Greek Quinoa Layered Jar Salad

Greek Quinoa Layered Jar Salad

For someone that hates to be late to anything It seems I am always last to jump on the bandwagon when trying new ingredients in the kitchen. For the first time ever I have tried Quinoa!  I tried it in this layered Mason jar salad and now I am a huge fan!

Quinoa, pronounced (keen-wah), is considered to be a whole grain but it actually is not. It’s a seed and it’s gluten-free, cholesterol-free, high in protein, and provides 9 essential amino acids. It is thought to help stave off a number of diseases, reduces the frequency of migraines and reduces the risk of high blood pressure and heart attacks.

I love to keep these layered jar salads in the fridge for quick and easy lunches or those dinners when you have no time to cook. They generally start with the dressing in the bottom of the jar, followed by the hardier ingredients, keeping the lettuce near the top of the jar to keep the salad crisp. This salad will last 3 to 4 days stored in the refrigerator.

 

Greek Quinoa Layered Jar Salad
 
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Ingredients
  • 4 quart Mason jars, with lids
  • 1 c. Quinoa
  • 2 c. vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp. fresh chopped dill
  • ¼ c. diced red onion
  • 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • ¼ tsp. dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ⅛ tsp. ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 c. grape tomatoes, halved
  • ½ hothouse cucumber, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ c kalamata olives, seeds removed and cut in half
  • 5 oz. feta cheese, cubed or crumbled
  • 1 head romaine lettuce
Instructions
  1. Combine rinsed Quinoa in a saucepan with 2 cups broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer for 15 minutes or until Quinoa has absorbed all of the broth.
  2. Turn off the heat and place a lid on the pot. Let Quinoa steam for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork. Stir in chopped dill and red onion. Let cool.
  3. Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, oregano, salt, pepper, and Dijon until mixed well. Divide evenly between the 4 quart jars. Layer the veggies in the jar starting with the tomatoes, the bell pepper and cucumber.
  4. Divide the Quinoa among the jars, spooning it in. Top with feta and olives. At this point you can press down the ingredients slightly in the jar.
  5. Top off each salad with a handful of chopped lettuce. Store in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. Pour the contents into a bowl when you are ready to eat!

 

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Chicken Caprese Salad

Chicken Caprese Salad

 

It seems like we have had some pretty healthy years around our house. Some sniffles here and there, but mostly healthy, until this year! It has been our year to make up for lost time!

It all started when Wes came home sick. After that Greg and I both ended up with pneumonia, and I was sick well over three weeks. I do not wish that on anyone!

Thankfully, Savannah never got sick! After all, we needed someone to take care of us! When I finally had an appetite, Savannah made this Chicken Caprese Salad, and I am now obsessed with it! It may be the best salad I have ever had!

I have always loved the freshness of a Caprese salad, but I had never thought about using the same ingredients in a green salad. Everything about this salad is delicious, from the fresh mozzarella and fresh basil to this incredible balsamic dressing!

Chicken Caprese Salad
 
Author:
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • Dressing:
  • ¼ c. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Salad:
  • 12 chicken tenders
  • 5 c. Romaine lettuce leaves, washed and dried
  • 1 c. cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • ½ c. mini fresh mozzarella balls
  • ¼ c fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
  • Salt and black pepper, to season
Instructions
  1. Whisk vinegar, oli, brown sugar, garlic, dried basil and salt together to combine. Place uncooked chicken in a shallow dish; pour a small amount of dressing over chicken and toss around to coat. Reserve unused dressing for later.
  2. Heat grill or a small amount of oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Cook chicken until cooked through, set aside and allow to rest.
  3. Slice chicken into strips and prepare salad with lettuce, tomatoes, mozzarella and chicken. Top with fresh basil. Drizzle with reserved dressing; season with salt and pepper if desired. Serve.

 

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Smoky Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches

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Like most southerners, we enjoy us some good barbecue around our house. Greg smokes a Boston butt that would win first place at barbecue cook-offs everywhere. Wes enjoys smoking ribs, and his method is flawless. Savannah and I have several homemade barbecue sauce recipes that we keep on hand too.

Barbecue chicken is not one of our specialties, though. That is, until recently when I tried a new barbecue sauce recipe. It’s a smoky sauce with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce that tastes amazing! It is the number one flavor that I am craving these days.

We have been eating this sauce on everything since I saw Valerie’s Home Cooking.  We have had it on Barbecue Nachos, barbecue burgers, barbecue shrimp, and on these delicious Barbecue Grilled Chicken Sandwiches.

Another important step, not to be skipped, in making these mouth-watering sandwiches is the brining of the chicken. In my opinion, there is no better Thanksgiving turkey than a brined turkey. I don’t fry chicken often but when I do you can bet I will brine it first.

