Seems like the latest trend around the cooking blogs these days is cooking with quinoa. Nevermind it took me a good 3 months to say “quinoa” properly, trying to figure out how to cook with it in a way that suits my taste was a bit of a challenge. And to be honest, I’m still working on it.
In the meantime, I came across a recipe on Pinterest for “cheesy quinoa bites” and liked what I saw. I’ve made these a few times now and my husband loves them. Simone is lukewarm, but that’s not bad given it’s a little unusual at first. The original source of this recipe can be found here on the blog, “So Very Blessed”.
Egg & Quinoa Muffin Cups
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa (you can cook it like pasta in a pot of boiling water, then strain it once it’s translucent and “sprouted”; or do a 2:1 ratio of water to quinoa).
3 eggs beaten (I add a bit of egg white to this in case it needs a bit more fluid to the mix)
1-2 carrots grated
1/4 cup grated parmesan
2 tbsp flour
1 clove garlic
S&P as you wish
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a muffin tin and set aside. Cook quinoa and once cooled, mix together with all of the above ingredients. You may have to adjust some of the proportions so that this is runny enough to be poured into the muffin cups; you don’t want this to be too runny (eg. not enough quinoa) or too solid (too much quinoa not enough egg). I had to play around with the portions the first few times to get something I was satisfied with. I use my egg whites (in a carton from grocery store) to help me adjust the liquid portion of the recipe.
Pour into muffin cups so they are approx 1/2 to 3/4 full.
Bake for 15-20 minutes. Pop out of muffin tin and serve with some delicious Frank’s hot sauce. YUM!
You can change up the veg part of this recipe very easily. Use fried mushrooms instead of carrots, or grated zucchini. Also, you can add some chopped cilantro or parsley as well. I keep it pretty simple only because I know Simone will eat this with just the grated carrots, so I’m always looking to go for the easy win.
Pat pat pat. Do you hear that sound? Pat pat pat. That’s the sound of me patting myself on the back for making my own roasted curry spices for dinner tonight. This might be the end of me paying $8 a jar for pre-made curry at the grocery store. Since I’m a rookie at this one, I’ll need to spend some time perfectly it, but I just tasted my sauce that is in the crockpot right now, and damn! It’s pretty good. The remainder of this recipe is based on my Curry in a Hurry recipe posted quite some time ago.
Here’s how I did the spices:
To 1 tbsp of rice bran oil I added the following:
- 1 tsp of Tumeric
- 1 tsp of Chili powder
- 2 tsp of Cumin powder
- 1 tsp of Cumin seeds
- 1-2 tsp of Cardonom seeds
- 1 tbsp Grated ginger
- Pressed garlic (about 4-5 cloves)
- 1 tsp salt and fresh pepper to your liking
I started by frying a finely cut shallot on med heat, then adding the garlic. After cooking for a couple of minutes (don’t let the garlic burn) I added the remaining spices, turned the heat down to low-med, and continued to stir. After 2-3 minutes I removed the newly formed curry paste from the pan and set aside.
In a crockpot I added one can of tomato sauce, one can of coconut milk, and a bag of shredded chicken (see my recipe for preparing chicken ahead of time). Then I addd the curry paste to this mixture and turned it to LOW for a couple hours, then “keep warm” until dinner time.
Back in the pan, I added a touch more oil then cooked up my carrots and chickpeas, just so they were a bit softer than raw. Then I added them to the crockpot. Taste the sauce as it cooks together and adjust any of the spices by adding more straight to the sauce. I’m a rookie making this one, so I had to play with it a bit to get it “just right”. But the end result was amazing and so delicious.
Dinner will be served in about 4 hours and I’m already excited about it! To add some heat to this dish you could add chilli flakes, but since Simone will eat this with us, that would be kind of mean. I serve my curry with basmati rice (white or brown) and infuse my rice with coconut oil.
Pat pat pat…give it a try and see if this brings about a sense of great self-satisfaction for you too. heehee.
