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!
We recently moved Savannah home again. She will be doing an internship in January, and it was impossible to find a six-month lease near the college. So, for six-months, she will make the daily drive to college.
I questioned how living together would be after she has been on her own for so long. I’m trying really hard to remember she’s not a child any longer. It is coming with some benefits also. She has become very independent…she doesn’t want me doing her laundry, and she has become an excellent cook!
Fajitas is a specialty of hers, and I am using every excuse I can think of to have her cook them often. Her secret is this awesome seasoning blend that she makes. I even seasoned a roast with it, and it was delicious.
Savannah does not have an exact measurement for the meat and veggies. To feed two people, she typically uses one to two boneless, skinless chicken breast, two green bell peppers, one large onion, and two to three Roma tomatoes.
Savannah seasons her meat with salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder. Then saute’s it in a little oil until done. She then removes the meat from the skillet to saute green bell peppers and onions. Once the veggies are tender, add chopped Roma tomatoes and a heaping tablespoon of the fabulous seasoning, plus the juice of half a lime. Add the meat back to the skillet, stirring to combine and serve.
Try this tasty Mexican seasoning blend on burgers or grilled meats for extra wonderful flavor!
Mexican Seasoning Blend
- 2 tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 tbsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. Mexican oregano
- ½ tsp. ground black pepper
- ½ tsp. chili powder
- ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
- Mix all ingredients in a small bowl until combined. Store in a small jar.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
Before moving to the farm, pizza delivery was a weekly affair. However, delivery does not happen in the middle of the country! I had played around with pizza crust in the past. Mostly to get the kids involved by topping and baking their individual pizzas. I’ve tried many recipes over the past few years. Some have been really good, but I have never tried a recipe that when I knew my search was over until this crust.
This recipe is almost as simple and picking up the phone to order a pizza, but the flavor is much better! (The fruiter the olive oil the better the flavor.) No kidding, it takes just a matter of minutes to mix up this dough using my heavy-duty Kitchen Aid mixer with a dough hook. Allow the dough to rise for two hours. Then you are ready to prepare your homemade pizza or refrigerate the dough to use over the next 12 days. You will get about three 10-inch pizzas from this dough.
Most recipes will recommend a pizza stone. I have used stones and pans, and I prefer a large, heavy-gauge baking sheet with sides. The sides will keep the oil from dripping in the oven, and a heavy-gauge pan holds enough heat to brown and crisp the crust nicely. This crust also doubles as a nice focaccia bread! (Recipe below, no picture of the focaccia, sorry!)
Thirty minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 425 °F. Prepare this simple, no-cook sauce and measure and prepare all of your toppings in advance. Remove from the pan immediately and serve.
Olive Oil Dough for Homemade Pizza
- 2¾ c. lukewarm water
- 1½ tbsp. granulated yeast (2 packets)
- 1½ tbsp. kosher salt
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- ¼ c. extra virgin olive oil
- 6½ c. unbleached all-purpose flour
- Mix the yeast, salt, sugar, and olive oil with the water in a 5-quart bowl, or a lidded (not airtight) food container.
- Mix in the flour without kneading, using a spoon, a 12-cup capacity food processor (with dough attachment), or heavy-duty stand mixer (with dough hook). If you're not using a machine, you may need to use wet hands to incorporate the last bit of flour.
- Cover (not airtight), and allow to rest at room temperature until dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top), approximately 2 hours.
- The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 12 days.
- To prepare the pizza: Thirty minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 425°F (or you could go up to 550°F).
- Prepare and measure all of the toppings, set aside.
- Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a grapefruit-size piece. Dust the piece with flour and quickly shape it not a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.
- Flatten the dough with your hands and a rolling pin on a flour dusted wooden board to begin flattening. Once you gave flattened it to about 1-inch thick move to your pan and continue to flatter and shape with your fingertips. You may need to allow the rolled dough to relax for a few minutes to allow further shaping.
- Top with a small amount of sauce and spread, leaving ½-inch to 1-inch pizza sauce. Top with mozzarella and toppings of your choice.
- Bake for 8 to 12 minutes, depending on the temperature used. Remove from oven when the pizza is evenly browned and cheese has melted.
- NOTES: You c
You can mix and store the dough in the same container if you prefer. You need a large food-grade container that holds about five quarts. If you double the recipe you will need a container that holds at least ten quarts. Sam's Club has a few good options. I have punched a hole in the lid of mine and use it specifically for my dough.
Pizza Sauce for Homemade Pizza
- 1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
- 2 (6-oz.) cans tomato paste
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
- 1 tbsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. sugar
- Place all ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine. Store in refrigerator.
If you prefer a completely smooth consistency you pour the mixture into a blender and pulse several times.
Can be frozen.
- Suggested toppings:
- Onions and fresh rosemary
- Cherry tomatoes, halved with chopped fresh basil.
- Black olives and goat cheese.
- Grease a baking sheet with a rim with olive oil, set aside. Preheat oven to 425°F, with an empty broiler pan on any shelf that won't interfere with the focaccia.
- Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1-pound (grapefruit-size) piece. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.
- Flatter it to a ½-inch to ¾-inch thick using your fingertips with a minimal amount of additional flour. Please the dough on the greased baking sheet.
- Top dough with your desired toppings. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. You do not want to cover the whole surface with toppings or oil. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Allow the focaccia to rest and rise for 20 minutes.
- After the focaccia has rested, place the cookie sheet on a rack near the center of the oven. Pour 1 cup of hot tap water into a broiler tray and quickly close the oven door. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the crust is medium brown. Be careful not to burn the toppings. The baking time will vary according to the focaccia's thickness.
- Cut into wedges and serve warm.