Holiday Worthy? Farro and Asparagus Pilaf

Do you sense the holidays approaching?

If you’re the cook in the family, I’ll bet you’ve already started planning the menu. What’s more, if you’re anything like me, the hunt for holiday worthy side dishes is on.

Farro and Asparagus Pilaf

Farro and Asparagus Pilaf

Our family has more than one good cook, so the competition to come up with a dish that’s never been done before is fierce.

This year I’ve decided I’m going to be the Side Dish Queen. My contributions will be unique and innovative, like this farro and asparagus pilaf.

Farro and Asparagus Pilaf

Farro and Asparagus Pilaf

Having used farro in a Mediterranean salad in the past, I knew it would be a nice change from brown rice in this easy pilaf recipe.

The asparagus was definitely a colorful, holiday-like addition, and with only six ingredients to deal with, my side dish was on the table in under 30 minutes.

Farro and Asparagus Pilaf

Farro and Asparagus Pilaf

The combination of farro, asparagus and grilled cod was a hit, but would it work with a roasted turkey, and will it make me the Queen of Side Dish Recipes?

Time will tell!

Farro and Asparagus

Serving Size: 8

Shake It Up! You can switch out farro with quick cooking barley or brown rice. Broccoli chopped into small pieces could replace the asparagus during the months when asparagus is quite expensive.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups Trader Joe's 10 minute farro, cooked according to package directions
  • ½ medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups asparagus spears, chopped (thinner stalks)
  • ½ large lemon , juiced
  • 1 cup parsley, finely chopped

Instructions

  1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add oil and onion. Cook for 3 - 5 minutes to soften.
  3. Add asparagus and cook another 3 - 5 minutes until asparagus is crisp-tender.
  4. Add farro, lemon and parsley. Cook another 2 - 3 minutes to warm through.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

Calories: 304kcal Weight Watchers PointsPlus 8 Saturated fatty acids: 0.51g Monounsaturated fatty acids: 2.49g Polyunsaturated fatty acids: 0.40g Total fat: 4.89g Calories from fat: 44 Cholesterol: -- Carbohydrate, by difference: 56.42g Total dietary fiber: 9.28g Protein: 12.28g

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Meatless Monday Black Beans and Quinoa Veggie Burgers with Peach Salsa

Have you heard of Meatless Mondays?

Black Bean and Quinoa Burgers with Peach Salsa

Black Bean and Quinoa Veggie Burgers with Peach Salsa

Meatless Monday has been around since approximately 2003, and was started as a way to improve your health by abstaining from meat for a day. The idea was to help reduce your risk of cancer, heart problems and obesity, at the same time you would also be supporting our environment by reducing your carbon footprint.

Sounds like a good thing to me and these veggie burgers fit this theme perfectly.

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Chai Tea Steel-Cut Oatmeal with Apples

Chai Tea Oatmeal with Apples

Chai Tea Oatmeal with Apples

During my high school years I worked at the local pharmacy. The pharmacist was a fatherly man in his mid-sixties who loved to share advice on a variety of subjects, including what a person should eat for breakfast.

He believed everyone would benefit from a bowl of oatmeal.

Chai Tea Steel Cut Oatmeal

Chai Tea Steel Cut Oatmeal

While we don’t eat oatmeal every day, it is on the breakfast menu more often than not. My fatherly pharmacist was a smart man – a cup of oats a day is definitely a good thing.

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Looking for an Easter Dinner Side Dish?

I’m a lucky woman, my family is joining me for Easter. This means I’ll get lots of hugs from the people most important in my life, and I’ll have the pleasure of cooking for them too.

It’s time to hunt through the archives and find a few family pleasing side dishes to go along with my pork roast. Since I’m menu planning this morning, I thought I would share my favorite side dish recipes with you, just in case you’re on the recipe hunt too.

Enjoy!

Beets with Shallot and Tarragon Vinaigrette

Beets with Shallot and Tarragon Vinaigrette

Beets with Shallot and Tarragon Vinaigrette

Colcannon

Colcannon

Colcannon

Chard with White Wine and Parmesan

Chard with White Wine and Parmesan Cheese

Chard with White Wine and Parmesan Cheese

Sweet Roasted Carrots and Red Potatoes with Rosemary

Sweet Roasted Carrots and Red Potatoes with Rosemary

Sweet Roasted Carrots and Red Potatoes with Rosemary

Green Bean and Roasted Red Pepper Salad
Can easily be served heated as a side dish.

