Quinoa-Rice Avocado Tabouli

1c of a quinoa-rice blend
2T Italian Herb olive oil
1/2 finely chopped onion
1 very large garlic clove - minced
2T dried parsley
2c water

2 very ripe avocados
1/2c Italian Herb olive oil
2 lg cloves of garlic - minced
2 limes - zest and juice
2T coriander (cilantro) chutney
2T basil pesto
a little water if needed

4 med. tomatoes cubed
2 mini English cucumbers
1/2 lg. Vidalia onion - chopped
2 cans black beans - drain and rinse
2 cans corn - drained
2-4T dried parsley
1/2c fresh snipped parsley

In a 2qt. pot, combine quinoa-rice, olive oil, onion and garlic over med-high heat, stirring often.  When this mixture is browning and aromatic, add water, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until water is absorbed.  Transfer to a large glass bowl.  Mash the avocados in a medium bowl or flat-bottomed pot.  Add all the remaining ingredients and let the flavors blend while chopping the vegetables.  Put all the vegetable ingredients in with the pilaf.  Mix carefully, with a wooden spoon, so as not to mash the rice.

When the rice and vegetables are combined, pour the dressing over all and again, mix carefully.  This makes a very big bowl.  This would be good for a picnic, barbecue, or just to make ahead for the next week of lunches.  To prevent it from becoming soggy, you could store the pilaf and vegetables separate from the dressing until just before serving.  The quinoa and beans elevate the protein content of this vegan dish. . .Lin

Colorful Coleslaw

1/2 head green, savoy and purple cabbage
1/2 lg. sweet Vidalia onion
1-2c carrot matchsticks
your favorite poppy seed dressing

Using a mandolin, or a very sharp knife and a good cutting board, thinly slice the cabbage and onions.  Wash and dry the cut cabbage in a salad spinner.  Combine cabbage, onion, carrots in a large glass bowl.  Mix a little water with the dressing to make it more pourable.  About a 4/1 dressing to water ratio is good.  Add some fresh ground pepper.

Toss and let stand an hour to blend the flavors and let the dressing marinate everything.

This goes great with picnic food, burgers and fries, steak and a baked potato or even sushi. . .Lin

Zucchini Noodles with Chicken Tomato and Spinach

1 med. zucchini
1/4 lg. Vidalia Onion
2/3# prepared chicken patties
5 cloves smashed-minced garlic
3c sliced-chopped fresh spinach
cherry or grape tomatoes - quartered 
1 10oz. can lime-cilantro tomatoes
4oz. Velveeta cheese

Spiralize the zucchini.  Put half the zucchini and sliced onion into a large casserole dish.  Break up the chicken patties and saute' with a little finely chopped onion and the garlic.  Add spinach, fresh, canned tomatoes, 1t each: sugar and salt.  Stir all together and pour half over the zucchini.  Add remaining zucchini and sauce.  Bake uncovered 25 minutes.

Slice cheese on top and return to the oven, under the broiler, until the cheese bubbly, browning and is melted.  Probably another 10 minutes.  Cut into squares and serve with crusty garlic bread. . .Lin  

Chicken and Vegetables with Tomato Cream Sauce

1#± chicken tenderloins
2 med. zucchini cut in cross-sections
6 sm. Yukon gold potatoes - quartered
1 med. onion - chopped
2/3c chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1 4oz. jar diced pimentos
3oz sun-dried tomato pesto
1/2c sour cream
1c plain Greek yogurt
salt and pepper

Arrange the chicken, zucchini and potatoes in a 9x13" glass pan.  Bake at 350° for 45 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a non-stick pan, sauté' the onion until translucent, add the remaining ingredients and let stand while chicken and vegetables bake.  Pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables and return to the oven for another 15 minutes.  Makes about 6 servings. . .Lin

Stuffed Squash

3 summer squash
1# ground turkey
1 med.-lg. onion - chopped
3-4 oz. sun-dried tomato pesto
2T± tandoori seasoning
2 eggs
1-1/2c bread crumbs

Scrub the squash.  Cut out the tops, scoop out the seeds and put on a baking sheet.  For the stuffing, mix the turkey with the onions and the remaining ingredients, like you would when making meatloaf.  Bake the stuffed squash until tender when poked with a a fork and the meat mixture is browned on the top.

