Mexican quinoa salad

mexican quinoa salad | mylittlesaturdayThis is the perfect thing to make a huge bowl of during the weekend and eat for lunch through the week when you’re busy to prep meals every night. It’s so great alone, the quinoa makes it a filling enough main dish, but I also love it when barbecuing meat, chicken and steak go great with this.

You can switch up the veggies and throw in some grilled corn or serve it on top of a salad if you need something more substantial.

mexican quinoa salad

2 cups quinoa, uncooked
4 cups water or broth, seasoned to taste
2 cans black beans, rinsed
1/2-1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp all purpose spice blend (I like Trader Joe’s African smoke spice)
1 lime
1/2-1 jalepeno (take the seeds out if you’re not a fan of spicy food!)
1 bell pepper
2-3 tomatoes
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup cilantro
1 avocado

Cook the quinoa according to package directions. I normally use water, but will sometimes use a mix of half broth half water and will season with a few dashes each of chili powder, crushed red pepper and cumin. Let the quinoa cool off a bit and juice 1 lime, chop the bell pepper, tomato, and cilantro. Finely chop the garlic and jalepeno. Put cooled off quinoa in a large bowl. Add lime juice, toss. Add chili powder, cumin and black pepper. Add beans and all vegetables except for the avocado. Top with avocado slices and serve alone or with a grilled meat. Makes 5-8 portions

mexican quinoa salad | mylittlesaturday

Green smoothie that doesn’t taste “green”

smoothie

I worked in a coffee and smoothie shop during high school, where I did my first of many 5 am shifts and learned how to pretend to be a morning person (it involved drinking a lot of caffeine). I also learned how to pull a shot of espresso, charge friends for milk instead of fancy blended drinks, and how not to make a smoothie. Don’t get me wrong the smoothies were good, but in that fat-free high sugar frozen “yogurt” way, where they’re impossible to mess up, but you might as well be drinking a frappucino.

Because of the sweetness added from the banana and fruit juice this smoothie doesn’t taste like it’s good for you. If you’re new to green drinks, start with 1 cup of greens and build up from there.

The only way I make smoothies now is by freezing everything that can possibly be frozen, leaving ice out of the equation and keeping the liquid to a minimum for a really cold, thick smoothie. I like to prep a week’s worth of these and put 1 smoothie’s worth of ingredients in a small ziplock so i can dump the ingredients in order and just add liquid, so pre-caffeine thinking is left to a minimum.

green smoothie

1 cup pineapple or orange juice (or 1/2 cup juice mixed with 1/2 cup water)
1 banana, quartered and frozen
1 cup apple, cut into 1 inch chunks and frozen
1-2 cups kale or spinach
1 tbsp chia seeds, optional
1/4 avocado, optional

Blend liquid of choice with greens until totally mixed. Add in banana, mix until smooth. Add apple pieces, chia seeds and avocado, mix until completely smooth. If you’re using a Vitamix or similar high powered blender you probably don’t need to blend in stages and can toss everything in at once. Drink immediately. Makes one 16 ounce smoothie.

 

Rosemary lemon gin fizz

1Do you see that sad, dying rosemary plant back there? This is proof that I can not be trusted with plants. But it’s also proof that you can make rosemary simple syrup with dried rosemary instead of fresh, so maybe for the sake of science we can call it an experiment (this time). I’ll have to come up with some other excuses for the rest of the plants around here…

This drink is citrusy without being too sweet and the gin and rosemary flavors mesh really well together. It’s really delicious, it tastes like spring.

The round ice cubes are my favorite, they melt very slowly and look amazing stacked up in a tall glass. You can find them here.

rosemary simple syrup

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
3 springs fresh (or dried) rosemary

Cook water and sugar over medium high heat until it begins to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add in rosemary and stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat and let herbs steep for 30 minutes. Strain, store in fridge.

rosemary lemon gin fizz adapted from inspired taste

2 oz gin
3 tbsp rosemary simple syrup
1.5 oz fresh lemon juice (about 1 1/2 small lemons)
splash of club soda

Shake gin, simple syrup and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker full of ice. Serve in a highball glass full of ice and top off with club soda to taste, I used about 3 ounces. Makes 1 cocktail.

