Quinoa Broccoli Cheese Bites

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Our girls LOVED Broccoli Rice Casserole when they were growing up and this recipe sounded delicious using quinoa instead of the traditional rice.  They were so yummy that I ate them for breakfast and as a side side for dinner. It would be great to add bits of ham or bacon for a ‘grab and go’ breakfast dish.Quinoa Broccoli Cheese Bites

QUINOA BROCCOLI CHEESE BITES

3/4 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
1 1/2 cups water (or vegetable or chicken broth)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups broccoli florets, finely diced
1 cup yellow onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, finely diced
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon paprika
crushed red pepper (optional) to taste

  • In a medium sauce pan, combine quinoa and water (or broth) and cook according to package directions. Let cool.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease muffin tins.
  • In a large bowl, combine cooled quinoa, eggs, broccoli, onion, garlic, cheese and paprika.

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  • Put a heaping tablespoon of quinoa mixture into prepared muffin tins.
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until edges turn golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes and then gently remove from pan to cool completely.

 

Crock Pot Chicken Cream Cheese Chile

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Crock pot meals are the best…easy with so many options.  I love the Salsa chicken recipe that daughter, Megan, shared with me a while ago.  This recipe sounded very similar but with the addition of cream cheese.  YUM!

I used almost 2 pounds of chicken strips vs. the 2 chicken breasts called for.  It was delicious but in the future I would use about 1 pound of chicken for this recipe. Great over rice, in a burrito, over a baked potato…or invent your own combination!

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CROCK POT CHICKEN CREAM CHEESE CHILE

2 chicken breasts, still frozen
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 can corn kernels, do not drain
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 pkg. Ranch dressing mix
1 T cumin
1 t chili powder
1 t onion powder
1 8-oz pkg. cream cheese

 Put the chicken in the crock pot.Top with the tomatoes, corn, the drained and rinsed beans, ranch dressing, cumin, onion and chile powders, stir to combine then top with the cream cheese. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, stirring one or twice to blend in the cheese.Shred the chicken into large pieces and serve over rice. Can also serve in tortillas or taco shells.

Strawberry Honey Goat Cheese Bites

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Spring brings wonderful strawberries to the markets. Honey goat cheese pairs beautifully with strawberries and with a hint of honey drizzle, you have a very simple, delicious appetizer (or dessert). Yummy!

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STRAWBERRY HONEY GOAT CHEESE BITES

1 dozen large strawberries
8 oz. package Honey Goat Cheese (I use Haystack)
Honey

Wash, stem and halve strawberries.  Allow them to dry on paper towels. Place a small piece of Honey Goat Cheese on top of strawberry and drizzle with honey.

Oatmeal Craisin White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

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Cookies with oatmeal have a wonderful chewiness that I love. This recipe came from the package of Craisins I purchased at Costco.  They were a wonderful treat shared with friends and family.IMG_5890

OATMEAL CRAISINS WHITE CHOCOLATE CHUNK COOKIES

2/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1-1/2 cups old-fashioned oats (I used quick cooking)
1-1/2 cups flour (I substituted 1/2 of the flour with almond flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cups Craisins (Dried Cranberries)
2/3 cup white chocolate chunks or chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Using an electric mixer, beat butter or margarine and sugar together in a medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, mixing well. Combine oats, flour, baking soda and salt in a separate mixing bowl. Add to butter mixture in several additions, mixing well after each addition.  Stir in dried cranberries and white chocolate chunks. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

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Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks.  Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

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Adapted from Ocean Spray Oatmeal Craisins White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Springtime in the Rockies

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The first day of Spring brings to mind our favorite things: flowers, sunshine, rain showers, sounds of children playing outdoors, and baseball. Iowa Springs means crops being planted, morel mushroom hunting in local Timbers, and one of my favorite flowers, Bluebells.  Bluebells grew wild in the timbers of Iowa, but they grow in the shade of my Colorado home now. In Colorado, the first day of Spring could find 36″ of snow on the ground or summer-like temperatures. Crazy as it sounds, it’s one of the many things I love about Colorado.

Springtime in Colorado also brings back memories of the old song ‘When Its Springtime in the Rockies‘ recorded by Sons of the Pioneers, Gene Autry and many more. The song was written by Robert Sauer /Lyrics by Mary Hale Woolsey in 1929. I’ve included the lyrics below and hope you enjoy the link to YouTube above.

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WHEN IT’S SPRINGTIME IN THE ROCKIES

When it’s springtime in the rockies
I am coming back to you
Little sweetheart of the mountains
With your bonny eyes of blue
Once again I’ll say “I love you”
While the birds sing all the day
When it’s springtime in the rockies In the rockies, far away

The twilight shadows deepen into night,
The city lights are gleaming o’er the snow
I sit alone beside the cheery fire dear
I’m dreaming dreams from out the long ago
I fancy it is springtime in the mountain
The flowers with their colors are aflame
And ev’ry day I hear you softly saying
I’ll wait until the springtime comes again

When it’s springtime in the rockies
I am coming back to you
Little sweetheart of the mountains
With your bonny eyes of blue
Once again I’ll say “I love you”
While the birds sing all the day
When it’s springtime in the rockies
In the rockies, far away

St. Patrick’s Day Corned Beef and Cabbage

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Corned Beef and Cabbage is an Irish-American tradition, not one commonly found in Ireland. None the less, it is a tradition many of us treasure and cook only 1 time a year. I always prepare this dish in my trusty Crock Pot and it’s perfect every time. This time I chose to omit the carrots and go with a basic beef, potato, onion, and cabbage meal.

