Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad

A lemony Middle Eastern salad that uses quinoa instead of traditional bulgur to put a twist on a classic. Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad is a great picnic or BBQ side dish that gives you a boost of protein with the quinoa and a bite of freshness with the mint and parsley.

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad Recipe

Over the next week I am going to put out some Memorial Day weekend inspiration! Many of us will be barbecuing over the weekend and you shouldn’t neglect your side dishes people. Especially when they are this easy.

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad

Quinoa is a grain that is very rich in protein and one of the healthier options when it comes to grains. It makes great cold salads like this Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad or could be used in place of white rice in a hot dish. If you think quinoa is bitter than you probably aren’t rinsing it well enough before you cook it. You have to rinse your quinoa and then cook it to get that taste away. Also quinoa will take on any flavor you give it! In this case a lemony herb dressing covers the quinoa to make this healthy side dish or even lunch.

Here is the first of my Memorial Day Weekend Party Ideas!

What makes this Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad even better is the fact that you can make it a head of time. Either put the dressing on before you serve it or you can dress it up to one day in advance, any longer and it will loose it’s texture.

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad 

What you need (Serves 6-8):

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of rinsed and cooked quinoa according to package, cooled
  • 1 1/2 cups of cherry tomatoes halved or quartered
  • 1 hot house or Persian cucumber, seeded, unpeeled, and diced small
  • 2 scallions (aka green onions), white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup of chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup of chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

What to do:

  1. Cook quinoa according to package, don’t forget to rinse. *If the quinoa is cooked and there is excess water in the pot drain it. Once the quinoa is cooked and slightly cooled add the lemon juice, olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
  2. While quinoa is cooking prepare your vegetables into small uniform cuts: tomatoes and cucumber. Next, chop your herbs.
  3. In a large bowl combine scallions, mint, parsley, cucumber, and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add the quinoa into the large bowl and mix well. Can be made up to one day in advance. You can also leave the oil and lemon juice off until right before serving if making a few days in advance. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate and serve cold.

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad Recipe

Enjoy your Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad!

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Simple Grilled Shrimp with Vegetables

I am so excited to start grilling this summer and one of my favorite things has to be the simplicity of these perfectly grilled shrimp with vegetables. All you need is some lemon juice, dried or fresh herbs, red pepper flakes and good quality shrimp! Skewering the shrimp helps keep the shrimp in together and also cook evenly. Memorial Day is coming up and here is some inspiration for your backyard BBQ’s!

How to Perfectly Grill Shrimp
How to Perfectly Grill Shrimp

I’m starting the season off slow with grilled shrimp and I have to say I missed the amazing flavor that grilling adds to food!

My family loves to eat shrimp but  I was never sure the best way to grill it. I have a grill basket which works wonderfully for vegetables on the grill – not so much shrimp. You could put the shrimp directly on the grill but they may fall through – or if you have a lot of shrimp it can be difficult to manage. You could use a tinfoil pouch but you may not get those grill marks I crave…

The best way to cook Simple Grilled Shrimp with Vegetables is to skewer your shrimp then rub them with seasoned olive oil and cook them on the grill. The skewer keeps all the shrimp in place, they cook evenly, and makes it so easy to cook for a large crowd. If you are just starting your grilling season try these super easy grilled shrimp with lemon juice, it will be perfect.

Summertime Grillling
Grilling Shrimp

Serve your simple grilled shrimp with a grill basket stir-fry of green beans and mushrooms as well as some quartered bell peppers seasoned with salt and pepper. This meal could not be any easier, and that’s why I love it.

How to Grill Shrimp Perfectly

What you need:

  • 1 pound of cleaned and deveined large shrimp (tails on)
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flake
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • half a juice of a lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound of trimmed green beans
  • a couple mushrooms sliced
  • 2 bell peppers cut into fourths

What to do:

  1. Wash and pat dry your shrimp and begin to skewer them by placing 4 shrimp per skewer in the same direction. (I did not soak my skewers because the shrimp only cook for a few minutes on each side – if you cook them longer they will be black and burn).  Makes about 6 skewers.
  2.  Season shrimp with salt and pepper both sides. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, red pepper flake and garlic powder. Use a basting brush and baste both sides of the shrimp liberally with olive oil mixture. If preparing a head of time then you can cover these and refrigerate for up to 1 hour.

