Tag Archives: Snack

Greek Quinoa Salad

I meant to post this recipe a while ago (2 months ago, in fact), but clearly life got in the way. Between work and friends and everything else, I have been so busy and have sadly neglected the blog a bit. However, I am back and have cooked a lot in the lapsed time! This means many posts to come. This recipe for Greek Quinoa Salad is the one I made when my girlfriends came over a few months ago for wine night. It is fresh and very herbsious, which I love. It has very fresh notes when you bite into a cucumber or tomato, and a nice tang from the calamatta olives. I highly recommend making a large batch of this: it is great to much on as a snack or bring for lunch throughout the week (and nothing is better than having lunch prepared a week in advanced when you work!).

Greek Quinoa Salad

Ingredients

2 Cucumbers, diced

1 pint of grape tomatoes, halved

Scallions, diced

1 can chick peas

½ cup chopped calamatta olives or black olives

Handful of chopped fresh parsley

Handful of chopped fresh basil

Crumbled feta cheese

2 cup Quinoa

4 cups chicken broth

½ cup Olive oil

½ cup Red wine vinegar

Juice of one lemon

1/8 tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp cumin

1/8 tsp coriander

1/8 tsp turmeric

1/8 tsp paprika

1/8 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

Directions:

Mix all vegetables and herbs in a large bowl, set aside.

In a saucepan heat over medium/high a tablespoon of olive oil add the quinoa and a little bit of each of the spices (last 6 ingredients), sautee for about a minute and add the chicken broth and fresh lemon juice. Heat on high, when it comes to a boil, crack the heat down to a simmer and cover the pot (from this point, cook according to your quinoa box’s directions).

While it’s simmering whisk together 1/2 cup of olive oil and 1/4 cup of vinegar with salt and pepper (to taste). Pour the dressing over all of the vegetables and mix them together.

When the quinoa is done fluff it with a fork and let cool.

Mix the quinoa in with the vegetables.

To serve: top with the feta cheese

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Herb Crusted Sweet Potato Bites

Herb Crusted Sweet Potato Bites

(adapted from How Sweet It Is)

serves about 8

4 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into uniform rounds

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs*

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil*

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley*

1 teaspoon fresh thyme*

2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed*

2 teaspoons finely grated parmesan cheese*

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place a nonstick wire rack on a baking sheet.

In a small bowl, combine panko, parsley, basil, thyme, parmesan, salt, pepper and garlic. Mix up with your hands to get everything combined.

If you like, peel the sweet potatoes (or not) and slice into rounds about 1/4 of an inch thick. Place in a larger bowl and drizzle with olive oil, then flip around your hands to make sure each piece is coated. Add in panko and herbs, tossing again with your hands and pressing lightly to adhere. Some will stick – some will not. Place potato rounds on the wire rack, and then sprinkle the remaining panko and herbs over the potatoes.

Bake for 25-28 minutes, or until crust is golden and sweet potatoes are soft. After making and serving the potatoes bites, I found that some thicker slices were a bit harder or still had a crunch to them (meaning they were not cooked all the way through). Though I did no try doing this, I think baking the slices of sweet potato for a few minutes before adding the herb and panko mixture would make them perfect. I recommend baking them before adding the mixture because the breadcrumbs crisp up just right in the normal baking time (and you don’t want them burned!).

*In regards to the amount of herbs and bread crumbs for the mixture: You can really play with the amount you use. I followed the recipe as a guideline, but because I was making for a larger crowed I added more as I went based on how much I wanted the sweet potato slices covered.


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Wednesday Wine Night

Earlier this year, a small group of my girlfriends decided we wanted a regular gathering every month or so. Thanks to Jordy, ‘Wednesday Wine Night’ began in the Fall! The idea is simple: every 4-6 weeks a different person in the group would have everyone over, serve wine, and prepare some offerings to snack on. Though I am allergic to wine, and we do not always meet on a Wednesday, this has been a great way to have a relaxing night with girlfriends. This past Monday the group came over to my apartment, which I took as an opportunity to try and wow everyone with my food. The menu consisted of:

  • Homemade sun-dried tomato hummus with veggies
  • Herb crusted sweet potato bites
  • Greek quinoa salad
  • Roasted red pepper pizza with a splash of balsamic
  • Lots and lots of wine & desserts

Thankfully, my wonderful friends loved the meal! I had been nervous about the pizza because it was the first time I used a real pizza pan, but the crust came out perfectly crisp. Everyone enjoyed the sweet potato bites because they were something tasty and different. One of the best compliments to the chef was when a few people asked for the recipes! Most importantly, everyone had a great time with each other chatting about life and nibbling the food.

For now, feast your eyes on some photos from the evening. Recipes to come individually!

Herb Crusted Sweet Potato Bites

Greek Quinoa Salad

Roasted Red Pepper Pizza

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Chocolate Choco Chip Candy Cane Cookies

It has been far too long since I have posted. Life has certainly been busy these past few months. Since my last update on July 22, 2011 so much has happened. I got a job, joined a new sports league, made new friends, gone through a lot with old friends, settled into a new apartment, and started my post-college journey through life. All of this, and more, has swept me away from blogging (and sometimes cooking). Finding ways to balance all parts of my life has been somewhat of a challenge, but I believe I am starting to get the hang of it (more thoughts on this to come in a new years post). And so, here I am, finally taking the time to sit down and write about my beloved passion: cooking.

Seeing as todays date is December 23, it is fair to say we are in the midst of the holiday season. In some places it is getting cold (or if you’re in DC, its oddly warm) and everyone is bundling up. Twinkling lights adorn buildings and trees, and the warm-fuzzy-joyful holiday feeling fills your insides. Naturally, this means it is time for some holiday cookies. I decided to dive right in and make Chocolate Choco Chip Candy Cane cookies (gotta have the candy cane!).

CHOCOLATE CHOCO CHIP CANDY CANE COOKIES

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup cocoa powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1/3 cup brown sugar

2/3 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup softened butter

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

Handful of chocolate chips

3 candy canes

Preheat oven to 350 F

Mix together all ingredients except chocolate chips and candy canes. Smash two candy canes, and fold in candy cane pieces and chocolate chips.

Place balls of batter on cookie sheet and sprinkle remaining candy cane pieces over the tops of each ball of batter.

Bake for 15 minutes.

This is by far one of the simplest cookie recipes I have ever made. And did I mention delicious? Actually, I thought they could have used a bit more peppermint flavor. I was discussing with a coworker and debated between adding more crushed candy cane or a few drops of peppermint oil. I believe either would do the trick. Nonetheless, these cookies were a huge success at the multiple holiday parties they made an appearance at.

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Banana Bread

Ingredients

·         1 cup granulated sugar

·         8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

·         2 large eggs

·         3 ripe bananas

·         1 tablespoon milk

·         1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

·         2 cups all-purpose flour

·         1 teaspoon baking powder

·         1 teaspoon baking soda

·         1 teaspoon salt

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan.

Cream the sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Mix in the milk and cinnamon. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Add the banana mixture to the creamed mixture and stir until combined. Add dry ingredients, mixing just until flour disappears.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove bread from pan, invert onto rack and cool completely before slicing.

Spread slices with honey or serve with ice cream.

Banana bread is super yummy and loved by all! This recipe is very simple and easy to follow. Make sure to mix the dry ingredients well before adding to the creamy mixture. Also, I like to add semi-sweet chocolate chips which makes the banana bread extra delicious! Depending on your oven baking time will differ, but I usually need to keep it in for an hour and 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Recipe can be found at:  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/banana-bread-recipe/index.html

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