Pair this dish with Irish Soda Bread and a beer (green) and have yourself a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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CORNED BEEF AND CABBAGE

1 raw corned beef roast (3-4 pounds)
1 head cabbage washed and cut into wedges
8 red skinned potatoes, washed
3 carrots (optional)
2-3 medium onions (optional)
1 cup water
salt and pepper

Place corned beef brisket in crock pot and top with vegetables, water, salt and pepper. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.  If you like your cabbage a bit crisper, you can add the cabbage 2-3 hours before serving.

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Mushroom Barley Soup

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My beloved Czech cookbook given to me by my Mother many years ago had this wonderful recipe. I added leftover prime rib pieces to mine and loved it. It’s easy, it’s hearty, and it’s healthy.

Beef Mushroom Barley Soup

MUSHROOM BARLEY SOUP

2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 lb. sliced mushrooms
4 cups chicken, beef or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup barley

Optional:  chopped cooked beef or chicken

Melt butter in large saucepan. Add onion, celery, carrots, and mushrooms and saute for about 10 minutes. Add flour and stir; add broth, barley, and protein (optional). Cook for about 40 minutes or until cooked through.

Cran-Apple Oat Cake

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Gluten-free eating means I rarely eat toast, breakfast pastry, etc.  Sometimes, I just need a carb ‘fix’ and this recipe sounded delicious.  I slightly altered the original recipe and loved the results. The second time I made this recipe, I substituted blueberries for the craisins and baked in muffin paper/tins.  I’ve shared both versions with good feedback.  I’ll even admit that I didn’t eat all of it soon enough and the last piece was a bit dry.  I thought, ‘why not put almond milk on it?’ like a bowl of oatmeal. It was delicious.

A new favorite for my gluten-free recipe box!

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CRAN-APPLE OAT CAKE

2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
3 single-serving packets of Pure Stevia
2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup egg whites
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 small tart apple, chopped
1/2 cup Craisins (original recipe called for cranberries)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

  • Soak the oats in the almond milk in the refrigerator overnight.
  • In the morning, combine all ingredients.
  • Spread in greased 9-inch pie plate (or muffin tins).
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Recipe adapted from Briana-Thomas

Mango and Avocado Black Rice Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

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One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to prepare meals primarily from my pantry and freezer until I had whittled down the food on hand. A large bag of black rice, from Costco, has been sitting there with no great recipes, until now.  I swear I hear Angels sing when I read this recipe.  It is a great salad, side dish and good enough for dessert, too. Black rice has a nutty flavor and texture which pairs beautifully with the other ingredients.  Also check out the history of black rice.

Black Rice Mango and Avocado Salad

Mango and Avocado Black Rice Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

1 1/2 cups organic black rice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large ripe mango, diced
1 small ripe avocado, diced or sliced
1/4 cup roasted almonds (I used chopped pecans)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup diced red onion
For the Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 3 limes)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon honey (agave nectar if vegan)
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
lime wedges, to garnish
  • Rinse rice in mesh strainer. Add to medium saucepan. Add 2 3/4 cups water and a pinch of salt; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to a low simmer, and cook until rice is tender and water is absorbed about 30-40 minutes. When rice is done cooking, remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Cool for 10 minutes before adding dressing.
  • While rice is cooking prepare the dressing: Combine lime juice, olive oil, garlic, honey (or agave), cilantro, and salt in a food processor. Process for 15-30 seconds or until dressing is combined. Once rice is done cooking and has cooled a bit, stir in dressing. Cover bowl and place in fridge for an hour or until cool and you are ready to add in the rest of the salad ingredients.
  • Before serving, toss salad again with dressing and fold in cilantro, mango, and red onion. Pour into cold salad bowls and top with roasted almonds and avocado. Garnish with a lime wedge or extra cilantro if desired. Enjoy!

Recipe by AmbitousKitchen.com

Valentine’s Day…through the years

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Valentine’s Day is a day we cherished as children, exchanging Valentines with our classmates, carefully choosing cards for each person. We would spend what seemed like hours on our Valentines for our parents.

Our Mother’s would bake cookies to bring to class and we would have a big ‘sugar high’ before our sweet teachers would thankfully watch us leave the classroom for one crazy ride home on the bus. Cathys Valentine 1969

As I got older, Valentine’s Day became more about romance, setting expectations of what we should give and receive of this day full of cupid, hearts and roses.  More often than not, this day was a let-down. This week on CBS Sunday morning I saw one of my favorite comedians, Jim Gaffigan, share his thoughts on Valentine’s Day. He captures it well!

With children, Valentine’s Day would bring me back to my childhood, helping the girls pick out their favorite cartoon-themed Valentine’s, baking heart-shaped cookies, and often receiving the precious Valentines from their sweet little hands.

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Today, Valentine’s Day is a day to show love by sharing a gift of food with family and friends, calling a lonely friend, and being thankful and full of love for this precious gift of life….today!

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

 

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