Posts Tagged ‘quinoa’

Lemon Zest and Quinoa

I often don’t spend much time on side dishes when cooking dinner for my family. I usually put most of my attention towards the main dish and stick with steamed or roasted veggies seasoned simply with salt and pepper for the rest of the meal. A few nights ago, however, I decided to use the rest of the red quinoa that was in my refrigerator. In a desire to dress it up a bit, I came up with a lemony quinoa mixed with crumbled feta. It was delicious!

Downloadable PDF of Lemony Quinoa with Feta and Almonds

  • In a medium saucepan, combine:
    • 3/4 cup red quinoa
    • 1 1/2 cups water
    • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Turn heat off and let quinoa sit a few minutes to absorb the rest of the liquid, if any is remaining.
  • Stir in:
    • Zest from one lemon
  • Serve 1/2 cup of the lemony quinoa on a plate or a small bowl.
  • On top of each serving of quinoa, sprinkle up to:
    • 1/4 cup crumbled feta (I use reduced fat)
    • 2 Tablespoons slivered almonds

Lemony Quinoa with Feta and Almonds

Couldn’t be an easier, tastier side dish to fish or chicken. It would also be wonderful with some fresh chopped parsley, but my parsley is just starting to grow back after it quit growing during the 80-some days of triple digit heat we’ve had so far (I think I read yesterday marked 87 days, or today will?).

The lemon really makes the quinoa pop and the feta adds a nice creamy texture while the almonds add a light crunch. All in all, it tastes very fresh and delicious. This will be on the regular side dish rotation from now on.

Downloadable PDF of Lemony Quinoa with Feta and Almonds

In other news, I found that a couple of friends “pinned” a couple of my recipes to Pinterest, as did someone else not too long ago! I was very excited to see my posts pinned on a few boards here and there – thank you for liking them enough to pin them! If you haven’t checked out Pinterest yet, it’s quite addicting!

What are your favorite quick and easy side dishes?

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~


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Almost 4 years ago, I went to a sports bar to meet some friends for Monday Night Football.  Cowboys vs the Giants and the Giants killed the Cowboys.  Killed.  I went to spend time with friends, but someone had invited this really cute guy.  Really cute quiet shy guy.  He thought I was cute too.  We decided a date was in order.  A couple days later I called him to finalize date details.  I kept hearing little voices in the background.  “What is that I hear?  Who’s talking?”  “Those are my little girls.  I have two little girls.”  I was sold.  Then and there.  Within two months, I had met the girls, the youngest had asked, “when are you just going to move in so you can stay here all the time?,” prompting me to move in – to a house nearly 60  miles from where I worked, with a guy, his two daughters, his crazy chocolate lab, two cats, two dwarf hamsters, and a fish.

And today was one of those magically awesome days that just make me smile at that split second decision in October 2006 to just jump in to a whole new world.

Today held everything.  Exercising, grocery buying, frustrate-ing, house cleaning, relaxing, laughing.  Hubby needed to take the girls to get hair cuts, so he did that while I bought groceries.  I made lunch while I put the groceries away so it would be ready when they walked in the door.  I chose one of the girls’ favorites:


I mix green peas into the shells with cheese, and my kids love the veggie chikn nuggets.

Chikn Nuggets with Mac and Cheese

The girls devoured every last bite.  Then split a gala apple, and then had a mini cupcake each.  They were hungry!

Hubby was frustrated he had so many chores today.  He was on floor duty.  This is what floor duty looks like while he’s taking a break to play his video game.

Floor Duty

I was on bathroom-cleaning duty.  Finally, the whole house was cleaned!

Clean House

Hubby went to run some errands while I relaxed with some cooking shows and reading.  Before I knew it, it was time to start making dinner!  Where’d the day go?

Earlier, while lunch was cooking, I put about 1/3 cup of Chimichurri sauce over about 1.25 pounds of salmon to marinade.

Salmon in marinade
Preheat oven to 425 and place the salmon in a parchment lined baking dish; bake for 10 minutes per inch of thickness – I baked mine for 20 minutes.
Ready for the oven

Time for the side dish:
Quinoa, Squash & Zucchini Salad
In a saucepan, place 2 cups water with 1 cup quinoa, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes or until water is absorbed.


While that cooks, heat a medium, deep skillet and add a tablespoon or so of oil.  Dice one yellow squash and one zucchini; add to hot skillet.  Cook for about 10 minutes, then add one clove pressed garlic and cook a few more minutes.

Squash & Zucchini

The quinoa should be ready; add it to the squash mixture in the skillet, along with  1/4 – 1/3 cup chopped green onion.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, about 1 Tbsp dried parsley, and 1/4 tsp dried cilantro, plus 1 tsp of the chimichurri sauce.  Stir to mix well.

Quinoa, Squash, and Zucchini Salad

And serve alongside the salmon.


Chimichurri Salmon

  • Marinade 1 – 1.5 pounds salmon in 1/3 – 1/2 cups bottled chimichurri sauce for at least 30 minutes or up to 5 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Place salmon in a parchment lined baking dish.
  • Bake 10 minutes per inch of thickness.

Quinoa, Squash, and Zucchini Salad

  • In a medium saucepan, combine 2 cups water with 1 cup quinoa.
  • Bring to a rolling boil.
  • Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 – 15 minutes or until water is absorbed.
  • While that cooks, dice one yellow squash and one zucchini.
  • Heat a medium, deep skillet with a Tbsp or so of oil.
  • Add the squash and zucchini to the skillet; cook about 10 minutes over medium to medium-high heat.
  • While that cooks, finely chop about 1/4- 1/3 cup green onions and peel and mince one clove garlic.
  • After the squash and zucchini have cooked about 10 minutes, add the minced garlic and cook a few more minutes.
  • The quinoa should be ready; pour it into the squash mixture.
  • Add 1 Tsp dried parsley, 1/4 tsp dried cilantro, 1 tsp chimichurri sauce, and the green onions.  Mix well.
  • Serve alongside the salmon.

Yum!  I had two very happy girls and one really happy hubby after this meal.  Did I mention my stepdaughters love salmon?  They beg for it.  And this salmon was so, so good – the chimichurri sauce is the perfect marinade to keep the salmon moist and delectable during cooking.  The final flavor is so buttery and full of herbs, with a slight kick.  Fresh chimichurri sauce would be better, but due to being ill all summer, I didn’t keep up with my herb garden so it’s no longer, unfortunately.

Later in the evening one of my friends came over and she got to experience my goofy children who were dancing around, playing “actresses,” and being plain silly.  She’s known my kids for a while, they’ve slept over at her house numerous times, and tonight was the first time she really saw them let loose and be goofs.  We laughed so hard, they had a great time, and I was so very proud to watch two ecstatically happy girls laughing and being themselves at home with their stepmom whose life they jumped into with open hearts and sweet hugs.  It was the perfect end to a day in the life of a marriage that I jumped into without a second thought.

What was your “just jump in” decision you made without a second thought that changed your life?

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