Quinoa Pilaf

Another night of staring into the cupboards trying to decide what to fix because what was on my planned weekly menu just wasn’t happening tonight (this seems to happen for various reasons way too often.)  Another episode with nothing jumping around in the pantry or freezer when I stared into them saying, “Fix me!  Fix me!”  😀

The great thing about this dish that I finally created is that it is super filling, fairly fast with little hands-on during the actual cooking time, and it is versatile.  If you like peppers, toss some in.  If you dislike mushrooms, leave them out.  If you have fresh mushrooms or frozen chopped onions, use them.  If you like ginger, try adding some of that with the onions.  Quinoa PilafAnd those cooked greens pictured on the plate next to the pilaf?  Well, right after the picture was snapped and I took a bite, they ended up tossed together with the quinoa ~ and they were spectacular together!  If you don’t feel like dirtying a second pan, you could just throw a bag or two of frozen spinach right into the quinoa while it is cooking along with a little extra salt.  Ta-da!  One-dish meal.

Quinoa Pilaf

  • 2 ribs of celery (I used celery hearts), split lengthwise and diced
  • 1 small-medium onion, diced
  • 2-3 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 small can mushroom pieces, or 4 oz. of fresh ones, diced
  • 4 c. water
  • 2 c. quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 3 T. chicken-style seasoning
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. dillweed
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

In a large frying pan, saute the celery and onions in the olive oil while you dice up the carrots.  Toss the carrots in when you are finished, as well as the mushrooms.  When veggies are softened, pour in the water, quinoa, chicken seasoning and lemon juice; stir.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Turn heat down to medium and simmer for 10-15 minutes.  When the quinoa begins to show tiny little curls popping out, then sprinkle the lemon juice and dill over it all and stir.  Add the garbanzo beans.  Leave the lid off and simmer, stirring occasionally, until water is absorbed and the quinoa is fairly fluffy.

Serve with cooked greens and perhaps a slice of lemon to squeeze over it all.

Party Cereal (aka: Chocolate-Covered Cereal)

No, I haven’t totally lost my mind and am not suggesting you pull out the boxes of Cheerios and cartons of Silk at your next party.  😉  Instead, I am urging you to make some seriously addictive candy for your next hosting.  Or better yet…for your family for a simple dessert.  Everybody at my house expects this around Christmas, New Year’s, and at the Super Bowl “party” (which actually consists of just the family, so I’m not sure you can call that a party – lol.)

Chocolate-Covered CerealI have given up making a single batch.  I might as well not bother, because everybody will be whimpering that it is all gone and they “hardly got any.”  If you decide to make a double batch, you will need a very large mixing bowl ~ on the bottom mine claims it holds 8-qts.  For those of you moderates, or for those who don’t have to share, you will only need half that size.

Party Cereal (aka Chocolate-Covered Cereal)

  • 1 c. chocolate chips (about half a 12-oz bag…but a full cup really works the best)
  • 1/4 c. natural smooth peanut butter (or other nut butter)
  • 6 c. Barbara’s Bakery brand Shredded Spoonfuls cereal (you’ll need around 12 oz.)**
  • 1 c. powdered sugar

Melt the chocolate chips in a 1-qt. bowl in the microwave for 1 minute.  Stir and heat for 1 more minute.  While it is melting, measure the cereal into a 4-5 qt. bowl.  Stir the melted chocolate so that any tiny pieces left unmelted will join the club.  Now mix in the peanut butter.  Scrape the chocolate mixture onto the cereal.  Using a very gentle folding motion, begin turning the cereal over and over, carefully scraping the spoon against the bowl and trying to avoid damaging the cereal pieces.  (You will still get some crumbs in the bottom that will eventually succumb to somebody’s spoon, but I don’t think there will be any complaints.)  Keep patiently stirring ~ and nudging any clumps apart ~ until the cereal is completely covered in chocolate and there are only the tiniest occasional bare spots seen.  Pour the powdered sugar over the top of the cereal and begin the stirring process again.  When all of the pieces are evenly colored and no bare chocolate spots remain, you are done.

Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator (or freezer if you wish).

** You can use other cereals, but they need to have crevices to hold onto the chocolate and they must be sturdy enough to withstand the stirring process.  Nature’s Path makes a Heritage Bites cereal that looks like it might work.  Wheat Chex might also work, but wouldn’t be as tasty.

Corn Chowder

After a long absence, I am finally posting a new recipe!  (Sorry, folks ~ I got a new job and it’s using up any extra minutes I used to spend on my blog.  I’ll get better at this juggling thing soon, I promise!)

This recipe came about because I got hungry for corn chowder one day and just decided I would make some no matter what.  I had an okay recipe from eons ago, but after looking at it, I deemed it dull and lifeless.  I demand more taste and more nutrition from my fare now.  Because of that, this won’t look like your usual pale chowder.  I couldn’t help myself ~ I had to throw in some greens!  😀  But you should be used to that by now if you are following my blog.  (You see, my teen boys wrinkle their noses up if I serve cooked greens by themselves, but they have no problem eating them if they are in a dish.  So you see the method to my madness….)

Corn ChowderRest assured, this is a marvelously creamy, comforting soup for a chilly winter day!

Corn Chowder

  • 2 lg. onions, diced
  • 4 small potatoes, diced
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 12 oz. frozen turnip greens with diced turnips (or another green of your choosing)
  • 2 lbs. frozen sweet corn ~ thaw and reserve 2 c.
  • 1/3 c. raw cashews
  • reserved corn
  • 1/4 c. barley or brown rice flour
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. dillweed
  • 2 c. plain non-dairy milk
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • parsley

Boil the first 5 ingredients in a large pot until tender.  Add the sweet corn (still reserving the thawed 2 c.)  Blend the next 6 ingredients that are listed until very smooth.  Bring the veggies back to a boil and stir in the blenderized mixture.  Keep stirring until it thickens.  Turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, occasionally stirring.  Add the extra salt if desired and some dried parsley before serving.  (The extra salt isn’t added until the corn is cooked so that the corn doesn’t become tough and chewy.  That’s also why the corn isn’t added at the beginning of cooking the other veggies, so that especially the potatoes can absorb most of the salt from the water beforehand.  If you are in a hurry, dump the corn and salt in at the beginning.  The extra cooking time may make up for the it.)