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

Sauce:
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

Mushroom Stroganoff

We’ve been trying something new in the kitchen lately – adding some vegetarian dishes to the dinner rotation. And the craziest part of this menu modification is that it was my husband’s idea [gasp!]. The meat eater of all meat eaters actually suggested that we add some vegetarian meals to the line up (thank you Netflix and the documentary Cowspiracy).  While I love meat, I like to mix it up and so I saw this as an opportunity to try out some new recipes. Yay!

So let me introduce you to Mushroom Stroganoff. This dish is ahh-mazing. I’ve always been a stroganoff fan, but mine had always had beef. I thought it was the beef that contributed most of the flavor, but I was wrong. This dish is full of flavor and hearty as well. My kiddos loved it too – Brogan actually said it was one of his favorite dinners ever! I’ll take it! Hope you enjoy!

Mushroom Stroganoff

Mushroom Stroganoff

1 tbsp butter
1 large sweet onion, diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
8 ozs white mushrooms, sliced
8 ozs baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp flour (I used gluten free)
1/4 cup white wine
2 cups vegetable broth
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (if you want to be 100% vegetarian, use soy sauce)
2 tbsp whole grain mustard (I used Grey Poupon Country Dijon)
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 cup sour cream
3/4 lb pasta (would prob be best with egg noodles, but I used gluten free penne), boiled according to package

1.) In large skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter and sauté onion and garlic until translucent (about 5 mins).
2.) Add mushrooms, salt and pepper. Sauté until mushrooms are soft and browned (about 8 mins). Stir in tomato paste and cook a few minutes longer, continually stirring.
3.) Add flour and stir, scrapping the bottom of the pan as you do. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add white wine to deglaze. Continue stirring and scrapping the bottom. Once wine is mostly evaporated, add vegetable broth, Worcestershire (or soy) sauce, mustard and thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes.
4.) Remove sauce from heat and stir in sour cream. Stir in cooked pasta and serve!

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Adapted from the Cookie Writer’s Mushroom Stroganoff (Vegetarian)

Simple Asian Peanut Noodles with Chicken

This dish is so. stinking. good. I’ve been making it for almost a year and am ashamed that it’s taken me this long to write about it. When we learned early last year that my middle son’s allergies would be keeping dairy, egg and gluten off the menu, I started trying more Asian recipes because they were typically conducive to our restrictive diet. This one was by far the best. The base of this recipe is the noodles (without the chicken). I’ve made it in the past topped with roasted shrimp and grilled chicken, but it would also be awesome as a vegetarian meal too. Tonight was my first attempt at this style of chicken and I loved it. Side note: I’m picky about chicken. I like grilled, I like roasted, I like boiled and shred… but I don’t like to cut up raw chicken and cook it because it typically gets too chewy. So I’ve long been perplexed about how the chicken at Asian restaurants is so tender. So I plopped some random phrase into Pinterest about how to get unchewy chicken for Asian recipes and wouldn’t you know there’s a technique: you “velvet” chicken. It’s really a thing. Well I tried it and it worked as advertised – delicious tender chicken pieces that went perfect with these noodles. So here you have it, my current favorite dinner for the fam (which, by the way, they all LOVE!) – hope you enjoy!

Simple Asian Peanut Noodles with Chicken

Simple Asian Peanut Noodles with Chicken

1 lb gluten free spaghetti noodles, cooked according to instructions
1/3 cup gluten free soy sauce
1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter – or more to taste (if you have creamy, just add chopped peanuts)
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
2 tsp rice vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 scallions, sliced
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp sesame seeds

1) While the pasta water is heating, add all ingredients (except pasta) in a small bowl (I used a 2 cup measuring cup). Stir well until ingredients are fully incorporated.
2) Pour over hot pasta. Add chicken (or other protein such as shrimp) – see below. Stir well until pasta is completely coated with the sauce.

