Quick Quinoa Sushi

Happy Good Friday for all of you who celebrate Easter! Today I spent my Good Friday in my room, studying my one and only final exam coming up on Monday. I also went for a lovely walk, the weather was gorgeous, blue sky and sunny…but a bit on the cool side.

We are all moving out of our student house in a few days, so I have been trying to eat up everything I have in the freezer and pantry, so that I don’t put anything to waste. My meals have been ho-hum, you don’t know how excited I am to move back home to a nice big kitchen and home cooked meals! Yesterday’s dinner consisted of frozen peas and corn…meat balls and fried zucchini…pretty random right?

Tonight I wanted to make something that I would actually feel satisfied with, so I whipped up some homemade sushi. Have you ever tried making sushi before? Before I attempted at making sushi, I thought it would be a disaster…I had my first homemade sushi experience about a month ago at my friends house. We made quinoa veggie sushi and wow…was it ever amazing and extremely easy, far from becoming a disaster. I thought at first that the ingredients were a little random to have in it, as it included sweet potato, beets, apples and shredded carrots, but honestly, the ingredients took on the flavour and consistency of “normal” sushi ingredients, my taste buds were deceived.

The first time I made sushi, there were three of us making them…we made a TON! As you can see, sushi can be huge or small

Tonight I made two types of sushi, avocado/mango/cucumber and avocado/mango/smoked salmon cream cheese. This is probably one of the easiest meals to make, and I’m not exaggerating! You don’t even need sushi tools (ie the mat)

Quick Quinoa Sushi


Ingredients:
– nori sheets (seaweed)
– quinoa
– tahini
– vegetable ingredients (ie, avocado, cucumber, mango, carrots, etc)
you could also use fish or teriyaki chicken (I did not though)
– rice vinegar
– white sugar
– salt

1. First off, you must cook your quinoa and allow to cool.
(1 cup will make 4 rolls…2 cups will make 6, etc)

2. If you choose to make 2 cups of quinoa, combine 2 cups of water, 1/2 cup rice vinegar, 1/4 cup of white sugar and 1 tsp of salt in a pot over the stove. Heat until the sugar has dissolved.

3. Poor the vinegar/sugar mixture overtop of the quinoa, mix, and set aside to cool.

4. Next, stir about 1/3 cup of tahini (sesame seed paste) into the quinoa, this is what binds the quinoa together. (I am sure you could use other nut butters as well, experiment!)

5. While your quinoa cools, slice up your ingredients into thin slices. (should be about 1 inch thick, it can be up to 4 inches long). Ingredients could include avocado, mango, cucumber, red pepper, sweet potato (cooked), what ever you wish to have in your sushi!

Mango, cucumber and avocado (pardon the avocado, it was way too ripe and a bit brown, I also haven’t finished slicing the avocado into thinner strips in this picture)

6. Once your quinoa has cooled down, and you have all of your inside ingredients prepared, you are ready to start assembling the sushi

7. There are 2 sides to the nori sheets, 1 side is very shiny, and the other side is dull with grooves. Place the shiny side face down, you want to work with the dull side.

Can you see the lines/grooves on the sheet? There are about 5.

8. As you can see, there are grooves that run width wise, scoop about 3/4 of a cup of quinoa onto the sheet of nori and spread using a spatula over the sheet, leaving 2 grooves plain on the top.

9. Once the quinoa has been evenly spread, place your ingredients in the middle of the sheet.

10. Now it is time to roll! This may be the trickiest part. You want to try to roll it as tight as you can, rolling until you get to the part of the nori where you didn’t put the quinoa on.

11. Dip your fingers in a bit of water and paint some water onto the bare nori, once it is slightly damp you can finish rolling. The water allows the nori to stick together.

12. Now you have a log. Have a tall glass of water handy so you can dip your knife into it before cutting, the water on the knife will make for a smoother cut as the water helps disintegrate the nori a bit.
I find using two different knives works best. First I use a serrated knife to help cut into the nori, and then I use a chef’s knife to cut the bottom of the nori. Cut the log into 6-7 pieces, depending on how big you want your sushi to be.

 13. And you’re done! Serve with some soy sauce (gluten free tamari) and a little bit of wasabi!

(Left – mango/avocado/cucumber. Right – mango/avocado/smoked salmon cream cheese

I wasn’t sure how the smoked salmon cream cheese would taste in the sushi, but wow, was it delicious! I usually have salmon cream cheese sushi when I’m out for sushi, so I thought this would take on that taste. I was also adventurous with the pairings. 