 

 

 

Sunday clean out the fridge frittata

2Frittatas are my standby weekend breakfast, because they’re so easy and delicious-and can last for a whole week’s worth of leftovers if you’re not sharing. I like mine pretty low on the fillers to egg ratio, but that can be adjusted. Everything in this recipe can be tweaked to what your like or have on hand, which makes it the ultimate cleaning out the fridge meal.

basic frittata 

12 eggs
1 tbsp butter
1 small onion
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp mustard powder (or dijon mustard)
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup shredded cheese (white or regular cheddar are great, I used parmesan in this version)

fillers of choice

In this particular version I used:

2-3 small potatoes (quartered, chopped into thin slices and boiled for 5 minutes to soften them up)
2 cups chopped spinach
2-3 chopped tomatoes
2 cups meat, I used breakfast sausage in this one, but bacon andouille sausage or any leftovers would be good here

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put a pan in the oven with 1 tbsp of butter for a few minutes until butter melts. I use a 10″ round pan, but a 9×13 would also work. In a large bowl mix together the basic ingredients, and add whatever fillers you’d like. Transfer into buttered pan and bake for about 1 hour, until top is golden brown and knife inserted into center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

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ceramic plate by Center Ceramics

Crepes

pancake_webHere’s a secret: I hate pancakes. The traditional stack of thick pancakes covered in butter and syrup does nothing for me. These are a totally different story. Super thin crepes, which taste even better made in my grandma’s old Swedish plattor pan. Why is it tiny things always taste better? Personally, I like to roll them up with fruit and whipped cream, but nutella and banana would be amazing, or they could be turned savory with the right fillings too, ham and jarlsberg maybe? You definitely don’t need to order a special pan to make these, a non-stick pan will do the trick and you can make them any size you’d like.

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crepes

1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups milk
3 eggs

In a medium bowl whisk together milk and eggs. Add flour and salt.

Heat the pan of your choice with butter over high heat. As it heats up, turn it down to medium-low. Pour small amount of batter onto pan. If making larger crepes twirl pan around to get the batter to the edges of the pan. Flip when bottom is golden brown. Keep warm in the oven set to the lowest setting. Serve with fruit and whipped cream or powdered sugar, or maple syrup.

 

Updated sidecar cocktail

Have you ever had a sidecar? It’s one of the old classic cocktails and was named after the motorcycle sidecar that an army captain was driven in to Harry’s bar in Paris, where it was originated.

sidecar1The first time I had one was in an old supper club style restaurant in Minneapolis when I was in a bit of a drink rut I was sold. It’s fruity without being very sweet, pretty strong and the sugared rim lets the drinker monitor the sweetness on a sip by sip basis. This is a twist on the original, updated with fresh grapefruit and lime juice.

I don’t drink any  brown liquors, and most of the cocktails I usually drink feel too summery for freezing February nights, but this one somehow works. This is a great drink to prep ahead of time, make the juice blend and it will stay fresh in the fridge for a week or so, or make a larger batch and shake with ice and serve up or on ice when you’re ready.

For triple sec, I would recommend something of a middle shelf variety.

juice mixture

1 grapefuit
1 lemon
1 lime
splash orange juice
2 tbs sugar

Juice fruits, add splash of orange juice and sugar. Pour into jar and shake. Can be stored in the fridge for a week.

updated sidecar cocktail

Prepare your sugared rim on your glass of choice. Combine 1 part triple sec, 3 parts cognac and 2 parts of the juice mixture. Shake with ice, serve in a lowball glass with ice or up without the ice for a stronger drink.

 

The best chocolate chip cookies

4I meant to make these cookies and tweak the recipe as I normally do. I figured that they looked pretty close to perfect and with an adjustment or two could be my standby chocolate chip cookie. But I was wrong-this recipe is not to touched (I mean, unless you’re going to go nuts and go this route). They are perfect and delicious and will disappear really really fast.