Or soup? Or is it stew? Whatever, I don’t know and I don’t care because it’s really good and I love making it. This is more or less the same as my other Bean & Barley Soup posted quite some time ago, but this time I modified by doing the following:
- Adding broccoli
- Adding Chickpeas
- Using black beans instead of kidney beans
- Leaving out the spinach
Simone navigated around most of the veggies and had the broth, beans, barley, and even some carrot (hallelujah). This thickens up nicely for leftovers the next day which is why I say it’s a stew instead of a soup. You can thin it out by adding a bit of broth to it.
What? You say. Too fancy sounding for a kid to eat? That’s what you think. I made this dish last week and Simone had 3 servings. To be honest, I was a little annoyed because it meant Michael and I had to arm wrestle for the leftovers the next day.
The original recipe was posted by RecipeGirl, but it calls for pan frying the chicken which makes a big ol’ mess in my kitchen. So I modified it just slightly and baked in a casserole dish instead. This worked better for me since I paired it with some roasted yams so I could just use the oven for both dishes and time it perfectly (the yams take about 30-45 mins; the chicken about 30 mins depending on how much you make).
I would suggest baking the chicken with the lid on for half of your cooking time; just to allow the jam and vinegar to firm up a bit and caramelize more. Otherwise it’s very runny, but still just as tasty and delicious.
Here’s a look at how I put it all together before it went into the oven:
2 chicken breast cut into large chunks or strips
1 shallot finely cut
1 tsp oil (I used a combination of rice bran oil and coconut oil)
1/3 cup apricot jam (I LOVE the Safeway Select apricot jam)
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (play around with this quantity a bit)
5-6 or a small handful of fresh sprigs of thyme (I’m too lazy to take leaves off so I just chuck these in whole then pull stems out after cooking)
S&P for seasoning
Since making dinner involves varies stop & go stages with me (out of necessity of course – tending to baby and restless 4 year old), I was able to put this together more efficiently than if I were to do it all at once. In advance, I drizzled my baking casserole dish with rice bran oil (or use olive) and then laid the chicken down. I sprinkled the chicken with salt & pepper to season it, added the thyme and the shallot.
I had to cover and refrigerate to go play chauffeur mom.
About an hour before dinner needed to be on the table, I turned the oven on to 350 degrees and put the yams in (poked with fork and let roast on a clay bake pan). I then made the rest of the sauce for the chicken – combined vinegar with jam, mixed well, then poured on top of chicken. I put this in the oven once the yams were close to half cooked.
As I said earlier, the chicken may take about 30 mins, keep an eye on it, then take the lid off once you’re about halfway done.
Before serving, remove the stems from the thyme. Oh, and I also served this up with whole wheat basmati one night (delicious) and Israeli couscous another night (also fantastic). A “nutty” grain goes well with this because it helps balance out all the sweetness from both the apricot sauce and the caramelized yams.
Go figure, last night when I made this Simone decide she wasn’t interested in dinner. What is it with kids and their hot-cold relationship with food! Oh well, she’s loved it before and will love it again. The good news: no wrestling my husband for leftovers tonight.
Every once in a while I manage to stumble across something for my picky kid to eat that literally makes me feel like a hero. You know..those throw together meals that required no cooking whatsoever and your 4 year old is singing your praises and thanking you for “cooking” (eh-hem) such a great dinner?
I love being a hero.
I have 2 hero meals in rotation right now:
1. Shredded chicken wrap
2. Deli turkey roll up
It all started with the shredded chicken, which I told you about in this post a couple weeks ago. I did up another batch of chicken in the crock pot to make my shredded chicken, but this time I added some chilli powder and TexMex seasoning so I could use it for my Mexican dishes. BTW – so frickin’ good, you seriously need to do this with all your raw chicken.
Inside small tortilla shells, I added a small portion of the shredded chicken (warmed up in microwave) along with some freshly squeezed lime juice.
