Tag Archives: quick n’ easy
8/14/13

Quinoa + Lime Salad

quinoa lime salad

Quinoa Salad has totally been our go to dish this summer. Because it’s easy, healthy and full of flavor. And, it’s also gluten-free and dairy-free – which matters to us now that Sam has a bunch of (super lame) dietary restrictions.

Growing up in Hawaii, we ate rice every day – sometimes with every meal. I’m still loyal to my rice dishes, and it took me a while to embrace quinoa. I found that the trick is to use the grain in new dishes, rather than trying to sub it in to be healthier with my favorite recipes. This Quinoa and Lime Salad is a perfect example. This recipe simply wouldn’t be as good with rice. And it wouldn’t be as filling, either; quinoa is a protein powerhouse.

Quinoa Lime Salad

Continue reading

5/12/13

Chicken Salad in an Avocado Bowl

chicken salad in an avocado bowl

My paternal grandmother was an artist and an amazing cook. One of my favorite things she served was chicken salad. But, this was no ordinary chicken salad. She made it with a ton of goodies mixed in – like fruit, veggies and nuts. She’d serve it with a green salad as well as different types of bread and crackers. It was a perfect family style meal because there was something for everyone. Even at a young age, I remember thinking that I would make this dish when I was grown up.

chicken saladchicken salad in an avocado bowl

I’m not sure if I’m a grown up or not yet, but I love re-creating her chicken salad recipe. I often modify it depending on what’s in our fridge and cabinets. And, like my grandma, I enjoy experimenting with different ways to serve the salad.

Currently I’ve been neglecting the bread completely and instead scoop the chicken salad into an avocado. Although I’m a total carb-o-holic, I don’t miss the bread at all in this dish. There is so much going on – different textures and flavors – but it’s protein-packed and therefore super filling at the same time. A win, win, in my book.

chicken salad in an avocado bowl

Next time you have leftover chicken at dinner, whip up some chicken salad in an avocado bowl. Wrap it up and tomorrow’s lunch is all set, and guaranteed to be soggy-free (is there anything worse than soggy sandwich bread? Ugh.) Tested and approved in our household.

chicken salad in an avocado

 

Chicken Salad in an Avocado Bowl
Serves 4

Write a review

Print

Ingredients
1 cooked chicken breast (or use canned chicken or tuna)
1 celery stock, diced
1/2 diced apple
1/4 cup diced dried apricots
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup diced red onion
2 T diced green onion
1/4 cup mayonaise
Salt + pepper
2 ripe avocados

Instructions
Cube chicken breast into small pieces, and toss in a bowl along with celery, apple, dried apricots, almonds, and red and green onion. Mix in the mayo until covered evenly, and add salt and pepper to taste.
Cut both avocados in half length wise and remove pit. Line avocado halves on a plate and use an ice cream scoop to spoon a large scoop of chicken salad onto each avocado half. Serve cold.

Margaritas in the Rain http://margaritasintherain.com/

 

3/14/13

Southwestern Brown Rice Bowl

Southwestern Brown Rice Bowl

There are about 500 food carts in Portland. No exaggeration. But it’s easy to spot the really good ones by watching the lines at lunch. One of my favorite carts makes killer rice bowls – but needless to say, there is always a line. And who has time to wait around?

Southwestern Brown Rice Bowl
 
Southwestern Brown Rice Bowl

A few years back when Sam was in grad school and we were on budget mode, we got in the habit of attempting to duplicate our favorite recipes. This southwestern brown rice bowl was an evolution of this that we honestly make about once a week. It just doesn’t get old.

Southwestern Brown Rice Bowl

Let’s review the talking points: 

No wait. 

Quick to make. 

Inexpensive. 

Healthy. 

And so tasty! 

Bookmark it already.

Southwestern Brown Rice Bowl
Southwestern Brown Rice Bowl
Serves 1

Write a review

Print

Ingredients
3/4 cup cooked brown rice rice
1/2 cup cooked black beans
1 T shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 T salsa
1 T roughly chopped cilantro
1/4 avocado, sliced
1 T sour cream
1 tsp pine nuts

Instructions
Once ingredients are prepped, fill bowl in order of ingredients outlined above. Feel free to adjust proportions and/or ingredients according to your likings. Serve with hot sauce, limes and tortilla chips.

