Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Quinoa Salad with Lime-Cilantro Dressing

Yesterday being Memorial Day, our family attended our church's annual Memorial Day Picnic. I decided to try this recipe that I got off the McDougall website because when I read down the list of ingredients it contained all my favorite things: fresh corn, colorful bell peppers, avocado, artichokes, etc. the list goes on...and on (literally, there are so many ingredients!) While each ingredient is appreciated for its unique role, ie. the sweet chewiness of the dried apricots, I don't think that leaving out a few for lack of accessibility would harm it much. I kept getting comments all day from people who really enjoyed it (and when you bring a healthy salad to a potluck, it better be able to hold it's own against its high fat competitors!)

I served it alone yesterday as a side salad. But today I had the urge to wrap it up in some of these buttery lettuce leaves that were waiting to be used in my garden. The variety is called Red Deer Tongue. It reminds me of butter lettuce - but you could also use iceberg or whatever you have. Great success. I loved the cool, crispy crunch this added to the salad - I will be making this many times this summer, I can already tell. It's a great make ahead dish too as it was very tasty the second day.

I did not have sun-dried tomatoes or quinoa. So I used 4 cups of pre-cooked Five Grain Pilaf that I had in my freezer and omitted the sun-dried tomatoes. The Lime-Cilantro dressing is SO delicious, I am excited to have yet another fat-free dressing that I love! Here is the recipe exactly how it appears on the McDougall website:

Quinoa Salad with Lime-Cilantro Dressing
By Roberta Joiner

Roberta made this delicious salad during our last 10-Day McDougall Live-In Program and when I sampled it, I immediately asked if I could print the recipe in the newsletter. She says you can also make this with 4 cups of any leftover grain that you have instead of the quinoa, if you wish.

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Resting Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 8

2 cups uncooked quinoa
4 cups water
8 dried apricots, finely diced
¼ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
2 ears of corn, cut off cob
6 small green onions, sliced in rounds
2 tomatoes, diced
1 cucumber, diced
½ cup finely diced colored bell peppers
1 can artichoke hearts or bottoms, drained and chopped (reserve 2 bottoms for the dressing recipe below)
¼ cup toasted slivered almonds
1 avocado, chopped

Toast the quinoa in a dry skillet for a few minutes. Add boiling water, apricots and sun-dried tomatoes. Cover and cook over low heat for 15 minutes. Add the corn kernels and let rest for 10 minutes. Transfer to a fine mesh strainer and allow to rest for another 10 minutes so it is well drained. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

2 artichoke hearts or bottoms, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, rinsed well, stems removed
4 stems basil, rinsed, stems removed (optional)
1 tablespoon honey or Agave nectar
½ cup rice vinegar
¼ cup red wine vinegar
juice of 3-4 limes

Place all dressing ingredients into a food processor or blender and process until well mixed. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired, adding salt to taste (optional). Toss with the quinoa mixture and serve. The grains will absorb some of the tartness of the dressing, and it will seem milder when served with the grains.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Baked Oatmeal

I'd like to introduce you to our newest favorite way to eat oatmeal. A friend of mine put this recipe on her blog. (Thanks Kristin!) Most baked oatmeal recipes call for eggs and butter - as does this one - but leaving it out omits 27 grams of fat and 272 mg. of cholesterol! I've never tasted the "original" but the "McDougallized" version is SO delicious, I don't even want to know what I'm missing. Even though this is technically breakfast no one's going to arrest me for having a 3 o'clock snack - This tastes better than ANY fat free oatmeal cookie! Mmmm! And all my kids like it...all except picky hubby who prefers most of his food very plain.
Without further ado, here it is:

Baked Oatmeal

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced or grated

2 cups regular or quick oats
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon ground flax seed meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt

2 cups soymilk ( I always dilute my soymilk, so I used 1 1/2 c. soymilk + 1/2 c. water)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup

In 8 X 8 square or round 2 quart dish, lay apples on bottom. Pile on oat mixture to cover. Carefully pour milk mixture over oats to cover. Sprinkle with course sugar. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. The last 5 minutes I like to broil the top so it gets real crispy -but we like crunchy over here. You can have fun trying other fruits, nuts, or spices as well. Please share your creations!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Pineapple Salsa

I am obsessed with this stuff! I am dunking carrots in it, warmed corn tortillas, drizzling over my salad and even on my baked potato! If you have never tried to make homemade salsa, you have to now - and you will never go back to store bought.

Here is my favorite salsa recipe, to make the tomato version just sub out the can of pineapple for a can of diced tomatoes, juice included. Or you can click here for a print out version.

Pineapple Salsa

1 15 oz. can pineapple chunks, liquid included
1/2 bunch cilantro
3 green onions, use all of the white and 1/4 of the green
1/4 jalapeno - more for spicier but add it gradually, all peppers vary in heat!
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon salt

Put all ingredients in blender and blend until desired consistency. We like ours smooth with no chunks.


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