Mexican Quinoa

In San Diego there was a fast food restaurant that I sort of fell in love with. The place was called CBW, I’m pretty sure it stands for Crazy Bowls & Wraps, and they serve salads, bowls, and wraps. What I really liked about this place was that they had 3 options for filling. White rice, brown rice, and quinoa(!!). Quinoa is not something that you usually see at a fast food restaurant, but I absolutely love it. It’s a super food because it is a complete protein, high in dietary fiber, magnesium, and iron, and it is a source of calcium. Needless to say, when I saw it on the menu the first time we went there I was pretty excited.

I had 2 favorite menu items that I liked to order and when I saw this Mexican Quinoa on Annie’s Eats last year, it immediately reminded me of one of those items. So I made it for dinner one night and it has quickly become a staple in our meal rotation. It’s quick and easy, filling, and super good for you. Over the year I have made some adaptations and bumped up the veggie content (to more closely match the bowl at CBW). That’s the other great thing about this meal, it’s another one that is versatile. You can adjust the veggies, add extra spices, use different kinds of canned tomatoes. When I photographed this meal I used fire roasted tomatoes and added smoked paprika and a dash of Chipotle chile powder to give it a bit of slow-cooked smokey taste. I love that I can make small adjustments like that so the meal isn’t exactly the same every time I make it (though it has always been delicious!).

 

 

Here are some other delicious, and easy, vegetarian dishes!
Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad
Vegetarian Enchilada Casserole
Squash and Kale Pizza
Grilled Vegetable Panzanella

Citrus and Soy Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Pickled Cucumbers


For my birthday we went out for a nice dinner and I ordered a dish that had the most amazing glaze. It was acidic and salty and just slightly sweet. Then the whole thing was topped off with these unexpectedly delicious, tangy pickled cucumbers. I knew it wouldn’t be long before I recreated it in my own kitchen. And it wasn’t, I think I waited all of 2 days before giving it a try. I was absolutely thrilled with the results!!

At the restaurant the glaze was used on salmon, which I absolutely love! But, the salmon at the store looked sketchy (at best) and I didn’t want to have to wait. I did some brainstorming about what other meat would complement a glaze like this. I finally decided on pork tenderloin. However, I think this glaze could really be universal. Obviously it would be delicious on salmon and pork, but it would also be great with shrimp or even chicken. If you give it a try on other types of meat, let me know how they turn out!

Soy sauce and citrus juice make the base for this glaze. I went for the trifecta and used lemon, lime, and orange juice. To balance out the salt and acid I added brown sugar. Finally I rounded out the flavors with some ginger and garlic. Now, you might be tempted to just skip the pickled cucumbers. I’m telling you, you would be doing your tastebuds a disservice by doing that. The crisp, cool cucumbers are the perfect topping for this glaze. I’m not sure it would even be the same without it! Plus, they are super simple and could even be made the night before or the morning of. So make sure you give them a try!

 A few more pork tenderloin ideas!

Island Pork Tenderloin
BBQ Pork Tenderloin Wraps
Zesty Pork Tenderloin with Pineapple-Avocado Salsa
Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic-Strawberry Sauce

Creamy Spinach Stuffed Pork Chops

 

So everyone knows the  stereotypical pregnancy craving – pickles and ice cream. But, do you think anyone has ever actually craved that combination?? I’ve wanted some interesting combinations, but definitely not that interesting. My cravings usually come in the form of a specific dish and not necessarily bizarre combinations (though I have discovered that ranch and Italian dressing are delicious when combined).

One specific dish that I was craving last week was creamed spinach. When it came down to actually putting my meal plan together, I wanted to mix it up a bit. I decided a sturdy pork chop would be the perfect vehicle for the creamed spinach. Jesse loves pork chops so of course he was excited to see this on the menu, he even went back for seconds so I know he was fan. I liked the way the spinach tasted with the pork, but I have to be honest and admit that the filling was my favorite. 🙂

 Other tasty pork recipes!

Barbeque Pork Tenderloin Wrapsk
Island Pork Tenderloin
Ribs
Garlic and Herb Crusted Pork Loin
 

Chicken Tamale Pie From Scratch

Having a new kitchen is a lot of fun, but it can also be a little bit of a pain. You know how there are certain items that you just always have in your pantry? Yeah, chances are if you moved across country, and stored you kitchen stuff for over a month, you don’t have those items. This is especially true of condiments. I try and remember the basics when I go to the grocery, but it’s difficult to remember everything that you might like to have on your table at some point. That’s what happened to me as I went to put some delicious Cholula hot sauce on the table to go with this Chicken Tamale Pie. I was shocked to open my refrigerator and NOT find what is usually a staple in my house. Not to worry though, it turns out the Tamale Pie didn’t even need it!

We absolutely loved the flavor that was packed into this dish. It really did remind me of the tamales that I came to love in San Diego. I especially liked the texture of the crust, which was tender and moist, acting like a sponge for the enchilada sauce, but still just a bit crispy around the edges.

Now, I wanted to make each portion from scratch, so it took a little more time than most people want to spend on a weeknight. But, you could easily take some short cuts (like pre-cooked/shredded chicken or canned enchilada sauce) and turn this into a weeknight meal. Also, the enchilada sauce makes more than you will need, so you can throw it in the freezer for next time!

 

Here are some more delicious Mexican Inspired Dishes!

Mexican Lasagna
Barbacoa Beef for Burrito Bowls
Baked Rolled Tacos (Baked Taquitos)
Quinoa Mexican Soup