Margaritas in the Rain http://margaritasintherain.com/

 

3/4/13

Crunchy Thai Lettuce Wraps

Crunchy Thai Lettuce Wraps

I’m over the winter. Can we pretend that it’s summer? And that we’re on vacation?

Crunchy Thai Lettuce Wraps

I don’t know what it is about these thai lettuce wraps, but they take me there. You know where.

That super fun, relaxing place where you can be carefree and have Sriracha on your chin and not even care? Yup, there.

Crunchy Thai Lettuce Wraps

These thai lettuce wraps are super simple to make, and you can be as creative as you want with the toppings. Swap the chicken for shrimp, or forgo meat completely for a vegetarian meal. Add shredded carrots instead of the zucchini. You get the idea. I love serve-it-yourself type dishes, like sushi and tacos, and this one is right up there.

Crunchy Thai Lettuce Wraps
Crunchy Thai Lettuce Wraps

So grab your lettuce wrap and hold tight. Faux-cation, here we come…

Crunchy Thai Lettuce Wraps
Serves 2

Write a review

Print

Ingredients
1/4 lb bag of thai noodles (or thin spagetti noodles)
1 cooked chicken breast, diced
1 bunch romaine lettuce, washed
1/2 cup salted peanuts
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 cup peanut sauce
Sriracha and/or red pepper flakes
1 zucchini, shredded
limes for garnish

Instructions
Cook noodles according to package directions, drain, and let cool. Add peanut sauce and mix until thoroughly coated. Cut bottom 1-2 inches off lettuce slices. Line all ingredients up (think: taco bar!) and let your family serves themselves.

Margaritas in the Rain http://margaritasintherain.com/

2/20/13

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Creamy Homemade Vinaigrette

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Creamy Homemade Vinaigrette

It’s so easy to eat healthy salads in the summer. There’s an abundance of fresh produce in Portland starting late spring, and the local farmers’ markets are like going to veggie heaven. Plus, when it’s hot, who wants a hot and heavy meal? Unfortunately, things change during the winter. I go into hibernation mode and have mean cravings for mac n’ cheese and pizza.

Thankfully I found the perfect winter salad to help keep me in my jeans. It’s filled with hearty toppings like warm roasted butternut squash, crunchy pecans, savory crumbled goat cheese and dried cranberries for sweetness. 

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Creamy Homemade Vinaigrette
 

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Creamy Homemade Vinaigrette

And this dressing? I’m surprised I haven’t shared this with you yet. It’s my go-to homemade dressing. It’s so easy and so delicious.

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Creamy Homemade Vinaigrette

Go eat your veggies!

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Creamy Homemade Vinaigrette
Serves 2

Write a review

Print

Salad
Approx. 1/2 a medium-sized butternut squash
1 T olive oil
2 large cups of spinach or desired greens
2 T dried cranberries
2 T pecans
2 T crumbled goat cheese
Creamy Homemade Vinaigrette
1 heaping teaspoon of Trader Joe’s garlic aioli mustard (or mustard of your choice)
2 T olive oil
1 T balsamic vinegar
Salt + Pepper

Instructions
Preheat oven to 425F. Peel, de-seed and slice butternut squash into thin strips. Drizzle with 1 T olive oil, salt and pepper, and toss. Put pieces into a baking dish and bake for approximately 35 minutes until browning. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
In the meantime, layer spinach, cranberries, nuts and cheese into 2 plates. Top with butternut squash. Mix together dressing ingredients in a bowl and pour onto salad. dressing.

Margaritas in the Rain http://margaritasintherain.com/

 
1/28/13

Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup gif

It may be the last week in January, but I just learned that it’s National Soup Month. I must have known it subconsciously, because we’ve pretty much been on a soup diet for the past few weeks. From lentil to minestrone to chili, we’ve made it all. And now I’m happy to add Chicken Tortilla Soup to the list.