OSG Protein Power Bowl

As I said in my post yesterday afternoon, once I read about Angela’s Protein Power Bowl yesterday morning, it was all I thought about ALL day!! Dinner finally rolled around and I was just so excited to make it. I used fennel instead of onion, quinoa flakes instead of waiting 30-40 minutes for real quinoa to cook, and I didn’t add garlic but I did add a few other goodies.

Angela’s version can be found here.

Meg’s Version of Protein Power Bowl:

– 1/3 cup quinoa flakes
– 1/4 cup Perky’s Crunch Flax (who said you had to have cereal with milk?)
– 1/3 cup chickpeas
– 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
– 1 tbsp ground flax
– 1/2 cup fennel
– 5 asparagus spears
– sprinkle of GF tamari
– 1 tsp curry powder

Cook the quinoa flakes in 2/3 cups of water for about 90 seconds (or as the instructions on the box read). Sauté the fennel and asparagus together. Pretty easy right? Then just throw it all in a bowl and add the toppings!

The quinoa flakes are hiding underneath the mess of all of the other deliciousness.

YUM! It was definitely what I was expecting..but better. I loved all of the crunchy textures and different tastes I added it. I was hesitant when I used tamari after I had put the curry in, but it was actually quite delicious. I will definitely make this again and it kept me feeling full for quite a long time.

I also had raw carrot fries with ketchup. I know, I know…sounds a little odd right? But trust me, don’t bash it until you try! Do you like sweet potato fries with ketchup? Then you will like these! Such a good combo!
Well, I must go make some brain food for my long day of studying…tomorrow is my first exam!!! I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty nervous for it…it just crept up way to quickly. Have a wonderful Sunday 🙂

A Day Full of Cooking

The other day my mom and I spent the day cooking up a storm of ‘Meg Friendly Foods’ to individually package and freeze so that I could stick them in my freezer at school for the days when I want an easy meal. Buying pre made frozen foods that I can eat are very hard to find. I either find something that is gluten free but has dairy in it, or something dairy free but has gluten in it. Now I have over 20 frozen meals that will be great to take out if I come home from a late yoga class or am just being super lazy!
We made a slow cooker chicken and garbanzo bean veggie soup, sweet potato bean soup, turkey shepherds pie (free of potatoes), and gluten free, dairy free mac and cheese!
I taste tested all of the final products and yum were they good! I can’t wait to eat them for meals!

I would highly recommend you try this mac and cheese recipe that I used from Gluten Free Goddess. I thought that it actually tasted like a creamy dairy cheese, gluten pasta mac and cheese, it was so good! My mom even thought it was pretty good!

Gluten Free Dairy Free Mac and Cheese (slightly modified by Meg)

12 oz. dry gluten-free macaroni pasta
3 tablespoons safflower oil
3 tablespoons white rice flour
2 1/2 cups unsweetened rice milk
2 cups shredded non-dairy gluten-free cheddar cheese
1/2 to 1 teaspoon gluten-free honey mustard
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup gluten free breadcrumbs

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and pre-cook the gluten-free pasta just until it is al dente. Drain the pasta and rinse it under cold water. Set aside.

In a saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat, and stir in the rice flour. Cook and stir the flour for about 10 seconds, then slowly add in the rice milk, whisking to blend.

Bring the mixture to a bubble then reduce the heat to low. Add the shredded cheese, mustard, nutmeg, and stir. Continue stirring the sauce until the cheese melts. Remove from heat and set aside.


Add in the pasta, stirring to coat. Pour into a baking dish or individual baking dishes, top with bread crumbs, cover and freeze. OR – place in a 350 degrees oven and bake for 25 minutes until bubbling.
Serves 6
before bread crumbs
after bread crumbs – final

How to make gluten free bread crumbs: Place 5-6 slices of gluten free bread on a pan and into the oven on high heat (5oo degrees). Broil until dark brown and toasted. Transfer to a food processor and process until crumbly. Place the crumbled mixture back on the pan and stick under the broil for a few more minutes until the mixture is crunchy. Voila! Now you have your own gluten free bread crumbs!

