Category Archives: Quick Weeknight Recipes

Careful Making

Quinoa with Beets, Beans, and Berries

beets_with_quinoa

I still can’t believe this year is almost over – and that /52weeksofcooking is almost done (again).  It’s been a fun adventure with new ingredients and techniques and cuisines, which is why I can’t wait to see what themes are picked for next year.   I’m also a little behind, so today’s dish is actually from week 49 where dried fruit were the theme.  I debated going with something sweet, oatmeal raisin cookies or similar, but after seeing some fantastic looking beets at the market I decided to go with something savory.  After all, there is more than enough junk food this time of year!  The beets I picked up still had the greens attached, however I know that’s not always the case so feel free to switch out for some swiss chard or collards.

Quinoa with Beets, Beans, and Berries

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 large beets, diced
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup tri-color (or red) quinoa, pre-rinsed
  • 2 1/4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups cannellini beans, presoaked
  • 2 cups beet greens, torn
  • 1/2 cup cranberries

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add the red onion and garlic and cook for 7 minutes before adding the diced beets. Continue cooking for 10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.
  2. Add the herbs and pepper, and stir well before adding the quinoa - continue to stir until quinoa is coated in the oil (about 1 minute). Add the vegetable stock and bring to a quick boil.
  3. Allow to boil for 2 minutes, add the beans, then cover and turn heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes then start adding the greens a 1/2 cup at a time. Once they have wilted, add the next portion, stirring as needed.
  4. Once all the greens have been added cook for a final 5 minutes. Mix in the cranberries, then Serve and Enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/12/careful-making.html

This dish is one where layering the ingredients really comes off – and keeps the leaves from turning bright pink.  I enjoyed this dish “naked” while Joe topped his with some grated Parmesan cheese, soy crumbles would also work for those wanting to add more salt to the dish.  I’m more of a bitter person, which is why I loved how the tart of the cranberries went against the natural sweet of the beets.

If You Lead

Yoka-Soba

yoki_soba

Welcome to the FINAL Secret Recipe Club for 2014!  I can’t believe this year is almost over – it has flown by way faster than I thought possible.  While the year hasn’t been the best at times, I’ve come out of it stronger – or at least more determined than ever to succeed.  Enough about that, time to focus on the recipe!  This month I was assigned the Saturday Evening Pot which is run by a husband wife duo, which is rather awesome.   Their motto is “Faith, Family, Food: Flavors of a Fabulous Life” and fully covers everything they feature on their blog.  There are so many amazing recipes on their blog, some created by Chef John while others are ones sent in from friends all over the globe.  I was immediately drawn to their Okinawa Cooking Class recipe for Yoka Soba – minus the pork of course!  Instead I greatly increased the amount of vegetables already featured in the dish, to include adding in a second type of cabbage.

If You Lead

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 4 large carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 package soba noodles
  • 1 small green cabbage, chopped
  • 1/2 red cabage, chopped
  • 3 scallions, chopped white and greens
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a wok over medium heat. Add the green pepper and shallots and cook for 5 minutes before adding the carrots. Continue cooking for another 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the soba noodles according to the package. Drain, and rinse with cold water and then set aside.
  3. Once the carrots are tender, add the white part of the scallions along with half of the cabbage. As the cabbage wilts, continue to add to the wok.
  4. Add the noodles along with the soy sauce and stir well. Season to taste with the black pepper then top with the scallion greens and the sesame seeds.
  5. Serve and enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/12/if-you-lead.html

I also added some sesame seeds for a crunch, but that’s just me – they can easily be left out.  For those craving a meaty version, please check out the original recipe!  I also have a feeling tofu would work great, but still on a low-soy diet as we get ready for next round of fertility treatments.  In theory our transfer will be in a few weeks so will know if it worked sometime around the start of the year.  If it doesn’t work, then we’ll be going for a session every other month for essentially the entire year.  A lot to take in – but hopeful that 2015 will be our year!

In food news, there is a mini-SRC post coming up in two weeks so for those of you looking for something sweet  make sure to come back on the 15th!  The next “real” SRC post will be in early February, which seems so far off now but will be here in just a blink of an eye.


My Heart is

Squash and Beet Risotto 

squash_beet_risotto

Yep – winter is here and I’m already ready for spring.  Temperatures have been unusually cold, dipping in to single digits when wind chill is included which is just way too cold for mid-November.   However this is the perfect time to just stay in the kitchen and experiment with new-to-me ingredients and all sorts of flavor profiles.  Or throw a bunch of random vegetables in to a dish and see what happens – which is what happened here.  I had a bit of delicata squash left, along with two candy-stripped beets, and half a vidalia onion.  So I went for a random grain, in this case arborio rice, and started chopping!