    Summertime Grilling
    Grilled Shrimp
  3. Preheat grill to 400 degrees and prepare your vegetables. Toss the green beans and mushrooms with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper. (I like to keep it simple)
  4. Quarter your bell peppers and brush with the remaining olive oil mixture that was on the shrimp.
  5. Leave the grill basket on the grill while it’s preheating and once hot place the green beans and mushrooms in the basket. Next place the bell peppers skin side down to get charred.  Put the other half of the lemon on the grill flesh side down.
  6. After about 5 minutes put the shrimp on the hot grill. Grill shrimp about 2 minutes on each side or until cooked through.
  7. Remove the shrimp on to a serving platter and place the bell peppers and green bean mixture on the same plate. Squeeze grilled lemon on top of the shrimp and serve.
Grilled Shrimp and Vegetable Platter
Grilled Shrimp and Vegetable Platter

Happy Grilling!

~Hunter

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Herb and Lemon Grilled Chicken Wings

herblemonchickenwings

Chicken Wings with Fresh Herbs, Lemon, and Olive Oil.

This is a lighter take on a traditional fried chicken wing that is smothered with sauce. In my house we usually make an asian chicken wing when grilling but today I decided to go for more of an italian marinated chicken wing.

This herb chicken wing is a great change to a traditional chicken wing and are great as an appetizer, a for dinner, or an outside BBQ. Herbed chicken wings are great when you have a lot of herbs laying around that don’t get used frequently enough. These were crispy, herby, and delicious!

Here’s What You Need: 

  • 1 1/2 pounds of chicken wings and legs about 24
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • 3 rosemary sprigs chopped
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/4 of olive oil enough to marinade
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • sea salt and ground black pepper

What to do:

  1. Rinse and pat dry chicken. Then prepare marinade by combining chicken, leaves on thyme sprigs, parsley, rosemary, zest of lemon, juice, garlic, olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper. Mix until coated and let marinade for at least 1 hour or over night.
  2. When ready to make chicken wings prepare grill to medium high heat. Remove wings from marinade and cook on one side crispy and brown flip occasionally until both sides are cooked about 15-25 minutes. If cooking other sides keep wings warm in a tin foil tray while other food is cooking.
    herbchickenwingsServe as an appetizer with carrots and celery or for dinner with grilled vegetables.

Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Salad

tomato basil mozzarella saladTomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Salad – From the Garden!

We have so many tomatoes in the garden right now. Everyday this one tomato plant produces so many delicious orange grape tomatoes. I decided to make a tomato, mozzarella, and basil salad that is super easy to make and tastes so fresh.

I am not a huge fan of tomatoes. But I am trying to change that. Tomatoes are an excellent source of Vitamin C as well as beta-carotene and few other vitamins. Tomatoes are also a sweet yet low in calories snack. Perfect for someone who is watching what they eat.

It’s super easy, here’s what you will need:

  • A pint of tomatoes or from your own garden like I did – as many as you have! Cut them all in half.
  • A small piece of a fresh mozzarella ball cut up into small cubes
  • 6 basil leaves (from my garden) – chopped
  • About 4 tablespoons Olive oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper

What to do:

  1. Combine tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil on a bowl.
  2. Pour about 4 tablespoons of olive oil and a few splashes of balsamic vinegar over the top. Season well with salt and pepper.  Mix.
  3. Enjoy! This was so delicious. I ate this as a side with dinner. It would go great as an appetizer, or served with fish, chicken, or slice of french bread.

 

 

Weight Watchers Summer Fruit Galette

summer galette

Weight Watchers Magazine featured a Summer Fruit Galette, or rustic tart, on the cover for July/August 2014. The Summer fruit tart is filled with fresh summer fruit. I decided to make this recipe, a summer Fruit Galette, and use peaches and blueberries that were picked from a farm and taste like the Summer.

I had never heard of a galette before but after some research I learned that it is a free standing rustic tart. The galette originated in France and is often filled with apples, cheese, egg, berries, or similar ingredients. The ingredients from this Galette were picked from Lewin Farm on Long Island.

Summer Fruit Galette is very easy to make and can serve up to 10 people. This is a healthier desert option because less crust is used then in a traditional pie. You can also use fruit that is in season such as peaches, raspberries, or blueberries. According to Weight Watchers the PointPlus value is 4.


