Moroccan inspired Quinoa and Salmon

I must be feeling a bit exotic because I'd been eying this bag of strange tiny balls with the name I couldn't pronounce for weeks at Costco.  I'd heard of quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) but had no clue how to prepare or what to serve them with.  So on a whim I bought a bag.  To me quinoa looks like couscous, so in my cookbook perusing I discovered that couscous originated in Morocco, which brings me to tonights dinner!

  Quinoa with vegetables1 tbsp olive oil1 small onion, quartered & diced1 zucchini, sliced1 carrot, chopped1/2 cup frozen mixed red, yellow and green bell peppers 1 - 14.5 oz. can chicken broth (no MSG added)1/4 cup water1 cup whole grain quinoa 1/2 tsp turmeric 1 pinch saffron 1-2 bay leafsdash curry powderdash cayenne pepper Salmon4 salmon fillets, thawed if frozen1 tbsp olive oil1 tsp turmeric1/2 tsp cinnamon1/2 tsp cayenne pepper1/2 tsp garlic salt1 tbsp lemon or lime juice Heat olive oil in a deep skillet or wok.   Cook onions on medium high for a couple minutes until they begin to soften and caramelize.  Add zucchini and carrots and cook for another couple minutes.  Pour in chicken broth and water followed by the quinoa.  Add all the spices to your pan, stir together and simmer on medium heat for 12 minutes or until quinoa has absorbed all the liquid.  Remove bay leafs. While quinoa is cooking prepare salmon. In separate skillet heat olive oil.  Combine turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne and garlic salt.  Rub seasoning mixture onto fish and place seasoned side down in heated olive oil then pour the lemon or lime juice over top of the other side of the fish. Cook 5 minutes then turn over and cook another 3 or until the salmon flakes easily with fork. Place salmon on quinoa and veggies.* Check out the Creamy Saffron Soup for all about saffron. *Quinoa is actually a seed that was a staple food in the ancient Inca's diet.  You don't have to just use it when your feeling exotic either :)  Substitute in place of brown rice, couscous or barley in your favorite recipes to change things up and add tons of nutrients. Nutritionists call quinoa a super food!  Here's how it brakes down: 220 calories (70 percent carbs, 15 percent fat, 15 percent protein) 40 grams of carbohydrates (13 percent daily value) 8 grams of protein (16 percent of daily value) 3.5 grams of fat (5 percent daily value with no saturated fat) A glycemic load (blood sugar spike) of only 18 out of 250 5 grams of fiber (20 percent of daily value) 20 percent of daily value of folate (various forms of Vitamin B) 30 percent of magnesium daily value (beneficial for people with migraine headaches); 28 percent daily value of phosphorous; iron (15 percent); copper (18 percent); and manganese (almost 60 percent)http://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/stories/quinoa-nutrition-facts* Salmon is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which are healthy fats that your body needs, plus lots of other vitamins and minerals (too many to name without feeling like a textbook).  All that good stuff benefits things like muscle, tissue, hormones, cardio-vascular system (i.e. reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol, etc.), metabolism by lowering blood sugar, eyes and brain. Here's some other nice side effects of making salmon part of your diet: " Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation of the arteries and digestive system, reduce chances of cancer of colon, prostrate and kidneys etc., improve skin texture, add shining to eyes, skin, hair and nails and help in the growth of beneficial bacteria in the colon. The fatter the salmon, the more nutritious and healthy it is."http://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/animal-product/health-benefits-of-salmon.html    
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Sun-dried tomato and warm potato salad

 

My garden is starting to produce!  Yay, go me!  Those cute little yellow balls in there are my homegrown pear tomatoes! 2 chicken breasts, butterflied (cut in half horizontally) 4-6 red potatoes, quartered, skins on 1 onion, sliced 2-4 whole garlic cloves, smashed 1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed & cut in half 1 pint cherry, grape or pear tomatoes 1 jar, 4 oz. gluten free sun-dried tomatoes (I used this blend that had some herbs in it) garlic salt and pepper to taste 1 - 5 oz. container fresh baby spinach graded Parmesan cheese to taste  Preheat oven to 450. Fill one cookie sheet with potatoes, onions and 1-2 smashed garlic cloves.  Drizzle olive oil from sun-dried tomato jar onto veggies.  Pull out half of the sun-dried tomatoes, dice them up and throw them on there too.  Garlic salt and pepper to taste then toss to coat.  Bake for 15 minutes. On another tray put asparagus, fresh tomatoes and remainder of smashed garlic cloves.  Do the same thing as before with the sun-dried tomatoes, drizzling veggies with the oil from the jar and adding rest tomatoes, diced,  followed by garlic salt and pepper.  Toss to coat.  Put in the oven with potatoes and bake for another half hour. While that's cooking defrost chicken and butterfly cut (lay on cutting board and cut into chicken breast horizontally) Season with a salt and pepper then cook either in a skillet with a little olive oil or grill. Slice of chicken into strips. When veggies are done cooking throw them all into a big bowl.  Add fresh spinach and toss gently until spinach begins to wilt.  Place chicken strips on top then grate the Parmesan over it all. * "With the skin, one medium red potato (5.3 oz) contains 3g of dietary fiber per serving. That's the same amount of fiber found in many whole grain breads, pastas, and cereals. In addition to being beneficial to the digestive system, offering protection against colon cancer, and lowering cholesterol levels, fiber also gives potatoes their substance, helping you to feel fuller for longer.

