Kidney Bean Salad

Yesterday, I was rummaging through my cupboard attempting to find a side dish for my plain old egg salad sandwich, when I saw a can of kidney beans in the back. I usually keep one or two cans around in the winter for chili but don’t tend to use them in the warmer months. So I typed in kidney bean salad in the internet and found this amazing recipe from Wholefoods! Enjoy their version or my slightly altered one!

Salad:

1 can of kidney beans (drained and rinsed)

1/4 cup minced red onion

1/3 cup frozen corn

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1/2 cup grape or cherry tomatoes (cut in half) OR 2 Roma tomatoes diced

Dressing:

2 garlic cloves pressed in a garlic press and then allowed to rest for a few minutes

1 lemon juiced

1/3 cup olive oil

sea salt and pepper to taste (pinch of each)

Directions:

Add salad ingredients together. Combine garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper while whisking in olive oil. Pour dressing over salad.

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Herbed Quinoa

After doing a little reading and research on quinoa, I decided to try this new food (for me) out for myself! With only a few ingredients in my pantry and garden, I made this simple but delicious summer recipe for a tasteful dinner. The only downside was Ella didn’t like it…so if you have a favorite quinoa recipe or one your kids eat…send it to me!

Herbed Quinoa by Giada De Laurentiis

2 3/4 cup chicken stock

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 1/2 cups quinoa

Dressing:

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

3/4 cup chopped basil leaves

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1 Tbsp thyme

2 tsp lemon zest

kosher salt and pepper

Directions:

Add chicken stock. lemon juice, and quinoa to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 12-15 min.

Combine dressing ingredients together and add to quinoa once cooked.

Quinoa

A friend just recently shared her new book Quinoa: The Everyday Superfood and its amazing health benefits with me. Although, quinoa is treated like a grain, it is actually a seed related to the spinach family, and has been around for years! Quinoa is a native plant to the Andean regions of South America, and was a staple food to the Indians living in the high Andes mountains. Know as the “mother of grains” by the Inca’s; today, quinoa is fairly cheep and widely versatile in use. This amazingly nutritious food is a supergrain and a complete protein. It is high in fiber, magnesium, calcium, copper, manganese, and it’s gluten-free. It provides antioxidants to fight cancer, improve cardiovascular health, prevent migraines, reduce childhood asthma, diabetes, and so much more. And if that’s not convincing enough, quinoa can be used in a wide variety of ways from salads, to a starch, to crust on meat.

Listed below are a few websites I found intriguing on the history and benefits of this amazing “supergrain”.

Wholefoods; Body Ecology; Quinoa Corporation; Quinoa History

Zucchini Sliders

Zucchini is one of summer’s well-known fertile vegtables producing fruit the size of arms and legs within days. I’m always on the lookout for new and tasty zucchini recipes as my one plant seems to produce an ample supply for my little family. This has become one of our favorite summer lunches.

Zucchini Cakes

Recipe modified from Ina Garten at foodnetwork.com

1 small zucchini shredded (or 2 cups worth)

1/4 cup chopped red onion

1 egg

3 Tbsps flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

Shred zucchini and chop red onion. Turn stove top on to med-high allowing fry pan to heat. Combine veggies adding the egg, flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper to mixture. Add oil or butter to pan. Drop spoonfuls of mixture into fry pan leaving enough room to flip zucchini cakes. ** Serve with cheese and a tomato slice on top! Or place on a dinner roll for a fun zucchini slider!

Homemade Granola Bars

Blueberry Granola Bars

This is a modified recipe from the Barefoot Contessa. Her original granola bar recipe can be found here. I substituted dried blueberries over the apricots and figs. I have made several varieties of this recipe all any version is fabulous! Perfect for breakfast or throwing in a pack for hiking or road trips! 

Ingredients:

2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal

1 cup sliced almonds (if you like nuts!)

1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed

1/2 cup toasted wheat germ

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2/3 cup honey

1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 cup dried blueberries

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and spray a 8×12 pan with non stick cooking spray! (This is crucial so the bars don’t stick!)

Toss the oatmeal, almonds, and coconut together on pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Add the wheat germ to the mixture for the remaining 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.

Place the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the dried fruit and stir well.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Spray a spatula with cooking spray and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares.

Egg Week

ASPARAGUS SWISS QUICHE  

This is one of my favorite quiche’s and it’s perfect for an Easter brunch, baby shower, or lazy spring morning. I actually made it for dinner this week when I was looking for something simple to cook. It is so quick and easy!

Ingredients:

10 bacon strips, diced

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 lb fresh asparagus

1 cup shredded Swiss cheese

 1 Tbsp flour

1/4 tsp salt & 1/2 tsp pepper

1 (9 inch) pastry shell

3 eggs

1/2 cup half & half

Cook bacon until crisp and then chop into bit size pieces. Set aside. Cut 6 asparagus spears into 4-inch long spears for garnish on quiche. Cut remaining spears into bit size pieces and cook in boiling water for 3-5 minutes until tender. In a bowl, toss the bacon, onion, asparagus pieces, cheese, flour, salt, and pepper. Pour into a pastry shell. Beat the 3 eggs with the half and half and pour over asparagus mixture. Place asparagus spears in pattern on top of quiche. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for a few minutes before serving. Perfect with fresh fruit and bacon.

Egg Week

Coconut Macaroon Easter Nests 

I was looking for a fun and festive easter dessert when I came across this recipe… Coconut Macaroon Easter Nests. Come to find out, there are several variations of “bird nests”. This was by far the easiest recipe I found, but you could certainly make macaroons from scratch, or chocolate macaroons. I even saw chow mein noodles used as the nest. Top with chocolate eggs or jelly beans, or another candy of your choice! Super fun! Pictures to come…

Ingredients:

16 oz of shredded coconut

14 oz sweetened condensed milk

2 tsps vanilla

Chocolate eggs for the “eggs”

Mix the first three ingredients together and then drop on a prepared baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 12 minutes or until coconut begins to turn golden. Let them partially cool before adding two or three candies in the middle of macaroons.