Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Happy Tax Day (or whatever else you might be celebrating today)!! 

A friend at work (same one who introduced me (and you!) to the new kale salad) brought this quinoa salad to our recent pot luck.  It was delicious and healthy too (2 things that I don’t always think go together).  Then randomly, I received a call from Erin McKool, owner of Start, the other day (totally about something else – she was not checking in on the recipe) and I took it as a sign that I needed to try this at home.  David is quite impressed by my recent recipes (thanks Charlotte – I owe you!)  If you don’t feel like making it yourself, go through the drive-thru at Start and try it. 

PS – as a mom, I think all places of business should have a drive-thru – I would frequent you more often.   
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
  1. 1 c extra virgin olive oil
  2. 1 2/3 c canola oil
  3. 1 c apple cider vinegar
  4. 1 ½ t lemon juice
  5. 2 t lemon zest
  6. 1 T clove garlic, minced
  7. 1 t dry mustard
  8. 1 t black pepper
  9. 2 t salt 

  1. 1 c fresh parsley, chopped
  2. 1 c fresh cilantro, chopped
  3. 2 c broccoli crowns, chopped (raw or blanched)
  4. 1 c red onion, small diced
  5. 1 c cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  6. 1 c kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
  7. 4 c white quinoa (1 c dry = @ 3 c cooked)
  8. 2 c feta cheese, crumbled

*notes: the amounts above make a very large salad.  I used 1 c of dry quinoa and then halved all other ingredients, including the dressing (and I have dressing leftover – perfect for making this again soon!)  I also blanched the broccoli so it was a little softer but the original recipe calls for raw.

For the vinaigrette dressing:
Whisk all ingredients until thoroughly blended. 

For the salad: 
Toss quinoa together with olives, parsley, cilantro, broccoli, red onion, and cherry tomatoes.

Pour 1 cup + 1 T of the vinaigrette dressing (this amount if following the quantities listed above) over quinoa mix and blend.  Top with crumbled feta cheese. Gently fold in the cheese.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Kale, Cabbage, Brussels Sprouts and Broccoli Salad

Elizabeth and Andrew recently completed a unit on immigrants.  They researched immigrants, created a character, wrote their story and even had their picture taken in immigrant clothing.  Elizabeth selected the name of Amanda.  I’m not sure why but while she is telling us all about the project, my mind jumps to “Amanda” – “A Mann, duh?!?!” and I try to figure out if I can use that somehow for a future holiday card.  I think I missed the point and failed on my ability to “be present” as a parent.

Cake balls and kale salad.  In my book, Charlotte can cook.  Don’t let the health value of this salad turn you away.  You chop up the ingredients so fine in the food processor that all you will taste is flavor and nuttiness and the sweet-tart of the cranberries and the refreshing zing of the dressing.  And then because you’ve been so healthy eating this salad, treat yourself to a cake ball (or two).

Kale, Cabbage, Brussels Sprout and Broccoli Salad
  1. Trader Joe’s Cruciferous Crunch Collection salad mix (10 oz) OR 4 cups of these ingredients mixed:
    • Kale
    • Green Cabbage
    • Red Cabbage
    • Brussels sprouts
    • Broccoli
  2. ½ c Sunflower seeds, roasted and unsalted
  3. ½ c Dried cranberries (like Craisins)
  4. ½ c Parmesan cheese, grated
  5. 2 T Lemon juice
  6. 3 T Olive oil
  7. ½ T Honey
  8. Salt and pepper to taste 

Pour half of the Trader Joe’s Cruciferous Crunch Collection salad mix in a food processor and pulse until chopped.  Remove and place in your mixing bowl.  Repeat with the other half of the bag of salad.  A 10 oz bag will yield about 4 cups of chopped salad.  OR finely chop or place in food processor a mix of kale (tough stems removed), green cabbage, red cabbage, Brussels sprouts and broccoli to create your own salad mix. 