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Almond Orange Confetti Cupcakes

 For all those birthdays or parties when you just need to throw some confetti. 1/2 cup honey1/2 cup melted butter3 eggs1 1/2 tsp. vanilla1 tsp. almond extract1/2 cup almond milk (original, not sweetened)1 tsp. orange extract + 1/2 tsp orange zest1/4 tsp. sea salt1-1/2 cup gluten free flour blend6 tbsp. ground flaxseed Mix all wet ingredients together then combine the dry and mix all together.  Preheat oven to 350. Pour mix into 12 cupcake cups 3/4 of the way full then bake for 30-35 minutes. While they're baking make the confetti top. Almond orange glaze1/4 cup organic powdered sugar1-2 tbsp. almond milk 2-3 tsp. orange juiceWhisk together (adjust almond milk and sugar until its a thick creamy consistency) Almond chocolate Confetti1/4 cup almonds, slivered or chopped 1/4 tsp (just a drizzle) agave nectar 1/4 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips In a small pan place chopped almonds and agave nectar and toast for a minute. When cupcakes are done remove from cupcake pan to cool for a few minutes.  Drizzle a little glaze on tops of cupcakes so the almonds and chocolate chips have something to stick to.  Top with your confetti concoction, then drizzle a little more glaze over top the almonds and chocolate chips.  (If you eat them while they're still warm the chocolate chips are soft and slightly melted)  So, so yummy! *Flaxseed is not only the highest plant derived source of omega 3 fatty acids and a great source of fiber, but can be substituted in place of butter, margarine, oil, and eggs. * Almonds are "very low in Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Riboflavin, Magnesium and Manganese, and a very good source of Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol)." It is also a mild anti-inflammatoryRead More http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3085/2#ixzz1NJIXI05h Here's a fun tip if you look at the shape of nuts like walnuts, what do they look like? A brain.  Now look at an almond.  It shares a vague resemblance to reproductive organs, like woman's ovaries.  So guess what.  Walnuts are great for your brain and almonds are great for...yep your reproductive organs.  Kind of cool right?    "Products which balance hormones [are] primrose oil, flaxseed oil, soya products...and nuts like walnuts, almonds...."

Read more: http://www.lifemojo.com/lifestyle/tips-for-women-to-fight-hormonal-imbalance-6563154#ixzz1NJKo87iG

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Creamy Saffron Vegetable Soup

    I first made this soup almost a year ago and after making it for dinner recently I knew I had to give it the spot light.  This soup is light yet so savory.  And here's my tricky little secret...it's creamy without using any cream.  So good for you and good tasting!  1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil1 yellow onion, diced2 clove garlic, minced2 celery ribs, chopped4-5 cups chicken stock (however thick you want it)2 bay leafs1 tsp turmeric1 pinch saffron threads, about a quarter of a teaspoon2 carrots, chopped2 red potatoes, cubed1 can great northern beans, pureed1 small yellow crookneck squash, slicedchopped parsley Heat olive oil in pot.  Add onion, garlic and celery.  Saute until onions are caramelized then pour in your chicken stock, bay leafs, turmeric, carrots and potatoes.  Bring to a low boil and let cook for about 5 minutes while you puree the beans (you may need to add some of the stock from your pot into the beans in the food processor) Mix pureed beans in until well blended.  Add squash and simmer for another 5-10 minutes.  Remove bay leaves and top with fresh parsley. *I'll just say if up front, saffron is the most expensive spice in the world, about $800 a pound!  Don't worry you don't need near that much.  You'll probably pay about $13 for a packet of these tiny red threads, but the flavor and benefits may make it worth it.  http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/saffron.html The active components present in saffron have many therapeutic applications in many traditional medicines since long time ago as anti-spasmodic, carminative, diaphoretic. Research studies have shown that, safranal, a volatile oil found in the spice, has antioxidant, cytotoxicity towards cancer cells, anticonvulsant and antidepressant properties. Αlfa-crocin, a carotenoid compound, which gives the spice its characteristic golden yellow color, has anti-oxidant, anti-depressant, and anti-cancer properties. 
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Stuffed Baked Apples

 

 This is a camping favorite, wrapped in tin foil and set in the fire coals. It also is a yummy oven baked dish on any night. The apples are soft, but still with a slight crisp and the stuffing is caramelized and crunchy.  Yummy!

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Smokey Southwestern Rice Wraps

    Tacos for the win! My kids go crazy for tacos and just keep eating, and eating, and eating. Maybe it's because its so hands on and they get to control what goes on it. Well, this Southwestern version is a yummy variation to add to you taco Tuesday repertoire.    Smokey Southwestern Rice Wraps4 strips bacon1 garlic clove, pressed2 ½ cups chicken broth1 cup brown riceRed pepper flakes to taste1 cup frozen corn1 can black beans, drained and rinsed1/2-1 cup {Homemade} Salsa2 green onion, chopped6-8 corn  tortillas, heated in a non-stick pan1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese1 ripe avocado Combine broth, rice, garlic and red pepper flakes.  Bring to a boil then turn down and let simmer on medium low.  Start the rice about 45 minutes before you want to eat.  Chill out while the rice works.  When rice has about 10 more minutes start cooking the bacon till crispy. Crumble bacon and set aside. Drain excess grease (leave just a little).  In the same pan that you cooked the bacon, pour in the rice (its okay if there’s still a little water in it)   Scrap the bottom of the pan to get all the bits up.   Add salsa, black beans, and corn.  Simmer till water is completing gone.  Stir in crumbled bacon and onions. Top with fresh avocado and cheese.   Enjoy!
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Spinach Mushroom Frittata

 

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Melissa Cornwall has spent years researching and implementing nutritionally-based approaches to health and wellness. Her lifelong love of food and health evolved from a hobby to a passion when her daughter was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease.

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