Fuss Free Basic Quinoa

Sometimes when you cook all the time, our knowledge gets the best of us. We sometimes assume people know how to cook the basic things. Things like Quinoa, Brown Rice, different various food items that everyday kitchen staples that we know how to cook others may not. I made a short how-to video with the help of A258Production owned by Carrie Montoney, we created a very impromptu How to Video. This is something I plan to expand with, so to all you loyal readers, keep on watching! Enjoy!

HOW TO COOK QUINOA

1 cup of quinoa, white, tri-colored, mixed
2 cups of water
1 tight fitted lid with saucepan
Mesh strainer

Measure 1 cup of quinoa and put into the mesh strainer. Rinse the quinoa with cold water for about a minute or two to rinse off the bitter coating on the seeds.

Add 2 cups of cold water into a saucepan with a tight fit lid, heat water over high heat till boiling.

Add the rinsed quinoa and let the water resume boiling, then reduce to low heat. Cover with lid and cook for 20 minutes. Do not stir, open and remove the lid to peek. Leave the pan alone. The water will evaporate.

The quinoa seeds will burst open when cooked completely.

After 20 minutes, turn off heat and let quinoa rest for ten minutes.

Transfer quinoa to a dish using a fork to remove from pan to prevent clumping. Do not use a spatula or spoon as it will mush the quinoa together.

quinoa

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Sauteed Vegetables with Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing

This recipe was created on Easter Sunday. I did not want to eat the traditional foods that are normally served on Easter because Ham and the sides tends to have a lot of carbs, fat and sodium in it and there are consequences for me when I eat foods with too much of these things. This is an excellent dish as a meal or a side. This was one of the recipes that are vegan/vegetarian friendly. I used my favorite vegetables and beans for this sautéed stir fry dish. Enjoy!

Mixed Sautéed Vegetables with Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing
Created on 04/20/14

Easter04.14vegetables
Ingredients
1 pound fresh asparagus cut into bite size pieces
2 medium zucchini sliced medallion style
4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally
1 bag of organic non-gmo frozen corn
1 pint of cherry tomatoes cleaned and halved
1 cup of chopped green onions (approximately a bunch)
10 ounces of crimini mushrooms wiped clean and sliced thick
1 can of organic garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup of vegetable stock
Salt/pepper to taste

Lemon Vinaigrette (In a small jar with tight fitting lid – add the following ingredients)
1 full lemon squeezed
1 tablespoon of honey
Salt / pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of Stone ground Dijon Mustard
3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

Put all the ingredients in the jar, shake well and set aside.

Heat about 3 tablespoons of vegetable stock in a wok over high heat. This process will go very fast. Remember to season each batch of vegetables with salt and pepper suited to your taste. Sautee the carrots for about 5 to 7 minutes; you want the texture to be medium soft and remove and transfer to the serving platter. Then add about 2 tablespoons of vegetable stock and the mushrooms and cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, remove and transfer to the platter. Add more stock as needed and continue to cook the zucchini, asparagus, and green onions for additional 3 to 5 minutes and add to the vegetables previously added to the platter. Add the corn, tomatoes and garbanzo beans until fully heated through and transfer to the serving platter.

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Quinoa Salad with Dried Apricots, Cranberries and Orange Vinaigrette

This is a repost due to many requests for this recipe on Facebook and my personal emails. I modified this recipe so many times and this is the most favorite so far. I originally posted this on March 6, 2010 so it is really nice to get requests for this recipe often.  I am fascinated with grain and seed salads. It is hard to believe that these little tiny kernels of seeds pack such a powerful healthy punch. Quinoa is an excellent source of protein. I made a salad as part of a birthday lunch for a friend and it was a huge hit. The original salad recipe came from a friend of mine’s mothers recipes. Where she got it I am not sure. Enjoy!

Quinoa Salad with Dried Apricots, Cranberries and Orange Vinaigrette
Created recipe on 03/06/2010, revamped often, most favorite 04/25/14

Quinoa Salad Picture

To cook the quinoa
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained (this is important because of the coating on the seeds. It tastes bitter when not rinsed well.
2 cups water
Salt lightly (optional)

Bring the water to a boil in a 3 quart pan. Add the salt and quinoa. Return to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer and cover. Cook for 15 minutes until the whole seed then cracks open and pops. This will make about 2 cups of cooked Quinoa. Transfer the cooked quinoa in a large bowl.