Beet and Squash Risotto

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 vidalia onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 1/2 cups vegetable stock, low sodium
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1 cup delicata squash, peeled and chopped (reserve any seeds)
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 small beets, peeled and sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a 2qt sauce pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 7 minutes, or until the garlic starts to turn golden.
  2. Meanwhile heat the vegetable stock in a small pot over medium heat, ideally should be at a strong simmer but not boiling.
  3. Add the rice to the garlic onion mixture, stir well, and then add the white wine and milk. Allow rice to soak up the milk and wine, stirring to prevent sticking. Once the liquid has been absorbed, add the vegetable stock in 1/2 cup increments, allowing the liquid to be absorbed before adding more. After adding 2 cups, add the chopped squash along with a 1/2 cup of liquid.
  4. In a small saute pan, heat up the remaining olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the fresh herbs and cook for 1 minute before adding the beet slices. Cook for 10 minutes, turning occasionally to prevent them from burning.
  5. The risotto is ready when it no longer absorbs any liquid. Remove from heat and stir for about 3 minutes, then fold in the beet slices. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

When using a diary free milk, make sure to grab plain/unsweetened for this dish.

http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/11/my-heart-is.html

In order to avoid a pink blob, I held off on adding the beets until the last possible moment.  Not only did this ensure they were super crispy, but it also gave the squash an opportunity to shine on its own.  In the future I would most likely going for a strong squash, acorn perhaps, but there is something to be said about the subtle taste of delicata.   I enjoyed my risotto topped with a bit of pepper, while Joe was more traditional and went for the Parmesan cheese.

Hold at Night

Black Beans and Rice

Black Beans and Rice

I though fall had arrived – last week the air had that familiar crispness to it and the humidity was starting to drop to a more tolerable level.  However it appears that Mother Nature isn’t quite ready to say good-bye to the warmer temperatures making me glad I was lazy in leaving my tomato plants outside “just in case”.   This resulted in a few more cherry tomatoes, and another jalapeno – all of which joined together to make today’s delicious dinner.   The other ingredients are all pantry staples, which means the dish came together in record time which was another bonus since things were a bit insane towards the end of last week (eek Holiday cleaning!!!!).   I was able to toss everything together and let it cook while I attempted to knock a few more rooms off my seemingly never ending cleaning list.

Hold at Night

Serves: Serves 4-5

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp celery salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 cups black beans, presoaked and well rinsed
  • 1 cup brown rice (presoaked and well rinsed if needed)
  • 2 1/4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, coarsely torn
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, diced

Instructions

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 10 minutes, then add the spices. Toss well and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the black beans, rice, and vegetable stock - bring to a quick boil then cover and turn heat to low. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes, or until rice is tender.
  3. Stir in the basil leaves along with the tomatoes then season to taste with salt, pepper, or more chili powder!
  4. Serve and enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/09/hold-at-night.html

Just another meal justifying my love for beans and rice – such basic ingredients that can be tweaked in so many different way to create the perfect meal.  We both topped ours with some “pico de guac”, recipe for which will be up later this week!  Joe also grabbed some chips to go with his while I decided to go with some extra tomatoes, either option being perfectly acceptable!

Steal My Sunshine

Summer Tomato Sauce

summer_tomato_pasta_sauce

Working a Farmer’s Market is fantastic, especially when there are leftover tomatoes at the end of the day!  Second tomatoes aren’t always the easiest to use, but if you are willing to put the work in when it comes time to cutting they are a fantastic (cheaper) option.  It also means getting a variety of types, so I indulged in some research to figure out what I had and what it would work as.  A quick google led me to realize that the Green Zebra would be a fantastic addition for a stew or a quinoa dish – and I was really craving some pasta.  This left me with some Cherokee  purple, yellow pear, and Virginia sweet all of which were perfect for the sauce I was hoping to create.  All I needed was to go to my herb garden and grab a handful of basil, and figure out where the missing vidalia onion was hiding.

Steal My Sunshine

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1/2 vidalia onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 lbs fresh tomatoes, cubed
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, diced
  • 1/4 tsp red chili flakes
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 lb angel hair pasta

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 7 minutes before adding the tomatoes. Cook the tomatoes for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to help break the tomatoes down. Add the basil along with the chili flakes and the pinch of salt. Cover and turn heat to low.
  2. Meanwhile bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook the pasta until not quite al dente. Drain, rinse with cold water, and then add the pasta to the sauce.
  3. Stir the pasta in to the sauce, making sure to fully cover. Allow to simmer for a final 5 minutes.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

I used Barilla Plus angel hair but have used their Gluten Free line before with fantastic results - just adjust cooking time since GF takes longer to cook!

http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/09/steal-my-sunshine.html

By allowing the pasta to finish cooking in the sauce it was able to suck up every last drop of tomato goodness, and also gave the pasta a fantastic pink shade (this trick also works with gluten free pasta!).  Joe topped his with some cheese while I kept mine on the naked side, though as with any pasta dish there is no right or wrong.  The only important thing is to make sure all the sauce is fully enjoyed otherwise it’s a total sauce foul!

I’m also sending this over to Franglais Kitchen – where this month’s Simple and in Season is being hosted.   Also sending a HUGE thanks to Chocolates and Tomato Farm for growing and harvesting such tasty treats!