“Velvet” Chicken
1 1/3 lbs chicken breast, cut into thin slices
2 tbsp canola oil (divided)
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp rice vinegar
1 large egg white
1/4 tsp salt

1)  Whisk in 1 tbsp oil, cornstarch, vinegar, egg white and salt in a medium bowl. Add chicken and coat well. Place in the refrigerator to marinate for 30 minutes.
2) Place 1 to 2 inches of water in a sauté pan and heat on high to boil. Once rapidly boiling, place the chicken pieces one at a time. Once the pan returns to boil, boil the chicken for 1 more minute. Remove with a slotted spoon. Set aside and cover to keep warm.

This recipe makes enough for my family of 5 with a little leftover. We love edamame with this dish too!

Velvet chicken

Velvet Chicken

Soy Peanut Sauce

Soy Peanut Sauce

Simple Asian Peanut Noodles with Chicken

Adapted from The Comfort of Cooking’s SIMPLE ASIAN SOY-PEANUT NOODLES and How to Velvet Chicken

 

Balsamic Pot Roast

For years I’ve stuck by my tried and true pot roast recipe – it’s good. Real good. But a few months ago I went looking for something a little different where I could rely on my crock pot to do most the work. I came across this recipe on Pinterest, and it was instantly a crowd-pleaser. The meat is super tender, and the flavor is awesome. It’s very simple – mix up the sauce, pour it over the meat in the crock pot, turn it on and forget about it. If you like a gravy with your meat, you remove the drippings at the end and simmer it on the stove with some corn starch. Last night was probably my 6th time I’ve made this, and every time I go to my blog to find the recipe, only to be reminded that I haven’t blogged this recipe yet. Well darn it, I’m finally doing it – partly to share with others… and partly so that in a few weeks when I want to make this again and I don’t have to search through hundreds of my pins 🙂 Since one of my kiddos is on a gluten-free diet, I just subbed gluten free soy sauce for the regular variety, and my whole family can eat it. Hope you enjoy!

Balsamic Pot Roast

1 3-lb boneless chuck roast
1 cup beef broth
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp gluten free soy sauce (regular OK too)
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tbsp corn starch (for gravy)

1.) In a medium bowl, whisk together beef broth, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, honey, garlic and pepper.
2.) Place chuck roast in crock pot and pour sauce over top.
3.) Set crock pot to Low and cook for about 6 hours.

To make gravy:
Take 1 1/2 cups of the drippings from the roast and place in a small saucepan. Mix the 2 tbsp corn starch with a few tbsps of cold water in a small bowl and mix until smooth. Whisk into drippings, and heat over medium high-heat until it simmers and sauce begins to thicken. Salt and pepper to taste.

Balsamic pot roast sauce

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Balsamic Pot Roast

Balsamic pot roast gravy

Adapted from Add a Pinch’s Balsamic Roast Beef recipe

Bacon Wrapped Pork Roast

A bright spot in our allergy struggles has been that we can all eat bacon. And so we eat bacon a lot. So when I was searching for a recipe for a pork roast I had bought, and came across a bacon wrapped pork roast, I was pretty excited. Turns out, it was for good reason. The roast was awesome and I’m already plotting how long I must wait to put this on the dinner menu again. Next week too soon?? Below is the whole dinner… it’s gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free and nut-free. I cooked it all in the same oven (once it went to 425), and there were very few dishes (because I lined 2 of the pans). Hope you enjoy!

Bacon Wrapped Pork Roast

1 pork loin roast (about 4 lbs)
Salt, pepper, garlic powder
1 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp spicy mustard
1 tbsp soy sauce (gluten free)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup pure maple syrup (divided)
10-12 slice of bacon (nitrate free)

1.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking dish with foil and place roast in it. Sprinkle it with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
2.) In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, spicy mustard, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and 1/4 cup maple syrup. Pour over pork roast, making sure it is coated well.
3.) Lay bacon slices over top of roast, overlapping slightly. Tuck them under the roast. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.
4.) Remove roast from oven, remove foil and baste the roast with the drippings. Turn the oven temp to 425 degrees and place the roast back in the oven. Bake for about 30 to 45 more minutes, or until internal temperature is at least 145 degrees.