This was a really good dinner, but we found the skin on both types of squash to be too tough to eat.  This recipe would work best with medium-large zucchini. . .Lin

Whole and Sprouted Grain Bread Pudding

2 whole grain English muffins
3-4 pieces Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Bread
1c Greek yogurt
1/2c half and half
1 egg
1/2 stick butter - melted
2t cinnamon
1-2t nutmeg
1c craisins
1c chopped almonds
1/2c brown sugar
2t pure vanilla extract 

This is a great way to use up bread that is getting older.  Works great with stale bread.  Put the cubed bread into a 9x9" baking dish.  Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl.  Let stand 10 minutes to rehydrate the craisins.  Pour over and work into the bread and let this stand another 10 minutes while preheating the oven.  Sprinkle some raw sugar over the top.  Bake at 350° 30-45 minutes until top is nicely browned.  Cool then cut into squares.  Great for dessert or breakfast. . .Lin

Mushroom Crab Cakes w/a Chopped Salad

8oz. crabmeat
8oz. finely chopped mushrooms
2 beaten eggs
1/2 chopped med. purple onion
5 minced garlic cloves
1/4c mayo
1T fresh lemon or lime juice
1-2T seedy brown mustard
1t Hungarian hot paprika

1-1/2t Old Bay Seasoning
1t fresh snipped chives
2t fresh snipped dill
1/2c bread crumbs
extra bread crumbs

Combine all measured ingredients in a medium glass bowl.  Using a 1/2c measure, scoop out the mixture and form into 'patties'.  Cover with bread crumbs.  Place in a buttered 9x13" glass baking pan.  Bake 18-20 minutes @ 375°.  Makes 8 patties.  Any leftover patties will freeze well for future dinners. . .Lin

Sweet and Spicy Curry Mayonnaise

2T chopped spicy sweet pickles
2T chopped red onion
1t red curry paste
3/4c± mayonnaise
Mix together and use as a sauce for the crab cakes. . .Lin

serve with:
Chopped Salad

1 lg. carrot
2 lg. cauliflower florets 
3 stalks celery heart
1/4 chopped purple onion
3 lg. radishes

Chop these vegetables (or any you have) into a medium glass bowl and coat lightly with your favorite dressing, add fresh ground pepper, toss then let stand and toss, several times in the next 10-15 minutes to marinate and blend all the flavors. . .Lin

Coconut-Ginger-Curry Chicken and Vegetables

1#± skinless-boneless chicken
1 med. purple onion - 1/4 minced
~ the rest cut in chunks
5 cloves minced garlic
2-3T coconut oil
1"x2" piece of peeled ginger

2T red curry paste
1 can coconut milk

1/3-1/2 cauliflower - broken into florets
5 carrots cut into chunks
5 sm. yellow potatoes cut in half
6-8 lg. radishes cut in half

Cut the chicken into chunks and put it in a 3-5 qt. pot with the minced onion, garlic and coconut oil.  Stir and sauté  until it starts to brown.  Add a little water when needed, grate the ginger into the pot, add curry paste, coconut milk and stir again.  Cover and let simmer while prepping the vegetables.  Add all the vegetables and simmer everything together, until the carrots and potatoes are cooked the way you like them.  Ladle into big bowls and serve. . .Lin 

Vegetable-Beef Lasagna Gluten-Free

1# ground beef, turkey or lamb
8-10 sliced mini peppers
1 med. purple onion - chopped
5-6 cloves garlic - minced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can zesty tomato sauce
1/2c fresh oregano & basil - chopped
1/2 lg. white onion - chopped
8oz. Neufchatel cheese
4ox. Velveeta cheese
2 beaten eggs
fresh ground salt and black pepper

2 med. zucchini sliced thin - lengthwise
8oz. frozen thin green beans
4oz. Parmesan cheese

Brown the ground meat, add sliced peppers, onion and garlic.  Stir and simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed.  Add the canned tomatoes and sauce.  In another pan, put the chopped white onion in the bottom and heat on very low heat.  Add the two cheeses, break them up and stir with the onions until the cheese becomes almost liquid.

