Quinoa and Baby Kale Salad

Kale, Quinoa, Avocado, Salad

It is not always easy to eat healthy, especially with our busy schedules. Luckily for us, there are several ancient grains, including quinoa that have become popular over the last several years that offer us great health benefits. Quinoa is considered a super food because it is packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, and it is also gluten free. It is one of the most versatile ancient grains. It can be used in both hot and cold recipes such as, pancakes, cookies, stuffing, meatballs, and salads.

The nutty flavor of the quinoa is a delicious and hearty addition to this simple salad. I used baby kale, but you can use spinach, arugula, or mixed greens if you prefer.

Ingredients for Dressing:
4 – tbls. olive oil
2 – tbls. orange juice
2 – tbls. red wine vinegar
1/4 – tsp. cumin
1 – tsp. honey
1/2 – tsp. salt
1/8 – tsp, ground black pepper

Ingredients for Salad:
3/4 – cup quinoa
1 – can black beans
1/2 – cup red bell pepper
1/3 – cup red onion diced
5 – oz. baby kale
1/3 – cup walnuts
1 – avocado
Feta cheese

Directions:
Cook the quinoa according to the package directions. Be sure to add salt to the water.

While the quinoa is cooking, make the dressing by whisking together all the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Next prepare the rest of the ingredients. Drain and rinse the black beans and place them in a large bowl. Dice the red onion and pepper, and rough chop the walnuts. Add them to the beans.

When the quinoa is ready, drain it thoroughly and add it to the bean mixture. Pour the dressing over the quinoa and mix thoroughly. Next add the kale and mix. Top off with slices of avocado and feta cheese. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Makes 4 servings

 




Southern Fried Chicken, Collard Greens, and Corn Bread

img_0981Growing up in Western Pennsylvania, I am no stranger to Southern cooking.  There is nothing I like better than going home to visit my family and sitting down with them to enjoy a good meal.  I had a taste for collard greens so my sister, Vicki, and I decided to cook together.  Vicki took the lead on this meal.  She combines the collard greens with kale; they make a great combination.  Since we were having collard greens it only made sense to have corn bread and chicken to go with them.  This is the perfect comfort meal to share with people you love.

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Me and my family

Southern Fried Chicken

Ingredients:
2 – lbs chicken parts with skin
4 – cups all purpose flour
1 – tsp. garlic powder
1 – tsp. black pepper
1 – tsp. salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper

Directions:
Rinse the chicken parts in cold water and pat dry with paper towel. In a large plastic bag add the flour, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper and mix well.

In a large deep skillet, add enough canola or vegetable oil to fill the pan half way. Heat the oil to 350° or you can test if the oil is ready by sprinkling a pinch of flour into the oil. If it sizzles on impact the oil is ready.

Put about 4-5 pieces of chicken in the flour mixture at a time and mix in the bag until completely coated. Shake off the excess flour and carefully place the pieces in the hot oil. Do not over crowd the chicken. You can cover it with a lid and let cook about 10 minutes on each side. Cook on a medium flame so as not to burn the outside. Turn the pieces over and cook again about 10 minutes. The internal temperature should be 165°. Please note that dark meat and white meat cook at different rates; the white meat cooks a little faster than the dark.img_0961

Continue cooking a few pieces at a time until all the chicken is done. Serve immediately.

Collard Greens and Kale

Ingredients:
2 – bunches collard greens
2 – bunches kale
1 – small onion
6 – strips of bacon
2 – quarts chicken stock
1 – tsp. salt
1/2 – tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 – tsp. garlic powder
1 – tsp. baking soda
Red pepper flake to taste

Directions:
Wash the greens and kale thoroughly in water and drain. Remove the the leafy parts of both the collard greens and kale from the thick stalks. Chop only the leafy parts of the greens into narrow bands and then give another rough chop to cut the bands in pieces.

In a large skillet fry the bacon. Once the bacon is almost cooked through, cut it into one inch pieces. Dice the onion and add it to the bacon and continue cooking until the onion becomes translucent, about 5-6 minutes.

Pour the chicken stock into a large pot and add the bacon and onion mixture along with the bacon grease. Add the black pepper, garlic powder, and salt. If the chicken broth is salted you may want to taste it before you add the salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the greens to the chicken stock, cover with a lid and bring back to a boil. Once it is boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook until tender. This takes about 1 1/2 hours.

img_0956After about 20-30 minutes of cooking, you will notice that the greens are starting to cook down. At this point add the baking soda and stir to incorporate it. The baking soda helps to make the greens tender. Stir the greens occasionally until tender.

Corn Bread
My sister uses Jiffy Corn Muffin mix. I am sure that there are many good recipes from scratch out there, but we find this mix to be very good, so why change it?

Start with 2 boxes of Jiffy Corn Muffin mix. Follow the directions on img_0949the box. Grease a 9″ square baking pan with either canola or vegetable oil. In addition, my sister adds 2 tbls. of oil to the mix, but warm it up first. This is a little trick to make the cornbread more moist. Bake according to the box directions.  Serve immediately.

Enjoy!