Saturday, June 20, 2009

Quinoa with Herbs and Mixed Olives

Wow what a busy month!!! I have been in Michigan for almost 3 weeks now and I have a couple more to go. I got to get together with a bunch of old college friends while I was home and we made a wonderful dinner for our friend who just had a baby 3 weeks ago. My addition to the feast was this recipe for Quinoa. My friend Katie made a great citrusy orange roughy, which I will post later. We had a great time catching up, trying to watch a movie and caring for little Viv. I recommend this recipe to everyone, because it is super healthy and you get a ton of protein for this little grain. This recipe is from the April 2009 Everyday with Rachael Ray.

1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 1/2 cups quinoa
1/2 cup pitted and thinly sliced black and green olives
1/2 pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
1/3 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1/3 cup parsley, finely chopped

  1. In a large sauce pan or deep skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add quinoa and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  2. Stir in 2 1/4 cups water, season with salt, and bring to a boil over high heat, cover and simmer until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add olives, pine nuts, basil, cilantro, and parsley and toss with a fork to combine.

THE VERDICT: Everyone loved it and it was gone. I think her beautiful kitchen with awesome appliances made it better. HEHE!! I would kill for her new home and kitchen. Should have took pictures, oh well. Oh and I had a great sous chef, Thanks Raeanne!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Street Cred Lamb Gyros

I love gyros!!!!  I was a little skeptical when these called for ground lamb, since I'm used to the sliced, but these were pretty good.  I got this recipe from an old Everyday with Rachael Ray.  It was a quick and easy weeknight dinner that everyone enjoyed.  

1/2 cup greek yogurt
1/4 cup mayo
3/4 tsp. ground ginger
salt and pepper
1 1/4 lb. ground lamb
1 slice of bread, finely crumbled in food processor
2 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
2 poblano chiles, chopped
1 large onion, chopped 
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 pitas

  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Combine the yogurt, mayo, and 1/4 tsp ginger, season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine lamb, bread, 1 1/2 tsp. cumin and remaining 1/2 tsp. of ginger; season with salt and pepper.  Form into 4   1-inch patties.  In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Cook the patties until just firm, about 6 minutes per side.  Transfer to a plate.
  3. In the same skillet, add the poblanos, onion, garlic and remaining 1 tsp. cumin; season with salt and pepper.  Cook over medium- low heat until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.  Wrap pita in foil and keep warm in oven.
  4. Chop up the lab patties and add to the pan, increasing the heat to medium high.  Cook the vegetables until golden, about 3 minutes.
  5. Top warm pita with yogurt sauce and lamb mixture.

THE VERDICT:  The only thing I might do next time is add some diced cucumber to the yogurt dip.  We also added hummus to our pitas and it was delish.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Hoisin Pork Roast

This is a dish I made a couple years ago, and when I returned home from work late one night it was completely devoured.  So I asked my husband if he ate 3 lbs of pork loin on his own?  He then explained to me how great it was.  Still this didn't make sense, the boy can't eat 3 lbs in one setting.  He then told me he also had to work late, so he ran home grabbed the crock pot, and took it to work, for all to enjoy.  Which was fine, but after everyone told me how good it was I felt like I missed out.  Well I kinda forgot about this recipe until yesterday.  So I threw the pork loin in the crock pot in the morning and let it work its magic.  Let me tell you, THIS IS SO GOOD!  The recipe is from an old Everyday with Rachael Ray Magazine.

cooking spray
1 boneless pork loin (3 lbs.), tied
1   10oz. jar of hoisin or duck sauce
3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
2 T. fresh grated ginger
1 T. chili paste
1 T. rice wine or rice wine vinegar
1 T. soy sauce
2 tsp. dark sesame oil
4 tsp. cornstarch
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup chopped cilantro

  1. Spray the slow cooker with cooking spray and add pork roast.  In a small bowl combine hoisin, garlic, ginger, chili paste, rice wine, soy sauce and sesame oil.  Whisk in corn starch.  Pour sauce over the pork.
  2. Cover the slow cooker and the roast until fork tender or 160 degrees.  Which is about 3 1/2 hours on high heat and 8 hours on low.  Transfer the pork to a platter, cover with foil, and let stand for 10 minutes.  Pour the cooking liquid in a bowl and let stand for 10 minutes, then skim any fat from surface.
  3. Slice the pork and arrange on a platter.  Sprinkle the scallions and cilantro on top.  Serve the Asian sauce on the side.

THE VERDICT:  Very tasty, a little spice, but great!!!  If cooking on low heat start to check the temp around 6-7 hours, mine was done in about 6 1/2 hours.  ENJOY!!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Smoothie Time

I love have smoothies in the morning either pre or post work out.  It is so easy just to throw everything in a blender and have a healthy breakfast. I was going through some old cookbooks and I came across a section called drink your way to health, (and no it wasn't about wine :)  Anyways they had a ton of new ideas for smoothies.  I found the perfect smoothie everyone, and its called a "Kinango Smoothie."  This recipe has been adapted from Superfoods by Jyl Steinback, which is a great cookbook!!!!

1/2 banana
1/2 cup frozen mango chunks
1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup strawberries
1/4 cup vanilla yogurt
1/4 cup mango nectar
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 T. ground flaxseed
if needed a couple ice cubes

Combine all ingredients in a blender; process until smooth and creamy.  Leftover can be refrigerated and reblended next day.


Gnocchi with Summer Veggies

This is a super simple dish to make for the warmer weather.  I served this as a side dish to easy grilled chicken.  It would work as a main dish as well, for those veggie lovers out there, but my man needs meat.  I got all the veggies from the local farmers market, and they tasted fab.  Plus the basil was from my Aerogarden, which is still overflowing.  I got this recipe from the June issue of Everyday FOOD by Martha Stewart.

1 T. olive oil
2 zucchini or summer squash or a combo, quartered and sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and peeper
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved ( I had plum tomatoes on hand)
1 Pkg. frozen gnocchi (I used whole wheat)
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
2 T. grated Pecorino Romano cheese (or Parm.)
1 T. butter
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

  1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high.  Add squash and garlic and season with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until squash is crisp-tender, 4-5 minutes.  Add tomatoes and cook, until juicy, about 2 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook gnocchi according to package instructions.  Reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid, drain gnocchi and transfer to skillet.  Toss gnocchi, adding enough cooking liquid to create a sauce.  Remove from heat and stir in basil, cheese, butter, and lemon juice.    

The verdict:  Perfect side dish, everyone went back for seconds, and it is gone.  Always a good night when there are no leftovers!!!