Crunchy Cashew Thai Quinoa Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing

Crunchy Cashew Thai Quinoa Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing

As you’ve come to expect, this is another quick & easy dinner.  The scents of the dressing are heavenly and the flavors come together perfectly.  There just isn’t much more that needs to be said about this gorgeous and delish-dish from Ambitious Kitchen (say that three times fast!) except that it makes a lot (serves the five of us {with seconds} plus a couple small lunches the next day).

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • ½ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup chickpeas
  • ¼ cup green onions, diced
  • ½ cup cashew halves or peanuts (honey-roasted is good)
  • Fresh lime, for a bit of tang

Dressing

  • ¼ cup all natural peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 3 tablespoon soy sauce, gluten-free if desired
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Water to thin, if necessary

Instructions

  1. Rinse quinoa with cold water in mesh strainer. In a medium saucepan, bring 1 ½ cups of water to a boil. Add in quinoa and bring mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes or until quinoa has absorbed all of the water. Remove from heat and fluff quinoa with fork; place in large bowl and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes. You should have a little over 2 cups of quinoa.
  2. To make dressing: Add peanut butter and honey to a medium microwave safe bowl; heat in microwave for 20 seconds. Add in ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame and olive oil then stir until mixture is smooth and creamy. If you want a thinner dressing, simply stir in a teaspoon or two of water or olive oil.
  3. Add the dressing to the quinoa.
  4. Fold in cabbage, red pepper, onion, carrots, cilantro & chickpeas into the quinoa. Garnish with cashews or peanuts & green onions. Serve chilled or at room temperature with lime wedges if desired.
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Indian Lentil Sauté with Kale and Asparagus

Indian Lentil Sauté with Kale and Asparagus

I’d intended to prepare something different for dinner tonight but couldn’t find the recipe where I thought it was saved.  This dish from, Bev Cooks, was the last thing on my menu for the week and it looked simple enough so I tossed everything together in less than 30 minutes.  My daughter had a friend over for dinner and her family is Indian, so I was secretly pleased when she announced, “this looks exactly like what we eat at home.” – and then proceeded to gobble up every last bite.  Yay me!  I doubled what’s shown below and it made enough for three adults, three teens and a very cute, eight year old.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoons freshly minced fresh ginger
  • 1 Tablespoons(or more!) Indian curry powder
  • 1/2 bunch asparagus, sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 bunch kale, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 lemon
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the lentils and cook until tender, about 25 minutes.
  2. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium high. Add the onion and sauté until it starts to soften, 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and bloom 30 seconds. Add the curry powder and a pinch of salt and pepper. Continue to bloom the spices for another 30 seconds, or until fragrant.
  3. Add the asparagus and sauté until bright green, 2 minutes. Add the kale and continue to sauté until wilted, another 2 minutes.
  4. Drain the lentils and add them to the kale mixture. Toss to combine. Sprinkle with lots of cilantro and a good squeeze of the lemon juice.

Serve with more cilantro and lemon juice!

Baked Blueberry French Toast

Baked Blueberry French ToastClean eating is the theme of this recipe & originally, that is what the blogger over at The Gracious Pantry titled it but, seriously, that’s just way too much of a title for something so simple.  Do not, however, let its simplicity fool you into thinking this breakfast-for-dinner is anything except phenomenal.  Not to sound like an advertisement, and only to remind myself, but I used Oroweat Health Nut Bread; it has walnuts and sunflower seeds that seriously put this over the top in my mouth.

Lastly, next time I make this, I’m going full-vegan and omitting the eggs altogether, using 8 bananas (the original recipe calls for 8 egg whites).

Ingredients

  • 6 cups cubed, whole grain bread (I used the entire loaf)
  • 3/4 cup applesauce
  • 5 bananas
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the applesauce, almond milk, honey, extracts and cinnamon. Using an immersion blender mix until thoroughly combined (you could also mash with something…but mash it well so it coats the bread evenly when poured over top).
  2. Oil a baking dish (about 9 x 13), and fill it with the bread.
  3. Pour the liquid mixture over the bread and allow it to sit for at least 30 minutes, mixing once or twice to be sure all parts of the bread are moistened.
  4. Mix in the blueberries.
  5. Bake the casserole at 350 F. for about 30-45 minutes or until there is no longer any liquid between the bread.  {I baked it (convection oven) for 30 minutes.}
  6. Allow to cool a bit and serve.

