Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Red Quinoa Experiment

When our boys were little, we decided to eat dinner as a family even if it is just a peanut butter sandwich the most important thing would be that we shared it together and tonight would be no different. I had to leave the house by 6:40 to go with my nephew to his Confirmation class as I am his sponsor. Thursday is also prep day for spelling, and math so I needed to make a meal that I could manage around flash cards and spelling bees! I decided on grilled brats, roasted red potatoes and salad. I bought red quinoa and thought I would try to use it for a salad. I looked at lots of recipes, but didn't have all the ingredients so I made due with what I had on hand. It received a thumbs up around the table. From start to table, this dinner took an hour.

Red Quinoa Salad:

1 cup red quinoa
2 cups water
3 ears of corn
1/2 small vidalia onion diced
1/2 bell pepper diced
1/2 tomato diced
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp parsley flakes
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook quinoa per package instructions. Drain, rinse with cold water and drain again. Set aside to cool. Steam corn for 3-5 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes and then remove from cob. Fold together the vegetables and the quinoa. In a separate bowl, whisk together the last six ingredients. Gently mix the dressing into the salad. Chill until ready to serve.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pasta, Pancetta and Peas

This recipe is one of my favorite quick pasta dishes! From start to table is about 35 minutes. This time I used rice pasta instead of flour based pasta. My boys can't tell the difference! The total caloric value per serving is approximately 350 cal.

Pasta with Pancetta and Peas:
(makes 8 servings)

1 12oz bag of rice pasta cooked
1 4 oz package of pancetta cubed
1 10 oz bag of frozen peas thawed
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup shredded asiago cheese
salt and pepper to taste

While the pasta is cooking, sauté the pancetta over medium heat. Once it starts to brown, add the peas and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Stirring frequently. Add the white wine and reduce. This takes 2 to 3 minutes. When the wine is reduced, turn the heat to low. Add the cream and asiago cheese. Salt and pepper to taste. When the cheese is melted, add the pasta and stir thoroughly. Add a little pasta water if the sauce needs thinned.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Ranch Chicken Sandwiches

Tonight is the start of soccer season for us and the boys had quite a bit of homework so I didn't want to take too long with dinner. I made Ranch Chicken Sandwiches from a recent episode of The Pioneer Woman:

I paired it with a gluten free Mac and cheese recipe from my friend, Lisa B.

The chicken took about 10 minutes of prep as I used heat and serve bacon. From start of the Mac to the table was about 45 minutes. We are having mixed fruit with sugar free vanilla ice cream after practice!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Fiesta Nachos

One of our favorite Sunday night dinners is Fiesta Nachos. This recipe has evolved over time from simply cheese and black olives to what I made tonight. This version has some additions and modifications from a recipe I found in the Fall edition of Diabetic Living magazine. This dinner from start to table took 45 minutes.

Fiesta Nachos:

1/2 bag of corn tortilla chips
2 tsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp Bisquick gluten-free baking mix or all-purpose flour
3/4 cup fat-free milk
1 cup Mexican cheese I use Sargento Artisan cheese
1 oz cream cheese softened
1 tsp paprika
1 lb lean ground beef
1/4 c water
1 serving of homemade taco seasoning (recipe to follow)
1 can black beans rinsed and drained
1 tomato dice
1/4 red onion diced
1/2 bell-pepper diced
1 cup shredded lettuce
Salsa, sour cream and guacamole for garnish

Preheat oven at 350*. Start browning ground beef. While the ground beef is browning, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Stir in baking mix until combined. Whisk in the milk until smooth. Cook until bubbly and thickened. Stir in shredded cheese, cream cheese and paprika. Turn heat to low and set-aside until needed. When the meat is browned, drain off fat, add water and the homemade taco seasoning making sure to mix thoroughly.

In a 9 x 13 glass baking dish, layer half the tortilla chips then beans, meat and queso dip. Repeat layering. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes to heat thru. Add the lettuce, tomato, onion and bell pepper. Serve with salsa, sour cream and guacamole

Homemade Taco Seasoning:
2 tsppaprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Stir all ingredients together in a small bowl

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Tomato soup with Grilled Cheese

I went to the local orchard today to pick up some apples and they had some beautiful heirloom tomatoes. I decided fresh tomato soup and grilled cheese would make a nice simple supper. The recipe below makes enough for 3-4 meals. It took only 15-20 minutes of hands on time and another 20 minutes on the stove. Total time from start to table including the grilled cheese sandwiches was an hour.

Tomato soup:
(makes ~5 quarts)

1 large onion thinly sliced
1/4 cup Safflower or Olive Oil
6 cloves of garlic minced
12-14 tomatoes quartered
1 large carrot rough chopped
1 bell pepper rough chopped
1 tbsp dried basil or 1/4 cup fresh
2 tsp kosher salt
5-6 cups chicken broth (I used Swanson reduced sodium)
Heavy whipping cream for garnish

In a stockpot sauté onion in oil until tender. Add garlic; cook one minute longer. Add the tomatoes, carrots, bell pepper, basil and salt. Stir in broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the tomatoes are softened. In a food processor or blender process the soup in batches until smooth. Return to the pan and heat through. Ladle into bowls and drizzle with cream if desired.



My name is Debbie or as my husband calls me, the Messy Cook!  He says, If it's not messy, then I'm not cooking!  Lucky for me, he is my clean up crew!  I live with my husband, two boys and our golden doodle, Max.  I love to cook and see the pleasure the food brings!  I work away from home about 50 hours a week, but I try hard to cook our meals at home and not respond to the allure of eating out which for a family of four usually costs $40-50 per meal!  I also like to cook because I know they are getting a healthy meal that has few preservatives or additives.  I feel that as the main cook in the house it is my responsibility to provide my family with good, well balanced meals.  I love to experiment with different recipes and I dream of someday entering a cooking contest.  I will share my recipes step by step in hopes that others will be able to enjoy them too!