Sunday, February 13, 2011

Lemony Quinoa with Herbes de Provence and a Tub 'o Salad

I had quite a day yesterday... went out to breakfast with my son and then our family went up to Colorado Springs for an outing to take advantage of the beautiful, unseasonably warm weather (it was 58 degrees yesterday).  Compare that to my drive to work in blizzard on Tuesday and then temperature of minus 15 degrees on my drive to work on Wednesday.  The restaurant food I ate yesterday had me feeling terrible.  On the drive home I felt so cruddy, I was just wanting to close my eyes.  I wanted to go home, take a shower, put on my jammies, and go to bed.  The food was that terrible.  Thankfully, during my cooking frenzy the day before, I had stocked my fridge with some tasty, nutritious eats.  It made for the best dinner salad ever!

Lemony Quinoa with Herbes de Provence
1 cup quinoa (rinsed and drained)
1 3/4 cups water
pinch of salt

Zest of one large or two small lemons
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3/4 cup teaspoon dried Herbes de Provence
a few pinches of salt
a few grinds of black pepper

Bring water to a boil; add quinoa and a pinch of salt if desired.
Return water to a boil, cover pot with lid, reduce heat to lowest setting,
 and allow to simmer for 18 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the lemon zest, oil, herbs, salt, and pepper.  When all water is absorbed into the quinoa, fluff the quinoa grains with a fork and stir in the herb-oil mixture.  Serve hot or cold. 
Great on a garden salad.

Since I work four 10-hour days each week, I am always looking for ways to get dinner on the table a bit more quickly.  In the past, I've bought those bagged salads; you know... the kind with ice berg lettuce, shredded purple cabbage, and grated carrots. I don't know about you, but I think those pre-prepared salads taste funny and they usually go bad before we finish eating them.  Almost every week, during my cooking frenzy, I make up a big tub of salad and it stays fresh for several days.  Here's how I do it:

Tub o' Salad
1 package of three Romaine lettuce hearts (18 ounces)
1/2 to 3/4 pounds carrots (coarsely grated on box grater)
1 cup finely sliced red cabbage

Rinse romaine lettuce and allow to drain well on kitchen towels. Chop or tear lettuce into bite sized pieces. Use a salad spinner if you have one to remove excess moisture from the lettuce (I don't have a salad spinner).  Coarsely grate the carrots (I use a box grater) and slice the cabbage finely with a knife.  Ensure you are grating your carrots and slicing your cabbage on a dry surface; extra moisture is your enemy.  Here's the keyLine the plastic storage container with paper towels.  Layer the lettuce in the bottom of the container and top with carrots and cabbage. Top the salad with more paper towels and then the rubber container's tight fitting lid.  Store in the refrigerator; stays fresh for several days.

At meals, we bring the salad container to the dinner table and allow every one to just scoop out what they want.  Son doesn't care for the purple cabbage so I keep that off to one side.  On occasion, hubby and son will want a snack after dinner and will actually have a salad since this is so handy.  That makes me feel like such a good Mom!

As for me, I can pack my lunches for work in a snap.  Today I am having some salad topped with some Lemony Quinoa; I tossed in a handful of grape tomatoes.  My friend Harriet gave me the idea to have quinoa on salads.  (Thanks, Harriet!)  I think I actually liked the Lemony Quinoa with Herbes de Provence after it had cooled.  The subtle lemon flavor is very nice... I am all out of lemons.  I will post my Lemon Bread recipe soon. 

Last week Pumpkin... this week Lemons... next week, hmmm???


Anonymous said...

You are welcome. Thank you for inspiring me with all the fun variations that you have come up with. Harriet

affectioknit said...

YUM! Happy Valentines Day!