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Vegan Tacos with Jicama & Cilantro

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We were invited to a friend’s house for a Mardi Gras party this weekend and were asked to bring something to share.  After digging through Google for a few minutes, I found these two recipes found at Lunch Box Bunch & Babble and combined them to make something amazing!  Jicama, cilantro and lime combined with the black beans and salsa make magic on a tortilla.  No, seriously.  Magic.  These can be served warm, but since I was taking to share, I just loaded up two bowls (one with beans and salsa, the other with the salad), took the bag of tortillas and called it pot-luck.  This will make a perfect hot-summer-day option because no cooking is involved and could make a great go-to lunch for the week.

Makes enough to stuff 20 tortillas (and then some!)

Ingredients

  • 20 pack flour tortillas, warmed
  • 2 cups fresh chopped tomato salsa (I used my favorite jar of salsa)
  • 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed

Combine salsa, beans in a medium bowl then refrigerate until ready to eat.

Jicama and Cilantro Mexican Salad

  • 1 large jicama, peeled, thinly diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves and stems, finely chopped
  • 1 cup red seedless grapes, halved
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • dash of cayenne

Directions for Salad:

1. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Toss well.
3. Chill for at least a half hour to allow flavors to marinate and mix.
Serve cold with beans and salsa mixture over top of tortillas.

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Fennel Leek Soup

Fennel Leek Soup

My good friend, Kelli, told me about this soup that her dad, Paul, made for her family and how much they all loved it!  Yesterday was a perfect, soup-kind-of-day so I pulled up the e-mail she sent to me and set to work vegan’izing it.  See the original recipe uses chicken & chicken broth but I wanted to keep it plant based so I took a couple liberties with substitutions, adding barley and wild rice to it (whereas the barley is optional in the original).

I was blown away with how good it turned out.  It’s easy to pull together, cooks up fast, and unlike my first attempt at a plant-based soup (that smelled like something died in it) this smelled amazing and it was so easy to go back for a second helping.  I’d never had leeks before and am still a fennel noob, so I was a little apprehensive, once again turning to You-tube to figure out how to cut the leeks (easy peasy) – so that’s my tip for this recipe.  Trust me, try it, you won’t regret it!

I had some leftover cornbread from a batch of vegan chili we had the other night so I broke it into chunks and tossed that on top for lunch today – perfection!

Ingredients

  • 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 5-6 leeks cleaned and sliced
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 2 fennel plants, (each plant has 2 bulbs) bulbs cleaned and sliced
  • 8 large mushrooms, sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tablespoons ground thyme
  • 68 oz. vegetable stock
  • 1 cup of rice
  • 1 cup wild barley
  • 2 handfuls of fresh cleaned spinach, roughly chopped

Directions

  1. In a large stock pot add the olive oil, carrots, leeks, garlic, sliced fennel bulbs & mushrooms.  Sauté for 5 – 10 minutes.  Add salt, pepper & thyme.
  2. Add vegetable stock, thyme, rice and barley to the mixture then bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes.
  3. Near the end of the simmer, add the fresh spinach leaves.

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Rice Salad with Fennel, Orange and Chickpeas

Rice Salad with Fennel, Orange and Chickpeas

This recipe is straight from the website Forks Over Knives.  We watched the DVD a few weeks ago and it was very influential.  We’re trying some new things, cooking a little differently and have taken out a few things from our diets.  I won’t go into all of that here, since you’re just here for the food, not a lecture. 

What I can tell you is that this recipe is really good!  The kids liked it and even though I was convinced, until my first bite, that it was going to be a FAIL, it wasn’t!  I thought the vinegar would be far too strong and overpower the rest of the dish, but it didn’t.  It lent a nice flavor to all the rice and the red pepper added just enough of a kick.  I’d never had fennel before so I was also nervous about that but, again, it was really very good.  We had this as our main dish and it was more than enough for the five of us with 3 lunches the next few days.

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups brown basmati rice
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas, or one 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and diced
  • 2 oranges, zested, peeled, and segmented (zest and segments reserved)
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup finely chopped parsley

Directions

  1. Rinse the rice under cold water and drain. Add it to a pot with 3 cups of cold water. Bring it to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium, and cook, covered, for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the rice is tender.
  2. While the rice cooks, combine the chickpeas, fennel, orange zest and segments, white wine vinegar, crushed red pepper flakes, and parsley in a large bowl and mix well. When the rice is finished, add the rice to the bowl and mix well.

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Triple Berry Kale Salad

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This salad found at How Sweet is filling, crispy, savory and a perfect way to start a new year!  It made enough for 4 adults with two smaller lunch portions the next day.

