Thursday, February 27, 2014

141.6…Quinoa and Black Beans

A  couple of nights ago, I whipped up an easy quinoa recipe. The beauty of quinoa, in my opinion, is it takes on whatever flavors you mix it with. 

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It's also a great way to get your veggies in! Throw them all in there! This recipe is healthy, easy to make and can be enjoyed hot or cold. Eat it by itself or as a side dish to chicken or fish. I ate it with broiled salmon and even that worked!

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Quinoa and Black Beans (8-10 servings)

Recipe slightly adapted from All Recipes

Ingredients:

1 tsp. vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped 

3/4 cup uncooked quinoa

1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth

1 tsp. ground cumin

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (I used more)

salt and pepper to taste

1 cup frozen corn kernels (I used frozen roasted corn)

1 (15oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic, and sauté until lightly browned.

2. Mix quinoa into the saucepan and cover with vegetable/chicken broth. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.

3. Stir frozen corn into the saucepan, and continue to simmer about 5 minutes until heated through. Mix in the black beans and the cilantro.

Printable Recipe

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Note: the original recipe called for TWO cans of black beans. I accidentally dumped a can of kidney beans into the pot instead of the second can of black beans. Oops! Turned out tasting good but when I make it again, I don't think it needs two cans of black beans. One would be sufficient. It's up to you, though! 

Last night's dinner was some leftover chili mixed with the Quinoa and Black Beans!

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They worked well together! So far, this quinoa goes with everything!

There were more scrambled egg beaters with salami and asparagus this morning. This time I left the cheese out to see if I liked it. It was good but everything's always better with cheese.

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I took the kids to school, went to a PTO meeting then came home to meet a repair guy. Lunch was…..

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More quinoa! This time I added hummus and pita. It was yummy and filling. 

Tonight I'm heading out to dinner with some friends at a restaurant that I've been excited to try!

Have you tried quinoa? Any favorite quinoa recipes?

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

141.0…Applesauce Granola

I love making my own granolas. They are easy to make and taste SO much better than the store bought stuff. 

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I also love that you can customize granola with just about any flavors you like. Different nuts, seeds, spices, fruit etc. This recipe calls for dried pineapple chunks which goes perfectly with my favorite pineapple Chobani yogurt! 

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Applesauce Granola (Serves 8)

Recipe from Real Simple Magazine, December 2013

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup chopped raw cashews
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried pineapple chunks
 
Directions:
 
Heat oven to 275° F. Combine the oats, cashews, applesauce, sesame seeds, brown sugar, butter, ginger, and salt in a large bowl. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, tossing twice, until golden brown, 55 to 60 minutes; cool. Stir in the pineapple. Store at room temperature for up to 2 days (or freeze for up to 2 weeks).

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Last night's dinner was another new recipe: Quinoa and Black Beans (recipe coming). I broiled some salmon with lemon, salt and pepper to go with it. 

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Seemed like a weird combination while I was preparing it, but they actually tasted pretty good together! This is another recipe that, like the granola, you really could add whatever veggies, spices, beans you want.

I was definitely excited to try the new Applesauce Granola this morning on top of my pineapple Chobani yogurt.

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It went perfectly! I found the pineapple flavor pretty mild though so it would go with whatever flavor yogurt you enjoy.

After taking the kids to school, I volunteered for a bit then came home for a hour walk around my neighborhood. Three workouts in a row! Woohoo!!

Lunch was skinny fish tacos from Wahoo's. 

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I have some more volunteering to do at the school this afternoon but that's about it. Ready for a quiet evening. ;)

Favorite cooking magazine?

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

141.4…Easy Parmesan Chicken

I have an extremely simple chicken recipe for you. I've made this so many times, I've lost track. Sometimes I'm making a side dish and need a simple chicken recipe to go along with it. This is the one. It's my husband's favorite.

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Easy Parmesan Garlic Chicken (Serves 6)

Recipe adapted  from Kraft Foods

Ingredients:

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 envelope Good Seasons Italian Salad Dressing Mix (I've also used ranch dressing mix)

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 2 lbs.)

Directions:

1. Mix cheese and salad dressing mix. Moisten chicken with water; coat with cheese mixture.

2. Please chicken in shallow baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through. For a golden appearance, after chicken is cooked through, set oven to broil. Broil 2 to 4 minutes or until golden brown.