Stir in the seasonings and remove from the heat to cool just a little then add the beaten eggs.  In a 9x13" glass pan, put several spoonfuls of the meat sauce.  Cover with a layer of zucchini slices, green beans and half the cheese mixture and more of the meat sauce.  Repeat the layers and grate the fresh parmesan on top.  Bake at 350° for 45 minutes then turn heat to 400° for 20 minutes, or until everything's bubbly.  Cool slightly and slice into big squares.  Serve with some hot, crusty garlic bread. . .Lin

Roasted Root Vegetables

3 sm.-med. red beets
2 med.-lg. sweet potatoes
2 med. red potatoes
1 med. Vidalia onion
5 lg. cloves garlic
fresh ground garlic salt
fresh ground pepper
*3-4T butter

Scrub vegetables and remove any odd spots.  Slice the red potatoes and sweet potatoes a little bigger than the beets, since they'll cook faster.  Combine with chopped onion, crushed-sliced garlic, seasonings and *butter in a large casserole dish.  Cover and bake at 400° for 15 minutes.  Take out of the oven, turn vegetables over with a large wooden spoon to coat with the melted butter and seasonings.

You could add 3/4c cashews, sunflower seeds, slivered or smoked almonds now for extra protein if you'd like this to be a vegetarian main dish.  *Swap out the butter for extra-virgin olive oil, to make it vegan.  Return to the oven, uncovered, for another 10 minutes or so, until everything is cooked the way you like it.  This is great for breakfast, lunch or dinner, by itself, or as a side dish to meatloaf, grilled chicken, fish or steaks.  .  .Lin 

Colorful Vegetable-Beef Stir-Fry

4-6 oz. steak
an interesting oil
your favorite seasonings
1T steak sauce
& balsamic vinegar
any vegetables you like

A Tiny Pepper-Top Mosaic!
Chop the steak into a non-stick pan, with the next 3 ingredients.  Today I used avocado oil.  Stir and heat this until it just starts to sizzle.  Cover and remove from heat to let flavors blend and the meat marinate just a bit.  Meanwhile, chop-slice-dice the vegetables however you prefer.  Add them to the meat then turn the heat to high and pay attention!  Keep everything moving, until the vegetables are still crisp-tender.  If you have leftover rice, or pasta, that can be added now.  The meat should be medium-rare to medium at this point.

This can be made with any meat; lamb, pork, chicken, shrimp.  If I were using either chicken or shrimp, I might try those with 1/2c± sun-dried tomato or basil pesto.  With any of the heartier meats, you could cut the pieces larger, use coconut oil, cubed-raw potatoes, larger vegetables, more cooking time, with curry powder or curry paste to create a wonderful East Indian stir-fry dinner.  Be Bold, Be Creative!  Happy Cooking! . . . Lin   

Black Bean and Corn Salad

             Ingredients Shown

                    ~ plus ~

  zest and juice of 1 lemon or lime
1-2T fruity white balsamic vinegar
  sweet onion, celery, fresh garlic
     fresh ground salt and pepper

Not much measuring this time, just drain and rinse black beans, rinse the corn and combine in a medium bowl.  I show a can of tomatoes, but decided to use 3 small fresh ones, since I have so many.  ( If you use canned, drain the juice into a glass.  Add a little lemon juice, vodka, hot sauce, seasonings and ice, for an interesting little Bloody Mary to sip on while you cook :-D )

Chop the tomatoes, add the onion and garlic, then the zest and juice, and drizzle with the oil and vinegar.  Toss, let chill an hour or so, toss again, garnish with avocado and serve as a salad or a very chunky dip for some sturdy chips.  You could also begin this whole process by mashing the avocado, stirring in the juice, other liquids, minced spicy-heat and crunch elements, and seasonings, to create sort of a dressing, before adding the vegetables.  It's always fun to try a recipe a couple different ways. . .Lin 

Potato-Zucchini Simmer

2 sm-med zucchini or yellow squash
1/4 onion - finely chopped
1T butter and a drizzle of olive oil
3 orange mini-peppers
3/4 onion - rough chopped
2 red or Yukon Gold potatoes
3 sm-med tomatoes - chopped
1/4c sun-dried tomato pesto
- 3oz. neufchâtel cheese - optional

Cut the squash, lengthwise, into 4 spears.  Cut into cubes.  Combine with onion, butter and oil.  Cook on low in a non-stick pan 8 minutes, adding a little water if needed.  Add all the remaining ingredients except the cheese.  Simmer 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are cooked the way you like. Stir in cheese, heat another few minutes before serving.  These pictures are before and after adding the cheese.

