Quinoa with Roasted Butternut Squash & Sausage

Quinoa with Roasted Butternut Squash & Sausage
  • 1 small butternut squash (about 1 and 1/2 lbs), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 medium onion, diced to 1-inch
  • olive oil
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Italian sausage links (I used hot Italian)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (or 1 tbsp fresh)
  • 3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed well
  • 1 and 1/4 cups water
  • fresh parsley and/or oregano, for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (375 degrees F convection). In a large bowl, toss butternut squash and onion with a good drizzle of olive oil and a liberal sprinkle of salt & pepper. Spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast in the preheated oven, turning once or twice, until squash edges are crispy and browning, about 45 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, remove sausage from its casing. Coat the bottom of a medium (4 or 5-quart) Dutch oven very lightly with olive oil (just enough to get browning started) and bring to a shimmer over medium heat. Add sausage, breaking up with a wooden spatula, and cook, stirring occasionally, until sausage is nicely browned, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add oregano, stir and cook for 1 minute. Add quinoa and water; stir, cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until quinoa is fluffed and water has been absorbed, about 15 minutes.
  3. Add roasted squash & onion to the quinoa. Mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with chopped fresh parsley or oregano. Serve warm.
Serves 4 as a main dish; 8 as a side with soup or salad.


Gluten-Free Quinoa and Cauliflower Chowder

  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 Idaho russet potato, skinned and diced
  • 3 cups cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • 2 15-ounce cans vegetable broth
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 cup quinoa

  1. In large dutch oven or stock pot, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add red bell pepper and carrots and cook for 10 minutes or until pepper softens.
  2. Add potato, cauliflower, vegetable broth, milk, bay leaf, thyme and kosher salt. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook for about 10-12 minutes or until cauliflower and potato are softened. Turn heat to low.
  3. Meanwhile, rinse ⅔ cup quinoa in cold water and place in small pan and cover with 2 cups of cold water. Season with pinch of kosher salt and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and cook until quinoa is softened. Fluff with fork and set aside.
  4. Ladle about 3 cups of broth and vegetables, mostly potatoes and cauliflower but leaving some in pot for texture, into high sided container and blend with a blender until smooth.
  5. Add back to pot. Remove bay leaf and season with more salt if desired. Add quinoa and remaining tablespoon of butter and cook for another 5 minutes. Quinoa and butter will thicken soup as quinoa absorbs some of liquid. Serve immediately.
Source: http://www.foodiecrush.com/2014/03/gluten-free-quinoa-and-cauliflower-chowder/


Israeli Couscous with Fresh Corn, Tomatoes, and Feta

Now on our summer menu, something that the kids love and easy to get from the garden....
israeli couscous salad
Israeli Couscous
 This is a  colorful summery dish, which is a cross between a warm salad and a pilaf. Folding the corn and tomato into the couscous while it’s still warm brings out the vegetables’ flavor, softening them slightly and making them even juicier than they started out. It also makes the feta cheese very creamy.
If you do have leftovers, it will make a marvelous light lunch the next day, though you might want to pop the couscous into the microwave for just a few seconds to make everything nice and supple, especially if you’ve stored it in the fridge.


1large garlic clove
¾tsp. plus 1 pinch kosher salt, or to taste
2tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
cups Israeli couscous, preferably whole-wheat
1cup fresh corn kernels (from 1 large ear)
1large ripe tomato, diced
3oz. crumbled feta cheese (optional)
2Tbsp. chopped fresh basil


  1. Using a mortar and pestle or the flat side of a knife, mash the garlic and a pinch of salt to a paste. In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic paste, lemon juice, remaining ¾ tsp. salt, and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil.
  2. Cook the couscous according to package instructions; add the corn for last 5 minutes of cooking. Drain well.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the hot couscous-corn mixture, tomato, and vinaigrette. Let the couscous cool for about 10 minutes before gently folding in the feta and basil.


