30 July 2012

Vegetable + Quinoa Summer Salad

I recently got hooked on a quinoa salad at a restaurant in my office building.  After spending $4.00 on it a few times a week, I decided to recreate the salad at home.  It made enough for my lunch all week AND THEN SOME!  It is a healthy, refreshing and delicious alternative to sandwiches or lettuce-based salads.  Doug even enjoyed it for lunch on Sunday and said it was excellent!  Are you hosting or going to a summer barbeque sometime soon?  This would make a perfect side dish and would accommodate any dietary needs for your vegetarian or gluten-free friends!

Vegetable and Quinoa Summer Salad
Yield: 8 Servings

2 C. Dry Quinoa
4 C. Water
3 Bell Peppers (I used red, yellow and green), diced
1 Pint Baby Tomatoes (I used heirloom baby tomatoes), halved
1 Jalapeno, finely minced
1/4 C. Fresh Cilantro, roughly chopped
1/3 C. Pure Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 Limes, juiced
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Red Pepper Flakes (for heat!), to taste
1/2 C. Soy Nuts (as a garnish)

In a medium pot, combine the quinoa and water; bring to a hard boil.  Stir and turn heat to low; cover with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes (or until water is absorbed).  Meanwhile, prep the peppers, tomatoes, jalapeno and cilantro.  In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper.  Add the vegetables to the bowl; toss well.  Finally, add the cooked quinoa to the bowl, strirring gently.  Add more salt, pepper, olive oil or lime juice, as needed.  Before serving, add soy nuts and red pepper flakes.  (I found that the soy nuts got a little soggy overnight in the refrigerator, so add a sprinkle of those just before serving).  Serve as is or on a bed of leafy greens.

15 July 2012

Plum + Thyme Iced Tea

This is the definition of summer in a glass!  No other words can describe it.  Enjoy!

Plum and Thyme Iced Tea
(From Real Simple)
Yield: 4 Servings

2 Tea Bags (black or herbal)
2 Tbsp. Honey
2 Plums, sliced
8 Sprigs of Fresh Thyme

Heat 3 cups of water over the stove or in the microwave and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat, add tea bags, let steep for 10 minutes.  Remove the tea bags and allow the tea to cool to room temperature.  Next, stir in the honey, plums and thyme.  Transfer to a glass pitcher and refrigerate until cool (about 1 hour).  Serve over ice.

Make it an adult version: Stir in 1/2 C. bourbon or iced tea flavored vodka into the pitcher before serving!

14 July 2012

Broccoli Slaw Stir Fry

I think my father-in-law has been waiting for me to post this recipe... so here it goes!  Doug and I have made this Broccoli Slaw Stir Fry quite a few times now and it really hits the spot. The best part?  It really isn't that sinful!  Instead of loads of fried rice or tons of noodles, this recipe replaces that with a package of broccoli slaw.  I guess you can make your own thinly sliced broccoli slaw, but it is so easy and cheap to just buy the pre-packaged stuff!  I'm all about ease and anything that helps with the city-livin' budget!

Whenever I make stir fry, I always call my dad.  Here's how it normally goes down...
Dad: "Hola Rebecca!"
Me: "Hey Daddio! I'm making stir fry and thought I'd give you a call."
Dad: "Oh, that's so nice!"  

Hahah Love you Dad! Thanks for the wok, for teaching me the basic techniques of your awesome stir fry recipes and for always making me smile! :)

Broccoli Slaw Stir Fry
(Adapted from the Realistic Nutritionist)
Yield: 4-5 Servings

2 Tbsp. Canola Oil
1 Onion, chopped
2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
4 oz. Soba Noodles
10 oz. of Broccoli Slaw (if your bag contains a little more, that is okay too)
4 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper
1 Tbsp. Sriracha Sauce
2 Tbsp. Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp. Rice Vinegar
1 Tbsp. Hoisin Sauce
1 tsp. Sesame Oil
2 tsp. Water mixed with 2 tsp. Corn Starch
Optional Garnishes: Chopped Peanuts, Lime Wedges, Fresh Cilantro

Heat 1 Tbsp. Oil in a large nonstick wok on medium-high heat.  Add the onions and cook for 3 minutes.  Next, add the chicken and red bell peppers; cook until chicken is golden brown (about 7 minutes).  Remove from pan and set aside in a medium bowl for later use. 

At this point, you will want to boil your soba noodles in a large pot of water according to the directions on the package.  Undercook them by one minute; drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat second tablespoon of canola oil in the same wok over medium-high heat.  Add the broccoli slaw and garlic; cook until tender (about 5 minutes).  Add the red pepper flakes and Sriracha sauce; heat for another 2 minutes.  In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, hoisin sauce, sesame oil and corn starch/water mixture.  Add it to the wok, along with the chicken and cooked noodles.  Stir gently and heat for another 2 minutes.  Serve with chopsticks and additional Sriracha or red pepper flakes!

13 July 2012

Asparagus, Mushroom + Spinach Quiche

This post is long overdue... Doug and I went to the Farmer's Market this spring and picked up some asparagus, mushrooms and baby spinach.  After they were sitting in our fridge for a few days, I decided to just get rid of the leftovers in one simple recipe - a quiche!  That's right... quiches are my go-to for getting rid of fresh or frozen veggies because everything tastes better with eggs!

Spring Vegetable Quiche
Yield: 1 crustless quiche

1/4 lb. Mushrooms, sliced
1 C. Onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 C. Baby Spinach, loosely packed
1/2 C. Plain Yogurt
1 Tbsp. Flour
5 Eggs, lightly beaten
4 oz. Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
1/2 bunch Asparagus Spears, cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Saute mushrooms and onions in oil until just tender; add baby spinach and stir until it is just beginning to wilt; remove from heat.  In a medium bowl, gently combine all the ingredients; mix well.  Pour into a quiche pan (or prepared pie crust if desired).  Bake at 375F degrees for 40-50 minutes.  Let set before serving.

04 July 2012

Wild Tea Vodka Cocktail

Happy 4th of July!!  Hope everyone is taking the day to observe this national holiday.  What are you all doing to celebrate? Since it has been in the 100's in Chicago, we have been making pitcher after pitcher of iced tea to keep in the fridge.  Some of that tea ends up in an iced tea vodka cocktail.  Mmm... I think I'll have one of these today!

Wild Tea Vodka Cocktail
Yield 1 Cocktail

2 Parts Absolut Wild Tea Vodka (my new summer fav)
1 Part Lemonade
2 Part Iced Tea
Lemon Slice, for garnish

Fill a glass with ice, add liquid ingredients and gently stir to blend.  Garnish with a lemon slice and enjoy on a hot day!