Green Bean and Roasted Red Pepper Salad

Green Bean and Roasted Red Pepper Salad

Broccoli Rice Medley

Broccoli Rice Medley

Broccoli Rice Medley

Crunchy Apple and Bean Salad
Great for the vegetarians in the family.

Crunchy Apple and Bean Salad

Crunchy Apple and Bean Salad

Tender Green Kale with Creamy Goat Cheese and Walnuts

Tender Green Kale with Creamy Goat Cheese and Walnuts

Tender Green Kale with Creamy Goat Cheese and Walnuts

Crusty Yukon Gold Diced Potatoes with Garlic and Thyme

Crusty Yukon Gold Diced Potatoes with Garlic and Thyme

Crusty Yukon Gold Diced Potatoes with Garlic and Thyme

Sun Dried Tomato and Parmesan Brussels Sprouts

Sun Dried Tomato and Parmesan Brussels Sprouts

Sun Dried Tomato and Parmesan Brussels Sprouts

Sweet Honey and Garlic Glazed Roasted Asparagus

Sweet Honey and Garlic Glazed Roasted Asparagus

Sweet Honey and Garlic Glazed Roasted Asparagus


Nutty Wild Rice with Carrots and Peas

Nutty Wild Rice with Asian Grilled Salmon

Nutty Wild Rice with Asian Grilled Salmon

As far as I’m concerned a meal isn’t complete without an outstanding side dish. This recipe for nutty wild rice paired perfectly with my Asian glazed grilled salmon.

Nutty Wild Rice

Nutty Wild Rice

I’ll take a nutty brown rice any day of the week over white rice. As far as I’m concerned it has the best texture and flavor. I’ll cook up a batch in my rice cooker and freeze it in portions for later use. How easy is that? Then all I have to do is add a few seasonings and some vegetables and I have the perfect side dish.

Don’t forget to save the leftovers. Those bits of meat chopped into your rice makes a perfect mid-day meal. Happy cooking!

Nutty Wild Rice

Nutty Wild Rice

Nutty Wild Rice with Carrots and Peas

Serving Size: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup wild rice, rinsed and drained
  • 2 ¼ cups water
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 cup carrot , shredded
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 large green onion, sliced

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients EXCEPT frozen peas in a rice cooker, or medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce the heat to medium low, cover and simmer for 25 - 30 minutes until water is absorbed and rice is tender. Add peas and green onion a few minutes before the rice is done.
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Amount Per Serving

Calories: 134, Weight Watchers PointsPlus 3
Total Fat: 0.25g
Cholesterol: –
Sodium: 731mg
Total Carbs: 29.15g
Dietary Fiber: 3.20g
Sugars: 5.89g
Protein: 4.13g

Please see disclaimer for further details. Nutrition information is compiled with MacGourmet. If you find discrepancies, please let me know. It’s important to me that I provide you with accurate information.


Festive Wild Rice and Cranberry Salad

Don’t  forget a healthy side dish to go alongside your holiday turkey or ham . . .

Wild Rice and Cranberry Salad

Wild Rice and Cranberry Salad

You can’t beat a nutty wild rice for flavor and texture. This rice contains a long grain brown rice, black barley, and daikon radish seeds.

Festive Wild Rice and Cranberry Salad

Festive Wild Rice and Cranberry Salad

The addition of fresh ruby red cranberries and crunchy green toasted pepitas gives this wild rice salad a Christmas appeal, but the salad just didn’t seem complete without some salty feta cheese and few sweet dried cranberries. Your family will never guess they’re eating something good for them!

Wishing you and yours a happy holiday season and a very, Merry Christmas!

Festive Wild Rice and Cranberry Salad

Serving Size: 6

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup wild rice, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup cranberries, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup green onion
  • ⅓ cup pepitas, toasted
  • ½ cup low fat feta, crumbled
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons grape seed oil
  • 2 tablespoons tarragon wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper

Instructions

  1. 1. Cook rice according to package directions. I used bulk wild rice and 2 cups water in a rice cooker.
  2. 2. Halfway through rice cooking time, add fresh cranberries.
  3. 3. Remove rice from the stove to a bowl. Fluff with a fork and chill for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  4. 4. Add onion, pepitas, parsley, feta and dried cranberries to the bowl.
  5. 5. In a small bowl combine grape seed oil, tarragon wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Pour over rice and lightly toss to combine.
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What’s good for me in this dish?

