Tag Archives: pecans

Twice Baked Butternut Squash with Quinoa + Pecans

23 Jun

I’m having so much fun trying meatless dishes once a week!!  This week, I made something that tastes a little out of place for the hot months of summer.  Butternut squash was calling my name at the store and I had to answer the calling. 🙂  File this one away for fall – it would make an awesome holiday side dish or a tasty option for meat-free guests.

Twice-Baked-Butternut-Squash-Quinoa-Pecans-Meatless-Monday



Twice Baked Butternut Squash w/ Quinoa & Pecans (original recipe by Inquiring Chef)

  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 1/3 c. uncooked quinoa
  • 1/2 t. chicken stock (or veg stock if meat-free)
  • 1/3 c. pecan halves, chopped roughly
  • 2 t. olive oil
  •  1 small shallot, finely minced
  • 1/2 c. panko
  •  3 T. melted butter
  • 2 T. + 2 T. Parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper to taste

The first step is go roast the squash.  To do this, you cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds (just like seeding a pumpkin!).  Place the squash skin-side down on a baking sheet, then sprinkle the squash’s flesh with salt and pepper.  Add about 1/4 inch of water to the pan.  Cover it tightly with tin foil and bake it for 50 minutes at 450*F. butternut-squash

Meanwhile, bring your stock of choice to a boil and then add the quinoa.  Cover, then reduce heat to a simmer and allow quinoa to cook about 15 minutes.  Then, remove it from the heat until the remaining liquid is absorbed. Also,  heat 1 t. of olive oil in a small pan and saute the shallot until browned.  Set aside.  Finally, toast the pecan pieces in a dry pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Mine didn’t take quite that long – when they are nice and fragrant, they are ready!  Set those aside as well. toasted-pecans

Once the squash is finished (Stab it with a fork.  If it’s tender, it’s done.  If not, put it back in until it’s done.), spoon out the butternut squash and reduce the oven to 400*F.  It will be a pureed texture.  Mix it with the quinoa, pecans, shallots, 2 T. of Parmesan cheese, some salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl.

Quinoa-Pecan-Mixture

mixture before squash!

Spoon the mixture back into the squash skin – which is now just a boat for your delicious filling!

Combine the panko, 2 T. Parmesan, and melted butter, then sprinkle on top of the quinoa mixture.  Put the squash back into the oven at 400*F for about 30 minutes or until the bread crumbs are nicely browned.  Simple as that!

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Cranberry-Pecan Quinoa Chicken Salad

6 Jan

Confession:  I totally did eat the ice cream last night.  I regret nothing.

Anyway, here is the recipe for the quinoa salad that I made yesterday. Enjoy!

Cranberry-Pecan Quinoa Chicken Salad

Cranberry Pecan Quinoa Chicken Salad - Clean Eating

Ingredients:

  • 2 lg chicken breasts, cut into 3 strips each
  • 4 cloves chopped garlic
  • 3/4 quinoa, cooked & cooled
  • 1/2 c. chopped green onion
  • 3/4 c. dried cranberries
  • 3/4 c. chopped pecans
  • 3 T. red wine vinegar
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 3 T. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T. honey
  • 1/4 c. + 1 T. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. dried sage, chopped; salt and pepper

The night before you are going to make this, prepare a marinade for the chicken using the 1/4 c. lemon juice, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic, and sage.  Let chicken marinate overnight.  For time management’s sake, I suggest cooking the quinoa and grilling the chicken at the same time.  I actually used my broiler for the chicken because we don’t have a grill.  That way, everything will cool at the same rate.  When you are waiting for everything to cool, prepare the dressing by whisking the balsamic vinegar, honey, 1 T. lemon juice, and olive oil together in a small dish.  Once the chicken is cool enough to work with, add the green onions to the vinegar  mixture and let the flavor really soak in while you cube up the chicken.  I cut the chicken into bite size pieces.  Then, mix the chicken and the balsamic dressing with the quinoa.  Toss the cranberries and pecans in last.  Super easy!

No More Days Off!

5 Jan

Swear, I sat on the couch earlier today and said OUT LOUD to Christina: “I’m just not going to run today and I will really hit the gym hard tomorrow.”  And then I sat there for like 45 minutes thinking about what I had said.  That’s such a lie!  I will hit the gym just as hard as I normally do, but it will never make up for a missed opportunity.  I finally woke up feeling like I’m on the other side of this bug.  And yet I’m convincing myself to take an un-needed day off?  Lame.  So, I did what must be done when you’ve piddled around so long that it’s now dark outside and the polar vortex has begun its assault.  I hit the treadmill and did 1 mile of HILLS.  YOU GUYS.  All of the hills.  And then, because I evaluated my condition and determined that I was not going to die, I committed to going another mile of no hills at a comfortable, slow pace.  I made it three quarters into the second mile and my hips started to feel really tight.  So, I walked the last quarter and finished in almost exactly the same time as my first mile!  Hollerrrrrr.

Lunch today was tasty and was also my dinner.  Let’s be honest, I may even eat some for lunch again tomorrow.  It was that good.  It was a cold  quinoa salad with grilled chicken, scallions, cranberries, and pecans.  I will post the recipe on Monday.

Sneaky Snacks I ate today:  Some of the MIL’s banana bread.  I can’t resist it!  A bottle of diet coke.  I think that might be it, you guys!  This is usually where I feel like I should celebrate with a big bowl of ice cream…so I think I will chew gum and drink water.  Lots of water.

Pear, Pecan, & Gorgonzola Crostinis

25 Nov

I am happy to report that I was eating leftovers well into the weekend from our Thursday night dinner party.  Then, it occurred to me that you would like to be doing the same thing.  Especially if you are looking for fantabulous appetizers to serve your guests for Thanksgiving.

PearCrostinis2

Pear, Pecan, & Gorgonzola Crostinis 

(adapted from 400 Best Sandwich Recipes)

Serves 10

  • 1 french baguette, sliced 1/2″ thick
  • half brick of cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 c. crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • 1-1/2 c. thinly sliced Bosc pear (around 2)
  • honey
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Toast baguette slices for about 5 minutes (lightly toasted) at 350F.  In a bowl, combine the cream cheese and Gorgonzola.  When the bread is done toasting, smear some of the cheese mixture onto the bread, top with pear slices and a few pecans, then drizzle with honey.  Back into the oven just until the cheese is melted.

I recommend serving these immediately because the cheese is best when warm.  For the party, I pre-toasted the crostinis and pecans, and also mixed the cheeses prior to my guests coming.  That way, when people started arriving, I just had to assemble the crostinis and bake them for a few minutes.

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