Recipe Round-Up

For someone who until early last year hadn’t bothered to experiment much with recipes (call it a combination of lack of time/resources/an over abundance of eating out & someone else preferring to do all the cooking), you wouldn’t know it by the state of this blog, as probably half of my recent posts have been related to food. (When I’ve written at least.) But I digress.

To the food!

I recently made dinner for my friend Everett and decided, since we’re both focused on eating healthily, to try two new recipes. He’d mentioned that he was struggling to get enough protein in one day, something that I have issues with myself. Basing it around that, I decided to try the following ideas:

For the salad, we had a refreshing Avocado, Strawberry and Spinach mix, (based off of this recipe) but I did modify it slightly, using feta cheese instead of blue/gorgonzola (I don’t like either) and I had to settle for a strawberry and poppy seed dressing because I a) couldn’t find any plain dressing and b) didn’t honestly feel like buying all the ingredients to make as small amount of dressing as we would have used otherwise.

I would definitely make this one again, but the store bought salad dressing was waaaay on the sweet side, so next time I’ll stick to the suggested recipe. Alternatively, I also think a nice balsamic reduction would go well with the salad.

For the main, I grabbed some kale and whole wheat spaghetti and made a slight variation of this dish, swapping the whole wheat for the normal flour variety. I didn’t notice any difference in taste, which I had expected with the pasta, but there’s a lot of flavour going on in the dish even though there’s very little in it.

I’ve made this one again since I attempted it the first time, I suspect it’s going to become a staple meal since it’s so simple and quick to make and I almost always have pasta in the house to use. Kale is another ingredient I frequently have in the house, because it often goes into my green juices – the original blogger was looking for a way to use up slightly wilted kale, not a frequent problem in my experience; I have more trouble keeping it in my fridge as it’s so versatile.

I am a huge fan of bruschetta, but it can be a pain to get everything to stay on the bread. So when I saw this variation of it, I knew what I was making as a snack for a meeting last weekend.

Unfortunately, I was less then thrilled with the overall tastes of the dish, although it was more than edible and I did put away my fair share of it – for testing purposes of course. The original author does point out to use feta that comes in a block rather then get a precrumbled version as the cheese tends to be less dry, which for cost reasons I did not do, and I do think that affected the taste and consistency quite a bit. I also grabbed (by accident) a whole wheat loaf, and I’m just not a fan of that kind of bread. Will try it again in the future for sure, but I’ll probably make a few adjustments when I do.
Along with almost anyone else in the world it seems, I have developed a healthy taste for quinoa. I first had it at my aunt’s on Vancouver Island when I went to visit them last year, and since then have made several successful dishes (although my first attempt months ago had a slight accident where half of the prepared dish met the floor. I am happy to report Cthulhu appreciated the snack!) based around various recipes. I also love the smell of quinoa as it cooks, stirring it around the pot releases a light nutty flavour which just instantly calms me.

Paired with my second attempt at the kale w/ spaghetti, I wanted a salad that had a protein in it that wasn’t a meat. Entire the Spinach, Quinoa, Avocado and Grapefruit Orange salad. I first swapped out the grapefruit, as I’m not a fan of the strong taste and I had some large navel oranges on hand. The second swap was unintentional as when I went to grab the avocados out of the fridge, I discovered they were still hard as rocks and entirely unusable. Oops.

I loved the way this salad worked out taste wise, but without the avocado it did feel like the salad was missing a little something to tie it all together. Next time, I’ll check the avocados first 😛 
I did get stupidly frustrated with this one, as it called for peeled orange pieces – and it didn’t occur to my until much later to go to the ‘wisdom’ of the internet, and ask my REALLY Foodie friends Kelly and Jackie for help on how best to get the buggers free of their skins. They of course knew exactly what I was trying to do and Kelly recommended this walkthrough with step by step pictures – holy moly did that make it easier. I used oranges again a few days later – prep time was cut by over half. Oi!