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Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Quinoa is a favorite of many with good reason. It’s a grain (actually a seed) that is loaded with protein and is gluten-free. It is easy to prepare and is the perfect blank canvas for many creative additions.

I love it in a salad because it can stand up to big tastes like the ones in this recipe. There is an explosion of tastes and textures, yet there is also a pleasant balance of flavors. Grilling the corn and mushrooms gave them both a flavor boost. The chewiness of the mushrooms gave the dish a “meaty” feel and the tomatoes and onions gave it just the right amount of crunch. Quinoa is innately toothsome and was a perfect counterbalance.

I opted for a vinaigrette liberally laced with lemon and rosemary and a big hint of garlic to keep with the Mediterranean theme. You could use another bean, maybe cannellini if you were so inclined. The addition of a little cheese, perhaps feta, wouldn’t be a sin either. As with all of my recipes, I want you to make it your own.

This would make a wonderful side dish at a cookout, but it would be equally at home starring as they main attraction.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
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Servings
8
Servings
8
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
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Servings
8
Servings
8
Ingredients
Dressing
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Cook the quinoa in the vegetable stock according to the package directions adding the lemon peel, crushed garlic, and rosemary sprig at the beginning of cooking. Once it is cooked, remove the garlic, lemon, and rosemary as well as any un-absorbed broth and transfer into a large bowl.
  2. Trim the stems on the mushrooms. Cut any very large ones in half. Toss with the olive oil and grill in a basket over medium heat until lightly browned. Add to the bowl of quinoa.
  3. Spray the ears of corn lightly with cooking spray and grill over medium heat until lightly charred on all sides. Allow to cool slightly. Cut the kernels off the cob and add them to the quinoa bowl.
  4. Drain the artichoke hearts well and roughly chop them before adding them to the bowl along with the red onions and garbanzo beans.
  5. Cut the tomatoes in half and add them to the bowl
  6. Toss the ingredients together gently. Add the dressing and toss once more. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Serve.
Dressing
  1. Combine the dressing ingredients in a small food processor. Blend until the dressing is smooth. There will be small flecks of rosemary...that is a good thing.
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Butternut Squash, Leek, and Apple Pizza

Butternut Squash, Leek, and Apple Pizza
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Servings
4
Servings
4
Butternut Squash, Leek, and Apple Pizza
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Servings
4
Servings
4
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Combine the squash, leek and apple slices in a large bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss until everything is nicely coated.
  2. Spread the mixture in a single layer on two rimmed baking sheets that have been lined with parchment paper. Place the herb sprigs on top of each pan.
  3. Roast in a preheated 375 degree oven for 15 - 20 minutes or until everything is tender and beginning to turn golden.
  4. Raise oven heat to 425 degrees. If you are using a pizza stone, place it in the center of the oven.
  5. Stretch and roll the crust into a circle slightly larger than your pizza pan. Spray the pan generously with the non-stick spray.
  6. Place the crust on the prepared pan and gently stretch into shape. Pierce the crust all over with a fork and bake in the oven (on the pizza stone if you are using it) for 6-8 minutes.
  7. Allow the goat cheese to soften slightly. Fold the honey into the cheese.
  8. Remove the crust from the oven. Top with the vegetable and apple mixture. Drop the cheese by teaspoonfuls evenly over the vegetables.
  9. Return to the oven and bake 6 - 8 minutes until the cheese is melted and lightly golden. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and serve cut in wedges.
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Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash Gratin

Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash Gratin
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The perfect holiday side dish that can also be a vegetarian main dish.
Servings
4
Servings
4
Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash Gratin
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The perfect holiday side dish that can also be a vegetarian main dish.
Servings
4
Servings
4
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Slice the squash and sweet potatoes in similar sized slices. Layer in a Gratin dish that has been coated with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a medium fry pan melt the butter over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and cook stirring occasionally until the onions soften and just begin to brown.
  3. Add the dried cranberries and the herb leaves and cook for 2 - 3 minutes. Stir in the Wondra flour and continue stirring and cooking for another 2 minutes. Do not let the roux brown.
  4. Stir the milk in slowly and continue to stir until it is smoothly incorporated. Continue cooking, stirring frequently until the sauce has thickened. Remove from the heat.
  5. Immediately add 3/4 cup of the grated cheese and stir until the cheese melts and the sauce is smooth. Pour over the squash and potatoes, spreading to evenly cover the top.
  6. Cover with foil and bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 35 minutes or so. Check that the potatoes and squash are tender.
  7. Sprinkle the remaining cheese evenly over the top and return to the oven uncovered. Bake another 10 minutes or so. The top should be golden brown and the sauce should be bubbling.
  8. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.
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Roasted Red Pepper and Bean Dip