She ate it. All of it. She loved it and asks for chicken tortilla with lime juice every other night.
The second meal is not so much a meal, but a snack, but those lines are blurred around here so call it whatever you want. Based on the chicken tortilla meal, I took a slice of natural turkey deli meat (you can now buy sulphate-free deli meat from the grocery store; I believe it’s Maple Leaf Natural Selection brand) rolled it up, and served with (get this) mustard and lime juice for dipping.
Kinda weird, slightly gross, but still…total hero.
Since I’m constantly catering to picky tastes around here, even the smallest of victories is monumental for me! So quick, someone pin a badge on me before I lose this moment forever. ;)
Have any hero meals that you can share…I’d love to hear them.
I was having a huge craving for peanut butter cookies a few days ago so I searched and searched for the “perfect” recipe and alas, came across this one from Betty Crocker.
But seriously, Betty Crocker, who has the time and patience for such a recipe? I am not the kind of person that is going to:
a) buy shortening AND butter
b) make batter then refrigerate it
So I modified ol’ Bett’s recipe and came up with one on my own. I used whole wheat flour instead of white and added a chocolate chip in the centre of each one…which adds a nice little taste of chocolate and makes these cookies look like, eh-hem, boobs. Nipples to be specific. Whatever, they taste good regardless!
Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Cookies
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup margarine (that’s one cube if you use the baking cubes), softened
1 1/4 cups flour (I use whole wheat)
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a mixer, combine sugars, peanut butter, margarine, and egg. Mix well together. In s separate bowl combine the remaining dry ingredients: salt, baking powder, baking soda, flour. Whisk together so they blend well before you add them to the wet ingredients. Combine wet and dry then mix on low until thoroughly blended together.
I used my medium size cookie scoop and baked these on my Pampered Chef clay bake trays. Before putting them in the oven I added a chocolate chip in the centre of each (well, my little helper did this part) and baked for no more than 10 minutes (9 might be better) at 375 degrees.
They come out chewy and not too sweet which makes them the perfect cookies for me. And even the picky one enjoys these.
This was too good for words. So let’s use sounds. Nom nom nom! Mmm mmm mmm! My husband even said it’s a keeper, so I’ll probably whip it up again after we get back from vacation. And yes, it’s just as delicious leftover, but thickens up quite a bit so you may want to thin it out with a bit of chicken broth.
Simone also liked this (she ate the chicken & the pasta and steered clear of those pesky vegetables of course), but oddly enough, she preferred it before I added the “cream” which is really just a roux. I myself had a zen moment once the spoonful of soup with all that butter hit my lips.
Creamy Chicken Pasta Soup (source: Real Mom Kitchen)
2 boneless chicken breasts (I cut them into thirds)
1 tsp celery salt
1 onion chopped; or 1 -2 tsp onion powder
8 cups water
1/2 tsp (poultry) seasoning
2 carrots, sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 tsp onion salt (or just add to the quantity you’ve already measured out above)
2 tsp salt
(Note: I have started omitting onions and shallots b/c Simone isn’t crazy about the texture, so I replace with onion powder. Sure keeps my makeup in place too.)
Boil all of the above ingredients together in a large pot for about 60 minutes. When the chicken is done, remove it from the pot and slice or shred on a cutting board, then put back into the pot.
Add 2 cups of uncooked noodles (I used rotini since that is what was in the photo) and boil for another 20 mins.
To make the Cream Sauce:
3/4 cups butter (I used 1 cup since I couldn’t be bothered to cut and remove 1/4 from one of my baking ssquares
1 cup flour
4 cups milk (I used a combination of 2% and skim – whatever was on hand)
In a large sauce pan, melt the butter then slowly whisk in the flour and stir constantly. Slowly add the milk and blend together with your whisk. You’ll want this to thicken up first, then add it to the large pot of soup.
Keep your soup on low heat (don’t re-boil it once the cream has been added) until you are ready to serve it.
So damn good! Enjoy, I can’t wait to hear how you like this one.