Adapted from Sweet Tea and Corn Bread’s Bacon Wrapped Maple Glazed Pork Loin

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Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin

Asparagus with Balsamic Vinegar, Bacon and Maple

1 lb asparagus, ends trimmed
3 slice of bacon, diced
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup
Salt and pepper

1.) In a small non-stick skillet, fry the bacon until almost crispy.
2.) Place asparagus in a casserole dish, and pour bacon and bacon grease on top. Add vinegar, syrup, salt and pepper and toss.
3.) Bake at 425 for 15 minutes.

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Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

1 1/2 lbs fingerling potatoes, cut lengthwise
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried parsley

1.) Place all ingredients in a gallon Ziploc bag and toss until potatoes are evenly coated.
2.) Pour potatoes onto a parchment lined baking sheet, and make sure potatoes are in a single layer.
3.) Bake at 425 for 40 minutes

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Chicken Tikka Masala

I have to admit that I’m no expert in Indian cuisine. But this dish is one that I’ve loved since the first time I tried it a couple of years ago, and so I finally decided to make a from-scratch version myself. Total success – despite the fact that new baby Berkley needed mommy’s attention about 58 times during this meal preparation. I persevered and 3 hours later I finally had the spices measured and the chicken marinating. Not to worry, while this recipe does contain a lot of ingredients, it’s really not too complicated to make, especially if you measure out the spices for the marinade and sauce at the same time and are able to do so without double digit interruptions. The whole family loved this, and so it’ll definitely make it into the dinner rotation occasionally. Hope you enjoy!

Chicken Tikka Masala

1 1/2 lbs chicken breast cutlets

Marinade
2/3 cup plain greek yogurt
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp paprika

Sauce
4 tbsp butter
1 sweet onion, finely diced
1 tbsp cumin
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp paprika
Pinch of ground cloves
Pinch of nutmeg
8 ozs tomato sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream

Tip: There are many shared spices, so measure out for both the marinade and the sauce at the same time to save time and measuring spoons.

1.) Combine chicken and all ingredients for marinade in a gallon Ziploc bag, toss around and set aside. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2.) Place chicken cutlets on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove chicken and cut into 1-inch pieces. Set aside.
3.) While the chicken is cooking, melt butter in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent. Add all the spices and sauté for a minute longer. Stir in the tomato sauce and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 7 to 8 minutes. Stir in heavy cream and heat throughly. Remove from heat and add in chicken. Serve over jasmine rice.

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Chicken Tikka Masala

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice

A couple of years ago I went through a crock pot phase. I got all excited about making freezer meals and cooking them in the crock pot while I was at work and thought I had solved all my weeknight cooking problems. It didn’t work out so well for me. First, I’m gone too long for most crock pot dishes and even on low with a timer (that turns it to warm), most of my meat was way over cooked. Second, the meat started to get a funny taste that I can’t really put my finger on, but I just didn’t like it. Seemed like everything I put in the crock pot had that same funny taste, and I so I retired it for a while.

I’ve been wanting to find a good red beans and rice recipe, and when I came across a slow cooker version, I figured I would give it a try. I’m happy to report that this dish turned out great – and no funny taste. Yay!

If you like some heat in your red beans and rice, you may want to add a little cayenne pepper at the beginning. My kiddos don’t love spicy foods yet, so I opted to stick with just paprika. I also didn’t presoak these beans… they spend so much time in the slow cooker that they are perfectly tender by the end. The whole family really liked this meal, and we benefited all day from the awesome smell coming from the crock pot. Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice

1 lb dried small red beans, sorted and rinsed
1 medium sweet onion, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
4 bay leaves
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
7 cups chicken stock
10-12 ozs. smoked pork chops, diced
12-14 ozs. kielbasa sausage, cut lengthwise then sliced
8 servings of cooked rice

1.) Place first 10 ingredients in a crock pot and stir to combine. Cook either on low for 9 hours, or on high for 7 hours.
2.) Half way through, add smoked pork chops and kielbasa sausage.
3.) Serve over rice.

Adapted from The Weary Chef’s Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice 

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This is how it looked half way through right after I added the meat:

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Finished product!

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice

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