{Summer Quinoa Salad}

This salad is so delicious and easy! So many fresh ingredients in one bowl. This is perfect for any side dish or pot luck.

Salad:

2/3 cup uncooked quinoa
1 1/3 cups chicken broth
1 cup black olives (6-ounce can, drained and sliced in half)
1 cup diced roasted red bell peppers (8-ounce jar, drained)
1 cup diced cucumbers, about 8 ounces
1 cup chopped tomatoes, about 8 ounces (I use cherry tomatoes and cut in half)
2-3 green onions, finely chopped
1/4 to 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled, about 4 ounces

Dressing:

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 clove garlic, finely minced
Pinch of dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste, start with about 1/4 teaspoon each and add more, if needed

Directions:

Rinse the quinoa very well in a fine mesh strainer; drain well. Combine the quinoa and broth in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook for 14-15 minutes until the quinoa is tender and the liquid is absorbed. Let it rest off the heat, covered, for 10-15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and let cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl, add the cooled quinoa, olives, roasted red peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, green onions and fresh basil. Whisk the dressing ingredients together and pour over the salad. Toss to combine.

Sprinkle with the feta cheese and toss lightly.

Serve immediately. If refrigerating to serve later, consider making extra dressing to drizzle over the salad before serving as it may dry out a bit in the refrigerator as the quinoa absorbs the dressing.

Recipe adapted from: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

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Orzo Summer Salad

Hands down one of my favorite salads ever! I make it for dinner, BBQ’s, potlucks…you name it, it never lets me down.

 

DRESSING:

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
1/3 cup olive oil

SALAD:

12 ounces orzo pasta
6 cups chicken broth
2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
4 tablespoons thinly sliced chives or green onions
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 cup baby spinach, coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
½ cup pine nuts, toasted (heat them in a dry skillet over medium-low heat, tossing often until golden)

DIRECTIONS:

For the dressing, whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, honey and oil. Season to taste with a bit of salt and pepper. Set aside.

For the salad, cook the orzo in the chicken broth until tender according to package directions. Drain well but do not rinse. Let the pasta cool to room temperature, tossing often so it doesn’t stick together. Toss the cooled pasta with the tomatoes, chives or green onions, basil, and spinach.

Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and stir to coat the ingredients with the dressing. Season with salt and pepper, if needed. Sprinkle the feta and pine nuts over the top and toss lightly. Serve at room temperature.

 

 

Recipe Source: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

{Greek Tzatziki Sauce}

One of my favorite food of all time is Greek food. We had grilled chicken kabobs on Sunday for Mother’s Day and they were amazing, but I have to say that the star of the show for that meal was this sauce! It just made the dinner perfect.

Ingredients:

1/2 large cucumber, unpeeled
1 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt, more to taste
1 Tbs fresh minced dill

Directions:

Grate the cucumber and squeeze out all the water with your hands or with a fine mesh cloth.
Combine the yogurt, garlic, oil, lemon juice and salt to a bowl and add in the drained cucumber. Stir in the fresh dill and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight. Serve chilled for dipping.

{Cheesy Hash Brown & Egg Breakfast Casserole} Make-Ahead of Time

This breakfast casserole is a breeze to whip up. I have tried a lot of different recipes for breakfast casseroles, and some I just don’t love. This one was delicious, my kids loved it too. Its a wonderful make ahead breakfast to make the night before a get together or for a holiday, to just throw in the oven that morning.

 

Ingredients: 

24 oz frozen shredded potatoes
salt and pepper
12 eggs
2 C half and half
1 t season salt
1 1/2 C cheddar cheese, grated
1 1/2 C pepper jack cheese, grated
2 C chopped ham (you can substitute cooked sausage)

Directions:

Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray. Pour the frozen potatoes into the pan. Shake a little salt and pepper over the top.

In a large bowl whisk the eggs up. Add the half and half, season salt, cheeses and ham. Stir to mix it all together.

Pour it over the top of the potatoes. Cover with foil and bake right away or the next morning.

4. Bake at 350 for 90 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it sit for about 10 minutes before serving. This will help it hold its shape better.

 

 

Recipe Source: Jamie Cooks It Up

{Thai Sesame Noodles}

This is the perfect recipe, if you’re craving Thai takeout style noodles. Super easy and quick to through together with delicious flavors.

Ingredients:

3/4 pound dried rice noodles (found in the Asian section of the grocery store)
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, plus a splash to loosen noodles
2 tablespoons Chinese sesame paste or tahini (I used Tahini sauce)
1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter
3 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Chinese rice vinegar
1 tablespoon granulated or brown sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
2 teaspoons minced garlic
Chili-garlic paste, to taste
1/2 pound cucumber, very thinly sliced
1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts, roughly chopped
A handful of chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

Directions:

Cook noodles according to package directions and rinse with cold water to cool. Drain well. Drizzle with a tiny splash of toasted sesame oil to keep them from sticking until dressed.

Meanwhile, whisk sesame paste and peanut butter in the bottom of a small bowl, then whisk in soy sauce, rice vinegar, remaining 2 tablespoons sesame oil, sugar, ginger, garlic and Chile-garlic paste to taste until smooth. Adjust flavors to taste.

