Thursday, July 30, 2015

Asian Quinoa Salad

Asian Quinoa Salad

This can be served as a light dinner, lunch as is, or as a side dish or salad to accompany a meal. It is vegan as is, packs protein from the quinoa and edamame, and contains lots of nutrition from the assorted vegetables. You can use whatever assortment of veggies that you have on hand. It is a great, light summer dinner that doesn't involve use of an oven.

-1 c dry quinoa, cooked according to package directions with 2 c water
-1/4 c soy sauce
-2 Tbsp sugar
-1 Tbsp rice vinegar
-1 Tbsp sesame oil
-1 clove garlic, minced
-1 Tbsp sesame seeds
-1" chunk ginger, peeled and minced
-1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
-1/2-1 tsp sriracha sauce
-1 c shredded red cabbage
-1/2 c shredded carrots
-1 c shelled edamame
-1/2 red, orange or yellow pepper, diced
-3 scallions, diced
-1/2 cucumber, diced
-2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

In a medium bowl, whisk together soy sauce- sriracha sauce. Toss with quinoa, cilantro, and all of the vegetables. Serve as is at room temperature, or chill until serving.

Mexican Quinoa with Black Beans and Corn

Mexican Quinoa with Black Beans and Corn

I have been making a lot of quinoa dishes lately. They serve as easy, healthy, summer meals that don't involve heating up an oven. This dish is vegan as is, but can have cheese added and melted over top. You can also stuff this mixture inside of bell peppers (and cover with cheese if desired) and bake them for a more sophisticated presentation.

-1 cup dry quinoa mixed with 2 cups water and cooked according to package directions
-1 c salsa or canned diced tomatoes
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
-1/4 tsp cayenne
-1/2 tsp cumin
-2 Tbsp lime juice
-1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained
-1 (15 oz) can corn, drained
-2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
-(optional) 1 c shredded cheddar cheese

In a medium bowl, whisk together salsa or tomatoes- lime juice, until well mixed. Stir in quinoa, black beans, corn and cilantro. Serve as is as a side dish or light dinner. If using cheese, stir in cheese and place in a greased casserole dish and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is melted.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Cold Brew Iced Coffee and Vietnamese Iced Coffee

Cold Brew Iced Coffee

By cold brewing iced coffee you will get a smoother, less bitter taste.

-1 (8-11 oz) package ground coffee
-1 gallon (or a little less) cold water

Place ground coffee in a large bowl, pitcher or container. Cover it with 1 gallon of cold water (I use a little less than 1 gallon because I make this in a 1 gallon pitcher so I just cover the coffee with water until the pitcher is full). Let the coffee brew/sit at room temperature for at least 8 hours. After 8 hours you will need to strain the mixture. You can do this by pouring it through a coffee filter, a few layers of cheese cloth, or a fine mesh sieve (my preferred way). Once strained, you will have a good concentrated base for iced coffee. You can keep this coffee concentrate in the fridge and it will stay good for several weeks. Fill a glass with ice, add the concentrate and add milk/ cream and sweetener as desired and you are good to go. You will always be less than 1 minute away from enjoying a great glass of iced coffee. For a more decadent treat you can add a few tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk to your glass for Vietnamese iced coffee. Or you can follow the recipe below if wanting to make Vietnamese Iced Coffee for a crowd.

Vietnamese Iced Coffee for a crowd

This is great for showers, brunches or really any party or occasion. It is addicting though, so beware!

-2 gallons (or slightly less) cold brew coffee concentrate as prepared above
-2 small cans of sweetened condensed milk (I always use fat-free sweetened condensed milk)

Pour the contents of the sweetened condensed milk cans into the bottom of your desired serving decanter/ container. Pour in a few cups of the coffee concentrate. Stir well with a spoon, scraping the bottom of the container, until all of the condensed milk has blended into the coffee and well dissolved. Add the remaining coffee concentrate and give it one final stir. You can add additional milk or cream at this point if desired, but I don't. Chill until serving. Either serve alongside a bucket of ice or add several handfuls of ice cubes to your container to keep the coffee cool.

 (When I make the coffee concentrate solely for the purpose of making Vietnamese Iced Coffee for a crowd I strain the coffee through a sieve pouring it directly into the serving container and mixing with the sweetened condensed milk. Doing so will save you a step).

Friday, July 10, 2015

Chicken Gyros

Chicken Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce

These are fairly quick, nutritious and are delicious! Serve with tabbouleh, hummus and/ or a Greek salad.