Pacific Natural Foods Soup Starters Tortilla Soup Base

The awesome folks at Pacific Natural Foods recently sent me some samples from their new line of soup starters. I’ve been a loyal Pacific Natural Foods user for years (we always have a box of chicken broth and tomato soup in our cupboard). But these soup starters are going to be our new kitchen staples. I’ve tried three of the starters now (Pho, Tom Yum and Tortilla). They are filled with flavor, and all you need to do is add your fillings, heat and serve.

Read my words: the perfect weeknight meal. All I did to my version was add black beans, chicken, onions and corn to the starter broth.

Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Once it’s done warming, top with goodies like peppers, sour cream, avocado, cilantro and tortilla chips. Yum.

But wait, it gets better. Now YOU can try this soup starter for yourself. Three of you will win a starter kit of your own. It’s SOUPer simple to enter.

Um yes, I just went there.

Just fill out the form below, and good luck! Entries close at midnight on Friday, February 1. CONTEST OVER. CONGRATS TO OUR WINNERS – JOAN, JODY and EMILY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Quick n’ Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup
Serves 4

Write a review

Print

Ingredients
1/2 onion, diced
2 diced garlic cloves
1 T olive oil
1 cup cooked chicken, shredded
1/2 cup cooked black beans
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
1 red pepper, sliced thin
1/2 cup sour cream
1 avocado, sliced
1 bunch cilantro, washed and chopped
2-4 limes, quartered

Instructions
Saute onions and garlic in olive oil over Medium heat for several minutes until the onions soften. Add chicken, beans, corn, and box of soup starter. Let mixture come to a boil, and let cook for 5 minutes. Serve into bowls. Top with peppers, sour cream, avocado, cilantro and lime. Serve with tortilla chips or corn tortillas.

Margaritas in the Rain http://margaritasintherain.com/

 

Note: Pacific Natural Foods sent me free soup samples, but I was not compensated for this post. The views are my own.

10/24/12

Healthy Homemade Sushi

I love sushi.

Healthy homemade sushi

There are several great Japanese restaurants in our neighborhood, but we usually opt to make sushi at home. Believe me, it can still make for a steller date night.

We made sushi all the time growing up – it was sorta our “go to” meal. My parents often substituted in healthy options like brown rice and salmon. We would all help to chop the ingredients, and then put everything out in bowls and platters on the counter. And then, everyone served themselves and chowed down.It may not be fancy, but it’s a quick, easy, and healthy meal idea that we all loved. And, clearly still love.

healthy homemade sushi

My favorite part? The seasoned Korean-style nori (seaweed) sheets. Once you load them with all the fixin’s, there is no room for rolling. You’ve got to eat these puppies like tacos. 

Ooh, and if you’re looking to go more date night and less kid-friendly, pair this recipe with some chilled Sparkling Sake from Trader Joes. 

healthy homemade sushi
 
Easy Homemade Sushi

Write a review

Print

Ingredients
1 package seasoned nori
Wasabi
Soy sauce
2 cups brown rice, cooked
Cucumber, sliced into sticks
Avocado, sliced into sticks
Canned salmon

Instructions
Place approx. 1 tablespoon of rice on nori. Pack down, and add toppings – salmon, avocado, cucumber. Sprinkle with soy sauce and spread a small amount of wasabi for spice.Pick up like a taco and enjoy!

Margaritas in the Rain http://margaritasintherain.com/

9/7/12

Quick n’ Easy Pulled Teriyaki Chicken, 2 ways

I like to eat. Let’s face it… that’s why I started a food blog.

And Sam? He’s also a foodie. 

But because there are only two of us, we often have leftovers from family-style recipes. Even after totally pigging out at dinner. Leftovers can be so… boring, so we often try to spice them up into a new meal.

That said, I wanted to share a SUPER easy recipe for pulled teriyaki chicken that is easily converted to 2+ different meals. 

Prep: Boil 4 chicken breasts with 1 bottle of your favorite teriyaki sauce. I’m a big fan of Yoshidas, but I used Trader Joe’s Island Soyaki for this recipe. Once boiled, bring to a low simmer and put a lid on the pot. Let sit for an hour or so, until the chicken is really soft and easy to shred. Shred with a fork.

 

Day #1: Pulled Teri-Chicken Sliders 

 
 
 
 

Day #2: Teri-Chicken, Brown Rice + Salad



Easy peasy for a mid-week meal. Enjoy!