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Quinoa Pasta Salad

I absolutely love pasta salad! You know what else is great about finding quinoa pasta? Finding multi-colored quinoa pagoda pasta! Now I can have some pasta salad that looks very similar to traditional pasta salad!

In fact, I found out that someone at the party didn’t even know it was quinoa! I tried to make sure and tell everyone but I must have missed some people.

Well, this salad turned out very well. It probably could have used a little more dressing as I’ve found that quinoa pasta requires more flavoring than rice or traditional pasta. The texture is also a little firmer than traditional pasta.

All in all, this was an enjoyable treat for me to have and quite a bit had gotten eaten. I’ve actually been having a little bit of the leftovers all week and have been really enjoying it. I just wish I could freeze some. I like to make food ahead and freeze it for laziness convenience…actually, both. 😉

I didn’t really measure anything out. I like lots of veggies so I use a lot. The key is to use whatever veggies you enjoy and how much you like in your pasta. I will list what I used.

Quinoa Pasta Salad Recipe

Ingredients:
Quinoa pasta pagodas
Green bell peppers, chopped
Red bell peppers, chopped
Baby portobello mushrooms, chopped
Tomatoes, chopped
Green onions, sliced
Italian Salad Dressing

Instructions:
Toss veggies and pasta together and add Italian dressing to taste. Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight to blend flavors well.
Enjoy 🙂

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Spanish Rice

I have to take you back to the Mexican food theme to finish rounding out your meal. Someone from my group shared this recipe and I tried it out and couldn’t believe my taste buds. Although it was good just the way it was, I of course had to add my own style to it. What is so great about this recipe is that you get to have rice without having the starch and carbohydrates that go along with it. What? You ask…how on earth do you do that? Well, it’s not really rice…it’s cauliflower! I know, that was my first reaction too. But, I just couldn’t help myself, I had to try it and let me tell ya, it could pass for the real deal. Give it a try, you’ll be surprised!

Spanish Rice Recipe: (Adapted from: Mexican Rice Recipe)

1/2 head cauliflower

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

8 oz can no salt tomato sauce

1/2 green pepper, chopped

1/2 onion, chopped

1/2 tbsp cumin

1/2 tbsp onion powder

1/2 tbsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp cayenne

Instructions:

Remove stems from cauliflower and place florets in food processor. Process until rice sized.

In medium saucepan, heat oil and sautee peppers and onions until tender. Add riced cauliflower and sautee another minute or 2. Add tomato sauce and spices. Cover and simmer for five minutes stirring occasionally. This recipe makes a good amount for a few people

Enjoy! 🙂

Not Refried Beans

Ok, so I have a theme going here and I am just going to stick with it. I kinda winged this recipe because I wanted to have some of those yummilicious canned refried beans but because of the sodium content…no way. (Start reading labels, peeps, you’ll be amazed at what you find!) I think these turned out pretty good and I am not required to buy canned ones by my hubby because he loves my homemade version! YAY! I don’t fry them or refry them so I can’t really say they’re “refried” beans…can I?

Refried Beans Recipe:

Ingredients:

1 c dried pinto beans

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 clove garlic

1 tbsp Braggs

Instructions:

Soak beans over night and then cook until tender.

Drain beans reserving water.

Place beans, tomato paste, garlic, braggs, and small amount (1/8 c) of bean water in food processor.

Process adding more bean water as necessary until smooth.

Store in dish with extra bean water for reheating so they don’t dry out. I just reheat in the microwave. Enjoy!

Simply Grilled Asparagus

Since I began eating this new healthy way, I realized I could no longer cook veggies the same way I used to. You know, a BIG glob of fake butter, salt, a few spices and nuke.  Nope, it’s not the same if I leave out the “butter” and salt. I began to try different ways of making and flavoring veggies. Asparagus is one the favorites in our house, especially with steak. It just goes sooo well with it!

I ended up getting an indoor grill so that I had more cooking options since I don’t use a lot of the same “ingredients” I used to. This greatly helped. Grilled meat is awesome and I pretty much have the seasoning down to perfection (that will be a different post). The reason I’m saying all of this is because one day I was grilling up some steaks on my indoor grill and decided to grill my asparagus spears as well…just to try it out. I’m so glad I did! The grilled asparagus turned out perfect and I’ve been making it that way ever since. You can use your outdoor grill too. I just did the other day and the results were the same…perfection. What’s even better is that it’s so simple (even a caveman can do it…sorry) it’s unbelievable!

