Asian-Style Slaw – The Secret Recipe

We’ve been doing a lot of grilling lately and I’m always looking for side dishes that will go with any type of meat. This Asian-style slaw was the perfect side to grilled chicken we had one night last week.

Today’s reveal day for my Secret Recipe Club and I’m excited to share this recipe with everyone. This slaw is super easy to make and you can switch out the veggies to whatever you family likes or what you have in your garden. It’s so versatile!

My assignment this month was Natural Noshings. Nora writes about food and fitness. Her recipes focus on natural, real food and nothing to processed or over-complicated. Right up my alley! Nora had a bunch of other recipes I have pinned and look forward to making this summer.

Asian-Style Slaw | Join Us, Pull up a Chair #secretrecipeclub

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Spring Vegetable Barley Salad – The Secret Recipe Club

Happy Memorial Day! I hope you all have a fun day planned with your friends and family. It’s raining here today and we’ve spent the last few days working outside in the yard and getting our pool ready. We’re planning to go to the movies later today – not sure what we’re seeing yet, but I’m looking forward to a day to relax before another busy week of work starts.

May had an extra Monday and that means a special theme day for The Secret Recipe Club! The theme was picnic or BBQ foods. So many options to choose from! My assignment  blog was Thyme for Cooking. Such a fun blog name, right?! Katie shares about her life in France, restoring an old farmhouse and all the amazing food that comes along. She also keeps busy with weekly menu planning that she shares over on her other site.

Spring Vegetable Barley Salad | Join Us, Pull up a Chair

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Slow Cooker Au Gratin Potatoes

My husband is always asking me to make au gratin potatoes and last time I made them, they didn’t turn out so well. I knew it was time again and I came across a recipe that uses a slow cooker. I was a little hesitant to try it out, but they came out perfect. Even better as leftovers! The potatoes were cooked through and the cheese sauce was perfect. It was a big hit at our Easter dinner!

Slow Cooker Au Gratin Potatoes | Join Us, Pull up a Chair
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Pesto Roasted Potato Salad

I’m always on the hunt for new side dishes to make for picnics and this one was a unique twist on a traditional salad. I’m not a fan of potato salad, so I rarely make it, but when I saw this recipe, it was one that I knew I would like. It’s different and wasn’t a big hit at my son’s birthday party, but breaking traditions with family doesn’t always go as planned.

Roasting the potatoes made a big difference and I loved that the recipe was made without mayo. Plus you can’t go wrong with using pesto and avocado! When I made this, I skipped the step of boiling the potatoes and will do that the next time I make this salad. Our potatoes were a little more crunchy then soft and there were a few complaints. Oh well. Regardless, definitely give this recipe a try for your next summer picnic!
Pesto Roasted Potato Salad | Join Us, Pull up a Chair

3 cups Yukon gold potatoes, cubed
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 small red onion, diced
Handful of fresh chives, chopped
2 garlic cloves
1 avocado
½ cup fresh basil
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 – 4 splashes of hot sauce
Salt & fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Boil the cubed potatoes in salted water for 5 to 8 minutes until they are partially cooked. They should be able to be pricked with a fork, but not fully cooked. Drain and transfer to a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and roast for 15 minutes or until they are golden brown. Remove and allow to cool to room temperature.

In a medium pan, toast the walnuts. Transfer ½ cup of the toasted walnuts into a food processor. Add in the garlic, avocado, basil, lemon juice and hot sauce. Process until the pesto is smooth and creamy.

In a large bowl, toss together the roasted potatoes, diced red onion, chives and remaining ½ cup of walnuts. Add about ¾ of the pesto to the potatoes and stir to coat. Add more pesto if you want the salad to be wetter. The remaining pesto is great to top with pasta or as condiment on a sandwich.

Source: Ceara’s Kitchen

Wild Rice Butternut Squash Salad

Are you planning your menu for Thanksgiving? It looks like I’m hosting Thanksgiving for the first time this year, so I’m excited to try a few new recipes in addition to our family favorites. This is one of the dishes I’m planning to make. It’s refreshing and the flavors scream fall. Both my husband and I loved it, the kids weren’t sold on it, but I’m going to make it anyway.

Do you experiment with new dishes for holidays or stick with your family favorites? Share your Thanksgiving sides with me! I’m always looking for new ideas.

2 1/2 cups peeled and finely chopped butternut squash
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
salt & fresh ground pepper
2 1/2 cups thinly sliced kale, lightly massaged
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
3 cups cooked wild rice, warm

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 garlic clove, minced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat the cubed butternut squash with the olive oil and spread over a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for approximately 25 minutes until the squash is fork tender.

While the squash is roasting, combine all the dressing ingredients together and mix with an immersion blender.

In a bowl, combine the kale, cranberries and basil. Toss in the warm rice and roasted squash to slightly wilt the kale. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper if needed. This salad should be served at room temperature.

Source: Heart Beet Kitchen 

Quinoa Mac & Cheese

My little guy loves mac & cheese…I mean, really loves it. I know it’s the one thing that he will always eat without fighting me. He’s starting to be picky and also with sitting at the table to eat, so needless to say, our dinners have not been very enjoyable. I’m looking forward to this phase being over.

