Pasta, Rice, and Grains

Blood Orange, Spinach, and Quinoa Salad

How excited am I that blood oranges are back? That excited ^.

Also? This excited:

Blood Orange Margaritas

Last spring, we planted a tiny blood orange tree in the backyard. And somehow it survived. We won’t let any blooms go to fruit this year but next year, man. Next year.

Blood Orange, Spinach, and Quinoa Salad

Besides margaritas, one of my other favorite things to have for lunch is this salad. You might recognize it. It’s spinach & quinoa tossed with a quick vinaigrette of blood orange juice, white wine vinegar, and shallot and then topped with blood orange segments and crumbled goat cheese.

Blood Orange, Spinach, and Quinoa Salad

I can make it on the weekend and then eat it cold, straight from the fridge, for the next several days. It sort of balances out those weekend margaritas. Or at least, that’s what I tell myself.

Looking for more blood orange recipes? Check out our winter citrus favorites here!

Blood Orange, Spinach, and Quinoa Salad

An easy winter salad with fresh spinach, quinoa, goat cheese, and blood oranges in a simple blood orange vinaigrette.

Ingredients

  • 3 blood oranges
  • 1 cup quick-cooking quinoa, cooked according to package directions and chilled*
  • 3 oz fresh baby spinach (half a large clamshell or bag)
  • 4 oz crumbled goat cheese
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped shallot
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (I use light-tasting oil)
  • *If you're not working with cold, leftover quinoa, spread the hot quinoa on a plate and put it in the fridge to chill, stirring a few times to help speed up cooling.

Instructions

  1. Segment the oranges over a bowl topped with a strainer set - let any seeds and segments fall into the strainer while the juice goes into the bowl below.
  2. After segmenting, squeeze all the remaining juice from the "membranes" left in your hand into the strainer.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the spinach, cold quinoa, goat cheese, and blood orange segments together.
  4. In the bowl with the blood orange juice, whisk the vinegar, shallot, mustard, a pinch of salt and pepper together.
  5. Slowly stream in the olive oil while whisking.
  6. Pour over the salad, tossing to mix.
  7. Serve cold. Leftovers will keep a few days in the fridge.

Notes

Yields: 4-6 servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 45 minutes

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Sweet Potato & Spinach Carbonara

My friend Katie has been called The Carbonara Queen. Crab, jalapeno & corn, BLT, lemon & spinach. If it can be whisked into that creamy sauce of bacon, pepper, eggs, and cheese, she has done it.

She’s kind of my Pasta Patronus. And I’d like to be just like her when I grow up:

Zucchini Carbonara Roasted Broccoli Carbonara Fettuccine alla Carbonara

One of her last Carbonara creations was a beautiful stomach-growl-inducing adaptation: Butternut Squash & Spinach Carbonara.

I didn’t have butternut squash – or the desire to put on pants and mascara to go get some (that’s my minimum to go in public) – but I did have sweet potatoes. I pulled out my favorite basic carbonara recipe, a few slices of bacon, and was on my way to what would quickly become a house-favorite carbonara.

Sweet Potato and Spinach Carbonara

It’s because there’s bacon. And diced sweet potatoes that are cooked in bacon drippings until nicely caramelized, and then tossed with hot pasta and wilted fresh spinach until a beautiful, peppery, creamy sauce forms from the bacon, eggs, and cheese.

And bacon.

Carbonara is really the closest thing I can get to meatless meal without the natives rebelling. Or complaining about “spinach again?” But with this one, everyone wins here.

Sweet Potato & Spinach Carbonara

Creamy, peppery carbonara with caramelized sweet potatoes and fresh spinach.

Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato, cut into 1/3-inch slices and then diced
  • 2 handfuls fresh baby spinach
  • 8 oz pasta
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3 oz finely grated Parmesan (about 1 3/4 cup), divided
  • 3 eggs
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a saute pan over high heat and add the bacon, cooking until almost completely crisped.
  2. When the bacon has completely browned, use a slotted spoon to transfer to a large bowl (big enough for mixing the entire recipe).
  3. Add the sweet potatoes and cook until nicely browned and fork-tender (but not mushy), about 3-4 minutes on each side.
  4. Add the black pepper and spinach, cover, and turn off the heat - let sit ~2 minutes, until the spinach has wilted.
  5. Mix the eggs and 1 1/2 cups cheese together with the bacon, stirring to mix well.
  6. Add pasta to boiling water and cook per package directions. Set aside 1 cup of pasta water and then drain the pasta.
  7. Immediately add the hot pasta and a splash or two of the hot pasta water (~2 Tbsp at a time) to the bowl with the bacon mixture, while stirring/tossing vigorously to create a creamy sauce.
  8. Toss in the sweet potato mixture and additional splashes of pasta water if necessary to adjust sauce consistency (and if you add too much water, just let the pasta stand for a few minutes).
  9. Serve sprinkled with remaining cheese

Notes

Yields: 4 servings

Inspired by So Tasty, So Yummy

Estimated time: 35 minutes

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Roasted Cauliflower Carbonara

So remember that roasted cauliflower? You know, the healthy side dish that once actually grew in the ground? The eat-straight-from-the-pan lunch that wasn’t candy-coated or Funyuns?