Wild rice is a complete protein because it contains all 9 essential amino acids. This makes it a good choice for vegetarians. High in fiber, wild rice is a good choice for dieters looking for filling foods. It contains iron and copper but less fat, zinc, manganese and calcium than traditional brown rice. Wild rice is high in B vitamins niacin, riboflavin and thiamine, as well as potassium and phosphorus.

Amount Per Serving

Calories: 248, Old Weight Watchers Points 5, Weight Watchers PointsPlus 7

  • Total Fat: 10.16g
  • Cholesterol: 11mg
  • Sodium: 342mg
  • Total Carbs: 32.65g
  • Dietary Fiber: 3.75g
  • Sugars: 8.72g
  • Protein: 7.97g

Nutrition details obtained from whfoods.org, nutritiondata.com, about.com, and abouthomecooking.com. The statement made here are strictly my opinion and are not meant to replace medical advice from your physician. Please see disclaimer for further details. Nutrition information is compiled with MacGourmet. If you find discrepancies, please let me know. It’s important to  me that I provide you with accurate information.

Wild Rice and Cranberry Salad on Foodista


Meat Free Black Bean, Quinoa and Fresh Corn Tacos

Meat free? Are you kidding me?

This was my husband’s response when I told him we were going to eat meat free once a week. That was a year ago, and he hasn’t complained one bit.

Mexican Black Bean and Fresh Corn Tacos

Mexican Black Bean and Fresh Corn Tacos

And why would he? It’s easy enough to replace chicken and beef with filling foods like protein packed beans and grains like quinoa.

Don’t get me wrong, a juicy steak with horseradish on the side is tops on my list of favorite meals. In fact, I believe that we need good sources of protein in our diet, and that includes a variety of  meats and seafood. I also believe that eating meat free adds variety to our menus, thus adding other nutrients we wouldn’t normally get in our typical weekday meals.

Eating meat free is a great way to expand our menu and try new foods.

These tacos are a perfect example of a filling, meat free meal. With lots of creamy black beans and corn fresh from the cob, all I had to do was add Drick’s Mexican seasoning for kick and dinner was on the table in no time flat.

Can’t beat that!

Meat Free? Try These Black Bean and Fresh Corn Tacos

Serving Size: 8

Ingredients

  • 1 cup green pepper, finely chopped
  • ½ cup red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup corn, fresh from the cob
  • 2 cups cabbage, shredded
  • 3 tablespoons Drick's Mexican Seasoning
  • 1 medium lime, juiced
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 8 small tortillas
  • 8 tablespoons light sour cream
  • 8 tablespoons light Mexican cheese, shredded

Instructions

  1. Spray a non-stick skillet with cooking spray over medium heat. Add peppers and onion and cook stirring frequently for 5 minutes until peppers and onion soften.
  2. Add vegetable broth, garlic, tomatoes, corn, cabbage, Mexican seasoning and lime juice. Reduce heat to medium low and cook another 10 minutes.
  3. Add rice and combine.
  4. Serve with tortillas, sour cream and cheese.
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What’s good for me in this dish?

Cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin C,  fiber, manganese, folate, vitamin B6, potassium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Cabbage protects against cardiovascular disease, some kinds of cancers, Alzheimer’s Disease and gastrointestinal health.

Beans are an excellent source of antioxidants, folic acid, potassium, dietary fiber and complex carbohydrates. Filling and a great source of protein. Folic acid is important for the formation of red blood cells. Potassium is important for our nervous system and promotes a healthy heart rhythm. Fiber is important for digestive health.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 281, Weight Watchers Points 7
Total Fat: 22.61g
Cholesterol: –
Sodium: 61mg
Total Carbs: 15.54g
Dietary Fiber: 7.52g
Sugars: 5.01g
Protein: 4.53g

Nutrition details obtained from whfoods.org, nutritiondata.com, about.com, and abouthomecooking.com. The statement made here are strictly my opinion and are not meant to replace medical advice from your physician. Please see disclaimer for further details.

Black Bean and Fresh Corn Tacos on Foodista


Healthy Quinoa Salad with Apricots and Almonds

Quinoa lesson for the day . . .

Quinoa Salad Makings

Quinoa Salad Makings

What is quinoa?

Technically it isn’t a grain. It’s the seed of a leafy plant and a relative of chard and spinach. Quinoa eaters think of it as a grain because it can replace most grains used in any dish. It’s the perfect replacement for rice.

Quinoa has a tender texture and mild taste. My recent discovery was red quinoa. I love the color in salads as opposed to the light tan color of the quinoa I’ve used in the past.

