Quinoa & Black Bean Salad with Corn Tomato & Avocado

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I’m so into this easy Quinoa, Black Bean & Corn bowl with creamy chunks of avocado, juicy grape tomatoes, fresh cilantro and tangy lime. This yummy salad is packed with flavors, it’s super nourishing and high in protein so it will keep you full for hours.  It’s simply made with a few pantry items and some simple produce I had on hand but if you don’t have a specific item it can be subbed with others.

A few examples of produce and pantry items you can sub:

No tomatoessub with bell peppers.

No avocado – sub with cucumber.

No cilantrosub with parsley.

No quinoa – sub with brown rice.

No black beans – sub with chickpeas.

No limesub with red wine vinegar.

This salad is also great because it can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for a few days. I think its even better as it sits and the flavors are set.  It can be served as a side dish but I personally prefer to eat as a meal.
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Serves 2 full meals or 4 side servings.
Prep and cooking time 15 minutes.
Ingredients:
2 cups cooked quinoa.
(Bring 2 1/4 cups of veggie broth to a boil, add one cup dry quinoa. Bring to boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook 15 minutes or until quinoa is tender)
1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed.
1 cup canned corn, drained.
1 cup grape tomatoes sliced.
1/2 an avocado diced.
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil.
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice.
Handful fresh cilantro roughly chopped.
Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste.
Combine the quinoa, black beans, corn and tomatoes in a large bowl. Add the olive oil and lime juice then combine. Lightly fold in the avocado and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Escarole & White Bean Soup

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I’m not a fan of the cooler weather. I’m such a light weight when it comes to the frigid air and like to hibernate inside, drink tea and eat soup. This traditional Italian white bean and escarole soup is “souper” easy to make in just 15-20 minutes, low calorie, vegan and made with a few simple ingredients. This soup has always been warm and comforting and one of my favorites.  Here’s how to make it..
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1 tablespoon minced garlic.
1/4 cup chopped yellow onion.
2 tablespoons olive oil.
1/2 cup diced tomatoes.
2 stalks celery chopped.
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped.
6 cups water with 2 veggie bouillon cubes or 6 cups low sodium veggie stock.
1 BPA free can of Cannellini beans drained and rinsed.
1 head of organic escarole (sub baby spinach) roughly chopped.
Salt and pepper to taste.
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On the stove top heat olive oil in a medium pot until hot then add the onion, celery and carrot.  Cook stirring occasionally until the veggies start to tender then add the garlic.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook for another minute then add tomatoes until heated through.  Add the water and veggie bouillon and bring to a boil.  Add the Cannellini beans, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the escarole and turn off the heat. Once the escarole is wilted remove from heat and serve.  Add salt and pepper to taste if desired or top with shaved or grated Parmesan cheese and serve with sourdough bread.  Serves 4-6.

Smokey Southwest Salmon Burgers with Creamy Cilantro Dill Aioli

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Smokey Southwest Salmon Burgers with Creamy Cilantro Dill Aioli should be included in your dinner plans next week! To make the creamiest and tastiest aioli with the best texture you need the best quality EVOO, not just for the flavor but for it’s great emulsifying properties.  I used Spanish Extra Virgin Olive Oil to make the tangy and smokey sauce and it turned out as creamy and delicious as it should be! It complimented the smokey salmon burgers to perfection!

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Smokey Salmon Burgers.
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1 pound wild Atlantic salmon.
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped.
1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped.
1/2 cup roasted corn kernels.
1/4 cup red onion, chopped.
2 cloves garlic crushed.
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper.
1 tablespoon ground cumin.
1 teaspoon chili powder.
1 egg.
2/3 – 1 cup oat flour (or standard breadcrumbs) for binding.
Olive oil for cooking.
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Prepare salmon by removing any skin or bones, then mince with a sharp knife or or food processor. Add to bowl with remaining ingredients except for the oat flour and oil and combine well. Gradually add the oat flour until the mixture is firm enough to form patties but still slightly moist. Heat a pan with a 1 tablespoon olive oil (or grill pan) until hot but not smoking. Divide the salmon mixture in the bowl into 4 equal parts. Lightly roll and place into hot pan with spatula to form patties. Cook on each side 3-4 minutes until golden and toasty. Serve on lettuce wraps or a bun with Creamy Herb Aioli. Makes 4 salmon burgers.

