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Archive for May, 2012

So impressed was I that hubby really enjoyed this salad. So much so he took it for lunch today.  Now if only I could get the kidlets to enjoy quinoa since it is a complete protein and good for you.   Here’s hoping one day!

This is a quick-lunch, side dish or even meal for one. Add some roasted/grilled chicken  if you wish or it as is. Yum.

Quinoa, Cucumber & Mint Salad

1 cup quinoa
1 cup water
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup cucumber, quartered and sliced
3-4 green onions, sliced
1/3 cup packed fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
salt & pepper to taste

Add water, quinoa and salt to pot, bring to a boil. Reduce, cover and simmer until water has been absorbed and quinoa tender (about 12-15 minutes). Scoop into a bowl and set aside to cool.

In a cup, or small bowl whisk together vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Pour it on quinoa and add cucumber, green onions, parsley & mint.  Mix well.  Adjust seasonings as needed.  Pairs nicely with grilled meat.

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I’ve tried many different versions of chicken fajita’s and always found the flavours are rather bland.  This recipe had the flavours blending nicely and everyone loving this dish.  In fact my dd asked for it for lunch the next day at school (now that is unusual).

Fajita’s for our family are a quick & easy supper on an activity night.  These are truly yummy.

Chicken Fajitas

4 chicken breasts, boneless & skinless
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp cumin
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp lime juice, fresh
oil (canola or olive oil)
1/2 cup spanish onion, sliced
1 cup pepper (red, green, orange, yellow), sliced
whole wheat flour tortillas 

Fixins
shredded lettuce
diced tomato
salsa
guacamole
sour cream
hot peppers (banana or jalapeno)
shredded cheese
I also used pico de gallo & chopped cilantro

In a ziplock bag combine chili powder, oregano, salt, cumin, garlic, lime juice and a little oil.  Seal bag and smoosh to combine flavours. Add your chicken and smoosh a little more.  Refrigerate for a minimum 15 minutes or longer if you have time.

Put your onions and peppers in a bowl.  Pour on a little oil and season with salt, pepper and a little cumin.

Take chicken out of marinade and drain.  Put on greased BBQ and grill approximately 6-7  minutes per side on med-high until cooked through and juices run clear.  Remove from heat and let rest under cover.

Meanwhile on a pre heated BBQ grill topper or stove top grill pan add some oil and your onion/pepper mix.  Give it a little more s&p and saute for about 4-5 minutes or under veggies tender crisp. Set aside in a bowl.

Get all your fixin’s ready, heat up your flour tortillas (10 seconds in microwave), slice your chicken, grab some peppers/onions and you are ready to assemble your chicken fajita.

My family loves them!

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Chickpeas, also known as: ceci bean, garbanzo bean, chana, sanagalu Indian pea and Bengal gram are very good for you.  They contain Vitamins, Iron, Minerals, Fiber, Calcium and Protein to name a few. For a more detailed breakdown on the nutritional value of chickpeas go to the Nutrient Analysis

You can use them in stews, chili’s, roasted, toasted, pureed, dips, soups, salads…the possibilities are endless.

I recently made this recipe for a BBQ.  Simple and delicious made this salad a winner.

Chickpea & Artichoke Salad

1 can (19oz) chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes (or grape), halved
1/2 cup pepper (any colour), diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/3 cup red onion, diced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 jar marinated (in oil) artichoke hearts
salt & pepper to taste

Drain artichokes in a bowl, keeping liquid. Cut into quarters. Set aside.

Combine all remaining ingredients in a bowl. Add artichokes and reserved liquid to bowl. Add a good amount of pepper and sprinkle of salt, tossing to combine.

You can let salad sit in fridge and marinate or you can serve immediately.

Feta and kalamata olives would be a nice addition to this salad.

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This pizza recipe brings back memories from my days living in Vancouver.  I made it quite a few times since it was easy and I like easy. Fresh seasonal fruit, with a tasty cream cheese icing on a shortbread base makes for a perfect summer dessert.

Little hands can easily help with this recipe.

 

Fruit Pizza

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 cup icing sugar
1 cup butter, softened

Icing
12 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Glaze
1/3 cup Apricot Jam
1 tbsp water

Fresh fruit

Preheat oven to 350F.

Mix first 5 ingredients together in a bowl until it comes together and you can form a ball. Press onto bottom of pizza pan. If you lay parchment down first it will allow you to remove pizza easily to a cake platter.

Bake for approx 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely.

Tip: On a hot summer day you can cook the crust on your BBQ instead of turning your oven on.

To make icing beat together cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Spread evenly over pizza crust.

Arrange your fruit on top.

