Tag Archives: cooking club

Roasted Veggie Quinoa Salad

The theme for this month’s Cooking Club was salad.  Hmm….what to make, what to make.

I like to at least attempt originality for Cooking Club.  I enjoy a salad my friend makes, but it’s not necessarily original.  I also like that “oriental” salad with ramen noodles, but again, not all that original.  I called my mom, as she always has a load of interesting recipes she’s never tried.  She came up with a recipe for a roasted vegetable salad, but it had beets and stuff in it, and I’m more of a squash/zucchini kind of girl.  I wanted to do something with quinoa, since I had bought a huge bag from Costco recently.

Then I found this recipe online:  Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad.  It fit the bill perfectly.  But I found the recipe slightly confusing, and I noticed that the guy had gotten the recipe idea from another blog – Quinoa Salad with Roasted Vegetables and Feta.  Hmmm….

If you know me, or have ever seen my “recipes,” I don’t really follow directions very well.  My brand of cooking involves a little of this, some of that, throw a few of these in, depending on taste….  So, it’s no big surprise that I ended up taking both of the recipes, blending, omitting, adding, and coming up with my own special twist.

  • 2 zucchini, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 1/2 yellow squash, cut into bite size pieces
  • a little more than half a large eggplant, cut into bite size pieces
  • jar of marinated artichoke hearts, quartered
  • a pint of grape tomatoes, halved
  • 8 oz mushrooms, cut into bite size pieces
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • herbs (Italian, basil, thyme…dill might be good…whatever you want)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 bag baby spinach
  • feta, however much you want (I used tomato basil feta)
  1. Place quinoa in fine mesh strainer and rinse until water runs clear.  Put in pan, add broth, and turn on high until it boils. Reduce heat to low, cover, cook for 10 minutes, until water is absorbed.  Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes.  Allow quinoa to cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Put zucchini, squash, eggplant, and artichokes on baking sheet (actually, two large baking sheets).  Drizzle liberally with olive oil.  Bake for about 15 minutes.  After the first 15 minutes, add the tomatoes and mushrooms, drizzle with more olive oil, add salt and pepper.  Toss around on the baking sheet, bake for another 15 minutes.
  3. Mix vegetables with quinoa. 
  4. Place spinach in large bowl.  Add vegetables and quinoa.  Toss.  Add feta. 
  5. Make a dressing using the olive oil from the baking sheet (about 2-3 Tbsp), Balsamic Vinegar (about 2 Tbsp), and whatever herbs you want.  Drizzle over salad. 

Quinoa is one of those “superfoods.”  High protein, amino acid, fiber, magnesium, iron. Plus, it’s gluten-free.  You MUST rinse it, or it’s not very good.  You can buy it rinsed, but if in doubt, go ahead and rinse.  It’s a great substitute for rice, pasta, bulger wheat…it makes a fabulous tabouleh!

Everything at cooking club was fabulous.  I had seconds of everything, and at least one of us had thirds.  I won’t name names to protect the innocent.  But, hey, it was salad!  Seriously, I think the unhealthiest thing there was avocado, so think of it that way!

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Amaretto Chicken

Well, it was my turn to host the cooking club this past month, so I got to choose the theme.  The theme?  Alcohol.  Everything had to have alcohol as an ingredient.  Actually, that’s easier to do than you think it is – there are a lot of great recipes out there for main dishes, side dishes, and especially deserts with alcohol.  I found this recipe for Amaretto Chicken, and it was EXCELLENT.  I highly recommend trying it at home.

1/2 cup butter, divided
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
3 green onions, diced
1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
3 gloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp chopped fresh tarragon
1 c heavy cream
1 c shredded Gruyere cheese
1/2 cup amaretto liqueur
1/4 c capers

Preheat oven to 350° 

Melt 1/4 cup of the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Brown chicken in butter quickly, and remove to a 9×13 baking dish. 

Add remaining 1/4 cup butter to skillet and brown the green onions and mushrooms with the garlic and tarragon.  Pour this saute mixture over chicken breasts.

Heat the cream, cheese, and amaretto in the skillet, whisking rapidly.  Stir in capers, then pour sauce over chicken, green onions, and mushrooms. 

Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink inside.

**It says 9×13 dish, and believe me, you will need it.  I thought it was too big, so I used a smaller dish, and the results were somewhat comical.  I’m just glad no one was there to see it!

Brandied Apples

I’m hosting my cooking club this month, and I’ve decided the theme will be Alcohol.  Everything we make has to include some sort of alcohol as an ingredient.  Fun, huh? 🙂  I’m responsible for the main dish, but I may have to make this dish as well, because I love it and it’s been a while since I made it.

6 Golden Delicious Apples
1 cup orange juice
2-  3″pieces of cinnamon stick
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brandy

Pare, halve, core, and cut apples into eighths (or use one of those apple corers that slices while it cores – genius!).  Place in a large saucepan; add orange juice and cinnamon sticks.  Bring to boiling; lower heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes or until apples are tender but still firm (just how I like my kisses…).  Remove from heat; stir in sugar and brandy.  Cool; spoon into a container.  Can be stored in the refrigerator up to one month.  Makes 5 cups (about 10-12 servings).  Great as an accompaniment to pork, ham, or poultry, or as a dessert.

**Cook’s notes:  Of course, I add more brandy.  My rule of thumb is to pretty much double the alcohol in any recipe.  Of course, keep in mind who you’re making it for.  I took it to work once, and one girl got a little tipsy…oops.  And before you go and say “the alcohol is cooked out,” I recently found out that if alcohol is added to boiling mix and removed from heat, it retains 85% of the alcohol content.  This recipe calls for you to remove from heat THEN add alcohol, so it’s pretty much full strength.