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a randomly delicious meal

I made a delicious dinner last night, but then we were up way to late doing our taxes for me to post!  It was a lot of random stuff basically thrown together, but the combination worked out perfectly.  I starred into the fridge trying to figure out what to make and came out with Brussels Sprouts, Sweet Potatoes, and Heirloom Grape Tomatoes – here’s what I came up with for a dinner for two!

First up, Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Walnuts, Dried Cranberries & Gorgonzola.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound Brussels Sprouts, washed, trimmed and quartered
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup crumbled gorgonzola
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper

I chopped up my brussels sprouts and walnuts and combined them in a baking dish with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.  I used just enough olive oil to coat each brussels sprout, and adjusted the salt and pepper while serving.

I then baked the dish at 350°F for 35 minutes, stirring once halfway through to brown all of the brussels sprouts.  After 35 minutes, I took out the dish and mixed in the dried cranberries, then sprinkled the crumbled gorgonzola on top.  Back into the oven for 10 minutes to melt the cheese and brown the top of the dish.

This random combination of flavors came out perfect!  It was so delicious.

Next up, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Thyme.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes (I used heirloom)
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • dried thyme

I learned a great new trick while watching Rachel Ray the other day at the gym for how to make roasted cherry tomatoes.  I love roasted tomatoes, and have made them before, but they do come out a little soggy on the bottoms.  Well, Rachel Ray had a great tip – squeeze out the seeds before cooking them and bake them on a cooling rack on a cookie sheet.  Brilliant!

By squeezing out the seeds and cooking them raised above the cookie sheet, they cook much faster and come out a little crisp.  We loved them.

I baked them in the same oven as the brussels sprouts at 350°F for about 30 minutes.

After about 30 minutes (make sure you watch them, as larger the size of the tomato will determine cooking time), they came out shriveled and crisp on top, but still soft and sweet to eat.

Brown Rice with Lemon, Salt & Pepper

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rice
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • lemon peel from 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper

While the brussels sprouts and tomatoes were roasting away in the oven, I popped some brown rice into my rice cooker to serve alongside the veggies.  Once the rice was cooked, I added the juice of 1/2 lemon, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste.  This rice was a mix from Trader Joes, so it had chopped carrots, peas, etc in it, but you could replace that with any rice or a grain.  I topped the rice with the Oven Roasted Cherry Tomatoes.

Lastly, Sweet Potato with Cinnamon & Coconut Butter.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato (or 2 small)
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut butter
  • sprinkle of cinnamon

Once the brussels sprouts went back into the oven to melt the cheese, I popped my sweet potato in the microwave wrapped in a damp paper towel (and with holes poked in the top!) for 7 minutes on high.  Time will vary depending on size of potato and your microwave.  You could also bake the sweet potato in the oven, but I decided on the potato last minute!

After cooking it, I let it sit for a few minutes, then cut it in half and sprinkled it with cinnamon and coconut butter.  The coconut butter melted into the hot potato and the flavors together were delicious!

This was a delicious, well-balanced meal!  I love dinners like this that come together easily and completely randomly, but still taste awesome.  Hope you enjoy!

quinoa with oven roasted tomatoes

What is quinoa?  Quinoa (pronounced: KEEN-wah) is an annual herb of the goosefoot family that is cultivated for its starchy seeds which are used as food and ground into flour.  It is a high-protein whole grain which contains essential amino acids.

We love quinoa and made another delicious quinoa dinner tonight!  The prep didn’t take too long, but make sure you get the tomatoes into the oven early because they will definitely take the longest.

Oven Roasted Tomatoes

Ingredients:

  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Splash of Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Pinch of Pepper

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • Cut cherry tomatoes in half

  • Place open side up in a baking dish

  • Spritz or drizzle tomatoes with olive oil

  • Then sprinkle with brown sugar, salt and pepper

  • Place tomatoes in oven, and bake for 30-40 minutes, depending on size.  Keep checking every so often to see if tomatoes are done.  They should be slightly wrinkled and very tender.

  • Our tomatoes cooked for 30 minutes!  Let tomatoes cool before serving.

Quinoa with Vegetables

adapted from 101cookbooks.com

Serves 4-6, depending on type of dish

Ingredients:

  • a splash of extra-virgin olive oil
  • a pinch of fine grain sea salt
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1.5 cups rinsed quinoa
  • 1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
  • 1 1/2 cups kale, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup pesto
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • 1 cup oven roasted cherry tomatoes (recipe above)

Directions:

  • Place 1.5 cups of quinoa and 3 cups of water in a saucepan; bring to a boil

  • Once it comes to a boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until tender.  When ready, quinoa will have small spirals off of each seed.

  • Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and salt in a saute pan over medium heat.

  • Add onion, and cook until tender.

  • Add quinoa and corn and cook until hot and sizzling.

  • Once sizzling, add the kale and cook a few minutes until wilted and tender.

pre-chopped

chopped

  • Then add the pesto (we used store bought, but you could make your own!) and stir until well blended.

  • Once mixed, add the toasted pumpkin seeds and stir.

(place on a baking sheet, and toast for a few minutes until browned)

  • Serve with oven roasted tomatoes on top!

We both loved this meal!  The pumpkin seeds gave it crunch, and the tomatoes added a little sweetness to the dish.  The pesto was not overpowering at all, just a little flavor.  Give it a try!

Does anyone have any delicious quinoa recipes that are a must try? Or is their another grain that you love?