This is the first time I've used this cheese in cooking.  Neufchâtel is almost identical to regular cream cheese.  Made in Neufchâtel, France,  it's lower in fat than our Philly version.  It's good in this recipe, but much richer and heavier than similar ingredients I've used previously.  If I make this again, I'll use sour cream or thick coconut milk.  If going with the latter, I would also add 1t to 1T of curry powder.  Be Bold - Be Adventurous!  Happy Cooking Everyone! . . . Lin

Chicken Lasagna

8oz. pasta - cooked, rinsed and drained
2-4oz. finely diced bacon
1#+ chicken breast meat
1 med. onion - diced
8oz. sliced mushrooms
8 multi-colored mini peppers - sliced
24oz. Newman's Sockarooni Sauce

6oz. ricotta cheese
1 egg
2/3c cottage cheese
3oz. capers
2/3c sliced kalamata (red) olives
fresh snipped oregano, basil, rosemary
cayenne pepper, garlic salt, black pepper
grated Parmesan cheese

Saute' the bacon in a 3 qt. pot.  Cut the chicken into small cubes.  Saute' chicken, and the onion, in with the cooking bacon.  When the chicken has started to brown, add the mushrooms and peppers.  Simmer-saute' for a while to bring out the flavors and brown the meat, adding a little water, chicken stock or white wine if needed.  After the chicken has browned - 20-60 minutes - add the red sauce and continue to simmer.  
<—If the peppers 'melt' leaving only the stringy skins, remove those.

Meanwhile, combine the next 7 ingredients in a small bowl.  Put half the cooked pasta in a 9"x9" glass pan.  Pour half the cheese mixture over this.  Next add half the meat mixture.  Repeat.  Top with some fresh grated Parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350° until it's very bubbly, about 40 minutes.

Let stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes before cutting.  Serve with a mixed green salad. . .Lin

Corn and Black Bean Salad

4 ears of corn
2 Roma tomatoes
1 green pepper
1 med. Vidalia onion
2-3 lg. cloves of garlic - minced
1/2c chopped sun dried tomatoes
2-4T oil from the tomatoes
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1-2t chili-lime seasoning
1/2t Himalayan pink salt
1 lg. can black beans
~ drained and rinsed

Cook the corn then cut it off the cobs into a medium size bowl.  Add the chopped vegetables and remaining ingredients, then toss together.  Chill an hour or so then toss again just before serving. . .Lin

Sun-Dried Tomato—Avocado Dressing

1 very ripe avocado
3/4c real mayonnaise 
2-3T Balsamic vinegar
2-3T finely chopped sun dried tomatoes
1-2T oil from the tomatoes
fresh ground sea salt and pepper
2-3T water - as needed

Mash the avocado in a flat bowl, stir in the remaining ingredients and pour over a tossed salad.  Makes enough for 2 big salads. . .Lin

(Another) Quinoa Tabouli with Black Beans

1c quinoa
2c water
2-4T Tuscan or Italian Flavored Olive Oil
zest and juice of 1-2 limes or 1 lg. lemon
fresh ground salt and pepper
(a little chili lime seasoning - optional)
1-1/2c fresh herbs chopped parsley (basil / oregano)
1 or 2 15oz. cans of rinsed-drained black beans
1-1/2c chopped fresh tomatoes
4-6 green onions - sliced-chopped
2 lg. cloves garlic - sliced-chopped very fine
1c chopped celery hearts and leafy tops
3-4 lg. radishes - sliced
3-4 mini English cucumbers - chopped

Cook the quinoa in water, as directed, until little tails sprout and all liquid is absorbed.  Add all the remaining ingredients, toss, chill for an hour or so before serving. . .Lin