Quinoa Kale Salad with Orange Poppy Seed Dressing ~ Did you make a “get healthy” or a “stay healthy” New Year’s resolution and perhaps already broke it? Or have you found yourself recently hiding and picking through boxes of girls scout cookies? Who me? It’s ok, really, those cute girl scouts get us every year too –– gah! I don’t really make the resolutions put I do try to stay on track for at least the first part of the year. To compensate for my *almost* two-days-old-eaten-box-of-thin-mints, I made a hearty and healthy salad for the week. Make it ahead of time to pack it up for an office lunch or serve it with some grilled chicken for a complete meal. I am happy to announce that I am now officially a monthly contributor on Studio 512 with it’s fabulous hostess Amanda Tatom. Watch us assembly this delicious salad below and look for more great recipes of mine to be featured on the show throughout 2015.
In this episode, I mention how to segment citrus –– you can watch that quick video HERE!
Loaded with all things good ~ Vitamins, Protein, Fiber, AND Flavor, dig in!
Cook quinoa according to instructions -- adding 1 1/2 of cups of water, bring to a boil then reduce heat and cook covered on low for 10 minutes. Then remove from heat and let sit in pan for another 5 minutes before gently stirring with a fork.
While quinoa is cooking add chopped kale and green onion to a large bowl. Slice oranges into segments and set aside.
In a small bowl or jar, add orange juice, poppy seeds, olive oil, honey, and salt. Whisk or shake together well.
Add warm quinoa to the kale bowl and stir until well combined. Then, add 1/2 of the salad dressing and continue to combine. Next add the orange segments and cheese. Give a final mix, adding more dressing if desired. Serve.
Roasted Kale Pesto Onions ~ I’ve mentioned my weird quirk with onions before and my (new) big love for them pickled but I guess I’ve never mentioned the “one” onion that converted me a true believer in these teary spheres. It was a longtime, favorite chef, friend of mine that used to turn these layer-y balls of weary into a glorious, flavorful side dish that could accompany just about any meal. Served along side a great steak, roasted chicken, or even a pot roast these were perfection. Pesto stuffed and roasted –– genius in my book, I mean what’s not to love? I was transformed from an onion fearing and loathing foe to a onion loving fool. Oh, the magic of pesto. I am still kinda weird and slightly picky about my raw onion intake but I’m working on it. This week with bunches of kale on-hand and in my mind, I took this original idea and brought it to our own dinner table –– earthy, kale pesto floating in roasted “boats” of onions. Serve them as a side or as an appetizer –– and who knows, you may just convert your own people –– and start some onion love.
Pick your onions –– you may use yellow, white or red for this dish.
Peel, cut off ends, and form boats –– leaving about 3 to 4 layers on the bottoms.
Make the kale pesto –– then try not to eat all of it.
Preheat over to 375 degrees. Remove peels and ends from onions and slice into quarters. Remove the inside layers, leaving about 3-4 layers of onion in each slice -- creating a "boat". Brush the tops of each onion lightly with a little olive oil and set aside.
Place kale, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, olive oil, garlic, and salt into a food processor or blender and pulse together until pesto forms --- about 20-30 seconds. Spoon kale mixture into the prepared onion boats and place them spread out evenly onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes of just until the outside edges get slightly golden in color. Remove from the oven and serve as an appetizer or as a side dish to your favorite meal.
Orange Oatmeal Scones with Almond Glaze ~ There was a coffee shop that I used to frequent often on my way into work when I lived in Chicago, many years ago. It was the perfect place to stop along my morning journey, for it had amazing house-roasted coffee and even better locally made pastries. There really is something lovely about a hot cup of coffee and a baked sweet treat to keep you going on a blistery cold winter’s day –– AND … I mean c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-old. It’s the windy city for a reason and most of us were bundled-up to our teary eyeballs just to get down the street or catch the train in the dark, brisk early hours of the day. One of my favorite things to grab at this particular coffee shop were the fresh scones infused with the perfect combination of flavors, firm outer edges, and a soft buttery middle. Yes, please. These Orange Oatmeal Scones with Almond Glaze can be made ahead of time or even at the start of your day as your coffee starts to percolate and you get your lunches packed. Oatmeal intertwined with sweet, zesty orange goodness topped with a nutty almond glaze is sure to get you going in the right direction — minus the frozen bits of tears on your face.