DIGITAL CAMERAWhen is a dip a healthy lunch? When the dip has low fat protein and good carbs and a pop of color. This dip uses cannellini beans as its base. It’s joined by roasted red pepper out of a jar and a head of roasted garlic. Lemon, rosemary, and a little Kosher salt round out the flavors.DIGITAL CAMERA

This dip deserves a healthy assortment of dippers and I chose two vegetables that aren’t always chosen first for the team. ┬áSugar snap peas are one of my current crushes. I love the crunch and the taste which is a combination of English Peas and Snow Peas.

They were joined by Jicama. DIGITAL CAMERAThis crunchy tuber has been around for quite some time and I’ve always been a fan. It has the texture and appearance of a potato, but has a slightly sweet taste that reminds me of cucumber.

This lunch will be lovely out on the deck on a sunny afternoon. A tall glass of iced tea and perhaps a few baked pita chips on the side. Come on Spring!!!

Roasted Red Pepper and Bean Dip
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Roasted Red Pepper and Bean Dip
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a processor. Process until smooth.
  2. Taste and add more salt if needed. Chill for at least four hours or overnight. Serve with raw veggie dippers or crackers.
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Italian Beef Stew

DIGITAL CAMERABeef Stew warms the heart and fills the stomach. It’s a comfort food that that can even be romantic when shared with the one you love. This takes a bit of time, but it is worth every minute and step.

 

Italian Beef Stew
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An Italian-ized version of classic Beef Stew. Make it your own with wine, vegetable, and aromatics choices.
Servings
8
Servings
8
Italian Beef Stew
Print Recipe
An Italian-ized version of classic Beef Stew. Make it your own with wine, vegetable, and aromatics choices.
Servings
8
Servings
8
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Before you begin cooking, put your cooking vessel in the oven. Adjust the rack so that the covered pot will fit and slide in and out easily. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Heat a 5 -6 quart dutch oven. Add the bacon pieces and cook until the bacon is brown, but not crisp. Remove the bacon and drain on paper towels. Leave the drippings in the pan and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
  3. Cut the meat in 1-1/2 inch to 2 inch pieces. Dry on paper towels for at least 10 minutes (this helps the meat brown). Season the meat with salt and pepper just before browning.
  4. Brown the meat in batches turning to brown all sides. Put the browned meat into a bowl. If the pot is becoming dry, add additional olive oil. Set the bowl of browned meat aside.
  5. Add the chopped onions, garlic, and carrots to the pot and begin to cook over medium low heat. Add the bay leaf, rosemary, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, lemon zest and tomato paste. Cook, stirring often for 3 or 4 minutes. Return the bacon to the pot.
  6. Add the cup of red wine and stir to loosen the browned bits and de-glaze the pan. Continue to cook for a few minutes until things are smelling beautiful. Add the beef stock and water, (and a little more wine if you want). Bring the mixture to a boil.
  7. Add the beef and any accumulated juices to the pot. Cook until the mixture returns to a simmer. Once it is gently simmering, cover it and place in the oven. Cook covered for one hour.
  8. Remove the pot from the oven and add the onion wedges and sliced garlic. Mix gently, cover and return to the oven for another 30 minutes.
  9. Remove the pan from the oven and add the mushrooms. Stir to gently combine. Cover and return to the oven.
  10. Check the meat after 45 minutes or so. The meat should be fork tender, but not falling apart. When the meat is perfect, remove the pot from the oven.
  11. Add the lemon juice and olives. Stir to incorporate. Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl or ladle into individual dishes. Sprinkle with the parsley.
  12. This can be served as is with crusty bread or on top of your starch of choice; pasta, polenta, farro, etc.
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