Quinoa Fiesta Salad

Fresh and beautiful veggies from across the rainbow to make amazing salads are my favorite.  This Quinoa Fiesta Salad is one of my family’s favorites.  As a mom, it makes me happy that the girls are getting so much nutrition in one bowl.  The kids look at the colors and get excited to eat a rainbow and I love that they are enjoying fresh and healthy ingredients!

This salad does triple duty which I love.  A dish which becomes a meatless entree can also serve as a side dish or a salad depending on my mood.  The cherry on top of this recipe is that it takes less than 30 minutes to make and is very forgiving if you need to substitute or leave out ingredients.

HOW DO I MAKE A QUINOA FIESTA SALAD?

1.  Cook the quinoa.  While the quinoa is cooking, you can get the dressing and your other ingredients ready!
2.  Make the Cilantro Lime Dressing.  I love this dressing because it is so light.  If you choose to leave it out as I do for my girls, simply replace it with a drizzle of Olive Oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
3. Combine all of your ingredients in a large bowl and toss well to mix.
4.  Enjoy and get addicted to this salad as much as my family and I are!


Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

 

Grilled Eggplant Sandwich with a Basil Pistachio Pesto

This eggplant sandwich has it all.  Earthy spices rubbed onto grilled veggies that have just a hint of a smoky flavor, fresh mozzarella melted just enough from the heat of the veggies.  Oh, you can’t forget the rustic basil pistachio pesto that brightens up the whole sandwich in each bite.
Continue reading “Grilled Eggplant Sandwich with a Basil Pistachio Pesto”

Citrus Herb Salmon with a Mango Pico and Cilantro Lime Rice

It doesn’t get any tastier (or easier) than this delicious Citrus Herb Salmon topped with a sweet and spicy Mango Pico on a bed of Cilantro Lime Brown Rice.  Ready in 30 minutes (yep, even the brown rice), this is the perfect healthy meal to serve your family.  Continue reading “Citrus Herb Salmon with a Mango Pico and Cilantro Lime Rice”

Blackened Fish Tacos with a Garlic Sriracha Aioli

It’s BBQ season and though I love grilling the traditional burgers and hot dogs, I wanted to get away from the usual and do something different.  These Blackened Fish Tacos are perfect with a Garlic Sriracha Aioli.  A flavorful rub, crunchy carrot and cabbage slaw, the aioli to cool things down a bit and the jalapeños to add just a kick at the end of each bite is the perfect summer combination for me.

These fish tacos are a great example of a healthy-ish meal.  I’ve made them so many times before and they are such a hit that by the time the fish is grilled and chopped, the tacos are made and I don’t have anything left to take pictures because it’s all eaten!  I finally made some for a BBQ with my friend Michelle and her family but told them they had to wait after I made them so I could take pictures – seriously she is such an awesome friend to put up with me making her stare at her food while I’m clicking away!

WHAT FISH DO I USE?
I like to use white fish, usually tilapia or cod.  When you are at your grocery store, just ask your fishmonger for their best wild caught (and sustainable is available) white fish.  I’ve used both tilapia and cod for this recipe and both turn out delicious for the end result.

WHAT ELSE DO I NEED?
I keep the slaw simple to let the flavors of the rub on the fish and the aioli shine.  All I did for the slaw is shred some carrots and mix it in with finely chopped purple cabbage, a little salt, pepper, some honey, and a squeeze or two of lime juice.  So simple right?!

For the Aioli, I spent a little more time developing the flavors.  I roasted garlic, used yogurt instead of sour cream to make it healthy-ish, mix in some lite mayo (this is the “ish” addition to the healthy part), add in a bit of sriracha, and again a squeeze of lime juice to pull it together.

For toppings, again, keep it simple with a garnish of chopped cilantro and sliced jalapeños.

So, don’t wait!  For your next BBQ night, dinner party, or Taco Tuesday, try out these delicious Blackened Fish Tacos with a Garlic Sriracha Aioli.

Here are the tools I used to make this recipe:

 

 

Ratatouille

The year was 2013, I had been married only a couple of months and was hosting this grand Thanksgiving for my in-laws.  My mother-in-law is vegetarian as am I and so I wanted something special for a veggie dish at the table instead of roasted veggies.

No offense to roasted veggies, I love them.  In fact I eat them all the time and therein lies the problem.  I wanted something “fancy”, something different that I don’t have on any given night.

So I scoured the internet and landed upon this gorgeous picture of Ratatouille and thought, I can make this!   And I did.  It didn’t look so pretty but hey, that’s ok, I hoped it would taste delicious though.  It was bland.  There literally was no flavor profile to it and safe to say, both my mother-in-law and I were disappointed.

She was nice enough to pretend it was good but I couldn’t even do that!

So ever since, I’ve been on a mission to create a Ratatouille that has layers and dimensions of flavor.  Safe to say, I think I found it!

Here’s the secret!

  1. Make a sauce that keeps everyone wanting to lick it off the plate
  2. Season the top of the veggies and not just with salt and pepper!  With actual herbs!
  3. Make enough sauce so that veggies are half drenched in it and the rest will cook in the steam of the boiling sauce in the oven.

I have been playing with the recipe for a while now and when I made the final version, I was satisfied aesthetically.  The question was, would my girls eat the eggplant in it?

Recently, they’ve become very finicky eaters and it can be a real struggle to feed them even their favorite foods sometimes.  But they both ate all the veggies and I couldn’t have been a prouder Mama!

Try this out for your next Holiday dinner, weeknight surprise, or Sunday dinner.  It’s easy to make ahead, stores in the fridge and freezer well and is fairly simple to make!