Ingredients
1/3 cup of slivered almonds
1/3 cup of pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup dried apricots diced into small pieces
1/3 cup cran-raisins
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (about 2 large oranges)
1 green onion thinly chopped
1/2 English cucumber, minced
2 tablespoons fresh minced Italian parsley
2 tablespoons fresh minced chives
2 tablespoons fresh minced mint
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, organic canola oil, or grape seed oil

Toast the slivered almonds on a stone or cookie tray in 350 degree oven for approximately 3 to 5 minutes until the almonds are golden brown. It may take more time depending on your stove.

Dice the dried apricots into small mini size pieces and toss with the cran-raisins in the large bowl with the cooked quinoa. Add the minced parsley, chives, green onion, English cucumber and fresh mint to the mixture.

In a small bowl, combine the cumin, coriander, orange juice. Whisk in the oil until well blended. Before serving, pour dressing over quinoa mixture and toss well with fork. Sprinkle with the toasted pumpkin seeds and almonds over the grain salad and serve.

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Broccoli Asparagus Quinoa Salad

Sunday was the first day of Daylight Savings Time. The day was a gorgeous, crisp and sunny fall day. Drove around doing errands and showing my friends around Columbus. They wanted to visit the Whole Foods on Route 161 in Dublin. Awesome Store! I had researched earlier on the internet for recipes for the week and to prepare for my dinner party on Wednesday and came across a blog called detoxinista.com and saw some recipes I wanted to try. This one is similar to what we know as Broccoli, Rice and Cheese casseroles. I remember my mom making this with Cream of Celery Soup, frozen broccoli, lots of cheese and white rice. Now that I think about it, ick! I made this recipe and tweaked it some to suit my tastes and was it was amazing! This recipe has no dairy or cream of “something” soup. Tasted just like the real Broccoli and Cheese Casserole. I wish I can take credit for this recipe but I cannot! Most Excellent!

Broccoli, Asparagus Quinoa Casserole
Created on 11/3/13

photo (18)

For the “mock” cheese sauce:
1 cup cooked mashed sweet potato (I microwaved mine for 5 minutes)
1-1/2 cups of water
¼ cup of Bragg’s nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon of chili powder

To put the casserole together:
1 cup of dry quinoa, rinsed well
2 cups of water
2 teaspoon of olive oil
½ onion, chopped
2-1/2 cups of broccoli florets
2-1/2 cups of roasted asparagus (this is optional, just adjust the choice of vegetables to equal 5 cups)

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. To cook the quinoa, put water and rinsed quinoa in a pan, bring the water to a boil and add the quinoa. Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until all the water is absorbed and the quinoa was plumped up. Fluff with a fork gently and set aside.

While the quinoa is cooking, in a large sauté pan, on medium high heat, add the oil and onions. Sauté for about 5 minutes till the onions are translucent (shiny) and tender. Add the broccoli florets and 2 tablespoons of water to the sauté pan and mix well. Cover and steam the broccoli for about 10 minutes until tender but not mushy.

In a blender, in order add the water, mashed sweet potato, nutritional yeast, salt, onion powder and chili powder until creamy and smooth.

Combine the quinoa and sautéed vegetables in a large bowl and add the sweet potato cream and combine well. Spread in a large casserole dish or deep dish stoneware. Bake for 10 minutes until bubbly and hot. I cooked mine for 45 minutes and the top was a little bit dark but I think it deepened the flavor.

Serve the casserole with a Green Salad.

Sauteed Cauliflower Bites

I am slowly changing my food plans and the way I prepare food to a more defined healthier way of life. It is a work in progress for me because I go back to my old unhealthy habits often. I was researching on the internet one day and came across this recipe. What attracted me to the recipe was the cauliflower. I am a huge fan of cauliflower but I run out of ideas to cook the cauliflower. Most of the time, I just steam the vegetables or roast the cauliflower with garlic. I made this recipe adjusting the recipe using oatmeal as the bread crumbs. I cannot take complete credit for this recipe, but I do not remember where I saw this. The dish is absolutely divine.

Sautéed Cauliflower Bites

Cauliflower Bites
1 large head of cauliflower broken down into bite size pieces
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 cup of Kalamata olives, seeds removed and chopped
½ cup of fresh parsley chopped fine
¾ cup of oatmeal
Freshly cracked pepper

In a large sauté pan, heat up the olive oil over medium heat. Single layer the cauliflower in the pan and the cauliflower does not overlap. Resist the temptation to stir the cauliflower. The cauliflower will brown in the pan and develop a caramel color after ten minutes, give or take. Stir the cauliflower to try and brown the other side.

