Friday, March 15, 2013

My New Obsession

A few months ago I discovered quinoa.  It's something that has been around forever, but I just never knew how easy it was to make, and more importantly how good it tastes!  At some point my family will probably need to stage an intervention because I can't seem to get enough of this versatile, lovely grain.  The recipe below is something that I threw together the other night based on ingredients that I had on hand.  That is another thing that I love about quinoa, you can use whatever vegetables and spices that you have in order to give this dish the flavor that you desire.  This particular recipe has a lot of Italian essence to it, but by changing up the spices and the vegetables you could easily have a dish with Mexican flare.  Get creative and enjoy!!  

Mixed Vegetable Quinoa Bake

1 cup quinoa, uncooked
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup onion, diced (about 1 medium)
1//2 green pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup chopped asparagus
1 cup chopped carrots
½ cup chopped celery
1 fennel bulb, chopped
1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained (I use Pomi)
1/2 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
parmesan cheese
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 lemon, juiced
Salt, pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella jack cheese

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
Place the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly with cool water for at least two minutes. Drain. In a medium saucepan, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the quinoa and cook, stirring, for about one minute. The quinoa should begin to dry out and pop a bit. Add the chicken stock. Stir and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and cook, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, peppers, carrots, and fennel to cook, stirring occasionally until soft, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and asparagus and cook 3 more minutes.
Fluff the quinoa with a fork and place it in a large bowl. Add vegetable mixture and salt to taste. Mix thoroughly and transfer to prepared baking dish. Top with panko breadcrumbs.  Bake 30 minutes, top with cheese, and bake 10 minutes more or until melted and just beginning to brown.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Better Late Than Never

For as long as I can remember my family celebrates the New Year by eating pork and sauerkraut.  We typically eat this only once a year and I really look forward to it.  This year however, the universe had different plans and decided to bless my household with the noro-virus on New Years Eve.  My traditional pork and kraut were replaced with saltines and ginger ale!  A few days ago, I decided to make this meal and it was as good as ever.  Hopefully you will enjoy it too!

Pork and Sauerkraut


4 pork chops, trimmed (1-2 lbs)

1 apple, peeled and chopped

1 bag of sauerkraut

2 tb spicy brown mustard

1 bottle of beer (I use Yeungling)

1 tsp of caraway seeds

1 tsp black pepper


Place all ingredients in the crock pot on low heat.  Cook for 6-8 hours.  I serve this over mashed potatoes.  Couldn't be easier!!