The salt in a brine allows the chicken to retain moisture. A couple of things to remember when you brine chicken are first, try to use kosher salt or sea salt. Also, do not brine the chicken over two hours. It can get rubbery when overbrined.

 

Smoky Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches
 
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Ingredients
  • Brine:
  • ¼ c. coarse salt
  • ¼ c. firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 20 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 c. hot water plus 3 c. cold water
  • 1 lemon, thinlhy sliced
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed with the side of a cleaver
  • Smoky Barbecue Sauce:
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • ½ small onion, chopped
  • 1 lg. or 2 small cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 c. ketchup
  • ½ c. molasses
  • ⅓ c. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 chipotles in adobo sauce, seeded and roughly chopped
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Grilled Chicken:
  • 2 lg. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half vertically, then cut into thin cutlets, horizontally
  • 4 lg. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Buns
  • Lettuce leaves
  • Sliced tomatoes
  • Sliced red onion
  • Sliced Colby Jack cheese
  • Additional Barbecue sauce, if desired
Instructions
  1. To make the brine: Place the salt, brown sugar, and peppercorns in a large glass bowl and add hot water. Whisk until the salt and brown sugar are dissolved. Stir in the cold water and let cool to room temperature. Pour the brine over the chicken and stir in the lemon slices, onion, and garlic. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and let stand in the refrigerator for 2 hours, turning the chicken once of twice.
  2. To make the barbecue sauce: Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook about 30 seconds. Add ½ c. water and the ketchup, molasses, vinegar, Worcestershire, chipotles, a pinch of salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Puree in a blender or food processor until smooth. Store the sauce in the refrigerator.
  3. To grill the chicken: Preheat the grill to high. When ready to cook, brush the grate with oil. Arrange the chicken on the hot grate and grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165° F. During the last 2 minutes or so, start basting the chicken on both sides with barbecue sauce. Remove chicken from grill and assemble sandwiches right away.

 

 

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Garden Dill Veggie Sandwich

 

 

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Are you looking for a great, no-cook meal for these HOT days of summer? Here you go, this is absolutely amazing! I don’t even know how to express in words just how DE…LIC…IOUS this sandwich is!! My cousin, Brandi, gave me this recipe YEARS ago. I had completely forgotten about it until I recently ran across the recipe in our old family cookbook. Now I’m wondering how I could have gone this long without making this oh-so-scrumptious sandwich!

I try to cook low-carb about 75% of the time.  I plan to attempt making this into a low-carb wrap, using a large lettuce leaf, the spread, assorted veggies, and cheese. I’m pretty sure it will be delicious but I’ll update you soon.  In the meantime give this wonderful recipe a try.

Garden Dill Veggie Sandwich
 
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Ingredients
  • Dill Spread:
  • 1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ c. finely chopped pecans
  • ⅓ c. fresh dill weed, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Optional Sandwich Ingredients:
  • Fresh bun or bread or your choice
  • Green leaf lettuce
  • Sliced tomatoes
  • Slice purple onion
  • Sliced cucumbers
  • Sliced Avocado
  • Sprouts or Microgreens
  • Sliced Provolone cheese
Instructions
  1. Add the pecans to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Add cream cheese, dill weed, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and pulse until all of the ingredients are combined.
  2. To assemble the sandwich, spread top and bottom of bun or two slides of bread with the dill spread. Layer lettuce and veggies of your choice on top of the dill spread. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with a slice or two of cheese. Top with your bun top or second slice of bread. Enjoy!

 

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BLT Stuffed Avocado

BLT-Stuffed-Avocado-22

I was a fan of avocados from the moment I tried them!  Never did I consider the health benefits until about a year ago.  There is much in my daily diet that really shouldn’t be.   So, adding something to my diet that is delicious and good for me is a no brainer.

The list of health benefits is more than I could ever cover here.  They are high in good fats, low in cholesterol, have more potassium than a banana, and they may help prevent cancer.  They are so easy to incorporate into your diet.  Of course, guacamole is always good, but you can also add them to smoothies, wraps, sandwiches, and salads.  I eat avocado toast several times a week.

This recipe for BLT Stuffed Avocados is amazingly easy and delicious!  I typically don’t stuff the avocados but serve the salad from a bowl. However, if you want to serve this salad to guests, the stuffed avocado shells makes a lovely platter.

5.0 from 1 reviews
BLT Stuffed Avocado
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 2 avocados, pitted
  • ¼ c. cubed toasted bread
  • ½ c. chopped tomatoes
  • ½ c. chopped romaine lettuce
  • 2 strips bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Scoop out avocados, leaving a small border. Dice Avocado and place in a medium bowl. Add toasted and cubed bread, tomatoes, lettuce, and bacon. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Divide salad among the 3 avocado halves.

 

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