Fresh Garden Quinoa Salad

My wife and I go through this dilemma, probably like most of you, about once every couple of weeks and that is that we really consider eating ‘more healthy’ and incorporate more fresh vegetables and ‘good’ stuff into our weekly dinner plans. This is not to say that we do not eat healthy. In my opinion we do really well and rarely go out to eat, limit our intake on junk foods, and eat fairly well balanced meals throughout the week. Granted, we are eating more meat than we probably should but I think that defaults to my kids as if it were just my wife and I eating we would most likely be very content eating a nice salad on a daily basis. So not too long ago my wife had mentioned this idea and stated that she would really like to eat more quinoa. I listen to that stuff, and felt it was my duty to turn her on to a nice fresh garden salad. A quinoa salad that was packed full of crunch vegetables, and loaded with flavor.

Fresh Garden Quinoa Salad Recipe
Fresh Garden Quinoa Salad Recipe

This quinoa salad is simple to make and is perfect as a main meal, or side dish. It’s got great crunch and an awesome citrus kick to boot.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 red or orange bell pepper, seeds removed, diced
  • 1 medium sized tomato, seeds removed, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed, diced
  • 1 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 1 cucumber, seeds removed, diced
  • 1 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 cup skillet fried chick peas, optional
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper to taste

If you have never cooked quinoa, it could not be easier. It is as simple as rice (without the rice cooker). Simply add water, add quinoa, stir, wait, and fluff.

Let’s begin by bringing 2 cups of lightly salted water to a boil. Add in the quinoa, stir, cover, reduce heat to a medium-low, and cook for about 15 minutes.  The water should be absorbed and the quinoa should be translucent. Taste so that it is tender. Once tender, remove from the heat, dump it into a mixing bowl, and let it cool.

Quinoa Salad Ingredients
Quinoa Salad Ingredients

Next, prepare all of your diced ingredients. I will leave it up to you if you want to leave the skin on your cucumber or not. I’m a fan on skin on with my vegetables whether that be cucumbers, potatoes, or carrots. Again, I will leave it up to you. Just make sure you get rid of the seeds. Once you have all of your veggies chopped and diced, add them to the bowl of quinoa.  If you are going with a bit more protein, add the skillet fried chickpeas (great for texture).

Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and olive oil. Season with a generous pinch of salt and some cracked black pepper. Give this a good stir to mix everything, and then give it a taste. Does it need more salt, pepper, or oil? If so, go for it and adjust to your liking.

Now you are ready to serve. This quinoa salad is not only super healthy for you, but darn it is delicious. A perfect side dish for a family night meal, or a great leftover to pack for your daily lunch. Enjoy!

Fresh Garden Quinoa Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Salads
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 red or orange bell pepper, seeds removed, diced
  • 1 medium sized tomato, seeds removed, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed, diced
  • 1 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 1 cucumber, seeds removed, diced
  • 1 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 cup skillet fried chick peas, optional
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Let’s begin by bringing 2 cups of lightly salted water to a boil. Add in the quinoa, stir, cover, reduce heat to a medium-low, and cook for about 15 minutes. The water should be absorbed and the quinoa should be translucent. Taste so that it is tender. Once tender, remove from the heat, dump it into a mixing bowl, and let it cool.
  2. Next, prepare all of your diced ingredients. I will leave it up to you if you want to leave the skin on your cucumber or not. I’m a fan on skin on with my vegetables whether that be cucumbers, potatoes, or carrots. Again, I will leave it up to you. Just make sure you get rid of the seeds. Once you have all of your veggies chopped and diced, add them to the bowl of quinoa. If you are going with a bit more protein, add the skillet fried chickpeas (great for texture).
  3. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and olive oil. Season with a generous pinch of salt and some cracked black pepper. Give this a good stir to mix everything, and then give it a taste. Does it need more salt, pepper, or oil? If so, go for it and adjust to your liking.
  4. Now you are ready to serve.

More Quinoa Recipes:

Moroccan Beef

These past few weeks I have been craving all sorts of foods, most likely because I am limited in going out for some of my favorite things like tacos, Thai food, or heck even some down and dirty Chinese buffet. My diet is not as much limited but I am limited as to where I can go as I continue to tackle this thing called cancer. I’ve been through this routine once before where I know what I can and cannot do, and that my taste buds might be a bit jacked, along with the overall energy to get things on the table, but I have been doing rather well and getting in what I can each and every meal. Lately I was in the mood for all things vinegar and garlic and hence why I was making things like Filipino adobo, and fried bangus for breakfast, and then came the craving for things like Indian curried lentils, among other unique and wonderful flavors.