Put sunflower seeds, dried cranberries and parmesan cheese into the chopped salad mix.

Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil and honey and pour over salad mixture.  Toss.  Season with salt and pepper.  Enjoy! 

PS - because I know you wanted to see the immigrant pictures.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


On our drive to CO for spring break, we saw a lot of farm roads.  Travis asked “why do all of these roads have their own radio station?” (you know, FM Road #...)

The kids often come home from school and tell me about the really good food that they eat in the cafeteria and could I make that too.  I haven’t found a good recipe for sloppy joes but I did try this meatloaf (to great success and accolades).  Yea me!

  1. 1 T olive oil  
  2. 3 C chopped yellow onions (3 onions) – or 3 T onion powder
  3. 1 t chopped fresh thyme leaves – or ½ t dried thyme
  4. 2 t kosher salt
  5. 1 t freshly ground black pepper
  6. 3 T Worcestershire sauce
  7. 1/3 c canned chicken stock or broth
  8. 1 T tomato paste
  9. 2 1/2 lbs ground chuck (81 percent lean) – or, I used the Kuby’s meatloaf mix which is ¾ lb ground beef + ¾ lb ground lamb + ¾ lb ground pork
  10. 1/2 c plain dry bread crumbs
  11. 2 large eggs, beaten
  12. 1/2 c ketchup

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan. Add the onions, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent but not brown. (Or simply add 3 T onion powder to the following mixture of ingredients).  Off the heat, add the Worcestershire sauce, chicken stock, and tomato paste. Allow to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, combine the ground meat(s), onion mixture, bread crumbs, and eggs, and mix lightly with a fork. Don't mash or the meat loaf will be dense. Shape the mixture into a rectangular loaf on a sheet pan covered with parchment paper (or I put the meat mixture in a loaf pan). Spread the ketchup evenly on top. Bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, until the internal temperature is 160 degrees F and the meat loaf is cooked through.  Serve hot.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Re-post: Tres Leches Bread Pudding in a Crock Pot

#TBS - Throw Back Sunday (yes, I made that up) - the recipe is worthy of a repeat but more importantly, the memory of when, where and how I ate this for the first time:

Good times are worth remembering.
Good friends are worth cherishing.

Diamonds are a girl's best friend but they can't make you giggle like a first grader the way a girl friend can.  The impact of a good friend is immeasurable and indescribable.  Whether you are in first grade or forty...  sometimes you just have to giggle.

Bread Pudding
Tres Leches Bread Pudding
(diamond accessories optional)
1.      Nonstick spray like Pam 
2.      2 1/4 cups whole milk 
3.      1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk 
4.      1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk 
5.      1/2 cup sugar 
6.      1 tablespoon vanilla extract 
7.      1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
8.      1 teaspoon kosher salt 
9.      9 large egg yolks 
10.  1 loaf challah bread, cut or torn into 1-inch pieces (stale is best) 
Cinnamon Sugar Sauce
1.      3/4 cup sugar 
2.      8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter 
3.      1/2 cup buttermilk 
4.      1 tablespoon light corn syrup 
5.      1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
6.      1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
7.      Pinch salt 
8.      1 teaspoon baking soda

Coat the insert of a slow cooker with nonstick spray. Line the insert with aluminum foil for easy removal, letting some foil overhand for handles.

Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together the whole milk, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, salt and egg yolks. Toss in the cubed bread and mix to coat all the bread.

Add the mixture to the slow cooker, cover and cook on low until the center of the bread pudding is set, about 4 hours. Remove the lid and cool. Use the foil handles to lift the bread pudding from the slow cooker. Drizzle individual servings with Cinnamon Sugar Sauce.