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Creamy Cilantro Dill Aioli 

1 room temperature egg.
1 tablespoon lime juice.
1 teaspoon prepared mustard.
1 teaspoon ground cumin.
1 cup extra virgin olive oil.
1 or 2 teaspoons sriracha.
Handful chopped fresh dill.
Handful chopped fresh cilantro.
Salt and extra lime juice to taste.
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Start by adding the egg into a glass bowl or wide rimmed jar. Use a hand mixer, immersion blender or food processor to beat the egg for 30 seconds. Add the lime juice, mustard and cumin then beat for another 30 seconds. Continue to beat and slowly add the EVOO a little at a time until mixture emulsifies to the desired texture. Mix in the sriracha and then the fresh herbs in the end. Adjust taste with salt and lime juice as necessary. Serve on Smokey Southwest Salmon Burgers.

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Flaky Oven Baked Almond Crusted Cod

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This flaky oven baked almond crusted cod is one of my favorite ways to eat fish. The crispy nutty crust on the outside is filled with flavor and brings out the light flaky goodness on the inside. It’s made with Blue Circle Foods sustainable Atlantic wild-caught cod. Each filet is conveniently portioned into individual vacuum sealed packs.

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Blue Circle sources its wild-caught fish from singular regions like Iceland using only sustainable methods to avoid by-catch and protect our oceans. Blue Circle products are certified sustainable by organizations and are free from antibiotics, GMOs, growth hormones, gluten, sugar and synthetic pigments.

Find out more information about Blue Circle seafood, how to buy on their website and receive 15% off, use code welcome2bcf at checkout. https://www.bluecirclefoods.com/shop

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Almond Crusted Baked Cod

Prep / Cook time: 30 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

4 wild cod fish fillets (I used Blue Circle Foods wild Atlantic frozen cod fillets thawed).

2 cups almond flour

1 teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon ground paprika

½ teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Juice of a lemon

Lemon slices and wedges

1) Preheat oven to 425 F. Place lemon slices down as a platform for the fish in a 9 x 6 baking dish or parchment lined baking sheet. Pat cod fillets dry with paper towel.

2) In a shallow bowl add the almond flour, garlic powder, paprika, sea salt and ground black pepper and combine.

3) In another shallow bowl combine extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice.

4) Drench each cod fillet one by one into the olive oil lemon mixture then place each drenched fillet into the almond flour mixture and generously coat on both sides of the fish.

5) Place each coated fillet on top of the lemon slices on the baking sheet or dish.

6) Bake in oven for 16 minutes. Set oven to broil and brown on the tops watching carefully to prevent burning 2-4 minutes.

https://www.bluecirclefoods.com/shop

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Sweet Potato, Black Bean, Kale & Quinoa Bowl.

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Prep / Cook time:  30 minutes

Servings:  4

Ingredients:

1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced.

2 cups kale, roughly chopped with stems removed.

1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed.

2 cups cooked quinoa. (add 1 cup dry quinoa to 2 cups of salted. boiling water, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes)

1 teaspoon ground cumin.

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder.

Olive oil.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 425 F.  Spread diced sweet potato onto a parchment lined sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.  Season with sea salt and bake for 12-15 minutes until tender and golden around the edges.  While the sweet potatoes cook, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium pan on the stove top.  Add the kale, cumin and garlic powder.  Season with salt and pepper and saute kale for 4-5 minutes until tender.

Add the quinoa, sweet potato, black beans and kale to a bowl.  Toss to combine and season with salt and pepper to adjust taste as necessary.  Enjoy right away or can be prepped in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

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Chicken Almond Piccata

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I am a huge Italian food lover and Chicken Piccata has always been a favorite of mine.  A lightly breaded chicken cutlet with capers in a buttery lemon and white wine sauce. I make this version with almond flour to keep it on a low-carb note.  Plus the almond flour adds a lot of good flavor.  It’s great with pasta, zucchini noodles, potatoes, asparagus and broccoli.  I even love to add mushrooms sometimes too.  The flavorful and velvety sauce coats the pasta and absorbs into the veggies so well. I love to serve it with a fresh arugula or spinach salad and a side of crusty garlic bread. Oh my goodness its so good. I feel like I’m eating a gourmet meal in the best Italian restaurant whenever I make it.  My kids like it too without the sauce,  but the tangy and lemony sauce is a must for me.

 

Chicken Almond Piccata

25 – 30 minute prep and cook time.

Serves 4.

2 boneless skinless chicken breast sliced into 4 equal pieces.
1 egg beaten.
2 cups almond flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper.
6-8 tablespoons butter.
6-8 tablespoons olive oil.
1/2 cup chicken broth.
1/2 cup dry white wine.
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice.
2 tablespoons non-peril capers.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Handful fresh parsley, chopped.

