Wish Upon A Dish

November 7, 2018

Spinach Salad with Red Quinoa Cakes

Little by little I have been cutting back on the meat and upping the grains & vegetables. I was a little afraid the Nudge would not like it, at all.
He's been surprisingly receptive so I thought when I talked to him about my plan, he thought that meant more pasta, rice and breads.

For the last year or so, I have been making him breakfast smoothies and jar salads and it's been successful so far, but as the weather gets cooler, I notice that he's asking for healthy snacks.

Luckily he loves apples (with PB) and eggs, so that's what I pack for him.

Last night I doubled down with a spinach salad and red quinoa cakes. Except for a few snips of bacon, it was healthy and very tasty.

While the recipe called for couscous, I was out so I subbed in red quinoa.
Why red quinoa?
Red quinoa provides 17 to 24 percent of the RDA of fiber for women and 13 to 24 percent of the RDA of fiber for men. That's double the amount of yellow.

Yes, I know it doesn't look picture pretty, not as nice as yellow but it is a better healthier choice.

If you have never made a warm spinach salad, it is easy to do as long as you remember to wilt the spinach last.

This was the timeline.......
1. Cook the quinoa as you would rice. Equal parts water to seed. Cook for 15 minutes. I use my microwave with great success.
2. While the quinoa is cooling, cut the bacon and the mushrooms into 1/2" slices.
3. Make the quinoa cake mixture and let it rest in the fridge. Will be easier to work with.
4. Wash and stem the spinach and dry thoroughly using a salad spinner.

15 minutes before you wilt the salad, you make the patties.
I used an ice cream scoop to get them into the frying pan and a spatula to flatten them into a patty.

Quinoa & Feta Patties
makes 4-5

* 1/2 cup quinoa with a 1/2 cup water or broth
* teaspoon salt (if using water)

* 1 clove garlic, minced
* 1/4 cup fresh packed flat-leaf parsley
* 1/4 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
* 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
* 2 tablespoons feta cheese crumbles
* oil for frying
* salt & pepper to taste

* sliced red onion, about 7 slices
* 1 large bunch regular spinach, not baby
* 4-5 mushrooms, sliced
* 3 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1/3" pieces

1. Bring the salted water or broth to a simmer, add the quinoa, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Leave the lid on while the quinoa cools.
2. Chop the chickpeas fine, either with a small chopper or a knife. Do the same to the parsley.
3. In a bowl add the garlic, parsley, chickpeas, eggs, feta cheese and salt & pepper.
4. When quinoa is cool to the touch, add the oil to a nonstick frying pan and using a medium ice cream scoop or a 1/4 cup, scoop the quinoa mixture into the hot oil & flatten with a spatula. Fry both sides until a crust forms and then move them to a warming oven.
5. Wipe out the oil in the pan and add the bacon pieces. Saute until crispy brown. In the bacon fat, saute the onions, then the mushrooms and remove to a paper towel to drain.
6. Add a few teaspoon corn oil and quickly saute the spinach leaves until wilted, remove to a platter, top with the onions, bacon and mushrooms.
7. Add 2 patties to a dish with half the spinach salad. Serve.


Nutrition on Quinoa

October 22, 2018

Breakfast Bagel Egg Ham & Cheese Sandwiches - Under 300 Calories

I would have to say that until I started working from home when I was 45, I never ate breakfast.
Matter of fact, I didn't eat lunch that often, either.

When I finally did go to a doctor, he diagnosed pre-diabetes. That was when I started this blog, 10 years ago.

At that time, I started eating 3 small meals a day along with a small snack around 3:00.
I am a creature of habit and what I eat is pretty consistent, cold in the summer and hot in the winter.

I tried overnight oats, hot oatmeal, I even got a recipe for a baked oatmeal & fruit breakfast casserole but while I love granola I just couldn't eat warm oatmeal.

I am not sure when Jimmy Dean's Breakfast Sandwiches made an appearance, but my favorite was the egg croissant style. I actually tried to make my own using those pop can crescent rolls but they they were soft and too small and while I tried English muffins, pancakes & dinner rolls, I wasn't satisfied. 

Last week I finally got serious.
I bought a 4" SS ring to fry perfectly round egg patties, a bag of thin bagels, 3oz of thinly sliced deli cheddar cheese & 5oz smoked ham.

In 30 minutes I had 5 sandwiches, wrapped and in the freezer, ready for the week and at a cost of $1.19 each.

Best part is the calorie count per sandwich. At only 259 cal compared to 410 for name brand ones, it makes a savings of 755 calories a week (1/3lb) and much healthier at 16g less fat, 2g less carbs & 11g more protein.

I switch the insides up between mini omelette's and fried eggs, but always ham and cheese. I never seem to tire of this combination and as long as I can control the ingredients, I can make them healthy enough.
I wrap them in wax paper, nuke them for 45 seconds and they are ready to eat and portable to take on the fly.

I'm sure this isn't a mind blowing recipe but I can hear Mom's everywhere who have preached these words for decades......breakfast is the most important meal of the day!

Chinese Chicken Nuggets with Rice, Peas & Carrots - Meal Plan Dinner #3

I am pretty sure I chose this recipe for 2 reasons........
1. Who doesn't like anything Chinese?
2. Reminds me of TV dinners growing up, you know, with the peas & carrots.

Another 1 pan meal which I am loving because this is the first time in years there are no dishes in my sink before I started cooking.

What I liked the most about this recipe was the decision to use the sauce right before serving so that there was no thick salty sauce to mask the flavors of the ingredients instead of a light coating that flavors them.

While my goal is for no leftovers, sometimes it just happens. I think I got carried away with the amount of rice I cooked because I was using up the last of my brown rice and converted rice.
I also had a huge chicken breast and a box of frozen peas & carrots which I could have halved but didn't.

Good thing there was a bowl of leftovers, I had enough for a pic so you could see the end result.

Save this one for a day when you come home running and know you only have 15 minutes to push it into the oven so it bakes while you set the table.
A last minute splash of a Teriyaki finishing sauce & dinner was served.

Chinese Chicken Nuggets with Rice, Corn, Peas & Carrots
makes 2 servings

 Chicken Marinade
* 2 tablespoons soy sauce
* 2 tablespoons dry sherry
* 1/4 tsp sesame oil
* 1 garlic clove, chopped

* 1 chicken breast, cut into nugget size
* 1 box of frozen peas & carrots
* 1 small can corn, drained
* 1/2 cup brown rice
* 2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth + extra if needed
* peanut or canola oil
* 1 tsp dried ginger
* 1 shallot, minced

* 1/2 cup Teriyaki Sauce (not the marinade) for finishing
* 1 slivered scallion

Marinade chicken while preparing the ingredients or longer, time permitting.
Heat a tablespoon of preferred oil and saute the chicken until browned.

Remove chicken and add the shallot, sauteing until softened. Add the rice to the pan and stir.
Add the ginger, corn, peas & carrots to the rice and saute for 2 minutes.

Add the chicken to the pan along with the chicken broth, turn down the heat & cover and simmer until the rice is cooked, about 20 minutes. Add additional stock if the pan gets too dry.

Pour the Teriyaki over the ingredients (but do not stir), cover and serve. Finish with sliced scallions.

By the time you sit down to eat, the rice will have absorbed the Teriyaki Sauce and perfectly flavor the dish.