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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Toasted Quinoa Salad

 

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I took this salad to a graduation celebration and it  was a hit! Something as simple as a salad, using a few fresh ingredients, has had friends asking me for this recipe. I knew I needed to post this ASAP!

If you’ve never made quinoa, it’s really easy. First you always want to do a quick rinse of the quinoa first. The outer coating is called saponin and it’s bitter. Place quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse under cold water for a few seconds.

The directions are basically two to one. Two parts liquid to one part quinoa. Cooking quinoa is very similar to cooking rice.  Follow the directions on the back of the package, then all you need to do is to add the other ingredients.

Many times I’ll toast the quinoa first. this adds another layer of flavor to the quinoa. All you do for that is to add canola oil ( a neutral oil), add your quinoa and stir over med-low heat for about 6-8 minutes. Next, you’ll add the boiling liquid to the pot and follow the timing directions on the package.

 

Whenever I’m adding different vegetables to a salad, I like to make sure they are about the same size. You can see above how I diced up the hothouse cucumber (English cucumber), the grape tomatoes are just halved.

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Yields: 4-6 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes (add 6-8 minutes cooking time if you are toasting quinoa)
Total Time: 22-24 minutes

Ingredients:
1-12 ounce package=1-1/2 cups uncooked quinoa
3 cups of vegetable stock (optional choices are water or low sodium chicken broth)
1/2 diced red onion
1 diced red bell pepper
1 diced orange bell pepper
2 cup of diced feta cheese
1-1/2 pints of halved grape tomatoes
2 cups of diced hothouse cucumber
1/4 cup of fresh basil- Chiffonade style
2 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh Italian Parsley ( dried 1 tablespoon)
Zest of 1 lemon
1 lemon juiced
1-1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper

Directions For Toasting and Cooking Quinoa:
First, rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve before cooking.
Best with pot with a glass fitting lid.

In a pot, on med-low heat, add 2 tablespoons of Canola oil ( any neutral oil). Add in the quinoa. Stir slowly coating all the quinoa with the oil. Continue stirring for about 6-8 minutes or until quinoa is golden brown.

Directions:
In a another pot have you liquid ( vegetable stock) at a boil. Add the boiling liquid to the quinoa. Give a stir and cover. Turn the heat down to low simmer. Once all the liquid has been absorbed, the quinoa is done. It’s really important to keep your eye on the quinoa, it cook pretty fast. Remove from the heat and let the quinoa cool down for about 5 minutes.  I use a fork to fluff the quinoa around in the pot it helps it to cool down quicker.

While the quinoa is cooking dice up all the vegetables, zest and juice of a lemon, dice the feta, and place into a large bowl.  Add in the cooled cooked quinoa, season with salt and pepper. Finish by adding in the chopped basil and parsley and toss through gently. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Before serving I like to add a drizzle of really good E.V.O.O.

 

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Shrimp Scampi Over Linguine

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Talk about a quick and fast cooking pasta dish, shrimp scampi over linguine is fast and easy to make. Now there is a little bit of prep time in preparing the shrimp, but it’s super easy. You can prep the shrimp in advance and keep them on ice, in the frig, until your ready to make the dish.

When you go to buy your shrimp, you’ll see numbers like 16-20 count. This just means there are about 16-20 in a pound. As you can see they’re a nice large shrimp for this dish.

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Yields: 6 servings

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt plus 2 teaspoons
1/2 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper
6 tablespoons of unsalted butter
4 tablespoons of olive oil
3 tablespoons of minced garlic (8 cloves)
1 Fresno chili seeded and finely minced
2 pounds of large shrimp ( about 32 shrimp) peeled and deveined
1/2 cup freshly chopped parsley leaves
1 lemon, zest grated
1/2 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 juicy lemons)
1 lemon thinly sliced in rounds

Directions:
Start by prepping the shrimp for the recipe. Once shrimp are ready, place a large pot on the stove filled with water. When the water is at a fast boil, add 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt in. Next add in the linguine and cook for about 7-10 minutes.

In a large sauté pan melt butter and olive oil over med low heat. Add the garlic and Fresno chili for about a minute. Note: You want to be careful not to burn the garlic. Add the shrimp to the pan, with 2 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper.. Saute until shrimp have just turned pink, about 5 minutes or so, stirring regularly.

Remove the pan from the heat, add chopped parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, and lemon slices.

When linguine is done, drain the cooked pasta, place into a large serving bowl. Immediately add the shrimp and sauce over the pasta. Toss well and serve.