Make the no-fuss dough, shape into a large circle, then cut into 8 large scones.
Add fresh squeezed orange juice to make the glaze.
Sprinkle the freshly glazed scones with almond slivers.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl add flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt and whisk together well. Next, add in oatmeal and orange zest and continue to whisk until well combined.
In a medium bowl, lightly whisk egg and add milk and butter. Mix until well combined then pour the mixture into the flour mixture –– using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon –– and mix until just moistened. The batter will be sticky. Place batter onto a floured surface and form into a large 3/4 inch circle. Slice the circle into 8 equal portions. Use a spatula to transfer onto a baking sheet. Spread out evenly and leaving space between the wedges. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden. Top with almond glaze and serve.
for the almond glaze
Place the powdered sugar into a small bowl. Slowly stir in orange juice one Tablespoon at a time to get the right consistency. Once smooth and creamy but not too runny, drizzle over the scones. While the glaze is still wet sprinkle with almond slivers evenly then serve.
Thai Coconut + Sweet Potato Soup ~ I had lunch with a dear friend last week at a lovely, little spot called The Steeping Room. It’s a quaint cafe known mainly for their delicious array of hot teas and brunch items. Since it was a fairly cold kind of day (at least for us) and we were in the mood for something very warm (in addition to our tea) so we both ordered the soup of the day along with a few other hot dishes. The soup was a Thai Coconut + Sweet Potato Soup and ever since enjoying this hot bowl of goodness, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. The right amount of zip, paired with a good spice, and sweet potato-y creaminess just made my meal. On the way home, I remembered that I had some Thai Chilies stocked-up in my freezer that I picked up from the Two Happy Children Farm last fall –– a light bulb moment. If you don’t have access to Thai chilies you could try to substitute with red pepper chili flakes –– start with a 1/2 teaspoon and add in to your comfort level. Sweet coconut milk engulfed in creamy sweet potatoes and spice is sure to keep you warm on these cold, winter-y nights of late.
Cute, right? Hard to believe these little guys pack such a punch.
Place chopped sweet potatoes into a heavy duty pot and cover with enough water to have one inch of water at the top of the pan. Cover the pan with a lid and place over high heat. Bring to a boil. Boil the sweet potatoes until fork tender –– about 8-12 minutes. Once tender remove from heat. Drain the potatoes but keep the hot liquid. Place the sweet potatoes into a blender with coconut milk, leeks, lime zest, lime juice, ginger, and one chili pepper. Add in 2 cups of the hot sweet potato liquid to the blender. Pulse or blend until smooth and creamy, adding in more liquid if needed for desired consistency.
Pour soup into a heavy duty pan and place over medium low heat. Add in one or more Thai chilies to the soup -- depending on how hot you like it and allow to simmer for 10-20 minutes. Serve.
Maple Cilantro Sweet Potatoes –– Did you give up all things buttery and creamy for the new year? I will never give up my butter, but I am eating (or at least trying to) a little lighter after all of the holiday treats I consumed. I know what you are thinking, how can sweet potatoes be delicious without heavy cream or a sweet buttery emulsion added to them? Easy, I say –– add in fresh cilantro, a dash of zesty lime, and a touch pure maple syrup for Maple Cilantro Sweet Potatoes. These tubers are high in Vitamin A, B6, and C, so why not add them to your evening meal plan? A bowl of these bright orange, tender bits not only makes for a quick and easy side dish, they can also be thrown on top of a salad the next day … that is, if you happen to have any leftovers. Fear not and don’t worry, the butter and cream will back soon enough into our lives, but for now enjoy this little side.