Ingredients

  • 2 heads of curly kale, leaves removed from stem and torn
  • 1 cup fresh tart cherries, pitted and sliced
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup fresh blackberries
  • 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
  • 2 avocados, chopped
  • 2/3 cup chopped toasted almonds
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Fresh Strawberry Vinaigrette

  • 3/4 cup sliced fresh strawberries
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch pepper
  • 1 pinch cinnamon

Combine all ingredients together in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

Directions for Salad

  1. Place kale in a large bowl, and add about 1/4 cup of the strawberry vinaigrette. Massage and rub dressing into kale with your hands, then let the kale sit for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Add in salt, pepper, cherries, berries & almonds.  Mix until kale is coated with the dressing then add avocado and gently toss.

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Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas

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Summer is officially here.  I mean, it’s been here for three weeks now and I’ve been trying to keep up with the kids.  Entertaining them, driving them places, feeding them, cleaning up after them.  It’s an excuse, really, for why I haven’t posted so long here at Maynard.  It’s a good excuse, but in the end, still just an excuse.  Maybe this recipe will make up for it?  It was Pinned at Pinterest several weeks back via Perry’s Palate; it’s very simple to pull together & full of varying flavors and textures.

Ingredients

  • 2 red bell peppers, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 medium onion, halved and slivered
  • 1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 cups salsa or pico de gallo
  • 2 ounces baby spinach leaves (about 2 big handfuls)
  • 9-10 corn tortillas, halved
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I used a cheddar-Monterey Jack blend)
  • sour cream and thinly sliced scallions (green onions) for garnish, if desired

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

  1. Place red bell peppers, cauliflower, sweet potato, onion, and corn kernels onto cookie sheet. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle the cumin and minced garlic over top. Add a generous pinch or two of salt and black pepper, then use your hands to mix everything together. Spread the vegetables evenly in the pan.
  2. Roast for 30-40 minutes until vegetables are tender and begin to brown in spots. Stir or shake the pan every 10 minutes for even roasting. Remove pan from oven and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
  3. Prepare an 8x8x2 or 9x9x2-inch square baking pan with nonstick spray.
  4. In a small bowl, stir the cilantro into the salsa.
  5. Spread 1/4 cup of salsa into the bottom of the baking pan. Add a layer of tortilla pieces, to completely cover the salsa. Top with 1/3 of the vegetables, a handful of spinach, and 1/3 of the cheese.
  6. Make a second layer of tortilla, salsa, vegetables, spinach, and cheese. Top with with a layer of tortillas, salsa, vegetables, and cheese. Cover with aluminum foil.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 10 minutes, until cheese is melted and everything is heated through.  Let it sit for 5 minutes and cut into squares. Serve with sour cream and a sprinkle of sliced scallions.

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Bean and Cheese Enchiladas

Bean and Cheese Enchiladas
Found at Eat at Home, these far exceeded my expectations of a simple and fast dinner.  I thought I had a can of enchilada sauce on hand in the pantry but when I pulled everything out to make dinner, I found myself lacking!  Not wanting to make a trip to the store for a one can, and with thoughts to call for pizza, I stuck to the budget for the week and didn’t want to disappoint my eleven year old who was eager to help make dinner.  I Googled for an enchilada sauce substitute and found the recipe for it below.  DE-LI-CIOUS is the only word to describe these.  Full of robust flavor these were comfort food at it’s finest!
I also used a taco seasoning recipe that I’ve been using for several batches of tacos because there is so little sodium to it and it’s YUM to the extreme!
Ingredients

  • 2 cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Tablespoons. butter
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 recipe for taco seasoning (below) OR 1 packet of taco seasoning mix
  • 1 recipe for enchilada sauce (below) OR 10 oz can enchilada sauce
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I used Monterey Jack and cheddar)
  • 18 flour tortillas

Directions
1.  Put taco seasoning*, butter, beans and half the can of tomato sauce in a pan.  Heat on medium, mash the beans and mix everything together. 
2.  Mix the enchilada sauce spices & water with the remaining tomato sauce.  Pour a bit in the bottom of a 9×13 inch pan and spread it around.  This will help keep the enchiladas from sticking.
4.  Spread some mashed beans on each tortilla and top with shredded cheese.  Roll up tightly and place in the pan.  (Yes, I managed to get all 18 tortillas in the pan.)
5. Pour the sauce over the top and add more cheese to the top.   Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
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Enchilada SauceFood.com
Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons mild chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried onion flakes
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 water

Mix
Taco SeasoningAll Recipes
Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Mix