 

Weight Watchers Summer Fruit Galette:

Crust

  • 1 1/4 cups of all purpose flour (or you can use whole wheat)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp canola oil
  • 1 tbsp. cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 3-4 tbsp. ice water

Filling

  • 1 1/4 lb peaches, pitted, halved and cut into 1/2 inch wedges (about 6)
  • 6 oz fresh blueberries or raspberries
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • pinch salt

Topping

  • 2 tsp fat-free milk
  • 1 tsp sugar

Recipe:

  1. Make crust. Pulse flour, sugar, and salt in food processor until blended. Add oil and butter; pulse until mixture is like coarse crumbs. Add 3 tablespoons ice col water pulsing until dough forms. If dough does not come together add another tablespoon of water. Shape dough into ball and wrap in plastic and refrigerator until firm, 1 hour or up to 1 day. *If you do not want to use a food processor you can follow the same directions with a bowl.
  2. Make filling when ready to prepare fruit tart by combining all ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees an cover baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface area. Transfer onto baking sheet. Pour filling on center of pie crust.
  5. Fold edges of dough up pleating as you go. Brush edges of dough with milk and then sprinkle with sugar.
  6. Bake until filling is tender. 35-40 minutes. Let galette cool and cut into wedges.
  7. Enjoy. Can serve up to 10 people.

weight watchers summer galette

Weight Watchers Magazine July/August 2014

Steak and Vegetable Kabobs with Tzatziki

steak kabob with tazikiTender steak and vegetable kabobs marinated in a blend of olive oil, spices, herbs, and lemon juice. Served with cucumber and mint Tzatziki sauce.

I love to go to Greek Restaurants and have lamb kabob with Tzatziki and lots of hummus. Yum! My favorite Greek Restaurant is on Long Island, NY and called It’s Greek to Me. The restaurant is very small and run by a close Greek Family. The first time I dined at It’s Greek to Me I was a skeptic but you know what they say- Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. This small restaurant is known more for takeout but the lamb kabob, gyro, and hummus are all delicious.

Originally this recipe was going to be made with lamb. However, I had the hardest time finding lamb in the supermarket that wasn’t 20 dollars a pound. Lamb cubes are hard to come by I guess. So after visiting like three supermarkets the game plan switched to steak kabobs. The kabobs were inspired by the flavors of my favorite lamb kabob dish and Tzatziki sauce.

Why Tzatziki?

In case you are not sure what Tzatziki sauce is…. Tzatziki sauce is a Greek sauce served with grilled meats or as a dip. Usually made with yogurt, garlic, cucumber, salt, pepper, mint, and parsley. The Greek yogurt and cucumber make the Tzatziki a healthy and light sauce that goes perfectly with grilled steak kabobs and vegetables.
Tzatziki sauceHere’s what you will need:

  • About 1.5 pounds of cubed steak or your preferred protein
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 pint of grape tomatoes
  • 1 zucchini
  • 2 onions
  • olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary chopped
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cucumber remove the seeds
  • handful of mint and parsley
  • about 1 1/2 cups of plain Greek  Yogurt
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • salt and pepper to taste

What to do:

  1. Begin  by marinating steak cubes in olive oil, fresh rosemary, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Let sit for up to 3 hours or as little as 30 minutes. If you are using wood sticks make sure to soak them so they do not burn.
  2. While steak is marinating cut vegetables to go on skewers in medium size cubes.
  3. When ready to make kabobs take meat out of refrigerator and take vegetables out. Make kabobs filling them up alternating between meat and vegetable. Once finished sprinkle with olive oil salt and pepper make sure to coat vegetables.
  4. When finished making kabobs you can let them sit for a minute and start to make the Tzatziki or cucumber sauce. Get a food processor out and prepare cucumber by removing seeds. I left the skin on because I do not mind it. Once you remove seeds put into food processor with plain Greek yogurt, garlic, salt, pepper, and a lot of fresh herbs. Process until it is at your desired consistency. Keep cold in refrigerator.
    Tzatziki sauce
  5. Preheat Grill to high and then grill kabobs for about 10  minutes or until vegetables and steak are charred but not over done on the inside.
    grilled kabobs
  6. Remove from heat and serve steak kabobs with Tzatziki sauce.
    grilled steak kabobEnjoy!!!

