Tag Archives: goat cheese

Quinoa Bowl

13 Oct

Quinoa bowl

During my recent birthday trip to visit my friend Karen, I was introduced to my new favorite dish, the Quinoa Bowl. Seriously, it’s so versatile and delicious and healthy and readily available. You can make it for lunch as a salad with what you have in your fridge. Or you can fancy it up and add some beautifully seasonal ingredients and make a completely different dish for a larger more satisfying meal.


My version is a late summer/early autumn quinoa bowl. Here in Minnesota, everyone has zucchini (also called courgette) to spare, either from their garden or from the farmers market or even the grocery store. I can usually score a few from coworkers who have so many that they’ve run out of things to do with them and are so very happy to hand them out. They were first on the list.


Butternut squash is a lovely ingredient that pairs with so many great fall flavors, which made it a slam dunk for this dish. Since it goes especially well with sage, I tossed the chopped up squash with sage, olive oil, salt and pepper and put it in the oven to roast.

butternut cubed

You have to be careful with cutting up the butternut squash, as you might risk life and limb. If you peel the skin first with a sturdy potato peeler, then the flesh is a whole lot more manageable.

peeling butternut

Because of my upbringing in Brazil, I have a hard time cooking meat without marinating it first. A simple marinade adds so much flavor to meat. For this chicken, I tossed the breast pieces with white wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, chopped sage and chopped garlic. It’s super easy in a zip top plastic bag – you toss everything in there, zip the top, mix it up a bit, let it sit for 30 minutes or so, then remove the chicken to the grill and toss the bag. No muss, no fuss. (not pretty, but also not messy)

chicken in a bag

While the squash was roasting and the chicken marinating, I began the quinoa. Rinse it first, then add to a saucepan – 1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of water, a dash of salt and bring to a boil. (here are fool-proof cooking instructions from the folks at The Kitchn)


The chicken and zucchini went on to the grill.

grilled chicken 2

I had half an onion in my fridge, so I drizzled that with olive oil and tossed those slices on the grill too. Have you ever had grilled onion? Oh boy! It’s a happy day when you can grill onions. They are sweet, smoky and a bit crunchy still. Yum!

grilling 2

If you look closely, you can see one of the perils of grilling veggies – they slip right through the grates and out of reach…sadly.

This was also a great excuse to try my new balsamic vinegar and olive oil, a gift from my dear friend Eddie, they are from a local Minneapolis store called Vinaigrette. They were amazing! The balsamic is so sweet, think and mellow that you could drink it straight from the bottle. Thanks Eddie!!

oil & balsamic

I poured a glug of balsamic in a bowl, added olive oil, a blurb of Dijon mustard, fresh ground pepper and salt with a few drops of water and whisked it until well combined.


Now assemble. Quinoa on the bottom, then top with all the rest of the goodies – I used the roasted and grilled veggies, dried cranberries, chopped pecans, herbed goat cheese and grilled chicken, drizzled with the vinaigrette and garnished with fresh sage.

Quinoa bowl

Voila! My new favorite dish.

helping cats

Anddddddd proof that I’m a certified crazy cat lady! (Never fear, both Hattie and Mabel were swooped off the table 30 seconds after I took this photo)

Quinoa Bowl

Cooked quinoa (how to cook quinoa)
Grilled chicken
Roasted butternut squash
Grilled vegetables (zucchini, onions, or any others)
Dried cranberries
Goat cheese

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon water

Whisk all the above ingredients together in a bowl until they are all well combined. Drizzle over the top of your bowl for a lively punch of flavor.

Bonus dish: A few days later, I cooked a whole new meal with the leftovers – I chopped up chicken, some of the veggies, some kale and the quinoa, sauteed them until crispy and topped with a boiled egg.

quinoa hash 1

Voila! Quinoa hash!

Quinoa hash

Beet Salad

8 Oct

Those savory pies of Alice’s are going right onto my fall menu rotation. They will be perfect to keep in my freezer to take for a lunch on the go. This beet salad would be a good accompaniment to the savory pies, as well as many other dishes.

I got this recipe from my friend Diana after I picked up these gorgeous multicolored beets. It was certainly a winner, thanks Diana!

I bought these from an organic farmer at the Mill City farmers market in Minneapolis. After scrubbing the skin, cutting off the stems and roots, I popped them into a large pot with a steamer basket and a couple inches of water to steam.

Keep pot covered and steam the beets until they are soft enough to be easily pierced by a fork.

While they are steaming, chop up some bacon. Mmmmmm, BACON!

Put it into a large skillet over medium heat to crisp it up

Toss in some sliced garlic near the end to crisp that up as well. Drain and set aside.

When the beets are fully steamed, pull them out and let them cool for a few minutes, then peel.

You should be able to slide the peels right off with some paper towels.

Chop them into bite sized pieces and let them cool.

Whisk up a vinaigrette with olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and salt & pepper.

Toss the beets with the bacon bits, crisp garlic slices and the dressing, then crumble goat cheese over the top.

Voila! Alice, I think we make a pretty good team with our dishes. What’s next?

Beet Salad

7-8 beets
6 slices of bacon, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
2 oz crumbled goat cheese

3/4 cup of nice extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon of Dijon mustard
salt & fresh ground pepper to taste

Remove stem and root of beets, scrub skin and place into steamer for 15-20 minutes or until they can easily be pierced by a fork.

While beets are steaming, chop up bacon and place into skillet to crisp. Add sliced garlic to skillet for the last few minutes to crisp as well. Do not burn the garlic, as it will get very bitter if it is burnt at all. Remove and let drain on a paper towel.

When beets are finished, remove from steamer and let cool for a few minutes. Then slide the skin off the beets with a paper towel, chop and let chill.

Whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and salt & pepper. You may not need all of this dressing for the beet salad – in which case, you can store the unused portion in the fridge and use it on another salad.

Toss all ingredients together and top with crumbled goat cheese. Serve.

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