As we are trying to use what we have around us and limit our shopping to some degree, it has become my daily challenge in a sense to come up with something new (and sometimes not) and exciting for everyone to hopefully enjoy. Not only that my levels in my blood work were screaming some nutrients that I was not getting, and hence a play on this dish. This is when I decided to make some Moroccan beef as it almost reminded me of a Filipino breakfast I once had known as a torta but with a few extra ingredients.

Moroccan Beef Recipe
Moroccan Beef Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs ground chuck
  • 2 carrots, peeled, diced
  • 1 rib of celery, diced
  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled, cubed, cooked al dente
  • 1/2 cup green lentils, cooked al dente
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots
  • 1 tbsp berebere spice
  • 1/2 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tbsp salt, to taste
  •  1 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • Cooked jasmine rice, optional

Start by heating a large skillet or pot on medium heat. Toss in the ground chuck and start breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Continue to cook until it no longer pink. Retain the fat in the pan, about 2 tablespoons. If there is more, remove and discard.

Moroccan Beef Ingredients
Moroccan Beef Ingredients

Add in the shallots, garlic, carrots, and celery. Give a good stir. Toss in all of the spices and give that a good stir. The seasonings will start to bloom. Cook for a few minutes, then add in the lentils, apricots, and potatoes. Give this another gentle stir, then add in the chicken stock. Another gentle stir.

Give it a taste and see if it requires any additional salt. You should get getting the warm spice from the cinnamon, the color from the turmeric, and the spice from the bebere. Along with the tender potatoes, lentils, and beef, well you have yourself one very delicious dish. Feel free to try with ground chicken, turkey, or heck just go all vegetables and I’m certain you will still enjoy it.

Moroccan Beef
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ lbs ground chuck
  • 2 carrots, peeled, diced
  • 1 rib of celery, diced
  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled, cubed, cooked al dente
  • ½ cup green lentils, cooked al dente
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup dried apricots
  • 1 tbsp berebere spice
  • ½ tbsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tbsp salt, to taste
  •  1½ tsp cracked black pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • Cooked jasmine rice, optional
Instructions
  1. Start by heating a large skillet or pot on medium heat. Toss in the ground chuck and start breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Continue to cook until it no longer pink. Retain the fat in the pan, about 2 tablespoons. If there is more, remove and discard.
  2. Add in the shallots, garlic, carrots, and celery. Give a good stir. Toss in all of the spices and give that a good stir. The seasonings will start to bloom. Cook for a few minutes, then add in the lentils, apricots, and potatoes. Give this another gentle stir, then add in the chicken stock. Another gentle stir.
  3. Give it a taste and see if it requires any additional salt. You should get getting the warm spice from the cinnamon, the color from the turmeric, and the spice from the bebere. Along with the tender potatoes, lentils, and beef, well you have yourself one very delicious dish. Feel free to try with ground chicken, turkey, or heck just go all vegetables and I’m certain you will still enjoy it.

 

Filipino Fried Bangus Breakfast (Daing na Bangus)

I have always been curious when my Filipino relatives discuss food, whether things they are making at home, or things to try when travelling to the Philippines. It seems like I have only skimmed the top when it comes to making Filipino food. The common ones are lechon kawali, bicol express, kare kare, arroz caldo, lechon manok, paksiw lechon, lumpia shanghai, and their famous adobo.

The reality is that there is so much more, especially with their desserts which I have really yet to try. There have been several occasions when I have heard of a great breakfast, beyond a plate of garlic fried rice and tocino, and it inspired me because it is something similar to what I grew up eating when visiting my grandparents lake house, and that was fried fish with eggs. It was one of my favorites, and this one tops the list as well. A Filipino fried bangus breakfast.

Filipino Fried Bangus Recipe
Filipino Fried Bangus Recipe

The fish takes a bit of preparation but nothing out of the ordinary. A simple marinade, preferably overnight, along with the removal of any bones (you can do this beforehand, or cautiously pick them out as you dig at it after cooking).  The small amount of time pays off.  If you have never heard of bangus, don’t worry. The common name for it is Milkfish.  What is great about this is that it holds the flavor of the marinade, does not take very long to pan fry, and it is a great, white and firm meat. You can find bangus, most likely, in your local Asian market, and typically frozen.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 4 filets of bangus, bones removed are optional
  • 1 cup of distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lightly crushed whole black peppercorns
  • 1 head of garlic, skins removed, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup of cooked jasmine rice, optional, per serving
  • 2 eggs, cooked to your liking, per serving
  • Thai bird chilies, optional

Start by marinating your fish. To a sealable plastic bag, or medium sized bowl, add the vinegar, garlic, black peppercorns, and salt and mix to combine.  Add the bangus (in my case they came portioned, most likely quartered). Give a good mix, seal or cover, and let everything marry overnight.

The following morning, remove the bangus, and place onto a plate. Pat both sides with paper towel and remove any peppercorns or garlic from the fish. Don’t worry if some stick on the fish. That’s extra flavor in my opinion!