 

 

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Quinoa Veggie Balls

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There are different varieties of eggplant. I have the standard eggplant that everyone’s familiar with, and also 2 smaller tiger eggplants. For this recipe today, I going to use just the one larger eggplant.

 

Yields: 2 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 3-5 minutes (time may vary slightly)

Ingredients:
2 zucchini and 1 yellow squash peeled
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/4 cup of water
Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Yields: 22-24 quinoa balls
Equipment: food processor, mesh strainer, saucepan with lid, 2 baking sheets
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time:  roughly, 1 hour
Roasted Eggplant 30 minutes Quinoa 20 minutes ( cook at the same time)
Quinoa veggies balls 20-25 minutes

Ingredients:
3 cups of cooked quinoa
1/2 diced red, yellow and orange bell peppers, 1/2 a large onion, and 3 cloves of garlic that have been minced in a food processor, then drained.
1-1/4 cups of roasted and processed egg plant
1-1/2 cups of fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup of fresh Italian flat leaf parsley leaves
1 jar of sweet organic potato and apricot puree
1 tablespoon of ketchup
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon of ground chili powder
1 tablespoon of ground cumin
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
2 large beaten eggs
1-1/4 cups of Italian style bread crumbs, plus 1/2 cup for reserved for coating the quinoa balls.
Olive oil for drizzling over the quinoa balls

Directions:
First, let’s talk about preparing the zucchini and yellow squash. Cut lengthwise slices from the zucchini and squash using a julienne peeler.I like leaving the skins on but that’s optional. Stop when seeds are reached. Turn the the zucchini over and repeat on the other side. Do the same with the yellow squash. Note:  Because it the veggie pasta doesn’t take very long to cook, wait until the quinoa veggies balls come out of the oven before starting the pasta.

To cook the zucchini pasta, heat the olive oil in large saute pan over medium heat, saute and stir the vegetable pasta strands in the oil for 1 minute. Add water and cook until the vegetable pasta is softened, (time may vary slightly) 3-5 minutes. Season with Kosher salt and pepper.

To roast the eggplant, preheat oven to 400 degrees F., cut it lengthwise, place them onto a baking sheet lightly greased with non-stick cooking spray. Drizzle the tops with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and Kosher salt and pepper to taste. Roast them in the oven until softened and golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool before removing the flesh.

While the eggplant is roasting in the oven, prepare the quinoa.  In a fine mesh strainer, add the 1 cup of quinoa. Rinse thoroughly with cool water for about 2 minutes. Rub and swish the quinoa with your hands while rinsing. Drain. Note: 1 cup of dried quinoa equals 3 cups of cooked quinoa.

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in the saucepan over med-high heat, and add in the drained quinoa. Cook, stirring, for about 1 minute to let the water evaporate and toast the quinoa. Stir in 2 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt. Bring to a roaring boil. Lower the heat setting. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove  the pot from the heat and let stand for another 5 minutes, covered. Don’t peek! At this point all the water should be absorbed. Note: If not, return the pan to the heat, covered for another 5 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Finally transfer the quinoa to a large bowl. Grate, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese to the quinoa.

In a food processor add  large diced red, yellow, and orange bells peppers, diced onion, along with garlic that’s been chopped into large pieces. Pulse until finely minced. Transfer to a fine mesh strainer to release any extra water coming from the veggies. Let veggies stay in strainer until all or most liquid has drained off, about 10 minutes. Then add the strained veggies to the bowl with the quinoa.

To the food processor add the fresh herbs and pulse a few times until the herbs are finely minced. Then add the minced herbs to the bowl with the other ingredients.

Next,  remove the flesh of the eggplant from its skin. Add the flesh to the food processor and pulse until blended. To the bowl with the eggplant!

Now the hard part is done, just a few more ingredients then in the frig with this mixture. First, for the spices, add in cayenne pepper, chili powder, cumin, dried oregano, Kosher salt, and black pepper. Add in 1 jar of organic sweet potato and apricot baby puree, Italian style bread crumbs, ketchup, and beaten eggs. Mix  all these ingredients together really well, cover with plastic wrap and place into the frig.

Let the quinoa mixture set up in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.

Next, is to get two baking sheets lined with parchment paper ready. Pull the quinoa mixture out of the frig, using a 2 ounce scoop (the size of walnuts), scoop out the mixture into your hands roll them into a balls. A couple at a time, drop them into a shallow bowl with Italian style bread crumbs. Roll them around in the bread crumbs, until coated, shake off the excess, and place them onto the baking sheet.

