Monday, August 13, 2012

Mmm Mmm Monday

Without a doubt, my staple food these days is quinoa. I make it at least 3 times a week. I love that you can add different flavor combinations to it and make it a whole different dish ... It's such a great side. Oddly enough, I had never made it until I moved to Pennsylvania. I was constantly seeing recipes, reading my friends blogs or texts about loving it, but never made it myself. Also never actually hearing it pronounced. So when I walked into our grocery one day combing the aisles for it, finally asking the manager if they had it and found her looking at me very strangely. I kept asking though, "Do y'all have any of that "qui-noh-aah?" in my thick Arkansas accent. The sweet manager looked at my with her head cocked to the side, I'm sure trying not to laugh and said, "Do you men "keen-wha?" Oops.
So, note to self ... Quinoa is pronounced "Keen-wha." Got it.

Most of my quinoa recipes have been inspired from my friend the quinoa pro, Mandy. She always comes up with yummy flavor combinations that never disappoint.
This is my very fav:
Quinoa with Bell Pepper, Avocado, Tomato, and Feta
I toast the quinoa a little bit before I cook it. Just drizzle a little EVOO in your pan and stir it over medium heat for a few minutes. Mandy's best tip has been cooking the quinoa in chicken broth instead of water, MUCH more flavorful. Follow your package directions, but it's much like cooking rice- bring to a boil, then cover and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes. All the broth will be absorbed and you can add in your fav ingredients. For this recipe just add in what the name suggests: a diced bell pepper, a ripe tomato, an avocado and some feta cheese. I add a splash of lime juice and a little cilantro if I have it. It's great!
I didn't have a pic, so I borrowed one of Pinterest ... Forgive me.

This week I tried out a super yummy baked garlicky shrimp recipe. I have a major love affair with Panko bread crumbs, I prefer to crunch my calories.

This recipe was dee-licious.

Here's what you need.
1 lb. raw shrimp, deveined and peeled (I used the extra-large)
4 cloves minced garlic
2 Tbsp. white wine
salt and pepper
Half a stick of melted butter
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
2 Tbsp. fresh Italian-leaf parsley, chopped
And the juice of half a lemon.

And here's how you do it.

Preheat oven to 425.

In a bowl, combine the shrimp, garlic, and white wine. Stir to combine, then pour into a baking dish. Spread out evenly, and then season with salt and pepper.

In another bowl, use a fork to mix melted butter, Panko, and parsley until well combined. With your fingers, sprinkle the mixture evenly in the baking dish over the shrimp.

Transfer dish to oven and bake until the shrimp are pink and opaque, about 15-18 minutes.
Easy Peasy.

My last bit of yumminess was a spinach salad ... Have I mentioned how much I love spinach? Me and Popeye were practically separated at birth. Except that I don't think I would like canned spinach.
Anyway, if you're looking for a new yummy salad- look no further.
Spinach Salad with Maple Vinaigrette.
Start with a bag of baby spinach
Add in a carton of mushrooms (I sauté these in butter, Worchestire sauce, and garlic salt until desired doneness. I have to try to not eat them all out of the skillet.)
Toss in half of a sliced red onion, 1/2 a cup of Gorgonzola chese and 2 hard boiled eggs, chopped.
I think what made this was the sweet maple syrup vinaigrette.
I think the top chefs would tell you to emulsify all this is a food processor or something, but I just put all the ingredients in a mason jar and shake, shake, shake. I just eye-balled this- but I'll give estimates:
I used about four tablespoons of
Extra VirginOlive Oil, a tablespoon and a
half of real maple syrup, a two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, half a teaspoon of Dijon mustard and a little salt.
Now shake all your frustrations out. :)
Drizzle on your salad and toss well.
Yum to the O.


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