Cinnamon Sugar Sauce
In a heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, butter, buttermilk, corn syrup, vanilla, cinnamon and salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Remove from the heat and slowly add the baking soda.  At first the sauce will bubble up, just keep stirring.  Sauce will thicken as it cools.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Chicken Chili

Day 20 – how are you doing with your new year’s resolutions?  As part of my annual “eat healthier” resolution, I decided to try chicken chili.  A version of this one was our preferred choice and we have made it twice now.  I have also been exercising (thanks to my workout buddy, Travis) and purchased 2 boxes of Girl Scout cookies on opening day.  There’s always next year…

Chicken Chili

  1. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 1 large onion, chopped
  3. 4 garlic cloves, minced
  4. 2 pounds ground chicken
  5. 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
  6. 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  7. 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  8. 2 teaspoons chili powder
  9. 3 tablespoons flour
  10. 2 (15-ounce cans) cannellini or other white beans, rinsed and drained
  11. 1 bunch (about 1 pound) Swiss chard, stems removed, leaves chopped into 1-inch pieces
  12. 11/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
  13. 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  14. 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  15. Freshly ground black pepper for seasoning
  16. 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 

In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the ground chicken, 1 teaspoon salt, cumin, oregano, and chili powder. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes. Stir the flour into the chicken mixture. Add the beans, Swiss chard, corn, and chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a simmer, scraping up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Simmer for 55-60 minutes until the liquid has reduced by about half and the chili has thickened. Add the red pepper flakes and simmer for another 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Ladle the chili into serving bowls. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Raspberry French Toast Casserole

The Jews have survived.  Hanukkah, that is.  Now it is the Christians' turn to face the pressure.  Do you have the same number of gifts for each kid? (they are counting, you know).  And are they equitable? (they are mentally calculating that too).  

Equally as important, what are you eating on Christmas morning? (and what are you wearing, because cameras will be flashing).  A favorite Christmas morning treat is my mom’s coffee cake, of course.  Try Barefoot Contessa’s French toast casserole too – you can make it the day before and bake while you open gifts (from her Make It Ahead cookbook).  Delish (even David says so!)!!! 

Happiest of whatever holiday(s) you celebrate!  

Raspberry French Toast Casserole

  1. ½ T unsalted butter
  2. 5 extra-large eggs
  3. 1 ½ c half-and-half
  4. 1/6 c + 1 T sugar
  5. 1/6 c light brown sugar
  6. ½ T vanilla extract
  7. ¼ t kosher salt
  8. 5 c day-old challah bread (cut into 1 inch cubes) – (5 c is about half a challah)
  9. 6 oz raspberries
  10. Confectioners’ sugar
Grease an 8x8 Pyrex dish with the butter and set aside.  In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, 1/6 c of sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and salt.

Spread half the challah cubes into the dish.  Sprinkle the raspberries on top of the first layer of bread.  Top with the rest of the bread and pour on the egg mixture, pressing down lightly to moisten the bread.  Sprinkle the top with the remaining 1 T of sugar.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour (or overnight).

Preheat the oven to 350.  Place the baking dish on a sheet pan and bake for 60-70 minutes until the custard is set and the top if puffed and browned.  After 45 minutes, check if the top is getting too brown; if so, cover lightly with aluminum foil.  Cool for 10 minutes; sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.  Serve warm.

Note: this dish serves 5-6.  The original recipe is double and baked in a 9x13 baking dish.  Truth be told, we were disappointed that there were no leftovers so will double it next time.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Chosen Desserts

Chocolate Sheath Cake
Nine years ago our world quickly moved to a zone defense.  As the doctors talked about what they were doing for Christmas, the rest of us were anxiously awaiting the surprise of two babies.  We guessed they were a boy and girl but not in the order that they arrived.  

Butterfinger Ice Cream Pie
As their birthdays approached this year, I asked what kind of cake they wanted for their party and for their birthday dinner.  To my surprise, they did not choose Baskin Robbins or Central Market, but a chocolate sheath cake and a Butterfinger icecream pie.  No complaints here because it will be soon enough that mom is not cool and neither is her cooking!

Happy Birthday Elizabeth and Andrew!!   May the next 9 years be as sweet as the first!!