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this delicious Ratatouille!

The tools that I used to make this recipe are:

Quinoa Stuffed Butternut Squash

Squash season is in full swing and I’m loving experimenting with all the different varieties out there.  One of my favorites is butternut squash.  It’s vibrant orange color, the sweet taste, and the versatility of the flesh is just great to work with.  You can mash it up or cube it and add it into most dishes.  For this recipe, I decided to throw a twist and stuff it instead.

This dish is perfect to add for the vegetarians (and non-vegetarians) at the Thanksgiving or Holiday table.  It’s rich and bold colors match the flavors that draw together the different fruits and veggies I’ve used.

Aside from being so flavorful, it is also extremely healthy.  Here are a few benefits you will get from this dish:

  • High in protein
  • Good source of Fiber
  • Good source of Iron
  • Gluten Free
  • Low in Fat
  • Good source of Potassium and Magnesium
  • Good source of Folate
  • Good source of Vit. C and Vit. K
  • High in Antioxidants

I know butternut squash is one of the harder squashes to chop but I have a trick!  Heat the squash in the microwave for 3 minutes and it will soften up enough that you can chop the ends easily and scoop out the flesh also.  I know putting a whole squash in the microwave might seem daunting, but trust me it works!

When I initially made this recipe, both the hubby and I found it a bit dry and realized right away that it needs a sauce or dressing to help it out.  After going through a few options, I settled on a simple Apple Cider Vinaigrette.  It has all the elements for the fall, doesn’t overpower the stuffing and gives you just enough of a pop in flavor.  Most importantly, the stuffing doesn’t feel dry anymore!

So….. what are you waiting for?  Try this out and make it a part of your holiday table or Sunday dinner! From my kitchen to yours, I hope you love this Quinoa Stuffed Butternut Squash!

The equipment I used for this dish are:

Garlic Herb Pizza Dough

Dough just before it’s smoothed and oiled to set aside so it can rise

Pizza is one food my girls are very picky about.  I know… I was surprised too!  Usually, kids love pizza but my oldest decided she didn’t like pizza after having it at 7 different birthday parties in a span of 1 month.  I get it, I totally do.  I would be tired of it too!

For me, pizza is the ultimate go to with unlimited toppings and variations.  I didn’t want Sanaya to feel an aversion for one of the most loved foods on this planet so I stepped in.  After trying so many different pizzerias, I finally decided to make it at home.

Obviously could not wait to eat this….!

This Garlic Herb Pizza Dough is so delicious and light.  When the dough is rolled out, it’s not too thick and makes for a nice flatbread.  Some days, I will roll it out into 1 large pizza and others, I’ll get the girls involved and have them decorate their own personal pizzas.  Either way, you can’t go wrong with this delicious garlic-y, herb-y pizza dough!

Try it out!  It is so delicious!
From my kitchen to yours, enjoy your pizza party!

Creamy Fennel Orzo

This orzo is creamy, spicy, and full of flavor.  I love orzo but wanted to do something different than the standard mediterranean orzo salad I have (which is delicious by the way!) so I decided to play around with it.  And boy am I glad I did!

Fennel has a delicious licorice taste without being so powerful and combining it with the onions and caramelizing them was just the perfect way to give this orzo a sweet flavor to balance the spice.

I did top this with a piece of chicken for the husband but you can make it vegan by omitting the chicken!  So easy to make it work either ways.

If you do use the chicken, you can either bake one if you have the time or use a rotisserie chicken as a hack to cut the time.

Perfect for the upcoming autumn season, try this delicious bowl of orzo and bring a little sweet and spicy to your soul!

From my kitchen to yours, enjoy!

Quinoa, Brown Rice and Black Beans

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Loaded with protein and yummy veggies, this is one of my new favorite go-to’s.  Simple to make and you can add whatever veggies you choose – I had colored bell peppers, tomatoes and onions in my fridge so that’s what I went with today.

Here’s how I made it:

Soak 1/3c Quinoa in some warm water for about 20 minutes.  This helps the seeds cook easier and softer.

Also soak 1/2c Brown Rice for 20 minutes.  Brown Rice can be tough to cook as it usually takes longer than white rice to make but if you soak it first, it comes out really nice and soft.

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Finely Dice colored Bell Peppers, Tomatoes, Onions and a couple of cloves of garlic.

In a nonstick pot, heat oil and ad the cumin.   Add the onions. garlic, tomatoes, bell peppers and mix well.

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Cook for 5 minutes, then add in the quinoa, rice and black beans.  Add some salt, pepper and just a touch of hot sauce – it adds that magical touch!   Add the water and bring to a boil.  Cook for about 30 minutes or until the rice is tender.  20150922_191538

Just before serving, squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the rice.  The extra zing tastes really good!  There you have it!  This is a great make ahead recipe and perfect for the fall.

Here’s the recipe all in one spot!

Ingredients:
½ c diced onions
½ c diced tomatoes
1c diced bell peppers (I like to include a variety of colors)
1 can (14oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 c Quinoa
½ c Brown Rice
1 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
1 tsp, freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
2 c Water
a couple dashes of hot sauce

Instructions:
Soak quinoa and brown rice in warm water for 20 minutes.
In a nonstick pot, heat oil and add the cumin.   Add the onions. garlic, tomatoes, bell peppers and mix well.
Cook for 5 minutes, and then add in the quinoa, rice and black beans.  Add some salt, pepper and the hot sauce.
Add the water and bring to a boil.  Cook for about 30 minutes or until the rice is tender.
Just before serving, squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the rice.