Printable Recipe

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Last night before I took my son to basketball practice, I enjoyed one of my favorite salads ever: Chopped Chicken Salad from Sammy's Woodfired Pizza. 

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Perfection. 

I scrambled egg beaters this morning with my current favorite combination: asparagus, salami and cheddar cheese.

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I took the kids to school then went to spin class. Two workouts in a row! I'm on a roll!

Today has been spent answering emails, cleaning up my desk, etc. Sometimes you just need a day to do that kind of stuff. I love feeling productive.

Lunch was at my desk. Tuna salad, hummus and veggies.

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 Do you have a favorite chicken recipe? 

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Monday, February 24, 2014

142.6…The Best Burgers

We took some of our family to Burger Night at our club last night. I haven't been in way too long. They make the best burgers!

They also do a pretty phenomenal job on their house-made chips and onion dip.

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But the star of the show is definitely their burgers. You get a menu where you check off everything you want, from the type of bun to the sides, toppings and sauces.

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My burger of choice was the beef burger on a buttermilk bun with pepper jack cheese, tomato, arugula, red onion, chipotle aioli with a side of onion rings. It doesn't get any better than this!

Breakfast this morning was pineapple Chobani yogurt with Easy Granola, strawberries and raspberries.

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After I dropped the kids off at school, I went to Cardio Muscle class followed by a TON of errands. I decided that today was the day to tackle the ever-growing errand list. It was quite successful. 

Lunch was two skinny fish tacos at Wahoo's. 

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I have to eat a quick dinner tonight before taking my son to basketball practice. I had the brilliant idea to pick up my favorite salad from Sammy's Woodfired Pizza. It's going to be a good night.

What was the best thing you ate all weekend? 

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Sunday, February 23, 2014

141.6…Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip

It was another successful "meeting" of our Gourmet Club last night! I was in charge of bringing the appetizer. I went with something simple and delicious: Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip.

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I figured I couldn't go wrong with this. I was right. It turned out delicious!

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Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip 

Recipe adapted from Alton Brown

Ingredients:

1 cup thawed, chopped frozen spinach

1 1/2 cups thawed, chopped frozen artichoke hearts (canned find too)

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/3 cup grated Parmesan

2/3 cup grated mozzarella cheese, divided use

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil spinach and artichokes in 1 cup of water until tender and drain. Discard liquid. Mix all ingredients together, reserving 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese to place on top of mixture.  Place into a baking dish, top with remaining 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. 

Printable Recipe

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I served the Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip with Toasted Baguette Slices

Alicia made Ina Garten's Beef Bourguignon

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It was simply incredible. What a perfect "company dish." I could have bathed in the sauce, it was that good. Alongside she served a simple mixed green salad.

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Sherry was in charge of dessert. She was in charge for a reason.

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She makes incredible cakes. This time it was a coconut layer cake and, as usual, it did not disappoint. 

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I always look forward to our Gourmet Club dinners. The food is fabulous every single time!

Breakfast this morning was scrambled egg beaters with asparagus, salami and cheddar cheese.

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This is what it looks like after I put the hot sauce on it. :)

My husband's brother and his kids came up from Los Angeles for the day. We picked up Los Primos for lunch.

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I split a bean and cheese burrito and carne asada mini tacos with my husband. Those are my favorite items there by far!

Tonight is probably "Burger Night" at the club. I haven't been in FOREVER and am quite excited about it. :)

Have you ever made/tried Beef Bourguignon?

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Saturday, February 22, 2014

142.0…Fast Food Favorite

Thursday night, my mom and I went over to my brother & my sister in law's house to celebrate my sister in law's birthday. We ate some salami, cheese and crackers, drank some wine and opened gifts. For dinner we had Greek delivery.

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Lamb & chicken kabobs, rice, salad and pita. Awesome!

Guess what was even more awesome??

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Birthday cake!! Yes, I was served a messy piece. I didn't care. It soon disappeared off my plate anyway. 

Breakfast yesterday morning at my mom's was toast with peanut butter.

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For lunch, my mom really wanted Taco Bell. Who was I to argue? It's m favorite fast food EVER.

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Bean and cheese burrito and two soft taco supremes. I rarely eat Taco Bell but it always is amazing. 