Mix together apricot jam & water. If you wish you can run it through a sieve to remove chunks of apricot. I left the apricot pieces in this time.

Pour glaze over fruit and serve.

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With activities taking up several evenings during the week I am always on the look out for a quick, affordable and nutritious meal.  Pork Chops can be fried, grilled or broiled quickly and a lean protein our family enjoys.

Adapted from Atco Blue Flame

Maple Soy Pork Chops

2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp oil
1-2 tsp ginger, freshly grated
3 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
3 cloves garlic, crushed
4 boneless pork chops

Add all ingredients except pork chops into a ziplock style bag. Mush it up to combine. Add your pork chops, seal bag and squishy bag to ensure chops are coated evenly.

Marinate for a minimum 30 minutes. Longer is better.

Remove pork chops from bag and grill over low heat on BBQ until done, about 30 minutes for thicker chops.

In the photo I paired my pork chop with balsamic & basil grilled veggies. Will post that recipe soon.

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Third times a charm?  Good thing I’ve had 5 workouts in 4 days to make myself feel better about these pizza experiments.  This will be the last pizza submission for this week as I am getting pizza’d out.  However having said that I have at least 4 more ideas spinning through my head for pizzas based on leftovers.

Leftover taco meat can be used many ways.  On a pizza for a quick lunch or supper is a quick meal for a busy family.  I love hot peppers and used pickled jalapeno’s in this recipe.  I also used regular peppers (orange, yellow & green) both sliced and diced. 

Options are endless.  What I enjoy on a taco or taco salad is what I put on this pizza.  I did not use exact quantities below as some people may prefer more of a topping, others less.  You decide.

 

Taco & Pepper Pita Pizza


1/4-1/2 cup taco meat
1/4 cup peppers (cut into rings, or diced)
1-2 tbsp salsa (or taco sauce)
1 tbsp pickled jalapeno peppers (or banana peppers)
1/4 cup diced tomatoes
1/2-1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese or monterey jack
1/2 cup sliced lettuce (romaine)

Spread salsa on your pita with a spoon, knife or pastry brush.

Next layer on your peppers, tomatoes and taco meat. Finally spread your cheese all over.  I admittedly added a light dusting of shredded parmesan on top.

Broil in oven for about 2-3 minutes or until cheese melted and bubbling. I bake mine on a pizza stone but a cookie sheet or pizza pan works just as well.

Remove from oven, let sit for a few minutes before slicing. I sprinkled fresh lettuce on top.  Outstanding.

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I thought yesterday’s pizza creation was pretty tasty and since today is pizza day for lunch, the inspiration carried over and I wanted to create another yummy pizza.

I always use pita pockets to make pizzas for lunch for the kids.  They are the perfect size for little hands/people and hold the ingredients well.   Looking around my kitchen for inspiration I discovered some uncooked squash that needed to be used up.  Not enough time to grill it, I steamed it instead.  Being a lover of all things squash but never having had it on pizza I was up for the challenge.  I looked through the fridge and fished out some basil and goat cheese.  A new recipe was born.

Note: If you like goat cheese but do not care for a lot of pepper buy a plain or perhaps herb goat cheese and omit the additional cracked pepper I added at the end.

I can honestly say I had a Clinton Kelly moment when I took my first bite.  (If you ever watch The Chew….love that show…whenever Clinton tastes something he adores he becomes incoherent).  Yes I felt that way, this pizza rocked my socks off.  Trying to figure out what to call this pizza was my biggest challenge. 

If you are up for a new pizza and like the ingredients…try it, you will not be disappointed.  I didn’t calore count this one but I’m pretty sure since there are fewer ingredients it is well under 500 calories.

Squash & Goat Cheese Pita Pizza

1 Byblos Garlic Greek Pita Pocket
1-2 tbsp Soft Unripened Peppercorn Goat Cheese, broken up
Olive Oil
2-3 sprigs Fresh Basil, chiffonade
1/2 cup cooked butternut squash (grill or steam), chopped into smaller pieces
1-2 tbsp Asiago Cheese, shredded
Cracked Black Pepper

Drizzle a little olive oil onto your pita. Spread with a pastry brush.

Next add your cut, cooked butternut squash and your goat cheese. Sprinkle on your basil and some Asiago cheese.

Broil on pizza stone for 2-3 minutes or until Asiago cheese melts a little and edges of pita brown. Remove from oven and let sit a few minutes.  If you do not have a pizza stone a pizza pan or cookie sheet works just as well.

Just before serving (to myself) I added additional Asiago & basil on top and some fresh cracked black pepper.

For me this taste combination was a winner…one the next time the family wants pizza for supper…I will happily oblige.

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