Whatever you do, don’t spend $5 on a box of the stuff! It’s much, much cheaper in your store’s bulk bins.

Most importantly, quinoa is a complete protein. This means it can replace meat as your protein for the meal. It’s a terrific protein option for vegetarians.

End of quinoa lesson. If you haven’t tried it yet, I hope I’ve convinced you that you’re really missing out.

Happy cooking!

Quinoa, Apricot and Almond Salad

Quinoa, Apricot and Almond Salad

Healthy Quinoa Salad with Apricots and Almonds

Serving Size: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ cup almonds , sliced and toasted
  • ½ cup dried apricots, chopped
  • ¼ cup chives, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp sugar

Instructions

  1. 1. Bring water to a boil and add quinoa. Cook for 10 - 15 minutes over medium low heat until water is evaporated and quinoa is tender.
  2. 2. Allow quinoa to cool, then combine with apricots, almonds and chives.
  3. 3. Combine olive oil, vinegar, mustard and sugar in a small bowl.
  4. 4. Combine with quinoa and chill for 30 minutes.
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What’s good for me in this dish?

Apricots contain manganese, vitamin E, magnesium, tryptophan, copper, vitamin B2 and phosphorus. Apricots lower LDL-Cholesterol and so lower your risk of heart disease. They also protect agains against Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease. Dried apricots are equally as good as their fresh form when it comes to their nutritional value.

Quinoa is a nutrition powerhouse. A complete protein containing all 9 essential amino acids, it’s also high in manganese, magnesium, iron, tryptophan, copper and phosphorus. Quinoa provides significant benefits for heart health. It’s also useful for people who suffer from migraine headaches. High in fiber, it’s useful for those dieting as it’s filling, as well as the benefits of fiber for certain types of cancers.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 273
Total Fat: 10.61g
Cholesterol: –
Sodium: 21mg
Total Carbs: 36.90g
Dietary Fiber: 4.73g
Sugars: 7.49g
Protein: 7.96g

Weight Watchers Points 6

Nutrition details obtained from whfoods.org, nutritiondata.com, about.com, and abouthomecooking.com.


Healthy Quinoa Salad With Apricots and Almonds


Broccoli and Brown Rice Rice Medley


I know several people who say if they didn’t have to, they would never eat another vegetable again in their lives.

Broccoli

Broccoli

It’s a concept that’s hard for a vegetable lover like myself to understand. I’m one of those weird people that orders a veggie omelet for breakfast at the local restaurant, while everyone else requests ham and cheese. I can even skip the cheese. I’m happy with the eggs, peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach, etc., etc. You get the idea.

For those of you that are in the veggie hater category, hiding vegetables in your food is my only option. This rice side dish is a perfect example of what you can expect if you come to my house for dinner. Small pieces of broccoli florets are interspersed amongst a nutty rice, and sprinkled with chives and cilantro.

You’ll be so happy with the rice, that you’ll never notice you’re eating a green vegetable!

Happy cooking!

Broccoli Rice Medley

Broccoli Rice Medley

You Say You Don’t Like Broccoli? Try This Broccoli Rice Medley

Serving Size: 6

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Trader Joe's Brown Rice Medley, any wild rice combination
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 3 cups broccoli florets, cut into small pieces
  • ½ cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • ½ cup chives, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. 1. Bring water or broth to boiling in a rice cooker, or medium pan.
  2. 2. Reduce heat and cook for 20 - 30 minutes until liquid evaporates and rice is cooked.
  3. 3. Add remaining ingredients and cook for another 3 - 4 minutes.
  4. 4. Remove from heat and set aside. Allow broccoli to continue to cook off the heat for 5 minutes.
  5. 5. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
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What’s good for me in this dish?

Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable, and a powerhouse of nutrition. Vitamins C, K, A, folate, fiber, manganese, tryptophan and potassium help the body fight bladder, ovarian and prostate cancer. Broccoli is good for detoxification and stomach health; as well as cardiac and vision health. Wow!

Brown rice is high in manganese, selenium, magnesium and tryptophan. You need manganese for healthy nerves and blood sugar regulation. Selenium assists our immune systems and supports the prostate gland.

Servings: 6
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 102
Total Fat: 0.33g
Cholesterol: –
Sodium: 102mg
Total Carbs: 21.27g
Dietary Fiber: 2.33g
Sugars: 1.16g
Protein: 4.72g
Weight Watchers Points 2

Broccoli Rice Medley on Foodista