Add the chopped Kalamata olives and stir until heated well. The salty brine from the olives will flavor the cauliflower.

In a food processor, add the oatmeal and grind to like bread crumbs. Add the oatmeal to the cauliflower mixture. The oatmeal will absorb the extra oil and brine from the olives and toast in the pan.

Sprinkle with the freshly chopped parsley and serve as a side dish or by itself with a nice green salad. Most excellent!

Cauliflower BitesPam Tips:

This recipe is good side dish with chicken or fish.

For a more intense flavor, add 2 tablespoons of toasted pine nuts, 1 tablespoon of roughly chopped drained capers which will bring a more salty, textured flavor to the dish.

I Am Missing Summer Saute Vegetables

Today was such a depressing rainy day. The skies loaded with white snow clouds and wind. Yuck! I was missing summer today. I miss the warm sun on my face. For dinner, I threw together in a sauté pan heated up with olive oil some of my favorite vegetables; white corn, Edamame, zucchini that I grated from the weekend trips to the farmer’s market, and mushrooms. Added some fresh herbs that were on sale this week dill and curly parsley. I imagine Thyme would be wonderful too if wanted to change up on the herbs, even Rosemary. Hmmm! The flavors were so fresh and crisp just like coming home from the farmer’s market and having a barbeque with all these fresh vegetables. You would have never known the vegetables I made tonight were frozen. This dish was so simple and easy to make. Enjoy!

I Am Missing Summer Sautéed Vegetables
Created on January 12, 2013

Click on picture to see a larger image
1 cup of frozen organic white corn
1 cup of frozen Edamame
2 cups of grated Zucchini (I had some frozen from the summer) thawed and drained well
8 button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 tablespoons of olive oil
¼ cup of fresh dill and curly parsley chopped well
1 teaspoon of onion salt (optional – can use kosher salt instead)
Fresh cracked pepper to taste

Sauté all the vegetables in a large 10” pan with olive oil for a good 5 to 10 minutes until the mushrooms are a little bit browned and the frozen vegetables are cooked all the way through. Sprinkle with fresh chopped herbs and season with onion salt or kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Serve hot!

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Vegan Potato and Corn Chowder

It’s a new year. Simply Healthy Cooking with Pam has been going strong since December 30, 2009. I cannot believe that I passed the 4 year mark. Lots of changes and learned so much about food. I have been slowly changing my food diet to reflect more vegetarian / vegan recipes. I am experimenting with different kinds of soups this month. I have a cookbook I use frequently called “The Big Book of Vegetarian” by Kathy Farrell-Kingsley. This book has lots of good recipes that are very filling and hearty. I highly recommend it. This soup is really creamy without any dairy use at all. Everything in this soup is vegetable. This soup is amazing when all ingredients are summer fresh straight from the garden or farmer’s market. I tweaked the original recipe to the ingredients I had on hand. Enjoy.

Vegan Potato and Corn Chowder, created on January 6, 2013

Click on image to see a larger photo

Click on image to see a larger photo


2 large Yukon Gold Potatoes (peeled and diced)
2 large organic carrots (peeled and diced)
2 large stalks of organic celery (diced)
1 medium Vidalia onion (chopped)
4 green onions (minced green and white parts) (Original recipe calls for 1 leek (white part only)
2 cups of organic corn, or 4 medium corn on the cob – kernels cut from the cob
5 cups of organic vegetable broth
2 teaspoons of dried basil or 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped basil
1 teaspoon of fresh dill or 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme
2 tablespoons of sunflower oil or vegetable broth
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, warm the oil or vegetable broth and add the carrots, celery, onion, green onions and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir often.

Add the corn, potatoes, broth, and basil. Bring the soup to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the potatoes are cooked and the vegetable broth has reduced to just barely covering the cooked vegetables. Add the chopped fresh dill.

Ladle the soup to a blender or food processor in batches, be careful when process because the soup is very hot and can spurt up from top of blender or food processor. Process the soup until desired consistency but has some chunks of vegetables. Return to the soup pot and season with salt and pepper.

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Cranberry Walnut Spinach Salad

Today was a very busy day for me. I had a presentation I needed to prepare for and I did not have time to really cook anything. I put a couple nice sized potatoes in the oven to make baked potatoes and loaded them up with broccoli and Parmesan cheese. I had some baby spinach and decided to make a simple salad. I enjoy these types of salads. The salad had great flavor, dressed nicely with a simple balsamic vinaigrette dressing. It was an excellent meal choice for such a busy day. Perfect dinner for 2 people. Enjoy!

