Quinoa with Brussels and Sweet Potatoes


I've been throwing goat cheese on everything lately. I randomly picked up a little container of it at the store on a whim. And I've discovered that it makes almost everything look and taste more gourmet. I love it!

So, one of those things was this quinoa dish. It was awesome. A product of wanting to use what I had i the house, and a little internet searching. Honestly you could throw any combination of roasted veggies with quinoa and yummy dressing and you'd be good to go. And if you can throw goat cheese on top? GOLDEN!

Quinoa with Roasted Brussels and Sweet Potatoes

1-2 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cups of brussels sprouts, cleaned and cut in half lengthwise
1/4 red onion, diced
1 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
Crumbled goat cheese (or feta)


1/4 cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tbs pure maple syrup (or maybe I used agave and maple extract? whatever.)
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 450.
Toss the veggies with olive oil and salt/pepper to taste. Place the sweet potatoes on a cookie sheet, and the brussels and onion on another cookie sheet. Roast for about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and the brussels are crisp and browned. They may finish at different times, hence the two baking sheets.
Add the dressing ingredients to a jar. Shake well.
Toss quinoa, sweet potatoes, brussels and onion together in a bowl. Pour the dressing over and toss to coat. Sprinkle goat cheese on top, and it will melt delightfully into the dish as you eat it. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

Balsamic Pear Salad

Another salad I threw together the other night when we had the missionaries over. Sorry no photo, I was playing hostess. But this was amazing and everyone was "ooh"ing and "ahh"ing over it, so I ought to record it here so I don't forget about it!

salad greens (I used field greens)
thinly sliced pears
thinly sliced red onion
basic balsamic vinaigrette (everyone should learn to throw this together. once you see how easy it is you'll use it ALL THE TIME.)
candied walnuts (something else you should learn to do. so easy and so useful.)
crumbled goat cheese (just go buy it okay, you'll use it on everything. or substitute feta.)
salt and freshly ground black pepper

toss greens, pears, and onion with dressing. sprinkle salad with nuts and cheese right before serving.

Sweet Potato Caramelized Onion Pesto Pizza

Okay, so the iPhone photo is terrible. Don't worry, summer is coming. Which means I will have natural light with which to photograph my dinners. For now we're stuck with the light above the stovetop. Yikes.

Just trust me, this pizza was super tasty!

No-Knead Pizza Dough

3 3/4 unsifted cups all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping the dough
1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
11/2 cups water

In a medium bowl, thoroughly blend the flour, yeast, and salt. Add the water and, with a wooden spoon and/or your hands, mix thoroughly. Start with the spoon, then switch to your hands.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and allow it to rise at room temperature (about 72°) for 18 hours or until it has more than doubled. It will take longer in a chilly room and less time in a very warm one.

Flour a work surface and scrape out the dough. Divide it into 3 equal parts and shape them by folding four edges toward the center. Shape each portion into a round and turn seam side down. Mold the dough into a neat circular mound. The mounds should not be sticky; if they are, dust with more flour.

If you don't intend to use the dough right away, wrap the balls individually in plastic and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Return to room temperature by leaving them out on the counter, covered in a damp cloth, for 2 to 3 hours before needed.

(in depth instructions and photos for dough found here.)

Sweet Potato Caramelized Onion Pesto Pizza

1 ball of no-knead pizza dough
1 sweet potato, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup prepared pesto sauce (i like costco brand or a quick homemade in the blender)
fresh mozzarella cheese (shredded is fine too if that's what you have)
olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450°.

Start the onions by heating 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet.  Place onions in skillet, sprinkle with salt and saute slowly over medium-low heat, stirring somewhat often, for about 15-20 minutes, until the onions have turned a rich, caramel brown.  Remove from heat and set aside.

While the onions are caramelizing, line a cookie sheet with foil. Place the sweet potato slices in a bowl and drizzle lightly with olive oil.  Toss, then place in a single layer on the prepared cookie sheet and season with salt and pepper.  Roast for 6 minutes, then flip and roast another 3-4 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Dust your hands and work surface lightly with flour.  Working from the center of your ball of pizza dough, gently stretch & shape it to the desired size.

