5.  Top with more shredded cheddar and a bit of the cilantro.
6.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
7.  Put on broiler and let cheese brown for about 30 seconds.
8.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream or hot sauce.

IMG_3857Enjoy!

signature

#LoveYourLunch – Caprese Flatbread

{the ultimate trio}

capreseflatbread

Welcome back to yet another week of Love Your Lunch!  Marisa & I are excited to have Becca on board now for the series.  Now there are three different ideas for some great, yet simple lunches.  Think how easy it is going to be to start loving your lunch!  We post our 3 ideas.  You read it.  You go to the store the following Sunday, gathering all ingredients listed.  You have 3 days of amazing lunches!

Head over to their blogs to check out what is on their lunch menus:
Two Places at Once
Cooking Like Lou

Not going to lie, last week I was hating my lunch.  My Sweet Peach & Arugula Salad was great, but that’s as far as I got last week.  The other days consisted of random items from the fridge.  I was determined to focus on more lunch items while grocery shopping yesterday instead of intense dinners.  I seriously find myself having a much better day when I know my delicious lunch awaits me around 1:00.

I tend to avoid a lot of carbs for lunch because I end up feeling bloated and too full the rest of the day.  This is not a feeling I want to have while scrambling around & being busy.  That being said, I really enjoy the flatbread created by “Flat Out”.  They are low in calories, not so cardboard-y, and quite flavorful.  The Italian is probably my favorite, but the Multigrain one [see below] keeps me full & not snacking post-lunch.  It contains flax which is an added bonus.  Another plus, I always see them on sale for 2 for $5.00.

IMG_3773I usually use them as wraps liked pictured on their bag, but today I decided to keep it flat & make myself a Caprese Flatbread.  Only a few simple ingredients are needed and I made it in about 3 minutes flat, pun intended.

IMG_3774Mozzarella, Tomato, and Basil.  My favorite trio.  I most likely have mentioned it around this blog once or twice before.  My craving and love grows even more as the weather warms.  A pinch of salt and pepper, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, and sweet olive oil bring the whole thing together.

IMG_3777

Feel free to warm the flatbread in the microwave – however, I have a feeling the tomatoes could make the bread soggy.  The flatbread is easily cut into fourths and stored in a Tupperware for a portable on-the-go lunch.

CAPRESE FLATBREAD

Servings:  1 flatbread   ///   Prep Time:  3 minutes

Ingredients
4-5 tomato slices
4-5 slices of fresh mozzarella [try it smoked!]
2 Tbsp fresh basil, Julienned
1 Multigrain Flat Out bread
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp parmesan cheese [optional]
Drizzle of balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper

Directions
1.  Use a brush or spoon to spread the olive oil over the bread.
2.  Sprinkle with garlic powder.
3.  Top with tomato, basil, & mozzarella.
4.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and parmesan.  Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
5.  Slice & enjoy.

IMG_3781

IMG_3787Enjoy

 

signature