Tag Archives: spinach

Roots, Greens, and Shoots Quinoa

Have you been hearing about “superfoods” lately?  Foods that are supposedly the most nutritious food we can put into our bodies?  Well, I have.  The list of the top superfoods can vary by professional or article but I’ve seen enough written on the topic to know that quinoa, sweet potatoes, and spinach are all top contenders.  So when I came across a feature in Cooking Light magazine of different low-calorie quinoa combos, I was drawn to this Roots, Greens, and Shoots combination.

With nothing more than roasted sweet potato, baby spinach, toasted pecans and scallions, this quick meal is about as nutritious as you can get.  If you have a spare sweet potato or some leftover cooked quinoa, you also have a speedy meal.  But if not, either roast a sweet potato in a 375 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or buy a super-simple pre-wrapped sweet potato and microwave according to the directions.  Quinoa, which has become an easy replacement for rice in my house, can be cooked in 15 minutes with a 2:1 water ratio.  Although there isn’t any dressing or other flavoring to this dish, you might think this would be pretty bland but on the contrary, the combination of the sweetness in the potato, the crunch of the pecans and the zing of the scallions made this easily one of my favorite quick meals I’ve ever made.  In fact, it’s super.

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The ingredients:

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Combine chopped sweet potato, torn spinach, and sliced scallions in a bowl.

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Top with toasted pecans.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light magazine

Lemon-Braised Chicken Tenders and Cauliflower

Sorry for the two week silence and no blog posts.  I’ve really tried not to talk too much about work here but my work situation has been so stressful the last several months, specifically the last few weeks, that I come home at night and don’t do much but lay around in the dark, watch television and eat take out or fried egg sandwiches.  My weekends, which is usually when I do my cooking, have been a lot more of the same.  I’m probably depressed but I’ll be changing jobs at the end of the month so I’m hoping things start to get better.  Usually cooking calms me down and helps me to decompress but I haven’t even been up for doing that much.  The only good thing that comes out of eating badly for two weeks and laying around is that finally I want something better to eat, something somewhat healthy and something that maybe includes a fruit or vegetable.  So I finally got off my butt and made some food, specifically these Lemon-Braised Chicken Tenders and Cauliflower.

Frozen chicken tenders (yes, frozen) are mixed with onion and cauliflower before sitting in a lemon juice-chicken broth bath until mostly cooked.  After finishing cooking in the oven, spinach and scallions are added as well as slightly sweet dates and nuts (I used pecans instead of pistachios).  This is a truly unique mixture of flavors which all works together wonderfully.  I’m shocked that I like cauliflower as much as I do considering I wouldn’t go near it as a kid.  Or spinach.  Or scallions.  Or onions.  Or dates.  Hmm, who is that in the mirror looking back at me?

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The ingredients:

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Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add frozen chicken tenders. Cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Transfer to plate.

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To the same Dutch oven add onion and cauliflower. Cook 2 minutes until lightly browned. Add garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper; cook 30 seconds more. Add lemon juice. Stir,  scraping up brown bit in bottom of pan. Add chicken broth and lemon peel. Bring to boiling; cover and transfer to oven.

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Bake 10 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink (170 degrees F). Add spinach and green onion; cover and let stand 2 minutes to slightly wilt spinach.

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In a small bowl combine olives, dates, and pistachios. Spoon chicken mixture over cooked rice, if desired. Top with date mixture and additional lemon peel, if desired.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:

  • Olives

Substitutions:

  • Pecans

Overall Rating:  Like It

Source:  Better Homes and Gardens magazine

Spinach, Green Onion and Smoked Gouda Quiche

I like cheese but for the most part, I could take it or leave it.  This comment generally surprises anyone I tell this to who usually comes right back and says “I love cheese!” like I have something wrong with me.  Aside from Cheese Wiz with my soft pretzels or a slice of creamy American on my turkey burger, I didn’t really have a hankering for cheese.  Until smoked Gouda came along.  I can’t remember the first time I was introduced to this wonderful cheese but I do remember my friend Lori and I shielding the cheese table at a charity benefit a few years ago so that no one could get to the smoked Gouda without going through us first.  So it’s no wonder that this Spinach, Green Onion and Smoked Gouda Quiche recipe had me at hello.  I love me some spinach but without the smoked Gouda in this title, I might have otherwise passed it by.

Fresh baby spinach and scallions are sautéed until wilted and added to a mixture of low-fat mix, eggs, and shredded smoked Gouda.  Poured into a homemade, simple crust and baked until golden brown, this quiche is not the pretentious quiche you might have grown up hating.  This quiche is fresh and smoky, light and filling.  The crust itself requires some patience and the final product is pretty boring so next time I might just use a store-bought crust.  Either way, the smoky cheese and creamy texture of this quiche is the real winner and I’ve realized boring quiches needn’t be so boring after all.

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The ingredients:

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To prepare crust, place butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Combine milk, salt, and egg yolk in a small bowl; stir well with a whisk. Add milk mixture to butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition.

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Add flour; beat just until combined. Press mixture into a 4-inch circle on plastic wrap; cover. Chill for 1 hour.

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Unwrap and place chilled dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll dough into a 10-inch circle. Fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate. Freeze 15 minutes. Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool.

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To prepare filling, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add spinach; sauté 2 minutes.

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Combine 1 cup milk and remaining ingredients in a bowl; stir well with a whisk.

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Stir in spinach mixture. Pour filling into crust.

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Bake at 350°F for 35 minutes. Cut into 10 wedges.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

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