Quinoa with Tomato & Basil

Do you know quinoa? It’s a grain from South America that is becoming popular in the US. It can be used in place of rice or couscous for added protein. In fact, it contains all nine essential amino acids which makes it a complete protein. It cooks quickly, usually in 10-15 minutes and has a mild, slightly nutty flavor. Quinoa can be seasoned simply with olive oil or butter and salt, or mixed with a variety of vegetables and herbs for fun flavors.

The photo at left is a quinoa dish my mom prepared for us when I was visiting. She made it as a side for some beautiful grilled salmon. She cooked it in water until tender, then added chopped fresh tomato and basil, and seasoned lightly with salt. It was simple and tasty!

If you haven’t tried quinoa yet, go for it! Quinoa is available at many grocery stores, Target and Costco. For more recipe ideas check out the Top 20 most popular recipes for quinoa on allrecipes.com.

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Broccoli Salad Snacks

Broccoli Salad Snack appetizerMy husband got home from a business trip tonight so I decided to make his favorite thing for dinner – appetizers! Along with salami, cheese, crackers, carrots and dip, I made these tasty broccoli salad squares. They are one of his favorite things I make.

This recipe is based on a recipe I got from Pampered Chef about 15 years ago. I haven’t been able to find that slip of paper for a while, but luckily there’s not much to it so I just wing it!

Ingredients

2 crowns of broccoli, chopped

2-3 TBSP chopped red onion

1/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds

1/4 cup golden raisins

1/4 cup real bacon bits

1/2 cup mayonnaise

3 TBSP apple cider vinegar

1 TBSP sugar

1 can refrigerated crescent rolls

Directions:

  1. Roll out the crescent dough in a sheet (don’t break up into triangles) onto a rectangular baking stone
    or cookie sheet. Bake according to package directions, checking for it to reach a nice golden brown color. Allow to cool completely.
  2. While dough is baking, chop broccoli and onion. In a small bowl mix mayo, vinegar and sugar until smooth.
  3. Spread mayo dressing onto the bread. Sprinkle with broccoli, onion, bacon, raisins and sunflower seeds.
  4. Cut into squares with a pizza cutter or knife.

This makes an excellent dish to bring as an appetizer for potlucks.  I like to make a batch and just split it between the two of us for dinner! The kids turned up their noses at it. That’s OK, more for us!

Tart Cherry Scones

Tart Cherry Scones

I whipped up a double batch of these this morning. So warm and flaky – just right for a rainy morning.

Here’s what you need for a single batch, which makes 8 large scones:

2 cups flour

4 TBSP sugar

1 tsp salt

1 TBSP baking powder

6 TBSP cold butter

2/3 cup dried cherries

1/2 cup half & half

1 egg

 

These are very easy to make, you just need a pastry blender to mix in the butter.  This is what you do:

  1. In a medium bowl mix flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.
  2. Cut in butter
  3. Stir in dried cherries
  4. Measure the half & half. Break one egg into the measuring cup with half & half, beat until well mixed.
  5. Pour into the dry mix and stir with a fork until combined.
  6. Turn out onto a floured board. Knead a few times until dough stays together.
  7. Pat out into a circle 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick.
  8. Cut into quarters, then cut each of those in half to make eight triangles total.
  9. Place on unbaked cookie sheet and bake at 400°F for 15 minutes or until edges are slightly browned.

I like to buy the big bags of dried fruit at Costco. Our store usually has dried blueberries, cherries and cranberries. You could substitute any kind of dried fruit you prefer for the cherries. Happy baking everybody!