Toss sauce with cold noodles. Add garnishes and enjoy!

 

 

Recipe Source: Smitten Kitchen

{Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies}

Everyone needs a really good chocolate chip cookie recipe in their life. I have made A LOT of different recipes, but only have maybe 2 right now that I love, and keep going back to. This one has become one of those. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 cup unsalted butter , melted and cooled at least 10 minutes
1 ¼ cup brown sugar tightly packed
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg + 1 yolks
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I always prefer milk chocolate)

DIRECTIONS:

Combine melted butter and sugars in a large bowl. Stir very well.

Add egg and egg yolk, stir well.

Stir in vanilla extract. Set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt.

Gradually add flour mixture to wet ingredients — stir well so that all the flour is absorbed.

Stir in chocolate chips.

Place dough in refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F (177C) and prepare cookie sheets by lining with parchment paper.

Scoop dough by rounded 1 1/2 Tablespoon onto prepared cookie sheets, placing at least 2″ apart.

Bake on 350F  for 10-11 minutes — cookies may still seem slightly soft in the centers, that is OK, they will cook completely on the cookie sheets. Don’t over-bake or your cookies will be too hard.

If desired, gently press additional chocolate chips into the tops of the warm cookies.

 

 

Recipe Source: Spend with Pennies

{Lemon Tarragon Pasta Salad}

One of my favorite places to eat in Utah is Plates and Palates in Bountiful. Everything is so fresh and delicious. This is the salad I order Every. Single. Time I eat there. I was so excited I found the recipe, and it was a big hit at our family Easter party.

FOR THE SALAD:
1 (16 ounce) box of bowtie noodles
2-3 C red grapes
1 C celery, thinly sliced
1/2 C sliced almonds
1/3 C green onions, chopped
2 C rotisserie chicken
 FOR THE DRESSING:
1 1/4 C mayonnaise (not light)
1/2 tsp onion powder
2 lemons juiced and zested
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tb fresh tarragon, minced (Make sure to use fresh and not dried)
1 Tb sugar
2 Tb honey

Instructions:

 Cook 1 pound of bowtie noodles according to package directions. Pour them into a colander and run cool water through them to lower the temperature.

Into a large bowl, place the drained pasta, 2-3 C red grapes, 1 C thinly sliced celery, 1/2 C sliced almonds, 1/3 C chopped green onions and 2 C rotisserie chicken.

To make the dressing grab some fresh tarragon. Don’t be tempted to use dry tarragon, this recipe is really best with fresh.This is what it looks like out of the package. It has an amazing smell and flavor!

Chop 2-3 Tb of the tarragon and place it in a small mixing bowl, or large glass measuring cup.

Add the zest and juice of two medium sized lemons. Add 1 1/4 C mayonnaise (not light), 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 Tb sugar

and 2 Tb honey. Stir it well to combine. Give it a taste and add a bit more sugar if needed. (Depending on the size of your lemons you might need a bit more sugar).

Add half of the dressing to the salad and stir to combine. Cover the salad and dressing and chill for 1-2 hours. Pour the rest of the dressing over the salad just before serving. Give it a nice stir, making sure everything is well incorporated. Add a few fresh tarragon leaves for garnish if you so choose.

Serve and enjoy!

Recipe adapted by: Jamie Cooks It Up

{Naan}

This is so yummy to go along side your favorite Indian dish. This is just plain Naan (Indian Flatbread) but I have seen people incorporate fresh Cilantro into the dough or I like to sprinkle with garlic powder before I bake it to give it more flavor. Either way you will love it!

Ingredients:

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast, or active dry yeast
1 egg
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup milk

Directions:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the flour, salt, baking powder, sugar, and yeast.( If you using dry active yeast, let it proof in warm water for about 5 minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients) In a small bowl, mix together the egg, yogurt, and milk. Pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and mix for about 1 minute, until the dry ingredients are completely incorporated into the wet ingredients.

Increase machine speed and knead the dough until it is smooth and shiny. Remove the bowl from the mixer and cover with a towel. Leave in a warm place to rise until the dough doubles in size, about an hour.

Put a baking stone or heavy baking sheet on the lowest rack of your oven. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees for at least 30 minutes prior to baking.

Divide the dough into eight pieces and form into an oval shape with your hands, about 6 to 8 inches across.

Cook two or three pieces at a time. Drop the dough onto the hot stone or baking sheet and shut the oven door, watching until they are just starting to turn brown in places, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Remove the naan and lay on a board. Serve warm with a yummy curry dish.

 

 

Recipe slightly adapted from: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

{Mexican Style Beef with Rice} Slow Cooker

I love any good Crock Pot meal. They are great for this busy mama, and this is a great one. It has a lot of flavor and the round steak gets so tender. Its definitely a family favorite!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pound round steak cut into bite size pieces
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 Tbs chili powder
1 Tbs prepared mustard just in your fridge
1 chopped onion
1 beef bouillon cube
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can kidney beans drained

Directions:

Cut up the uncooked meat and place it in the crock pot. Mix with garlic salt, pepper, chili powder and mustard. Cover with onion, bouillon cube, and tomatoes. Top with beans. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Serve over white rice. I usually always serve with Jasmine Rice cause its my favorite!