Drizzle the tops of the quinoa balls with olive oil to help them brown evenly. Bake them off at 350 degrees F. for 20-25 minutes or until they are golden brown. While the quinoa balls are baking, cook off the zucchini pasta as explained above. If you have homemade Marinara sauce on hand that’s perfect, if not use your favorite jarred brand.

Cooked quinoa balls can be stored in refrigerator for 3-5 days in air tight zip lock bag.

To plate, place the zucchini pasta on the bottom of the plate, and set your quinoa balls around the veggie pasta. Ladle some sauce over the top. While everything is piping hot, grate some cheese over the top.

 

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Sweet Italian Sausage And Potato Hash

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I have to tell you, whenever I make this my Sweet Italian Sausage And Potato Hash, Steve gets very happy. It’s so comforting and so delicious he can’t get enough. This is why today I’m making a double batch. I do everything in my cast iron skillet so there’s really no cleanup. For me, that’s always a plus.

The other thing about this dish is, it’s really so versatile. You could use hot Italian sausage, or maybe Chorizo, really whatever you like. For this recipe, I’m using a sweet Italian sausage. I also used a variety of those mini sweet bell peppers, but you could use a mix of peppers. For example, maybe a Poblano, or something a little spicier. The combination of ingredients is up to you. One thing I do for this recipe first is to make sure all my potatoes are diced and ready to go before starting this recipe.

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A good tip to make all this go smoothly. is to be slicing and dicing all the veggies, getting those all prepped and ready while the potatoes are browning in the pan.

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To the veggies, I add in the sliced sausage and stir all the ingredients around. Now, this is the time where the sausage will finish cooking. Again still on medium-high, this takes around another 8-10 minutes, max. Last I add the cooked potatoes and just stir them to warm them through. Finally, I have some chopped fresh basil and flat leaf Italian parsley. Off the heat, I toss in the fresh herbs and stir through. This dish is so delicious and comforting, you’ll want seconds.

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Yields:  4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Equipment: 12-inch cast iron skillet, 8-inch sauté pan with a tight-fitting lid

Ingredients:
2 packages of sweet Italian sausage cooked and sliced
1 28-ounce package of small multi-colored baby Yukon potatoes, 1-inch dice
6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, divided
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound package of mini sweet bell peppers sliced
2 medium-size sweet onions diced
3 garlic cloves minced
1 cup of unsalted chicken broth (1/2 a cup for the steaming, 1/2 a cup for the deglazing of the pan).
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
2 tablespoons of fresh chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons of fresh chopped basil leaves

Directions:
First, dice all your potatoes. It’s really important to pat, using a paper towel, the dice potatoes dry to remove any excess water/starch on them.

In a large cast iron skillet on medium-high heat, melt 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter on medium-high heat. Add the dried oregano first giving the herb a chance to bloom (become fragrant) then add half of the diced potatoes, stir to coat with the butter. Season with half the Kosher salt and pepper. Remember you want the potatoes to brown not steam, don’t overcrowd the pan. Leave to cook for 10 minutes. Do not touch! Turn the heat down to medium, turn the potatoes over. Place a lid on the skillet and cook for another 10 minutes.

Transfer the potatoes to a large mixing bowl and repeat the process for the remaining half. This whole process will take around 40 minutes to complete.

A good tip is to be slicing and dicing all the veggies, getting those all prepped and ready while the potatoes are browning in the pan.

While the potatoes are browning, on medium heat, poach the sausage links in a sautépan in a half a cup of unsalted chicken broth, poach for 5 to 7 minutes. Par-cooking the sausage links ensures a good head start. Transfer the links to a plate lined with paper towel.

After sausage links are finished poaching, and all the potatoes are cooked, transfer the sausage links to the medium-high, preheated skillet. You won’t have to add any fat to the pan. Place the links into the skillet and brown on both sides, around 10 to 12  minutes, then transfer them to a plate.

At this point add to the skillet the onions. Season with Kosher salt and pepper to taste. Let the onions sauté until translucent, then add the bell peppers and minced garlic stirring occasionally. This will take around 5 to 7 minutes. While this is happening, slice on the bias the sausage links.

Once the veggies have softened, add the remaining chicken broth, scraping up the bits from the bottom of the pan. Allow the broth to reduce by half. This will take a few more minutes to happen. Add back in the sliced sausage. Stir everything around and let simmer for another 10 minutes until sausage is fully cooked through.

Next, add the cooked potatoes stirring the potatoes until they’re warmed through. Finally, turn the heat off, and add the fresh herbs, toss through. This Sweet Italian Sausage And Potato Hash have so much flavor, that it gives you “warm fuzzies” inside.

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