Simple Cold Peanut Noodles

Simple Cold Peanut Noodles with Summer Vegetables

cold peanut noodles

One of my favorite things to order at a chinese restaurant is cold peanut noodles. Sometimes I wonder what they put in the noodles to make them taste so good.. and then I tell myself..don’t think about that. These are a treat for me and I decided to try and make Cold Peanut Noodles and lighten them up a bit by adding raw carrots and red bell peppers with a light peanut sauce.

If you are craving the delicious tastes of chinese food but don’t want to order then you should defintely try making these noodles. This was my first time making the cold peanut noodles and I really liked them. This is inspired by a recipe I saw that had raw summer vegetables included in the noodles. I loved that idea. For the peanut sauce I followed this recipe. A new blog I found that I really like.

You can add any raw veggie you have on hand. I used match stick carrots and red bell pepper because it’s what I had on hand. But shredded raw cabbage, cucumber, bean sprouts, and even baby corn would be delicious. Try them out if you love chinese take out!

Here’s what you need:

  • 8 oz of thin spaghetti or chinese noodles
  • 3 tablespoons of peanutbutter
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 3/4 lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon sesamie oil
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • dash of red chili flakes
  • pinch of sesame seeds
  • assortment of raw vegetables if you wish

What to do:

  1. Start with cooking the pasta according to your box.
  2. While pasta is cooking prep your vegetables into match sticks or however you desire.
  3. Next make the sauce: combine place peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, sesamie oil, garlic, and chili flakes in a bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of water and mix until sauce is smooth. Just keep mixing it will turn into the right consistency. Leave aside.
    image
  4. Once pastas is finished cooking to Adlente drain the water and make sure pasta is cooled down.
  5. Add the sauce when your ready to serve or a little at at time if you want it to stay fresh. Add however many raw veggies you would like on top and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Serve cold or warm. If you put the noodles in the fridge with the sauce it will absorb into the pasta. To avoid this keep sauce on side or make an extra batch to serve on top when you are ready to eat. Enjoy!

image

 

 

Healthy Turkey Meatballs

Baked Turkey Meatballs

baked turkey meatballs

These healthy turkey meatballs are baked, easy to make, and create very little mess! This is a great go to recipe for during the week or to make ahead for dinner one night. Turkey meatballs can be made with almost anything and are very versatile. Serve these with salad, quinoa, vegetables, pasta, or in a soup.

Substituting ground turkey for ground beef in your meals is a great way to reduce saturated fats and lower your cholesterol in meals. Lean ground turkey is low in calories and high in protein which makes it a great choice when trying to eat healthy. If you have tried ground turkey but find it boring and dry be sure to add different spices and vegetables to the meat to give it flavor.

In this recipe I used grated carrot to add moisture, italian seasoning, as well as bread crumbs as a binding. This recipe did not lack flavor the and the baked turkey meatballs were delicious! Baked turkey meatballs are really easy and make a lot of mini meatballs which is great because that means leftovers of lunch the next day.

You will need

  • 1 pound of lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 of grated carrot
  • 2 tablespoons of breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon of italian seasoning
  • 1 egg
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • a pinch of salt and pepper 
  • 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan 

The recipe:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine grated carrot, egg, breadcrumbs, italian seasoning, garlic, grated parmesan, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl.

    baked turkey meatball filling
    baked turkey meatball filling
  3. Add 1 pound of ground turkey and mix with your CLEAN hands to evenly mix the breadcrumb mixture throughout.
  4. Form balls with a tablespoon and put on baking sheet that is sprayed with non stick spray.
    baked turkey meatballs
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
  6. Serve with green salad or as a side to vegetables.

I made this recipe to have during the week when I needed a quick dinner. I served with quinoa, broccoli and red bell peppers. This was a perfect “dinner box” and I just ate during the week when I did not have time to cook. 

turkey meatball dinner

I found this recipe here. Thanks for sharing, I loved them!

