March 29, 2012
I admit that I’m late to the quinoa party. Quinoa recipes are everywhere now and I’d been so curious about this superfood for a while but had never tried it. My grocery store doesn’t carry it so I finally went to another grocery store slightly farther away that always seems to carry whatever it is that my grocery store doesn’t. When the check-out girl saw my bag of quinoa, she asked me if it was good, saying her mom wanted to try it for weight loss. I came home and made a batch just to keep on hand to eat as a side in place of my usual brown rice. Even though brown rice is good for your diet, quinoa is better because it’s a complete protein (meaning it has all of the essential amino acids we need). People say it has a nutty taste but I think it tastes more like corn which isn’t at all what I expected.
I wanted to try a recipe using quinoa in place of rice and since the spinach in my produce drawer was close to going bad and I needed to cook the leftover turkey sausage from the gratin I made earlier this week, the perfect dish to make was Sausage-Spinach Quinoa Bowl. With hot turkey sausage, spinach, and quinoa, this dish came together very quickly since I’d already cooked the quinoa. (Rinse the quinoa thoroughly. Bring one part quinoa, two parts water to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes until the liquid is absorbed.) The spiciness of the turkey sausage pairs terrifically with the bitter spinach and the red pepper flake gives it the slightest hint of kick. The quinoa made for a great substitute for the rice which is exactly what I was hoping it would do. I look forward to making this superfood more in the future!
Heat olive oil in a large skillet and cook sausage and red pepper over medium-high heat until browned and crumbled.
Add in garlic and cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
Add in spinach and cook 30 seconds or until spinach begins to wilt.
Stir in prepared rice or quinoa; cook 1 minute or until heated.
Overall Rating: Like It
Source: Cooking Light Magazine
March 28, 2012
When I was in Clearwater, Florida two weeks ago, I went to the beach one day with my friend Lori while my other two friends went golfing. The beach had a little tiki bar which we ponied up to while we contemplated lunch. After seeing the bartender hand a piña colada to the guy next to us, sinfully rimmed in honey and shredded coconut, we decided to forget our diets and forgo lunch for one of those decadent drinks. As we slowly enjoyed the high-caloried rum cocktail and licked the honey off our fingers, we talked about how a low-caloried Piña Colada Smoothie could easily be made at home, even as a cocktail with a shot of rum. With today being Lori’s birthday, it seemed only fitting that I post this in honor of her and our memories of the tiki bar that sunny day.
I’m weird about my smoothies and prefer them made with frozen fruit instead of ice. Frozen fruit tends to blend easier whereas with ice, I can never get it as smooth as I like. I already had frozen pineapple in my freezer and also had leftover coconut milk from the mahi mahi dish I made last week so all I had to add was a banana. The coconut milk adds the slightest coconut flavor without adding sweetness but if you like more coconut, consider adding in a little shredded coconut (but keep in mind, it will add more calories). A shot of white or coconut rum will make this a low-fat piña colada that you don’t have to feel guilty about.
Piña Colada Smoothie (makes 1 smoothie):
- 1/2 cup frozen chunk pineapple
- 1/2 small banana, sliced
- 1/2 cup light coconut milk
Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Garnish with a pineapple wedge and a maraschino cherry. To get even more decadent, rim your glass with honey and dip in shredded coconut for a fun presentation (like they did at the tiki hut – it was worth the sticky fingers!).
Blend all of the ingredients in a blender.
Garnish with a pineapple wedge and maraschino cherry (or honey and shredded coconut).
March 26, 2012
We’ve been so lucky in the Philadelphia area lately because the weather has been nice and warm, averaging in the 70s. But this past weekend, the temperate dropped to the 50s, the skies turned gray and down came the rain. Despite the fact that it brought a rainbow on Saturday afternoon and blue skies had returned by Sunday afternoon, it sent me right back into hybernation mode and all I wanted was comfort food. I initially thought that this recipe for Turkey Sausage, Mushroom, and Potato Gratin would be good for Easter but in my comfort food rage, I couldn’t stop myself from making it a little bit early.
I have to tell you that I looooooove turkey sausage. Pretty much any recipe I’ve made for this blog with turkey sausage has gotten my highest rating. I loved sausage as a kid, especially when smothered in maple syrup, and I regularly snacked on veggie sausage links when I was a vegetarian (and still do!). So, it shouldn’t surprise you when I tell you – I. Love. This. Dish! In fact, this is probably one of my favorite dishes I’ve made recently. Filled with creamy potatoes, spicy sausage, earthy mushrooms and topped with Swiss cheese and fresh thyme, this is a comforting dish that would be great for either brunch or dinner. I hunkered down with a bowl of this on Sunday afternoon while I watched The Shining for the 600th time. Comforting indeed!
Heat sausage in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté for 5 minutes or until browned, breaking up the sausage into crumbles. Remove the sausage from pan and wipe the pan with paper towels.
Melt the butter in the pan and add onion, sautéing for 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 6 minutes. Add the potatoes and salt and sauté for 5 minutes or until browned.
Stir in the cooked sausage and broth and remove from heat.
Spoon the mixture into a baking dish coated with cooking spray and top with cheese. Cover and bake in a 400°F for 30 minutes.
Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until golden. Sprinkle with thyme before serving.
Overall Rating: Love It
Source: Cooking Light Magazine