I drove back to San Diego, picked up the kids and came home to get ready for my daughter's sleep over party. She had a few friends over for a Valentine's Day theme party.

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Heart shape brownies with frosting and sprinkles. Pizza from Leucadia Pizza was dinner but I opted for a Greek salad with Grilled Shrimp.

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The girls went to bed early which was a small miracle. :) This morning they were up bright and early too for their heart shaped pancake breakfast. I ended up eating a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios with almond milk.

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After the girls were picked up, I cleaned up the house, did laundry, etc. My husband dropped my daughter off at a birthday party and picked up a Chopped Chicken Salad from Sammy's Woodfired Pizza. Aka my favorite salad. 

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We also reheated some pizza from the night before.

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Tonight we are going to Alicia's house for our Quarterly "Gourmet Club" dinner. I'm in charge of the appetizer. Alicia is making the main course and Sherry will be bringing the dessert. It is always a fabulous meal!

Do you have a favorite fast food restaurant?

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

140.8…Current Obsessions

I had forgotten about some salami that I had in the fridge. I don't know how I forgot about it since it's one of my favorite foods ever. It's probably best that it had been forgotten because now I'm eating it all the time. Take Tuesday night for instance. My husband wasn't home for dinner and I had a little bit of the Creamy Mushroom Fettuccine leftover. I spruced it up with some sautéed asparagus and salami. 

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I wish I had had more….it turned to be a fabulous combination of flavors!

The salami obsession continued yesterday at breakfast. More sautéed salami and asparagus went into my scrambled egg beaters. I topped it with cheddar cheese. 

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After taking the kids to school, I went to a meeting, an appointment and then stopped for lunch at The Corner Bakery. I ordered my usual Chopped Salad and Chili.

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No green onions on the chili again. :)

I had to go to a meeting last night so I whipped up a quick dinner before I left. I decided to whip up  my favorite salmon recipe: Amazing Salmon!

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I think I overdid it on the broiler a bit. :) Still tasted amazing. :)

I loved the salami in my eggs so much I repeated it this morning. 

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After taking the kids to school, I drove to Los Angeles to visit my mom. Guess where we went for lunch?

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I finally got the green onions on my chili. :)

What are your current food obsessions? 

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

141.8…Italian Specialties

It's nights like last night that I love having stuff in the freezer to reheat for dinner. Between my meeting and my son's basketball practice, I was thrilled to just reheat something. We enjoyed the last of the Chicken Paprikash

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I simply boiled some more egg noodles and heated up some peas and dinner was done. The sauce froze pretty well. 

Breakfast this morning was scrambled egg beaters with asparagus, salsa and cheddar cheese.

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After I dropped the kids off at school, I went to Great News for a cooking class. Today's class was entitled "Italian Specialties" and was taught by Phillis Carey

The first recipe was Ricotta and Caramelized Onion Flatbread topped with Prosciutto and Arugula. 

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Fabulous. The recipe called for already prepared pizza dough but you could make you own, of course! The toppings were delicious together…the onions were caramelized with a bit of balsamic vinegar!

The second recipe was Lasagna Soup with Sausage, Tomatoes, Mushrooms and Fresh Basil.

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It really did taste just like lasagna. It was delicious!!! Super easy to make too! You put some noodles, a dollop of ricotta cheese and some mozzarella cheese on the bottom of the bowl and ladle the soup on top.

The next plate contained two recipes: Parsley, Olive and Caper Stuffed Fillet of Sole Marinara along with Zucchini Orzo.

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Both were outstanding. The fish was perfectly prepared and the sauce complemented it. The zucchini orzo was such a fabulous side dish. It could go with so many things!  The zucchini was thinly sliced and cooked in a bit of butter before being added to the orzo.

The next recipe was Pine Nut Crusted Chicken Breasts with Creamy Basil Sauce.

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I kept thinking while I was eating this that the zucchini orzo would have been fabulous with this. :) The chicken was crispy and the sauce was divine. 

Lastly was dessert: Chocolate Cannoli Cake Roll with Ricotta Cream Filling and Chocolate Glaze. 

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Chocolate heaven basically. I wish I had a picture of the roll before it was cut. It really looked like a giant chocolate cannoli! 

Today's class was nothing short of fabulous. I plan to make every recipe we made for sure.

If you could only eat one type of pasta for the rest of your life, what would it be? I'd probably go with linguine. 

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