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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
Although Greg and I both enjoy cooking we love a good restaurant. Searching the internet for good reviews is one of the first things we do when we visit a new city. We have our local favorites, and we even plan vacations around the restaurants we like the most.
I am thrilled when we I can duplicate some of our favorite restaurant dishes at home! A few of my favorites are Hot Crab Dip, that we enjoyed several years ago at a restaurant with Greg’s brother. Pot Roast Stuffed Baked Potatoes are one of my favorites from a restaurant just down the road from our house. I had Heirloom Tomato Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette at one of our favorite places in Savannah on my birthday a few years ago. All of these recipes can be found on www.notjustsundaydinner.com.
Feisty Feta Dip with Shrimp is a new one to add to the list. We had this tasty appetizer at one of our favorite restaurants in Augusta, Georgia. It is super easy to make. Crab meat can be used instead of shrimp, or you can leave out the seafood completely. Serve warm with pita chips or warm pita bread.
Feisty Feta and Shrimp Dip
- 6-oz. crumbled Feta cheese
- ⅓ c. chopped jarred roasted red peppers
- ¼ c. chopped jarred artichoke hearts
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 to 2 tsp. hot sauce
- pinch cayenne pepper
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 to 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 to ½ c. cooked shrimp, cut into large bite-size pieces
- Warm pita bread or pita chips, for serving
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the feta cheese, chopped peppers, artichoke hearts, onions, garlic, hot sauce, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. Pulse until ingredients are well combined, but still slightly chunky. While pulsing add 2 to 3 tbsp. olive oil until the dip reaches desired consistency.
- Stir in cooked shrimp and spoon into a microwave safe dish. Microwave on high for 1 to 2 minutes or until warmed through. Serve with pita bread or pita chips.
If you love olives the way I love olives then you must try this bruschetta! It is hands down the best bruschetta I have ever had!!! I love that with a little chopping and slicing this appetizer comes together in very little time too! Try this recipe with flavored olive oils, such as the oils at The Bodacious Olive in Pensacola, Florida. This appetizer is perfect for any holiday party! You can serve this warm or at room temperature.
- 24 slices French bread, cut ¼-inch thick
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 c. chopped pitted ripe olives
- ½ c. chopped pimento-stuffed green olives
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed
- 1 tbsp. Italian salad dressing (I use Olive Garden brand)
- ¾ c. cream cheese, room temperature
- Cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters, optional
- Preheat oven to 375° F. Place bread slices on baking sheet. Lightly brush tops of bread slices with olive oil. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp. Remove bread from oven and set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix olives, garlic, and dressing.
- Spread cream cheese evenly over toast slices. Top with a tablespoon olive mixture. Garnish with a cherry tomato, if desired.
*You may use all pitted ripe olives or all pimento-stuffed green if desired.
*If you prefer to serve these appetizers warm, After you top the cream cheese with the olive mixture return to the oven for about 6 minutes, or until warm. Remove from oven, add tomato half, and serve.
Judging from the rain we had over the weekend from Hermine, I should have written about the hot, dry weather months ago. Other than a few limbs to pick up now, we faired well here on the farm, as I also hope that you did also.
With Labor Day behind me, I am truly getting into the “autumn” mind frame. As I mentioned last week, I am tired of the hot, the dry, the mowing, and the bugs. I thought I would take us into fall a little early with recipes for these wonderful meatballs with marinara sauce.
These recipes are simple and delicious, and great served on zoodles or pasta. My cousin, Robin, recently shared this scrumptious meatball recipe with me. I doubled the recipe, thinking I would have plenty of leftovers but my crowd ate every last one of them. The marinara sauce is a Giada De Laurentiis recipe from one of her older cookbooks, Everyday Italian, and I’ve been making it for years. It is literally so good I could eat it like soup.
Complete your meal with a tossed salad and garlic bread for a fabulous meal to serve any day of the week.
- 1 lb. ground beef
- ½ lb. ground pork
- ¾ c. bread crumbs
- ½ c. grated Romano cheese
- 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
- 1½ tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. chopped fresh basil
- 1½ tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 egg
- In a large bowl, mix ground beef, egg, and bread crumbs. Add cheese, parsley, oregano, basil, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Adjust seasonings to your taste if desired.
- Roll into balls and place on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 350° F for about 25 minutes or until no longer pink.
- Serve over pasta with marinara sauce.
- ½ c. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 small onions, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
- ½ tsp. salt, or more to taste
- ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
- 2 (32-oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
- 1 dried bay leaves
- In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, and garlic, and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and ½ tsp. each of salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper to taste.
School has started most everywhere, and I attended the first scrimmage of the football season on Saturday night. It’s entirely too hot for football, but I’m so thrilled that cooler weather is near! We even braved the heat to tailgate before the scrimmage game. I love that time before a football game with friends, sharing laughs and tailgating food! Do you have a favorite tailgating recipe that you would like to share? If so, email me at email@example.com. I will be sharing tailgating recipes before long and I’d love to share yours too!
Believe it or not, there are Greek burgers buried under those juicy tomatoes, red onion slices, salty feta, and kalamata olives! Only a few simple ingredients will transform regular ground beef into this exceptional burger for a flavorful and satisfying meal.
These burgers may be served on buns, pitas, or lettuce wraps. Try making these burgers with ground lamb, turkey, or chicken instead of beef for a nice change.
Greek Burgers with Sour Cream Tzatziki Sauce
- 3 lb. ground chuck
- 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 to 2 tsp. dried oregano
- 2 tsp. minced garlic
- 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- Pinch red chili flakes, optional
- Toppings: Sliced tomato, feta cheese, sliced red onion, kalamata olives, lettuce
- Gently mix ground beef with olive oil, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper, and red chili flakes, if desired. Form into 6½-lb. patties. Cook patties as desired to desired doneness.
- Serve burgers on toasted buns, pita bread, or in lettuce wraps. Top with Tzatziki sauce and your favorite toppings.
Sour Cream Tzatziki Sauce
- 1½ c. sour cream
- 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeds removed, and grated
- 2 tbsp. dried dill weed
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- pinch salt
- Place grated cucumber in a large, clean dish cloth and twist tight, squeezing as much juice from the cucumber as possible.
- In a medium bowl mix the sour cream, squeezed dry cucumber, dill weed, garlic, lemon juice, and salt.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
This is best made a couple of hours before serving.