Mmmmm … tender sweet potatoes.
Ready for the hot skillet.
Add in the fresh cilantro, a dash of zesty lime, and a touch pure maple syrup and you’re ready to go.
Place chopped sweet potatoes into a large pot, cover with with water by one inch over the top. Place lid on the pot and place pot over high heat. Bring to a boil. Once boiling let cook for 5-7 minutes or until just fork tender but not over cooked. Remove from heat and drain well. Dab potatoes gently with a towel if needed to remove any excess water.
Place a large heavy duty pan (cast iron if you have one) over medium high heat. Add olive oil and garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Next add in the potatoes, and sauté for two minutes. Finally add in the maple syrup, fresh lime juice and cilantro. Continue to sauté for another 2-3 minutes or until the sweet potatoes just turn slightly golden in color. Remove from heat, sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve.
Roasted Brussels Sprout Egg Bake –– It’s hard to believe that it was only about 5 years ago that I really started to enjoy Brussels sprouts. Sure I ate them on occasion, but they were not something that I would get all that excited about or seek to buy. Now, we eat them as often as we can and in as many ways as I can figure out. One of my favorite things to do with those little green nuggets is to cut them thinly or shave them into strips. When they are sliced this way, they can be eaten in a fresh salad or roasted to get the edges extra crispy … mmmmm … crispy edges, plus, slicing them thinly also helps the sprouts cook-up a bit faster. Like many, we are in need of quick and easy meals to get us through the weekday madness. Many times we end up having a breakfast meal for dinner –– things like egg tacos, pancakes, or crepes often come into our dinner repertoire. These are all thing that I know will be made and devoured in time for the homework to still get accomplished before the bedtime lights go out. This week, Brussels sprouts and eggs came into that play with this easy and healthy Roasted Brussels Sprout Egg Bake. I add hot sauce on the side of this so the kids don’t complain –– I’m working on their hot sauce tolerance levels (ha!) –– but you can throw it in if you prefer and need to heat up your weeknight a bit.
Top with crumbled cheese, sour cream, and your ready to rock.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using very sharp knife or mandoline thinly slice all of the Brussels sprouts and set aside. Place a heavy duty oven safe pan or large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil, garlic, and onions to the pan and sauté for one minute. Next add in the Brussels sprouts, red chili pepper flakes, salt and pepper, and sauté together for another 2 minutes. Squeeze in the lime juice and give a good stir then remove from heat. Next stir in the cilantro until well incorporated.
Using a large spoon make 5 "nests" or holes into the mixture. Crack one egg open into each nest, place pan into the oven for 6-10 minutes depending on how well you'd like your eggs to be cooked. Once cooked remove from heat. Top with sour cream, cheese and hot sauce, then serve.
Slow Cooker Spicy Chickpea Taco Salad –– As you may already know we have taco night just about every Tuesday in our house. This happens mainly in part due to “Taco Tuesday” –– thanks Lego Movie, everything IS awesome –– but also living in a taco rich state certainly helps too. One can imagine that […]
Healthy Orange Creamsicle Smoothie ~ I started out the year (as I did last year) thinking that we would sort of ease into it. You know, take it easy, not over schedule anything, and spend more time just relaxing after the busy holidays. Ha! I really don’t know where I got this grand delusion from […]
Lemon Broccoli Hummus –– I grew up watching Sunday night football. It started out as something my dad would do and then slowly over time my brothers and I would make our way to the living room to catch the latest game. I wasn’t extremely passionate about the game itself but I enjoyed the camaraderie […]
10 Fresh + Easy Salads to Kick-Off 2015 –– I know what you’re thinking … what have I done? I need a decent walk and a good salad to help me recover from that whirl-wind of holiday that just blew through here –– Maybe? Well, I am and I say, bring on the salads! Here […]