I’m shooting 4 television shows this week for NBC 13 “Daytime Alabama”, and here’s one of the dishes I will be making. For those of you not familiar with quinoa, I hope that I can help out. Quinoa is an amino acid protein rich seed that has a fluffy slightly crunchy texture and a nutty flavor when cooked. You cook it just as you would cook rice although you need to rinse the seeds before cooking them. Most commonly considered a grain, quinoa is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard with so many health benefits. Quinoa is a very good source of manganese as well as a good source of fiber, protein, magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus. It is said to be helpful to those who get migraine headaches and helps reduce diabetes and atherosclerosis. I love this Quinoa Salad with Arugula and Feta as it’s so fresh, healthy and flavorful. Feel free to make it a main dish by adding cooked chicken or shrimp. This is the perfect dish to start the new year on the right (and healthy) foot.
I have been working on some new fall salad recipes for upcoming television cooking segments this month. I was in the mood for a Black-Eyed Pea Salad and trying to increase the fiber in my kid’s diets. This recipe starts with a simple lime and chipotle vinaigrette combined with the black-eyed pea and black bean mixture. The mixture is served over peppery arugula which makes a fresh, flavorful and light salad. This is a great starter salad, but it would also be wonderful as a main dish topped with grilled or cooked chicken, shrimp, turkey or steak. This recipe is also a part of “Fall Fest” which is a continuation of Summer Fest, a cross blog recipe swap from various food blogs. These events were started by Margaret Roach of Away to Garden and Deb Puchalla of The Food Network. The theme this week is “fall salads” so I hope you enjoy this one.
Even though it’s the end of summer, I think it’s the perfect time to make fresh salads filled with your favorite produce. This Vegetable Salad is so colorful and flavorful from fresh roasted beets, corn, potatoes, tomatoes and lettuces topped with goat cheese and pecans. It makes a great main-course vegetarian salad because it is so hearty. This recipe is adapted from a recent recipe in Cooking Light for a Corn and Basil Salad. I added and deleted various ingredients, and this version turned out even better than it looks. My friend, Nancy, served it the other night along with beef tenderloin, and her friends raved about it. You can also add chicken or shrimp if you want to add extra protein. Also, feel free to prepare the beets, potatoes, corn and salad dressing ahead of time so all you have to do is assemble the ingredients.
School is a few weeks underway already in Alabama, and I am amazed at how hard my kids’ homework is. Last week, my two oldest children were up to almost 10 every night doing math problems, reading their quota of 150 minutes a week and so on. My son even had to do a “glog” which is actually the same thing as a “blog”. Pretty cool, huh. After a long day at school (and after-school sports), I love to serve the kids something really healthy, colorful and fresh. This dish was a hit the other night, especially topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. It’s great when I can feel good about what they are eating, especially when they are working so hard and need good nutrition.
When I worked at Southern Living Magazine, we tested a lot of Tomato Pie recipes. I have been searching for one without mayonnaise that was lighter, healthier and still tasted great. My assistant, Alatia, told me about one that she made recently. This Tomato-Basil Pie is super easy, and it makes great use of summery fresh tomatoes and basil. My kids said it tasted similar to a pizza, and they loved it. This is a great recipe idea for a party appetizer, light main-dish dinner or lunch. Serve with a drizzle of balsamic if you like. It’s a true taste of summer.
My friend, Kiel, just recently moved to Jacksonville, Florida, and she sent me some recipes from her “Girls Night Out” dinner. She and 10 of her friends get together every Tuesday night and alternate at their different houses trying new, fun and creative recipes. One night, they made Panini sandwiches and homemade tomato soup. Recently, they had an abundance of healthy, fresh salads. She sent me some of the recipes from her latest dinner. This Tomato-Avocado Appetizer with Boursin is such a breeze and tastes delish! It is so perfect for a crowd, especially during the summertime (such as this weekend for July 4th) celebrations. Thanks Kiel and your wonderful friends for sharing your recipes with me.