Monday, October 18, 2010

Quinoa Tabbouleh

I love the flavors of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean foods, but they can seem a little scary to make yourself. However, I have been craving them lately, so I felt I had no choice. I started with Chicken Pitas with Tzatziki Sauce and decided to go a little wild and make Tabbouleh. I used quinoa because I wanted it to be a complete meal, plus the health factor of this meal can't be denied. Because the parsley can be a little overwhelming, I thought incorporating into the dressing would make the salad a bit easier to eat, and I think it did just that. The flavors are great and you will feel good after eating it.

4 whole wheat pitas
4 cups cooked quinoa (about 1-1/2 cups uncooked), I used red quinoa
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
1 large cucumber, seeded and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
A bunch of flat leaf parsley (Italian parsley)
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs white vinegar
1 tbs lemon juice
1 clove garlic

Place cooled, cooked quinoa in a large bowl with tomato, cucumber, and onion. Chop a small handful of parsley and stir into quinoa. In a food processor or blender, add oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, and another small handful of parsley and blend until smooth. Stir into the quinoa. You will need all the dressing because the quinoa soaks it up.

Heat a few pitas and top with the tabbouleh.

My French Onion Soup

Perfect for a cold, cozy night. This soup will warm you right up, plus it is delish!

2 tbs butter
2 large onions, halved and thinly sliced
1/4 cup dry white wine
4 cups beef broth
4 cups chicken broth
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups good quality croutons
4 deli slices Swiss, Havarti, or Jarlsberg cheese

Melt butter in a large, heavy, oven safe dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and stir to coat with butter. Cover and allow to cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once onions are soft and brown, add wine and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Stir in broths, Worcestershire, and add salt and pepper to taste. Allow to simmer for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to broil.

Once soup has simmered, add croutons to top of soup and cover with the cheese. Place the pot in the oven and cook for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is completely melted and it has begun to brown.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Chicken Pitas With Tzatziki Sauce

For the pitas:
2 chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 cup low fat or fat free plain Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 medium to large tomato, cut into small wedges
1 cucumber, cut in half and sliced
1 onion, cut into small wedges
4 pita breads
1 recipe tzatziki sauce (see below)

Preheat broiler to high (500 degrees or higher, depending on your oven). Place chicken pieces on a few wooden skewers. Mix together yogurt, salt, pepper, and paprika and brush onto chicken. Place chicken on a broiler pan and cook for about 8 minute, turning halfway.

While chicken is cooking, heat a dry pan over medium/high heat. Add a pita and cook for a minute or so on each side. You can also microwave a couple at a time for about a minute.

Place a few pieces of cooked chicken on pita and top with some of the tomato, cucumber, and onion. Top with a couple tablespoons of the tzatziki and serve with more for dipping.

Tzatziki Sauce

1 1/2 cups plain, low fat or fat free Greek yogurt
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 clove garlic,
1 cucumber, cut in half, seeded (use a spoon and scoop out seeds), and diced
1 tbs fresh mint, diced
salt and pepper to taste

Set diced cucumbers in a colander and sprinkle on a tsp of salt. Let stand 30 minutes to draw out extra liquid.

In a food processor, add cucumbers, lemon juice, garlic, and mint. Pulse until smooth. If there is a good deal of liquid, feel free to pour off a couple of tablespoons. Place yogurt in a medium sized bowl and stir in cucumber mixture. Season with salt a pepper to taste and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Will keep for 3 days, draining off extra liquid each time you use it.