Friday, August 3, 2012

Chicken Avocado Quinoa salad

I have been wanting to use quinoa for a while now but I just couldn't find the right recipe. But, I finally came across this one and it was delicious! I love quinoa! It is a great substitute for rice and it is one of the only grains that is a complete protein. Quinoa does have a high fat content and so it is advised to keep it in the refrigerator or freezer instead of on the shelf to keep it from going rancid. But, the fat is "good fat," not unsaturaded or trans fat. Now that I've basically given you a lesson on quinoa, lets get to the recipe.

1 cup quinoa, cooked and cooled
½ onion, chopped
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 ears of corn, grilled and removed from cob (or 1 small can niblets)
1 cup shredded chicken
1 large avocado
4 limes
¾ cup fresh cilantro
2 ½ Tbsp agave (sugar works ok too)

I like to cook quinoa in chicken broth. It gives it a little bit more flavor. When cooking quinoa, some people suggest to rinse it, I don't. It usually comes pre-rinsed but some people like to soak it anyway. When cooking quinoa it's good to know that 1 cup raw quinoa makes about 3 cups of cooked quinoa. To make three cups of cooked quinoa, place one cup raw quinoa and 1.5 cups cold water or chicken broth. Bring the quiona to a boil. Cover with a tight fitting lid, and turn down to a simmer. Let cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat. Let quinoa sit for 5 minutes with the lid on. Fluff gently with a fork and it's ready to go.

1) In a large bowl, mix onion, black beans, corn, chicken and quinoa together.
2) In a blender, combine the lime juice, cilantro and agave to make the dressing.
3) Cut the avocado in small pieces and toss in dressing. Add avocado to quinoa mixture.
4) Pour dressing over quinoa mixture and toss to combine. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Pretzel bites

My sister flew into town this week and I was asking her what she wanted to do besides go to the beach and get a tan. She told me that she wanted to do some cooking. I was a little shocked but also excited because there are so many recipes that I want to try but I know that there is a lot of work involved so I keep pushing them aside. So, the first thing we attempted were pretzel bites. I did not expect them to turn out this good but let me tell you, they were amazing! This recipe is more for a party of people though. We are going to have pretzel bites for months. When my neighbors came home I met them on their doorstop and offered them some pretzel bites. It was kind of weird, I know, but they loved them and they took some more off of my hands. 
I got this recipe from Smells Like Home


  • 1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
  • 22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
  • Vegetable oil
  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • Pretzel or Kosher salt

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the water, sugar, yeast, and salt on low speed for 10 seconds.  Switch to the dough hook and add the flour and butter.  Mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl and transfer it to a well-oiled bowl. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and set it in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
3. Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an wide 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan
4. In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Slice each rope into 1-inch pieces.  Place a lightly damp towel over the pretzel pieces to prevent them from drying out while you roll and cut the other pieces.
5. Using a slotted spoon lower a handful of the pretzel pieces into the boiling water and boil them for 30 seconds, flipping them around in the water with the spoon a couple of times. Remove the pretzel pieces from the water using the spoon, drain as best you can, and place them on the baking sheets. Brush the top of each pretzel with the melted butter and sprinkle with the pretzel/Kosher salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 10 – 12 minutes. Brush with remaining melted butter before serving. Serve warm

 Instead of brushing the pretzels with melted butter, I used "I can't believe its not butter" spray. It was a lot quicker and easier.