Tag Archives: Portable

Zucchini, Grape and Cucumber Quinoa

10 Apr

When I think Spring, I think fresh fruits and veggies.  Without realizing it, I simplify all of my recipes to feature the food, instead of covering it in breading and spices.  This Zucchini, Grape and Cucumber Quinoa is the perfect fresh Spring meal.  It’s a light simple side for dinner, that would pair nicely with grilled chicken or seafood.  I also take it in for lunch; it’s perfect served at room temperature or chilled right from the fridge.

Zucchini, Grape and Cucumber Quinoa (2 servings)

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 a small zucchini, chopped
  • 1/4 of a large cucumber, chopped
  • 2 tbs feta cheese, crumbled
  • 12 red grapes, cut in half
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp black pepper

Bring your chicken stock and quinoa to a boil in a medium pot.  Then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover to continue cooking for 12-15 minutes.  You want to make sure your stock is absorbed.  If you’ve never worked with quinoa, it will be cooked when the center is almost translucent and there’s a ring around the grain.  It’s delightfully chewy, and you can use it a million ways.  It’s also filled with protein and very filling.

While your quinoa is cooking, chop up your zucchini, cucumber and grapes.  Once your quinoa is finished, stir in salt and pepper, and add your grapes and veggies.  Then stir in feta cheese and serve.  Simple, huh?  I think the raw veggies give this dish a nice fresh taste.  The grapes add a bit of sweetness, and the feta is salty, and provides a nice balance.  If you need to turn up the flavor, try adding some lemon or fresh herbs.  I think parsley or dill would be delicious in this dish. 

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Oatmeal Cream Pies and Easter Feasts

8 Apr

Happy Easter all!  When I was a kid, we would always get dressed up and go over to my grandparent’s house for an egg hunt, and afterwards eat deli ham, deviled eggs, and drink fizzy green punch (it’s a McG family thing-don’t ask).  Then my Mom took over, and turned Easter into one of my favorite feast days.  Now I can look forward to fresh seafood, tomato and burrata salads, spinakopita, Maryland deviled-eggs (Old Bay of course)!

I’m convinced my Mom can cook anything, and man can she create a table-scape.  She’s just not that into baking, which is where I come in.  This year, I wanted to find a recipe that would appeal to kids and grown up kids alike.  Something sweet, portable, and to appease the non-chocoholics in my life.  I bring you my take on Oatmeal Cream Pies just in time for Easter!

Oatmeal Cream Pies (makes about 40 cookies, 20 sandwiches)

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 sticks salted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 12 oz Betty Crocker Whipped Fluffy White Frosting

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl, mix the oats, flour, salt, cinnamon and baking soda together with a spoon.

In a large bowl, mix the softened butter and brown sugar with a hand-held mixer for about 2 mins.  Add your eggs and vanilla to the wet mixture, and mix on medium speed until all of the ingredients are combined.  Slowly incorporate the flour and oat dry mixture into the wet ingredients, I added a quarter of the mixture at a time.  Combine dry and wet ingredients with your mixer on low until completely blended.  Stir in your raisins with the spoon.

Ok decision time!  Large or small cream pies?  I say go big or don’t eat, so went with the large size.  If so, put heaping tablespoons of the batter onto a silpat (can also use parchment paper) on top of your baking sheet.  If you want the smaller hand-held variety cookies, use a regular cereal spoon to dole out your batter.  Make sure to leave at least an inch to 1 1/2 inch between batter.  It will spread out while cooking.  Cook in a 350 degree oven for 14-16 minutes, rotating your cookie sheet half way through to ensure evenly-browned goodness.

Let your cookies cool on a wire rack for 5-10 mins.  Once they are cooled, use a spoon to spread about a tbs of the frosting between two cookies.  You guys will love these!  They have a melt in your mouth brown-sugary goodness quality and are easy to transport today’s Easter feast.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Caramelized Onions

27 Nov

To follow-up on yesterday’s Thanksgiving Recap post, I wanted to share the three recipes I contributed to my family’s feast.  At my mother’s request, I brought my Eggplant Dip, my Chocolate PB Chip Cookies, and Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Caramelized Onions

These sweet potatoes were creamy with a little tang from the goat cheese, and the caramelized onions were the perfect complement.  This dish was so simple, portable, and is sure to become a new holiday staple!

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with  Caramelized Onions

  • For the Mashed Sweet Potatoes
    • 4 large sweet potatoes, roasted
    • 6 oz of goat cheese
    • 3 tbs butter, melted
    • 1 tsp pepper and a sprinkle
    • 1/2 tsp salt and a sprinkle
    • 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • For the Caramelized Onions
    • 2 large onions, chopped
    • 1 tbs olive oil
    • 1 tsp granulated sugar
    • 1 tbs balsamic vinegar
    • sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste

First roast your sweet potatoes on a baking sheet covered with foil in a 400 degree oven for an hour.  Make sure to poke several holes in each sweet potato with a fork to let the steam escape.  Your sweet potatoes will be finished when a fork can easily be inserted and the potatoes are tender.  I roasted these the night before to save a step on Thanksgiving.

Once the sweet potatoes cool, peel off the skin and transfer cooked potatoes to a large bowl.  Add the goat cheese and mash the two together.  Once combined, melt butter in the microwave for 40 seconds, and then pour over potatoes.  Add salt, pepper, and fresh nutmeg to bowl and stir.

After you finish with the potatoes, chop two large onions.  Transfer the onions into a pan over medium heat coated with 1 tbs of olive oil.  Stir the onions to coat and let them sit for 15 minutes or so, stirring periodically. They should look similar to the above picture.

After about 15 minutes, add 1 tsp of sugar to the pan and stir.  Cook for 15-20 more minutes stirring periodically to make sure the onions do not burn.  The goal  of caramelizing onions, is to release their natural sugars and soften them just shy of burning themStir the onions from time to time during the cooking process, but do NOT over stir.  This will prevent the onions from ever caramelizing.  TRUST, I think this is what took me so long to finish mine.

Top the mashed sweet potatoes with the caramelized onions, and serve warm.  My father is not a big onion fan, so I served them on the side for himHey, it’s the holiday season and I was in a giving mood!  These Mashed Sweet Potatoes stand on their own, but give them a try with the onions if you are not opposed to them.  I think they really give this side its pop.