Cranberry Walnut Spinach Salad
Created on 11/13/2012

Click on image to see a larger photo
Salad:
1 (10 oz) bag of organic baby spinach, washed and spun dry with salad spinner
½ cup of cran-raisins
½ cup of toasted walnuts
¼ cup of toasted pumpkin seeds

Dressing:
2 teaspoons of raw honey
¼ cup of balsamic vinegar
1/8 cup of olive oil
Salt and Pepper
1 garlic clove minced well

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a stoneware or cookie tray, spread walnuts and pumpkin seeds evenly and bake for approximately 10 minutes. Remove the nuts/seeds from the oven and let cool. In a glass bowl, mix the raw honey, vinegar, olive oil, minced garlic with a wire whisk. Season the vinaigrette dressing lightly with salt and pepper. Add the washed spinach, cran-raisins, and walnuts/pumpkin seeds and toss well.

 

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Garbanzos kon Spinaka

I have a pretty extensive cookbook library and one day I was walking down my hallway in my home where all my books are stored and I saw out of the corner of my eye “The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook” by Nancy Harmon Jenkins. Thumbing through the book I came across a recipe with garbanzo beans and spinach. These two foods are my favorite things to cook and eat. I thought how perfect for a vegan or vegetarian meal with a salad and some homemade bread. The house was filled with this amazing smell of aroma of beans and onions simmering on the stove. The broth the garbanzo beans and onions made was just simply scrumptious. I plan to make some type of soup creating a broth from the beans and onions. The simplicity of the ingredients creates such an amazing dish. Absolutely loved it and I think it will be one of my dishes I make all the time.

Garbanzos kon Spinaka, created on 9/13/2012

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1 large onion sliced thin
2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil (you can omit the oil if you don’t cook with oil – just use water)
1-1/2 cups of garbanzo beans soaked overnight
1 pound of fresh spinach
½ cup of minced dill
Juice of 2 lemons
Kosher Salt and Fresh Cracked pepper

Sauté the onion slices in olive oil over medium-low heat until the onions are soft but not browned – about 15 minutes. Drain the garbanzo beans and add them to the onions, turning them to coat with the olive oil. Cover with 1 cup of water and simmer gently until the garbanzo beans are tender about 40 to 60 minutes. You may have to add boiling water as the water does evaporate with cooking.

Clean the spinach rinsing thoroughly about 4 or 5 times and remove the stems. When the chickpeas are tender, add the spinach (no need to spin it dry) and the dill. Season the dish with salt and pepper and continue cooking for about 10 minutes till the spinach is tender. Add the lemon juice and adjust the salt and pepper as needed. Serve as a side dish or a main meal with a salad and bread. Dip the bread in the broth, it is just delicious.

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Stuffed Zucchini Boats

I think that zucchini is my all time favorite vegetable. I am always trying out new things with zucchini. The market had a huge sale going on for the vegetable so I purchased quite a bit not realizing that I had too much. I had different veggies in the refrigerator so I decided to make a vegetable stuffing and made stuffed zucchini boats. Loved the concept. Loaded with flavor, little bit of prep work but worth it. Enjoy!

Stuffed Zucchini Boats
Created on 8/1/12

Click on photo to see larger image
10 oz of baby Bella mushrooms, wiped clean and chopped fine
1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 medium carrots, chopped fine
1 large bag of baby spinach
6 zucchini, halved and the centers scooped out and chopped fine
1 4 oz of Fontina cheese shredded (Optional)
1/4 cup of mushroom broth
Salt / Pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the zucchini in half and scoop out the centers with a spoon. Lay the halves on a cookie tray. Clean and chop fine all the vegetables except for the spinach. Just roughly chop the spinach because the cooking the spinach will wilt it quite a bit.

In a large pan, heat up the mushroom broth over medium high heat and add the mushrooms, onions, carrots and cook for a good 5 minutes until the mushrooms and onions develop a deep brown color. Add the zucchini meat that was scooped out from the centers, coarsely chopped and then add the spinach and saute for a few minutes until the spinach wilts and the zucchini is incorporated in the stuffing.

Stuff the halved zucchini with the cooked vegetables. Sprinkle with shredded Fontina cheese and bake for about 30 minutes until the boats are semi soft and if you used cheese the cheese has melted and browned on top.

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