Thai Quinoa Salad

Thai Quinoa Salad

Quinoa. We dated a few years ago. I couldn’t commit. We parted ways.

Then I was introduced to the quinoa salad at Zoe’s Kitchen (ahh mazing!), and I realized that perhaps I shouldn’t ditch this little grain just yet. Perhaps I just needed to find some better recipes. Perhaps quinoa is really a keeper. Perhaps.

So I found this recipe scouring the depths of Pinterest. The sauce was reminiscent of one of my fav dishes (Simple Asian Peanut Noodles), and so I felt like it had some real potential. Y’all – this stuff is good.  As Blake described it to Brogan last night when he asked what was for dinner: “Pure deliciousness.” And it is. I hope you enjoy!

Thai Quinoa Salad

1 cup dry quinoa, cooked according to the package and drained afterwards
3 cups of shredded (or sliced very thin) cabbage
1 red pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
2 carrots, peeled and grated
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup diced green onion

1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
6 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp honey
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lime (about 2 tbsp)
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp water

1) Add all the salad ingredients into a large bowl.
2) In a small bowl, mix the sauce ingredients until peanut butter is fully incorporated with the sauce.
3) Pour sauce over salad and toss until well combined.

Adapted from Sweet Peas and ABC’s Rainbow Thai Farro Salad

Beef Vegetable Soup with Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

Another beautiful fall weekend means more soup cooking in my kitchen.  Vegetable soup is one of my all-time favorites… my mom used to make it for me when I was growing up. And by the way, vegetable soup to me means beef vegetable soup because that’s just how I roll. I used my fav organic ground beef from Costco, lots and lots of fresh veggies, a box of tomatoes and only used cans for the beans. Depending on what I have on hand sometimes I vary the vegetables (zucchini is good in this too), but the one thing that I must have is the cabbage. It adds such an awesome flavor to the soup that I simply will not make it if there is no cabbage. So take or leave any of the others, but I can’t promise the soup will be as good without the cabbage. Okay, I’ll get off my soap box.

The soup takes about 30 minutes to prep/start and about an hour to simmer.  So as I was waiting impatiently for my soup to be done, I started day dreaming about what I could make to go with it… and then it occurred to me – garlic cheddar biscuits would be to die for with this soup.  So I modified my ole buttermilk drop biscuit recipe with some garlic powder, onion powder, dried parsley and cheddar cheese.  And oh my gosh these things are good. They’ve got a similar taste to Red Lobster’s cheddar biscuits. They were quick and easy and did turn out to be the perfect compliment to my soup.

This made a huge pot of soup (I’m not great guestimating serving sizes), but you could easily freeze half and still have plenty to enjoy.

Veggie soup and garlic cheddar biscuits

Beef Vegetable Soup

1 1/3 lbs ground beef
1 large sweet onion, diced
6 carrots, chopped
4 stalks of celery, chopped
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 26-oz box diced tomatoes
4 cups beef broth
1/2 lb green beans, cut into 1″-2″ pieces
2 ears of corn, kernels cut off
3 red potatoes, cubed
1 14.5-oz can of kidney beans (not drained)
1 8.5-oz can of lima beans (not drained)
1/2 head of cabbage, chopped
3 cups fresh spinach
4 bay leaves
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tbsp sugar

1.) In a large dutch oven or soup pot, brown ground beef. Add onions, garlic, carrots, celery, salt and pepper and sauté until onions are translucent (about 5 minutes).
2.) Add tomatoes and beef broth and stir until well combined. Add remaining ingredients, stir and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally. Try it and add more salt and pepper to taste (I almost always need to add more salt).

Veggie soup1
Veggie soup2
This is what the soup looks like when you first add all the veggies.

Veggie soup3
This is after about 30 minutes of simmering.

Veggie soup4
This is an hour after simmering.

Veggie soup5

Garlic Cheddar Drop Biscuits

2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 stick cold butter (8 tbsp), cubed
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1.) Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2.) In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, garlic powder, onion powder and dried parsley. Stir with a whisk until well mixed.
3.) Add butter and cut with a pastry cutter until the flour resembles coarse meal.
4.) Add buttermilk and cheddar cheese and mix well with a large spoon.
5.) Using a scooper, scoop out the dough and drop onto a cooking stone. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. This recipe yielded me 10 large biscuits.

Garlic cheddar biscuits1 Garlic cheddar biscuits2 Garlic cheddar biscuits3 Garlic cheddar biscuits4 Garlic cheddar biscuits5 Garlic cheddar biscuits6