Gluten Free/Dairy Free/Potato Free Shepherds Pie
I was inspired by a recipe from WellSphere:

1 head cauliflower 2 parsnips 1 pound ground turkey 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup broccoli, chopped 3 celery stalks, sliced 1/2 cup onion, chopped 1 cup frozen peas 2 tsp dry tarragon 2 tsp dry thyme 2 tbsp olive oil 1 cup chicken broth, divided
paprika

Peel and chop parsnips and chop up cauliflower. Steam the two until tender and then blend using a hand blender or in a food processor with 1/2 cup broth and 1 tbsp of olive oil – blend until creamy.
While the parsnips/cauliflower steam, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large saute pan and add the ground turkey, brown for about 5 minutes. Add onion, celery, red peppers, broccoli, herbs and 1/2 cup chicken broth, stir and cover on medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the peas once everything is cooked.
Place the meat mixture in a dish and spread the cauliflower/parsnip puree evenly over top. Shake a little bit of paprika over top. Cover and freeze – OR broil until top is golden brown.

Serves 5

* If you have opted for freezing these dishes, take them out of the freezer in the morning of the day you are going to enjoy them (or the day before) to allow them to defrost, and then bake accordingly off of the recipe.

I’m so excited to eat these meals!

Moroccan Chicken Thighs

This is a delicious chicken recipe. Free of gluten, dairy, refined sugar, corn, and garlic.
You can substitute the dried dates for dried figs or dried apricots…or you can use all three fruits! If you can’t tolerate dried fruit, just cancel them out of the recipe, it won’t make a huge difference.
Moroccan Chicken Thighs
1 tsp stevia powder
1/2 tsp corriander
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp brown rice flour
1.5 tsp olive oil
12 skinless boneless chicken thighs
Sauce
2 cups chicken broth divided
8 pitted dried dates chopped
1 tsp brown rice flour
1/4 cup chopped shallots
Place chicken in a bowl. In another small bowl combine the first 5 ingredients. Set aside 1 tsp of the spice mix. Add flour to the remaining spice mix and sprinkle over the chicken.
In a large skillet, brown the chicken in the 1.5 tbsp oil until brown on both sides (4 minutes or so). Remove and keep warm. Add chopped onion to the pan, cook and stir for 3 minutes or until onions are browned. Stir in 1 cup chicken broth and dates, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and return chicken to pan. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes until the chicken’s juice runs clear. Remove chicken and keep warm. Combine the 1 tsp of brown rice flour with reserved spice mix and remaining remaining broth, add to the pan and boil for 2 minutes until the liquid has thickened. Throw the chicken back into the pan.
Ready to serve!
I served this dish with roasted sweet potatoes and parsnips, grilled zucchini and spring peas. It would also be lovely over brown rice or quinoa.

Honey Dijon Curry Chicken

Looking for a new chicken recipe? Try this one, I made it last night!
I forgot to write down the measurements, so this is a rough guess…just taste the mixture to see if it needs more of a certain ingredient.
Meg’s Honey Dijon Curry Chicken
– 2 tbsp dijon mustard
– 4 tbsp honey
– 2 tsp curry
– 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Mix together the mustard, honey and curry.
Spread on top of the chicken breasts.
Bake at 375 degrees F for about 50 minutes until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.
Half way through the baking time, pull out the dish and gather the honey mixture collected on the bottom of the dish and re-spread the chicken with it.
I served this with sweet potato and regular potato fries, asparagus, and mushrooms with artichokes.
Yum!

Yummy Stuffed Squash


This week Meghan, from Making Love in the Kitchen, and Gluten Free Gidget both posted on a recipe for stuffed squash.

Ever since last Sunday when Gluten Free Gidget posted about it, I immediately wanted to make it. And then on Monday Meghan posted a recipe for it, and I ended up thinking about the squash all week! Finally last night I had the time to actually make it. I did my own rendition and yum was it good!
Student rental houses don’t come equipped with the best ovens let me tell you, so I had to let my chicken cook in it’s lonesome in the oven that takes for ever to heat up.
Thus, I popped the acorn squash into the microwave and “waved” it on high for 10 minutes.
I then chopped it in half and placed it in the microwave for another 15 or so minutes until the squash was cooked and easy to mush up with a fork.
While the squash cooked in the microwave, I sauteed about 1/2 cup of “broccoli slaw”, you can find bags of this in the grocery store, it’s just a bag of shredded broccoli and cabbage.
I “mushed up” (I have no better word for explaining this) the squash inside the skin and then added the sauteed broccoli slaw to the squash and mushed the two of those together.
Since my chicken was cooked to it’s entirety, I cranked the oven to broil and placed the squash under the broiler until it golden-ed up a bit.
It was delicious, I ate the entire half!
My squash was accompanied by a chicken breast cooked in 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice and smothered with 1/2 tsp of mild curry.
I also sauteed a few button mushrooms and spinach.
Yum yum yum!
I love when Fridays come along and I actually have the time to cook up a good meal 🙂
I really recommend you try this recipe, it was so easy and so delicious!