There is something magical about the browned butter and sea salt. I made these twice, first with light brown sugar which were delicious, but the dark brown sugar is worth an extra trip to the grocery store if you need convincing.

12You guys know this trick right? Make cookie-sized balls, freeze on cookie sheets, throw in ziplock bags and hide store them in your freezer until you’re ready to bake them. In my house we don’t have the willpower to keep a whole batch of cookies lying around, besides why would you when they’re so much better fresh? This is the only way I bake cookies unless they’re leaving my house immediately. 

5the best chocolate chip cookies just barely adapted from Ambitious Kitchen

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon plain greek yogurt
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F

Mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and put aside

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat and whisk it until it starts to foam, then keep whisking until it turns a light brown color. Put aside in a bowl and let butter cool off a little. Cream together butter and sugars. Add in the egg, egg yolk, vanilla, and greek yogurt until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Chill dough for 30 minutes in the freezer or 2 hours in the fridge.

Bake on cookie sheet a few inches apart for 8-10 minutes until edges turn just barely golden brown. Sprinkle with sea salt.

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Coconut chicken curry soup

I’ve been thinking about this soup on the cover of Bon Appetit’s cover since I saw it sticking out of my mailbox… I am obsessed with noodles and love soup and curry and spicy… Basically, there was no way I could not like this.

I’m deep in the midst of some serious February doldrums-cabin fever situation after spending the last 6 weeks on crutches then a foot brace from a sprained ankle until I finally graduated to hobbling around on two feet last week. I’m still giving all icy spots in the road dirty looks. If anyone else is convinced winter is never going to end, I think this soup is the only solution at times like these.

1chicken curry soup adapted from Bon Appetit to be a bit broth-ier

2-4  tbps red or green curry paste to taste
2 cans coconut milk
4-6 cups chicken broth (vary for the level of creaminess you desire)
1 lb boneless chicken thighs or breasts (or get a rotisserie chicken for an even quicker meal)
8 oz rice noodles
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp chili paste (optional)
1 tbsp brown sugar

garnishes: cilantro, sriracha, red onion, chili paste, diced chili peppers, lime wedges, and bean sprouts are all good options

Melt a couple of tablespoons of the solidified coconut milk over medium heat in a large stock pot and add curry paste. Stir constantly until paste darkens and becomes fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add remainder of coconut milk and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add fish sauce and brown sugar. Poach chicken in soup broth for 30 minutes for thighs or 20 minutes for breast pieces, then pull out and shred meat. If you’re using a rotisserie chicken, shred meat and cook until heated through.

Cook rice noodles separately according to package instructions. I prefer to make the rice noodles a bit al dente and keep them separate from the soup. To serve fill bowl halfway up with noodles and top soup and garnishes of your choosing.

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Swedish havreflan cookies

Growing up in a Swedish family in Idaho, our Christmas cookies were usually hard for friends to pronounce and always better than the sugar cookies covered in sprinkles and chocolate chip cookies we would receive as gifts (sorry friends and neighbors!). These delicate oatmeal crisps were always my favorite and I don’t think it’s much of a coincidence that they’re also the prettiest.

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swedish havreflarn cookies adapted from delishhh

7 tbs butter
1 1/4 cup oats
1 egg
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbs flour
1 tsp baking powder

high quality milk chocolate

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Melt the butter in a pot and stir in the oats.  Set aside.  In a separate bowl mix the egg and sugar, then pour in the baking power and flour.  Once it is mixed add the oats and butter a little at the time.

On a cookie sheet drop batter a 1 tsp at a time. Do not add anymore than 9 of these with 3 inches apart.  Bake for 7-9 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.  Let stand 1 minute before removing quickly with sharp knife or spatula. Cool on rack.  Do one batch at a time if you let the batter sit too long the oats swell and the cookie will not expand as well.

Once the wafers have cooled arrange them in a single layer on waxed paper or tinfoil. Melt chocolate (Ghirardelli  is what we normally use) in a double boiler, stirring constantly, and spread a thick layer over the center of the cookies.

Store at room temperature in a sealed container. Makes about 25 cookies. I like to store these in the freezer.