Bake the shaped pizza for about 5 minutes, then take it out for topping. Spread pesto sauce on pizza, then layer sweet potato slices, caramelized onions, and torn pieces of mozzarella cheese. Season with a little salt and pepper, and bake an additional 7-10 minutes, until crust is golden and cheese is bubbly.

Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before slicing.

Grapefruit Avocado Salad

Just a little something I threw together the other day. ;)

-field greens (or other favorite salad greens)
-thinly sliced red onion
-sliced avocado
-sliced cucumbers
-chunks of grapefruit, peeled and membranes removed (time consuming but worth it)
-crumbled goat cheese
-salt and freshly ground black pepper

-2 parts olive oil
-1 part lemon juice
-a drizzle of honey or agave to sweeten to taste

Vegetable, Lentil and Beef Soup

It doesn't sound like much, but this soup was actually really, really delicious. It was hearty and filling and just tasted really fantastic. It was very low effort with a very high return. We served this to guests with no-knead bread and a salad, and they all agreed it was the best dinner they'd had all week. I'll definitely be making this soup again.

Vegetable, Lentil and Beef Soup

1 pound lean ground beef
1 1/2 cups dry lentils, rinsed
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
3 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
ground black pepper to taste
2 cubes beef bouillon cube
6 cups tomato-vegetable juice cocktail
1 (4.5 ounce) can mushrooms, drained
1 dash Worcestershire sauce

Brown beef; break meat into small pieces while cooking. Drain.

Place meat in a big pot with lid. Add lentils, vegetables, water, salt, pepper, bouillon, vegetable juice, mushrooms, and Worcestershire sauce. Cook on high until it boils. Reduce heat to low, and cover. Simmer for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until lentils are tender. Stir occasionally.

Via Allrecipes.com.
Photo from Country Living.

No-Knead Bread

I cannot believe it has taken me this long to get on the no-knead bread train. I'm a little late to the party, I know. Well, the main thing standing in my way was that I didn't have an enameled dutch oven. (That's your cue to go over to Amazon and buy one for yourself. Go on! You deserve it!) Honestly, now that I know how amazing and effortless this bread is, I should have run out and bought one as soon as I first heard about this recipe years ago.

Anyway. All you need to know is that this is like fancy bread you'd get at some kind of european bakery, but it takes almost NO effort to make it. So, you should do it. I've included the white version (the tastiest) and the wheat version (the healthiest and still pretty dang tasty, for whole wheat).

No-Knead Bread

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.

Whole Wheat No-Knead Bread

4 cups whole wheat flour (I used King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour)
2 cups water plus 3-4 tablespoons water  (adjust depending on the consistency of the dough. Yes, 1 tablespoon can make a huge difference.)
2 teaspoons salt
½ plus 1/8 teaspoon yeast

1) Mix all the ingredients in a bowl just until they are thoroughly mixed. Cover the bowl with plastic and set the bowl aside for 12 to 18 hours.

2) After the first rising, lightly flour the counter top and use a spatula to remove the dough from the bowl and put it on to the counter top. Fold the dough over on itself from left to right, turn the dough 90° and fold it again. Lightly shape and dough into a ball and place it on a well-floured tea towel. Fold the towel flaps over the dough to cover, and let it rise for an hour and a half.

3) Allow the dough to continue rising on the counter top while you heat the oven. Turn the oven temperature on to 475° and put the covered pot into the oven. Let the pot and the oven warm for 30 minutes.

4) Take the pot out of the oven, remove the lid and slide the dough off the tea towel into the pot. Cover the pot, place it back in the oven and set the timer for 30 minutes.

5) After the 30 minutes is up, remove the lid from the pot. Set the timer for another 15-20 minutes and continue cooking the bread until the top is browned to your liking.

6) Take the pot out of the oven and use a large spatula to remove the bread. Let it cool on a cookie rack about 15 to 20 minutes before cutting into it. Waiting to taste it is the hardest step in the whole recipe, but if you cut into the bread too early it will not finish cooking properly.

Recipe from Jim Lahey via the NY Times.

Whole wheat adaptation via My Healthy Eating Habits.