 

 

Chicken Cutlet with Tomato Balsamic Salad

Crispy Chicken Cutlets with Tomato Balsamic Salad

tomato balsamic salad

To me it does not get better then this. I grew up eating and loving chicken cutlets whether it was from an Italian restaurant or my grandmas italian kitchen. I always crave chicken parmesan, but in the summer I like something a little lighter and fresher.  If you are growing tomatoes and are looking for a recipe to use them. This is it!

This recipe comes from the time I spent at my Aunts house on Long Island. I remember her crispy chicken cutlets very well. She served it with a tomato and red onion balsamic, it was almost like a sauce. I always thought it was delicious and wondered why more people did not make this fresh take on chicken parmesan – you won’t even miss the cheese.

chickencutlettoamtosalad

Crispy chicken cutlets and a tomato balsamic salad is so easy to make. I made this for my mom, her husband, boyfriend, and grandma. It’s safe to say there weren’t any leftovers. It’s that good!

Crispy Chicken Cutlets with Tomato Balsamic Salad

Here’s what you will need:

  • 1.5 pounds chicken cutlet- about 7 pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups of unsalted breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon italian seasoning
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and pepper
  • canola oil for frying
  • 1 container or 1 1/2 cups of baby heirloom tomatoes or cherry halved
  • 6 basil leaves chopped
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • about 4 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

Steps:

  1. I like to simple so first I made the tomato balsamic salad by combining the halved tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, basil leaves, salt and pepper. Cover and put in fridge while you prepare the chicken.
  2. Spread breadcrumbs and italian seasoning in a big bowl/dish. Beat 2 eggs in another big bowl/dish. Put aside.
  3. Pat chicken dry with paper towel and salt & pepper both sides.
  4. Work 1 cutlet at a time and dip in egg mixture and then coat with breadcrumb mixture. Repeat with the rest of the chicken cutlets until covered. Add more breadcrumbs if necessary.
  5. Put aside and heat oil in a frying pan. Fry chicken cutlets 2 at a time about 4 minutes on each side or until done depending on thickness. Transfer to plate lined with paper towel and continue frying the rest of the chicken.
    chicken cutlet
  6. Once almost finished take tomatoes out of the fridge and transfer chicken to a separate serving plate. Serve chicken with tomato salad on top.
    chickencutlettoamtosalad
  7. Serve with big green salad.

This recipe was delicious. The chicken was crispy and not too fried and the tomatoes added a fresh and juicy sauce to the chicken.

Enjoy!

Easy Corn Salad

Corn Salad with Yellow Tomato, Sugar Snap Peas, and Basil:

easycornsaladThis salad was so fresh and reminds me why I love summer. You can use whatever is fresh from the farm stand or from your own personal garden. For this salad I used corn that is from a local farm stand and also grown locally. The yellow tomatoes, sugar snap peas, and basil are from my own personal garden.

sugarsnappeasWe made this corn salad after coming home from the beach and wanting something quick, healthy, and light.

Corn is so popular in the summer because it is very inexpensive and of course easy to make. Everyone loves a good corn on the cob however one of my favorite ways to eat it is off the cob. Cutting the corn off the cob is a great way to add healthy carbohydrates to your salads and summer meals.

If you are trying to loose weight you may think to stay away from corn. However, this is not always the case. A small serving of fresh corn is a great way to satisfy your hunger and feed your body healthy carbohydrates. Especially if you were active that day.

Corn is a low-fat complex carbohydrate and is high in fiber and also surprisingly a good source of several vitamins such as folic acid and vitamin C.  This is why I love to eat fresh locally grown corn in the summer, and why you should too!

Here’s what you will need:

  • 4 corns in the husk (don’t be one of those people who peel at the super market – it actually dries out your corn)
  • handful of tomatoes (whatever color you have) I had a few yellow tomatoes growing so I picked them
  • small handful sugar snap peas or other green pea
  • 5 leaves of basil
  • olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper

Recipe:

  1. Start by cooking corn in the husk on the grill at 400 degrees until husk is brown and corn is yellow about 20 minutes.
  2. While corn is cooking prepare your vegetables. Cut your tomatoes in half, snap peas in half, and chop your basil.
    easycornsalad
  3. Mix 1/3 cup of olive oil and juice of a lemon with vegetables add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. When corn is ready remove husk and let cool. Once cool cut corn off the cob and put with the other vegetables repeat with 4 cobs.
  5. Stir all the vegetables together and your done!
    easycorsnsalad