Once my husband and I had our son, I remember really giving our bread machine a work out... making dough for lots of home-made pizzas and some other amazing recipes from my favorite bread book called "Bread Machine Magic". But I struggled to come up with meals, especially meals which could be prepared in advance or after a long day at work.
One day at lunch, a co-worker named Holly, kept going on and on about Rachael Ray on The Food Network. I started watching her show called "30-Minute Meals" and found myself thinking, "Wow, I can do that!". A lot of folks give Rachael Ray a hard time or don't care for her. Oh, the haters! But what I like about this busy lady is that she says things such as, "I am not teaching you a recipe here... it's more of a technique!" She talks constantly as she cooks and she tells the viewer how to adapt the recipes, swapping out ingredients if you don't care for some. Don't care for cilantro, use some parsley. Don't like pork, use chicken breasts. From the moment I started watching her, I was enthralled with Rachael Ray and pretty much any show on The Food Network. I loved seeing her use kitchen gadgets I'd never heard of (Microplane graters), I loved learning about new ingredients (chipotles in adobo sauce), and I loved the thought of finding new recipes for my family. Yum-O!
The first Rachael Ray "30-Minute Meals" episode where I really got motivated to get cookin' was a Cuban inspired meal... a seasoned pork tenderloin, sofrito rice, and black bean salsa. Black Bean Salsa... I can do that! What's great about The Food Network (and also now The Cooking Channel), is that you can watch a show and look up the recipes on-line. The link for the Black Bean Salsa that so motivated me can be found HERE. I made the salsa and loved it. From there, I tried more and more recipes but what I enjoyed the most was using the recipes I found merely as a source of inspiration.
We've been having lots of fresh salsa ingredients in the house lately, serving it over Blacked Flounder as well as a Balsamic, Rosemary, Garlic and Honey marniated grilled flat iron steak. We ate out a few times last week due to tennis tournaments, so I was craving something really clean and light and healthful for lunch on Saturday. I remembered back to the Rachael Ray's Black Bean Salsa and whipped up a fresh dish of Black Bean Salsa with ingredients I had on hand. I loved it over cooked and cooled quinoa,which I also just happened to have in the refrigerator.
Black Bean Salsa over Quinoa
- 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
- 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder, more if desired
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves, about 1 tablespoon, more or less as desired
- cooked, cooled quinoa
Combine all ingredients (except quinoa) in a bowl; stir to combine. Serve salsa room temperature (or cold) over room temperature or cold quinoa. A dollop of plain yogurt is nice but not necessary. You could add finely diced jalapeno pepper to this, but I was feeling lazy.
This made at least three lunches for me served over quinoa. As Rachel Ray would say, "Yum-O!"
Again... sorry, no photo, but if I make this again soon, I'll add a pic! Bad blogger, BAD!