This is what I did with the leftovers.

Roasted Cauliflower Carbonara

I took one of our favorite versions of carbonara, which replaces half of the pasta with plant things (this time leftover roasted cauliflower) and had an instant winner on my hands.

Honestly, there’s a little bit of bacon and there’s some Parmesan along with those glorious carbs… so anyone who declared that dish a “you don’t need to make this again” would probably be forwarding their mail at this point.

Roasted Cauliflower Carbonara

Roasted Cauliflower Carbonara

Roasted cauliflower replaces half of the pasta in this traditional carbonara.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (or more) roasted cauliflower*
  • 8 oz pasta
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 3/4 cups shredded Parmesan (~3 oz), divided
  • 1 egg
  • 3 egg yolks
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • *If you're cooking the cauliflower, put it in the oven before you start cooking the pasta.

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a saute pan over high heat and add the bacon, cooking until almost completely crisped.
  2. Add the black pepper and, when the bacon has completely browned, remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl (big enough for mixing the entire recipe).
  3. Mix the eggs and 1 1/2 cups cheese together in a smaller bowl, then add to the bacon mixture, stirring to mix well.
  4. Add pasta to boiling water and cook per package directions. Set aside 1 cup of pasta water and then drain the pasta.
  5. Immediately add the hot pasta and a splash or two of the hot pasta water (~2 Tbsp at a time) to the bowl, while stirring vigorously to create a creamy sauce.
  6. Add the cauliflower, toss to coat (adding additional water if necessary).
  7. Serve sprinkled with remaining cheese.

Notes

Yields: 4 servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 30 minutes

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Green Chile Chicken & Quinoa Stew

For the last three weeks, the majority of our meals have come from either the hospital vending machine, a Chick-fil-A drive-thru, or Disney World.

Talk about extremes. (And my favorites were obviously from Disney World!)

After getting back from our trip this week, I spent most of yesterday limping around the kitchen for some make-ahead meal prep. I whipped up a big batch of quinoa to be used in stew and for a winterized version of our favorite salad, shredded a massive amount of chicken portioned in half-pound baggies for the freezer, and popped open the jar of Cookwell & Company Two-Step Green Chile Stew that came with this month’s HEB Primo Picks.

Green Chile Chicken & Quinoa Stew

Because a girl can only feed her family Funyuns and waffle fries so many times before feeling a little like a terrible person. And a girl only needs to hear her 3.87 year-old say, “Momma, I can have broccoli for a treat today?” once before really feeling like a terrible person.

But I actually had a plan for the post-vacation and post-vending machine detox. A quick-fix green chile stew beefed up into a healthful, hearty one-bowl meal with shredded chicken, navy beans, quinoa, pico de gallo, and a dollop of fat-free Greek yogurt on top.

Green Chile Chicken & Quinoa Stew

It’s healthy, delicious, and just a hint of some low-grade heat from the green chiles. Minimal prep time – admittedly not as fast as swiping a card and punching D12 – but maximum nutrition. And that’s just something you can’t get out of a vending machine or from a drive-thru window.

Green Chile Chicken & Quinoa Stew

Ingredients

  • 32 oz jar Cookwell & Company Two-Step Green Chile Stew
  • 8 oz "leftover" chicken, shredded*
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 can navy beans, rinsed and drained
  • For serving:
  • 3 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 small jalapeno, seeded (or not) and diced
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  • Juice from 1/2 lime
  • Salt
  • Handful of cilantro
  • Sour cream or plain yogurt
  • * I make "leftover" chicken in the oven in a foil pouch - 2 breasts per pouch at 425 for 20 minutes.

Instructions

  1. In a medium/large pot, heat the green chile stew over medium heat.
  2. Add the shredded chicken, cooked quinoa, and navy beans, simmering until heated through.
  3. Stir together the tomatoes, jalapeno, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, and salt and set aside.
  4. Ladle the soup into bowls, top with a generous scoop of pico de gallo and a dollop of plain yogurt or light sour cream.

Notes

Yields: ~6 servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 30 minutes

This recipe was developed in conjunction with H-E-B and I was provided ingredients as well as compensated for my time. Messy fingers, stretchy-waisted pants, and baby-Elmo-clogged-toilets are all mine. You can find H-E-B on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. And if you’re as lucky as we are, 4 locations within a 5 mile radius.

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