Just about anything goes with this terrific little dish, and you can vary the vegetables, herbs, and cheese to match your mood and what’s in season. Here are a few ideas:
Chopped spinach will wilt appealingly if you fold some into the hot couscous, sautéed mushrooms make it autumnal, and roasted red peppers are an excellent substitute for the tomato.
Parmesan cheese will give the dish added depth of flavor, and ricotta salata is just tasty anywhere you use it.
Fresh rosemary is very appealing used here in place of the basil for several reasons. It’s less likely to turn black when you toss it with the warm couscous and therefore makes a better presentation. And I love its piney flavor and scent with fresh summer tomatoes and briny feta.
The textural aspect of the juice-bursting nibs of corn really is nice. I would say it might even be worth using good frozen corn if you can’t get good sweet fresh corn. But that depends entirely upon how you feel about frozen corn.
Source: http://www.culinate.com/books/collections/all_books/cook_this_now/israeli_couscous_with_fresh_corn_tomatoes_and_feta


Incredible Holt Energy Bars

We made these for our good friend Jeremy for his birthday.
Energy Bars
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 8-9 dates
  • (Then I added a drop.. just a drop of agave to make it more appealing for the kids. You could also add honey)
Blended it all up in our Vita-Mix.  Once all combined, I pressed it into chunks.
After we decided we liked it, we began to experiment by adding:
  • non sweetened coconut
  • sesame seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • pumpkin seeds
What I love: They are gluten free, full of fiber, they are non-dairy, vegan, and they pack a bunch of calories and healthy fat right into a tiny little bar.  Not for your average snacking- but perfect for hiking and long stretches of time when you don’t want to carry much food.
homemade larabar


BBQ chicken quinoa salad

BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad
Recipe Type: Salad
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 15 mins
Serves: 2-4
1 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup corn
1/2 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup shredded BBQ chicken
1 avocado, chopped
2 tbsp White Cheddar cheese, shredded
2-4 tbsp BBQ sauce
2 scallions, chopped
cilantro for garnish
In a large bowl, toss together the quinoa, corn, black beans, chicken and avocado. Season with salt and pepper
Transfer mixture onto a bowl and top with shredded cheese, BBQ sauce, scallions and cilantro.
Serve warm or at room temperature
*Note: this recipe calls for already cooked chicken so plan ahead! I prefer tocook my chicken in the crockpot, using 6 chicken thigh, 1 white onion sliced and 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce. I cook on low for about 6-7 hours and then shred and refrigerate for later.

Cheesy chicken rice casserole

3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 stalks celery, finely diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 Tablespoons fresh minced garlic
2 Cups shredded, cooked chicken breast
2 Cups steamed white rice
16 oz prepared wild rice (I get mine at Trader Joes, LOVE it)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
Cheese Sauce
4 Tablespoons butter
1/4 Cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 Cups chicken broth
2 Cups shredded cheddar cheese
Top with 1 1/2 Cups shredded cheddar cheese
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Heat oil into a medium dutch oven or pot over medium heat.  Saute onion, celery and carrots until softened, about 10 minutes.  Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Stir in chicken, both rices, salt, pepper and garlic salt.  Reduce heat to low.
2.  To prepare cheese sauce melt butter into a medium saucepan over medium high heat.  Whisk in flour, salt and pepper then slowly pour in chicken broth whisking continuously.  Whisk until thick and nearly boiling then stir in cheese until melted.  Pour cheese sauce into rice mixture then transfer to a 9×13 inch baking dish. Top with additional cheddar cheese and bake for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted through.  Serve.
8-10 servings

Oatmeal Bars

Baked Oatmeal Snack Bars


1.5 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped walnuts [or any nuts you like]
1/2 cup dried fruit (any you like – raisins, cranberries, dates, figs)
1/4 cup seeds (any you like – sunflower, pumpkin, flax, sesame)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp kosher salt
1.25 cups skim milk
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350*
Mix dry ingredients.
Mix wet ingredients.
Pour wet into dry. Stir to combine.
Pour into a 9×9 baking dish either coated in cooking spray or lined with parchment.
Bake for 40 minutes.
Cut into 9 squares.
Makes 9 servings . Each bar is appx. 170 calories, 3 grams fiber and 5 grams protein. [Cut into 12 squares reduces calories to about 125 calories per square]

While delicious, the only sweetness in these comes from the dried fruit. Add in 1/4 – 1/2 cup brown sugar if you like.

The variations are endless: cranberries, coconut, all kinds of dried fruit, nuts, etc.