For the chicken
-1.25 lbs. chicken breasts
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-Juice of 1 lemon
-4 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
-4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
-4 heaping Tbsp. plain yogurt
-1 Tbsp. dried oregano
-1 Tbsp. sugar
 -1 tsp. salt
-1/2 tsp. black pepper

Tzatziki Sauce

-2 c plain yogurt
-1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely diced
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp dried dill
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1 tsp. red wine vinegar
-(optional) several mint leaves, chopped

For serving
-tzatziki sauce
-sliced  or diced tomatoes
-sliced red onion
-shredded lettuce
-pita bread

Make the sauce: Place the yogurt in a coffee filter or fine sieve and drain for at least 2 hours (and up to 8 hours). Combine drained yogurt with the remaining sauce ingredients. Stir to combine. Chill at least 1 hour (and up to 2 days) prior to serving.

Marinade the chicken: Whisk together the garlic- black pepper in a medium container. Add the chicken, turning to coat. Cover and refrigerate for about at least an hour (and up to 8 hours).

Preheat the broiler (or grill). Remove chicken from marinade and broil (or grill) until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side, depending what size/type chicken you are using. Allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes before slicing into strips.

Set up an assembly line with the sliced chicken and the ingredients for serving and allow everyone to assemble their own chicken gyro to taste.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Jerk Chicken with Jamaican Red Beans and Rice

Jerk Chicken with Jamaican Red Beans and Rice

This dish was inspired by this recipe at Iowa Girl Eats and modified with a few changes to suit our taste. This is Jeremy's favorite dinner. It's definitely a good twist on a plain old chicken and rice dinner.

Jerk Chicken

-1 Tablespoon allspice
-1 Tablespoon dried thyme
-1 Tablespoon sugar
-1 1/2 teaspoons ground sage
-3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
-3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
-3/4 cup white vinegar
-1/2 cup orange juice
-1/4 cup olive oil
-1/4 cup soy sauce
-Juice of 1 lime
-5 garlic cloves, minced
-4 chicken breasts
-2 Tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 2 Tablespoons water

Combine the allspice-garlic in a medium container. Whisk ingredients together well. Add chicken. Refrigerate and allow chicken to marinate for at least 1, and up to 8 hours.

When ready to cook, remove chicken from marinade. Grill or broil chicken for 5-7 minutes a side. While chicken is cooking, bring the marinade to a boil over medium heat in a small pot. Reduce heat and simmer sauce. Stir in cornstarch/ water mixture and simmer, stirring constantly until thickened. Continue to simmer until chicken is done (to kill any bacteria from the meat you need to have this sauce simmering or boiling for at least 10 minutes). When chicken is no longer pink in the middle, remove to a plate, and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve with the thickened sauce.

Jamaican Red Beans and Rice

-1 Tablespoon olive oil
-4 garlic cloves, minced
-4 green onions, chopped
-1 teaspoon dried thyme
-2 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
-1 can coconut milk
-1 cup chicken broth
-2 cups water
-2 cups brown rice
-1 teaspoon salt

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add garlic, green onion, and thyme, sauté for 1 minute. Add beans, coconut milk, chicken broth and water to the pan, then stir and bring to a boil. Add in rice and salt, cover and reduce heat to low, simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until all the liquid as been absorbed, and the rice is tender (adding additional water if needed until rice reaches desired tenderness).

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Chili Mac

Chili Mac

How could you go wrong combining two crowd pleasers like chili and mac and cheese? This is another quick and easy week night dinner that is fairly heatlthy. Use any shape or type of pasta that you like, I always use whole wheat pasta and think it's a good pairing for something as hearty as chili.

-1/2 box whole wheat elbow macaroni, cooked according to package directions
-1 Tbsp olive oil
-1 lb lean ground beef
-1 onion, diced
-1 bell pepper, diced
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-1 Tbsp chili powder
-1 tsp cumin
-1 tsp oregano
-1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne
-1 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
-2 Tbsp brown sugar
-2 Tbsp hot sauce
-1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
-1 (29 oz) can crushed tomatoes
-1 can kidney beans, drained
-2 c shredded cheddar cheese

Heat olive oil in medium pot over medium heat. Add beef, onion and bell pepper. Cook 10-15 minutes, until meat is no longer pink, stirring often and breaking the meat up with a wooden spoon. Drain meat mixture and return to heat. Add garlic, chili power, cumin, oregano, cayenne, salt, pepper and brown sugar. Cooking an additional minute, stirring constantly. Add hot sauce, diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes and beans. Simmer an additional 10 minutes (or more) until the flavors combine. Turn off heat and stir in cooked pasta. Stir in 1 cup of the cheese. Topp with remaining cup of cheese and place a lid on the pot for a few minutes to allow the cheese to melt. Serve with your favorite chili toppings; hot sauce, diced onions, jalapenos and/ or sour cream.