I’m always trying to find new ways to incorporate protein into his food, because he doesn’t like meat. He loved this and it was great to send in for lunch to daycare. Madeline was just so-so on it, but I made it her eat it anyway. 🙂 I remember my mom making me eat baby brussel sprouts and baked lima beans as a kid…I now like brussel sprouts, but not the limas. This recipe is also easy to make and I always have the ingredients on hand, so I know I’ll be making it again. The original recipe called for a breadcrumb topping, but I’m not a fan of crust on my mac & cheese, so I left it off.

1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 tsp minced garlic
2 large eggs
1 cup skim milk
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
Cook the quinoa according to the package instructions. I used vegetable broth to cook the quinoa. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. 
While the quinoa is cooking, whisk together the eggs, minced garlic and milk in a large bowl. Add in the cooked quinoa and cheese. Mix well until some of the cheese melts. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and top with leftover grated cheese. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the top is lightly browned and the cheese is melted. Let set 5 minutes before serving. 

Chickpea, Tomato and Cucumber Quinoa Salad

We had a little taste of summer a couple weeks ago and when that happens, I try to spend the least amount of time in the kitchen! Luckily for me, we finally bought a grill this year and my husband has been doing a lot of cooking…which gives me a little break in the kitchen. Grated, I do love cooking, but there are days when one child is hanging on your leg and the other is asking you 500 questions…cooking is next-to-impossible.

This salad was one of those sides that I could throw together, while Ross made BBQ chicken legs and thighs on the grill. It was a super light salad and perfect for summer picnics, especially since it’s mayo free. I know I’ll be making it many more times this summer!

1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup diced english cucumber
1 cup quinoa, cooked
2 Tbsp red onion, minced
2 Tbsp cilantro, minced
juice of 1 1/2 limes
salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
In a medium sized bowl, combine all the ingredients right before serving. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If preparing ahead of time, keep in refrigerator until ready to eat. 
Source: Skinnytaste

Spinach Quinoa Salad with Dried Cranberries, Walnuts and Blue Cheese

Ever since we moved, I’ve been completely slacking on meal planning and eating healthy. Now that we’re pretty much settled, I’m back on track and will be posting new recipes more frequently. We loved this salad, the quinoa, spinach, sweet raspberries, crunchy walnuts and the bite of the blue cheese. I served it with flank steak but it would pair nicely with grilled chicken or pork chops. It would also make a great side dish at Thanksgiving!

1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1 bunch of fresh spinach, ends trimmed and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup walnuts
2 Tbsp reduced fat blue cheese
In a medium pot, bring the 2 cups of water and quinoa to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered until the quinoa is tender and has absorbed all the water, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Place in a large bowl and allow to cool slightly. 
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice and a teaspoon of salt. Add the chopped spinach, cranberries and walnuts to the bowl with the warm quinoa. Drizzle the olive oil-lemon dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Divide into 3-4 portions and top with a small amount of blue cheese. Serve and dig in! 
Source: Pretty Delicious Cookbook by Candice Kumai

Crunchy Quinoa Salad #TheSaladBar

It’s time for the monthly installment of The Salad Bar Monthly Blogging Group.
Each month, a theme is assigned and there’s pretty much free reign to make a salad that highlights the featured ingredient or salad type. This month’s theme was Asian inspired salads. There’s so many ways to follow this theme but I decided to go with a quinoa based salad that has a peanut dressing, lots of veggies and topped with green onions and peanuts. It was so good and it makes a lot…we were eating it for lunch and dinner for days. It can be either eaten at room temperature or cold and it was good both ways.

1 cup uncooked, rinsed quinoa
1 cup shredded red cabbage
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 cup shredded carrots
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1/2 cup lightly salted peanuts
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 tsp fresh minced ginger
3 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp olive oil
In a medium pan, bring two cups of water to a boil. Add the quinoa, stir and cover. Reduce heat from high to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and allow to cool. 
For the dressing, combine the peanut butter and honey in a small bowl. Microwave for 20-25 seconds to soften. Add in the ginger, soy sauce, vinegar and both oils. Stir until well combined and smooth. 
Place the cooled quinoa in a large bowl and add in the dressing. Stir to combine. Add in the chopped vegetables except for the green onions. 
Scoop out a serving and top with green onions and peanuts. 


Strawberry, Arugula and Quinoa Salad

While we’re big fans of quinoa, I haven’t used it much in salads and more as a side dish. Now that I made this recipe, I can’t wait to make different types of salad. This was amazing and going to be my go-to option for lunch for the next several months. I can’t until local strawberries are available because it will be even more delicious. My husband who doesn’t like fruit in his salad, actually enjoyed it and had seconds at lunch! Shocking…I will convert him eventually! 🙂

I’ve listed the recipe which I doubled below, since I wanted leftovers.

1 cup quinoa, dry
2 cups water
2 cups strawberries, hulled and chopped
6 oz reduced fat feta cheese
1 cup chopped arugula
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
4 Tbsp red onion, minced
4 Tbsp honey

Cook quinoa according to package directions. Let cool before assembling salad.

In a small jar, combine the balsamic vinegar, salt, red onion and honey. Shake to combine well.

When ready to serve, add the cooled quinoa, strawberries and arugula. Stir to combine. Lightly dress with the balsamic-honey dressing and top with the desired amount of feta cheese. Dig in!

Source: Domestic Fits