April 26, 2011

Cooking with Quinoa

Tonight I tried a new ingredient: Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah). Michael's mom has been cooking with it lately and sent us some home. So I made up a recipe! Quinoa is a grain that is basically a substitute for rice or couscous. But it is gluten free, vegetarian friendly, and full of protein! It doesn't have a ton of flavor, so you can add it to a recipe simply to give it some substance and protein if you don't want to cook meat.

Here is what I made today:

I started out with 2 chicken breasts (halved) I had already marinated in Italian dressing. If you have never done this, it is amazing all by itself and it cooks very moistly in the oven. I poured half a can of diced tomatoes in the bottom of a small casserole, placed the marinated chicken on top, and then poured the rest of the can over it. I then went searching for more veggies and found half a green pepper - cut that up and mixed it in with the chicken and tomatoes. I baked it at 400 for about 30 minutes, maybe more, until the chicken was cooked through. While that was baking, I cooked the quinoa as directed on the package. (Boil 2 cups of water with salt, add 1 cup quinoa, cook for about 15 min covered until you start seeing little curly-Qs pop up around the grains.)

After pulling the chicken out of the oven, I poured quinoa on a dinner plate, topped with half a chicken breast and some extra tomatoes, green peppers, and sauce. And it was yummy! Michael and I both agreed that since the quinoa is so plain, it might be fun to experiment by baking it with all the flavorful stuff in it. I also want to try an all veggie + quinoa recipe at some point. I suggest you try it, and let me know if you like it!

Chicken & Veggies with Quinoa
2 chicken breasts, halved
1/2 - 1 cup Italian dressing
1 can diced tomatoes (or 1-2 fresh tomatoes)
1/2 green pepper
1 cup quinoa
1 tsp. salt

Marinate chicken overnight or at least for 30 minutes in Italian dressing. Mix in casserole with diced tomatoes and green pepper, diced or cut into strips. Bake at 400F for 30-40 minutes. Cook quinoa as directed with salt and serve topped with the cooked chicken and veggies.

April 11, 2011

Warm, warm, warm!!

This weather is fantastic! I am loving the fact that I can have the fan on, be in a tank top and shorts, and be comfortable. No need for yoga pants! No need for a blanket as I curl up on the couch! Today has been beautiful, and I just got back from a bike ride on the Tobacco Trail with Michael. Is it odd that I feel like a warm, pretty day is a gift from God that was specifically sent to me? I guess other people are enjoying it, too, but I like to think that God was thinking of me when he designed the weather forecast for today. I am happy that it is April and there are more of these days to come!

April 7, 2011

Best-Ever Cheeseburger Pie

This recipe is a favorite of mine from my mom's collection of yummy recipes. It is delicious, and I would also say a safe dish to serve with guests because it has some pretty basic ingredients. The great thing about this recipe is it already has your basic food groups before you even add sides: meat, veggie, dairy, starch. I usually serve it with salad, and sometimes I'll do sweet potato fries. So good!!

Here are the ingredients:

Start by chopping the onion. I'm not crazy about onions, so I usually do about half of a small one. Use your discretion here. There is no wrong amount!

Saute the meat and onion, add salt & pepper.

Use your butter or cooking spray to coat a 10" pie dish or 8" square dish. After the meat is thoroughly cooked, put into greased dish.

Top with the tomato, and then sprinkle with basil and cheese.

Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.

In a medium bowl, beat eggs with oil and milk.

Add the flour mixture and mix until it's not lumpy.

Pour the batter over the meat in the pie dish.

Now you are ready to bake it!

Bake at 400 for about 30 minutes, or until lightly brown on top. And voila! You now have a yummy dish that serves 4-6.

Hope you enjoy this recipe! Michael likes to add Lawry's seasoned salt to his helping. I'm sure it would be good with some other seasoning, too - chili powder maybe? Have fun experimenting!

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