Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Quinoa Salad with Feta, Roasted Peppers, Artichoke Hearts & Chicken

(I'm no longer posting on this blog - enjoy the recipe but if you want to see what I'm up to, visit me here.)

Finally have HOT weather here in NH, with minimal rain! Which means I like to make a big batch of something one day of the week and eat on it for several days so I don't have to heat the kitchen up too much. This was relatively quick to make and healthy. As a bonus, the feta and olives gave it a nice kick so it tasted more indulgent than it is.

I've said it before, but I'll say it again: If you are still a quinoa virgin go out and get yourself some already! It's one of the most versatile and quick cooking grains out there and it has an an awesome nutty flavor that is delicious all on it's own. One of the coolest things quinoa is that it's one of a very small group of foods that are considered a complete protein (have all 9 essential amino acids and in the right proportion). In the non-animal food source world this is a very rare thing. Most of the time you need to combine two or more sources to get a complete protein (like rice and beans, yogurt & almonds etc) but quinoa can stand all on it's own. It's a super food!


1 cup quinoa
3 red bell peppers, cut in half, seeded and roasted
1 can artichoke hearts, cut in pieces
1/2 red onion, diced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 chicken breasts, cooked, diced
2 oz feta, crumbled
a handful of parsley
1 can sliced black olives (small can)
1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice
kosher salt and black pepper

Put the quinoa and 2 cups of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and turn the heat down to a simmer. Let the quinoa cook for 15-20 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the grains are soft and fluffy.

While your quinoa is cooking, pre-heat the broiler to 500 degrees (if you are roasting your own peppers) and cut the peppers into two equal halves. Place each half cut-side down on a cookie sheet and place in the oven on the middle rack. Leave peppers in the oven until the skins are mostly charred. This will take about 15 minutes. (If you'd rather use jarred peppers, feel free to. Just drain well and pat dry.) Take the peppers out of the oven and let cool. When they're cool enough to handle, peel off the blackened skin (which should come off easily) and chop the peppers roughly.
While your peppers are roasting, heat small pan to a medium-low heat. Pour in the 3 tablespoons of olive oil and toss in the sliced garlic. Let the garlic cook in the warm oil for just a minute or until the pan gives off a strong smell of garlic. Separate the oil and the garlic pieces with a strainer and throw out the cooked garlic. Set the oil aside.
Put the artichoke pieces and chopped red peppers in a bowl and pour in the garlic oil. Stir to combine. In a separate large bowl, combine the quinoa, the cooked chicken pieces, red onion, feta, parsley and olives (I used canned ones because I was out of kalamata but again, use what you have on hand or like!). Add the artichoke, oil and pepper mixture and 1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Stir until all ingredients are combined. Serve right away warm, or chill for a few hours and serve as a cold salad.

All text and photographs (except where noted otherwise) © 2008, 2009 Food is to love / Andrea Quigley

Quinoa Chicken Salad With Feta, Roasted Peppers & Artichoke Hearts on Foodista

Monday, August 10, 2009

Cookies & Cream Heart Attack Bars

Yeah, that's right. I call these Heart Attack bars. I'm sure that's not going to get me any ranking in the search engines, haha, but it was a fitting name back when I came up with the idea. It's a mixture of chocolate sandwich cookies, butter, cream cheese and sugar, the only thing I could add that would make it worse for you is bacon and I have a feeling that wouldn't taste so good here.
I've got to apologize because I don't have any pictures of the bars cut up into squares. I was making them for a cookout I was going to and we were running late so I ended up just grabbing the pan hot out of the oven and bringing it with us (the squares need to chill for a while before cutting) and cutting them there. So, it's hard to tell what you're looking at but they're really yummy so it doesn't really matter does it?


1 package of Chocolate sandwich cookies (with vanilla filling)
2 8oz packages of light cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 stick of unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place sandwich cookies in a large plastic freezer bag. Seal. Using a meat tenderizer (or something equally blunt), smash the cookies in the bag until all are roughly crumbled. Try not to tear the bag because it will make a big mess! Put the crumbled cookies into a medium-sized bowl and pour the melted butter over them. Stir to combine. (The butter will help the cookies form a "crust" and also prevent the bars from completely sticking to the pan.)

In another bowl, mix the remaining ingredients (cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla) with an electric hand mixer until smooth.

Spread half the cookie mixture in the bottom of a 13x9x2 baking dish. Carefully spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the cookies and then top with the remaining cookies. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the top is set. Let cook and chill for 2 hours before serving. Cut into 24 squares and make sure to eat any crumbs left in the pan.All text and photographs (except where noted otherwise) © 2008, 2009 Food is to love / Andrea Quigley

Oreo Cheesecake on Foodista

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

My First Home!


This is completely unfood related but never one to keep secrets, I must share. I've been quiet and I'm sure you've noticed. But J and I made an offer on a house, the offer was accepted, we've got our financing in order, and it looks like we'll close on the house around September 18!!! I'm super excited! Been insanely frustrated with renting and the total lack of responsibility the property manager has. It will be nice to have our own place and finally have something pretty to come home to! I'm going to be a homeowner!

The house is just 3 years old, has 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, all stainless kitchen appliances, a 1000sq foot deck, jacuzzi tub in the master bath, a walk in closet with awesome shelving/drawers, central air, a gas fireplace, cathedral ceilings in the family room and master bedroom, a two car garage, and 2.2 acres. I'm freakin PSYCHED! It's a lot of house for the price we're getting and the best part is that it's across the street from two of our good friends (we always joked about being neighbors someday but definitely didn't think it would ever happen). It doesn't have my gas stove with 100 burners (haha) but that's something I could have down the road. It's definitely more house than we planned on buying but it feels right.

We're doing the home inspection on Monday afternoon and I'll take pictures. I'll do my best to post some of them here (at least a comparison of my current shitty kitchen vs. the new house). OH and it has ample natural lighting so if my photos still suck you'll know it's just me and not my crappy kitchen!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Cheddar Horseradish Bacon Dip

(I'm no longer posting on this blog - enjoy the recipe but if you want to see what I'm up to, visit me here.)

This is a dip I came up with for a BBQ when I didn't feel like going to the store and I wanted to come up with something low fiber for a family member's dietary needs. Luckily, you can't really go wrong with bacon, cheese and cream cheese. I feel kind of dirty just posting this because it really doesn't have any redeeming nutritional value (well maybe calcium and protein) but it was fricken delicious so I thought I'd share. I promise this will be the last dip I post for a little while. You must think my refrigerator is just packed with a whole shelf of cream cheese. Haha. You could be right.

I served this with homemade Olive oil crackers. I found the recipe at 101 Cookbooks. I modified the recipe by making lots of tiny crackers instead of several large ones. They came out great and took almost no time to make. Lots of crunch and the flavor was light enough to not overwhelm the dip.


8 oz light cream cheese, softened
1/3 block of cheddar horseradish cheese**
1/2 cup of grated sharp cheddar
1 tablespoon horseradish sauce (Kraft or Ingleoffer)
2 tablespoons cream or milk
7 slices of nitrate free bacon, cooked
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
kosher salt and black pepper

**Cabot makes a great one, if you can't find it, use 1/2 tsp of grated horseradish or an extra tablespoon of horseradish sauce and an extra 1/2 cup of grated cheddar

Crumble bacon and put into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to break down some more. Add all the other ingredients and pulse until well blended. If it seems too thick, add another tablespoon or two of milk or cream. Season with Kosher salt and pepper to taste.

All text and photographs (except where noted otherwise) © 2008, 2009 Food is to love / Andrea Quigley

Bacon and Horseradish Dip on Foodista