Heat 2 tablespoons butter and 2-3 tablespoons olive oil on the stove top in a large pan until hot but not smoking. Blend together almond flour, salt and pepper on a plate. Beat egg in a shallow bowl and season with salt.  Dip chicken pieces into egg mixture then into almond flour mixture and fully coat. Carefully place each piece of chicken into hot oil adjusting heat to medium and cook on each side 3-4 minutes or golden. Don’t crowd pan or let oil get to hot to prevent burning and sogginess. Cook in batches if needed and add another tablespoon of butter and/or oil if needed. Once the chicken is cooked remove to a plate.

Scrape any remaining excess that’s in the pan (remove by straining out bits and reserving the liquid with a metal strainer, then add back to pan as almond flour may break up in the oil more then traditional wheat flour).

Add one more tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Heat through then add the white wine. Simmer for 3-4 minutes then add the lemon and chicken broth.  When the sauce is hot and bubbly add the chicken back into the pan.  Simmer the chicken in the sauce for 2-3 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper if desired.  Remove from heat and top with fresh chopped parsley.

 

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Easy Seafood Gumbo – Crock-Pot® 6-Quart Express Crock Multi-Cooker

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When I think of Seafood Gumbo I think of the warm weather and spending time with my family at a breezy dockside restaurant with views of the ocean and the smell of the sea.  {Sponsored by Crock-Pot® } But we don’t always get the opportunity to visit a place like that and it’s not always easy to find the time for dinner to be complex. For most busy mom’s a quick and easy meal is the way to go!

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I absolutely LOVE my Crock-Pot® 6-Quart Express Crock Multi-Cooker especially when it comes to making recipes like this Easy Seafood Gumbo which would normally take me hours to make. The Crock-Pot Express Crock’s 8 pre-set pressurized settings makes one-pot meals easier than ever. You can choose to eat sooner or use the slow cook setting to come back later to a delicious hot meal. And since I am not a fan of washing dishes, I especially love that it’s a non-stick pot and is dishwasher safe!

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There are so many other wonderful recipes that can be made with the Crock-Pot Express Crock including slow cooked briskets, soups and stews but it also can be used for quick and easy options.  Visit http://bit.ly/ExpressCrockUS to find out more.

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This easy Seafood Gumbo can be made in less then an hour and is made with basic ingredients. Most gumbos require gumbo file which I had a hard time finding so I came up with a way to make it without it.

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Cook time 50 mins.

Serves 4-6.

 

Easy Crock-Pot Express Crock Seafood Gumbo

Ingredients:

½ cup olive oil.

¾ cup all-purpose flour.

1 cup yellow onion, chopped.

2 cloves garlic, minced.

1 cup celery, chopped.

1 cup carrots, chopped.

1 cup red bell pepper, chopped.

1 cup green bell pepper, chopped.

2 cups frozen sliced okra.

1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes.

1 teaspoon dried thyme.

2 cups vegetable broth.

1 bay leaf.

2-3 splashes hot sauce.

1 8 oz. container lump crab meat.

1 lb. medium shrimp peeled and deveined.

Handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped.

Scallions bunch, chopped.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Place your Crock-Pot® 6-Quart Express Crock Multi-Cooker on your counter-top and plug it in.  Press BROWN/SAUTE, set temperature to HIGH, and then press START/STOP. Allow to preheat. Heat the olive oil until its hot. Add the flour and stir with the oil to form a roux. Stir continuously for 4-5 minutes to prevent the mixture from burning. Stir in the onions, garlic, celery, carrots and peppers and cook for 4-5 minutes stirring often until veggies start to tender.  Add the okra, crushed tomatoes and thyme, season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook for an additional 3-4 minutes until heated through. Mix in the vegetable broth and bring to a simmer. Press the START/STOP button on your Crock-Pot® 6-Quart Express Crock Multi-Cooker and secure the lid. Press the BEANS/CHILI button and set pressure to HIGH and make sure the steam release valve is seal closed position.  Adjust the time to 30 minutes and press START/STOP.

Once the cooking is complete and the pressure is released, open the lid and add the lump crab meat with juice and the shrimp to the soup.  Secure the lid with steam release valve sealed, press the SOUP button and adjust the time to 10 minutes and press START/STOP. After the 10 minutes when the cooking is complete and the pressure is released season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve over rice, quinoa or cauliflower rice and top with fresh chopped parsley and scallions.

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