Ingredients for making Filipino Bangus
Ingredients for making Filipino Bangus

Get a large skillet ready, and add in your oil. Bring this to a medium-high heat. After a few minutes of warming the oil, lay in the filets, skin side down, and cook for about 4 minutes or until the skin is nice and crispy. Once the skin is crispy, gently flip it over and cook an additional 4 minutes.

During this time, feel free to plate your cooked jasmine rice, cook your eggs, and plate that, and get ready to feast.

Once the fish is cooked, remove with a slotted spatula, preferably a fish spatula, and place on a paper towel lined plate to remove any excess oil. Remove the filets from the plate and onto your plate along with the rice and eggs, and dig in.

I loved this dish. Not only the flavor of the vinegar, garlic, and peppercorns but when that fish is mixed with the rice and eggs, well you have one heck of a breakfast! If you cannot find the bangus, feel free to try the marinade on another firm whitefish. Hope you enjoy!

Filipino Fried Bangus Breakfast (Daing na Bangus)
Author: 
Recipe type: Filipino
Cuisine: Asian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 4 filets of bangus, bones removed are optional
  • 1 cup of distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lightly crushed whole black peppercorns
  • 1 head of garlic, skins removed, roughly chopped
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup of cooked jasmine rice, optional, per serving
  • 2 eggs, cooked to your liking, per serving
  • Thai bird chilies, optional
Instructions
  1. The fish takes a bit of preparation but nothing out of the ordinary. A simple marinade, preferably overnight, along with the removal of any bones (you can do this beforehand, or cautiously pick them out as you dig at it after cooking).  The small amount of time pays off.  If you have never heard of bangus, don't worry. The common name for it is Milkfish.  What is great about this is that it holds the flavor of the marinade, does not take very long to pan fry, and it is a great, white and firm meat. You can find bangus, most likely, in your local Asian market, and typically frozen.
  2. Start by marinating your fish. To a sealable plastic bag, or medium sized bowl, add the vinegar, garlic, black peppercorns, and salt and mix to combine.  Add the bangus (in my case they came portioned, most likely quartered). Give a good mix, seal or cover, and let everything marry overnight.
  3. The following morning, remove the bangus, and place onto a plate. Pat both sides with paper towel and remove any peppercorns or garlic from the fish. Don't worry if some stick on the fish. That's extra flavor in my opinion!
  4. Get a large skillet ready, and add in your oil. Bring this to a medium-high heat. After a few minutes of warming the oil, lay in the filets, skin side down, and cook for about 4 minutes or until the skin is nice and crispy. Once the skin is crispy, gently flip it over and cook an additional 4 minutes.
  5. During this time, feel free to plate your cooked jasmine rice, cook your eggs, and plate that, and get ready to feast.
  6. Once the fish is cooked, remove with a slotted spatula, preferably a fish spatula, and place on a paper towel lined plate to remove any excess oil. Remove the filets from the plate and onto your plate along with the rice and eggs, and dig in.

 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Party Dip

It was not too long ago where our families got together for an early summertime barbecue, or cookout if you will. I tend not to be a snob when it comes to the terms barbecue and grill out (or cookout), but when I hear a barbecue I think of meat smoked low and slow, then served while grilling is typically done over charcoal or wood, or for those that use gas, cooking at a faster pace. Regardless, any get together is always a fun time in our book, and we always like to bring something to the get together. When I ask the question to my wife if we can bring anything to the party, when I hear the word ‘Dessert’ I often panic in a sense. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t freak out or anything, but dessert is typically not my cup of tea and I typically only make dessert for my wife and kids. I am more into the savory, not the sweet.

So when I heard a dessert, I immediately thought of taking this one on myself and making something very simple, sweet, and something I knew adults and children would love. That’s when I came up with the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Party Dip.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Party Dip Recipe
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Party Dip Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 cup salted caramel (or caramel chips)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Graham crackers or sliced apples

Again, this dip is way too easy to make and everyone crushed it. I think there was about 1/2 tablespoon left when we gathered the kids to leave the party. Yes, it’s that good, and a bit addicting.

Start by adding the cream cheese, butter, sugars, salt, and vanilla extract to a mixing bowl. Turn on your mixer and mix until all of the ingredients are well combined.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Party Dip Ingredients
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Party Dip Ingredients

Next add in both of your chocolate and caramel chips. Mix again to make sure all of the chips are combined.

Now get your silicone baking spatula out and get all of those goods scraped out and placed into your serving bowl.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Party Dip
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Party Dip

When you are ready to serve, place your serving bowl next to a plate lined with graham crackers and sliced apples. Spread onto either one and get to town. These are sweet, creamy, and have a great little texture from those mini chips.

This is a quicker winner of a dessert. Hope you enjoy!