 

Simply Grilled Asparagus Recipe:

Ingredients:

Frozen or Fresh Asparagus Spears (I used frozen)

Braggs spray

Instructions:

Heat grill and lay spears on grill. Spray with braggs and cook until the side on the grill starts to brown. Flip spears and spray again with braggs and continue cooking until that side starts to turn brown. If spears are not yet tender, continue cooking while turning asparagus regularly so it doesn’t burn. Serve with your meal and enjoy! See, it was simple!

Almond Green Beans

Green beans are one of my most favorite veggies. I could sit and eat a whole bushel of them and make a meal out of just green beans and be satisfied with that. I love them raw…they are just so fresh and green tasting; they snap and are juicy with their little green bean babies inside! Ok, now this is just sounding wierd…I love green beans cooked too. It doesn’t seem to matter how they’re cooked because they are just plain delicious!

I love to try different ways of cooking them to change-up the flavors. I definitely don’t want to get bored with them! I also love how the frozen ones have different cuts. It may sound a little crazy but they do have a different taste when they are just cut than when they are french cut. I really do like both styles and each one has its own flair in their dishes. This dish is made with french cut green beans and it is delicious! (Don’t tell the cut green beans…but the french cut are really my favorite!)

Almond Green Beans

Ingredients:

16 oz Frozen french cut green beans

8 oz mushrooms, sliced

1/2 lg onion,slivered

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp braggs (or coconut aminos)

1/3 c slivered almonds

1/2 tbsp coconut oil

Instructions:

Sautee mushrooms, onions, and garlic in coconut oil until just beginning to become tender. Add frozen green beans and braggs and continue cooking until green beans are tender but not completely soft. Stir in almonds and cook for 1 minute longer. Serve and enjoy! YUM!

Quinoa Pilaf

I discovered quinoa a few months ago. The first time I made it, it really grossed me out when I looked at it. It is tiny little balls with white spirals coming out of it. Yuck. I could only imagine the texture.perhaps tapioca? Ick. Well, I made myself try it anyway. I LOVE quinoa! The taste of it reminds me of brown rice. So, I get to have “rice” without the starch and carbs that go along with it. Now, I’m not saying quinoa doesn’t have this stuff but it is better for you and it’s easier to digest! Quinoa is pronounced keenwa and is technically not a grain but a seed. One of the best discoveries in my opinion! Here is how I make quinoa when I want it as a side dish like I would rice.

In this picture, I served the quinoa pilaf with bacon crusted chicken and “creamed” spinach

Quinoa Pilaf

Ingredients:

1 c quinoa, rinsed

6-8 oz mushrooms, sliced

1 red bell pepper, chopped coarsely

1 small-medium purple onion, chopped coarsely

1 Med tomato, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth ( check labels!)

1/2 tbsp coconut or extra virgin olive oil

Coconut aminos or braggs liquid aminos to taste

Instructions:

In medium sauce pan, melt oil and sautée veggies and garlic until crisp tender. Add rinsed quinoa and sautée 2-3 mins. Add chicken broth and aminos to taste and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until all water is absorbed. 15-20 mins. Stir in tomatoes and serve

“Creamed” Spinach

I was really wanting a vegetable smothered in cream sauce! Considering I don’t eat dairy, that caused a dilemma! After looking at so many recipes on the internet, I found I CAN have a nice creamy sauce using…coconut milk! I decided I wanted to go ahead and add wine to it, which I’m sure can be eliminated. I tried using white cooking wine and almond milk when I made this sauce the other day. It was good but I think the cooking wine just wasn’t right. So, I broke out the corkscrew and opened the bottle of my favorite white wine that has been chilling in the fridge for quite some time just waiting to be opened. I guess it was mad at me for waiting so long because it took 20 minutes to get the darn thing open and bent up the opener in the process. This is a sweet white wine and I first tried it at Olive Garden during my former eating life.

I decided I only wanted to use a 1/4 c but I accidentally poured 3/4 c. What’s a gal to do in a situation such as this? Well, I HAD to drink that 1/4 c! MMMMM. Ok, back to the topic…

I served the “creamed” spinach with bacon crusted chicken and quinoa.

Ingredients:

8 oz (or more) baby portabella mushrooms, sliced

1/2 large onion (or more), sliced, then quarter the slices

4 cloves garlic, minced

16 oz frozen cut leaf spinach

1/2 c white wine or white cooking wine

1 1/4 c coconut milk

1/2 tbsp cold pressed coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil

coconut aminos or braggs liquid aminos to taste

Instructions:

Melt oil in pan and add mushrooms. Sautee until just beginning to shrink or wilt, 5-10 mins. Add onions and garlic and sautee until soft. Add spinach and sautee until thawed. Add wine and bring to boil. Simmer 5 mins. Add coconut milk, bring to boil and simmer 15 mins uncovered. Season with aminos to taste and enjoy!