Kitchen sink quinoa and roasted beet salad

Bethie had me over for dinner. It was delicious. We were aiming for light and healthy. We had homemade carrot/apple juice, quinoa salad and a roasted beet salad. Beth almost killed me by trying to feed me shrimps (she forgot!), but luckily I noticed right away and she most kindly got out a chicken breast for me. The shrimps and chicken were in a butter, lime, garlic and red curry marinade. Yum.

First – the juice. You need to buy a juicer, or this whole thing doesn’t work. You simply chop up fruit, and drop it in. While I can take the credit for the juicing (okay, you might call it the chopping and dropping), Beth was the creative genius behind the flavors. Two apples (Gala or something similar), two peeled carrots and about an inch of ginger. Delicious and so healthy. It’s really fun too. The clean up didn’t seem great, but Beth was saying the good thing about her juicer is all the parts come apart so you can get them all clean.

Next – the salads. The roasted beet salad was the easiest. The beets were the pre-cooked ones in the plastic package – they’re actually quite nice! We cut up the beets and roasted them in the oven while we prepared everything else. Then they went in the salad bowl with some spinach, roasted walnuts (done quickly over the stove) and goats cheese crumbles. The dressing was rice vinegar and olive oil. I love goat cheese and beets. I also love Beth’s glass bowl and salad tongs.

The quinoa salad is next. I called it the kitchen sink quinoa salad because that’s how we put it together – digging through Beth’s fridge. Luckily she has lots of nice vegetables in her fridge – mine typically has a Brita water filter, beer and condiments. Lately I’ve been stocking those Kozy Shack tapioca puddings too. Tonight I’ve also got some strawberries and celery in there. So, even on a good night, mine is not as great as Beth’s.

Beth prepared the quinoa. I’ve actually never cooked it – it looks easy, but I’m fearful that it is similar to rice – something I’ve never been able to successfully make. Please don’t judge.  I’m told it’s because I peek at it too much, releasing the steam. I had the all important job of chopping the veggies from the fridge. We decided to put in the following: avocado, red onion and red bell pepper. Non fridge items included raisins, almonds and a bit of shredded coconut. I was surprised that Beth had coconut on had and asked what she used it in – to which she said “everything”! Eating at Beth’s seems like it’s more of a party than at mine! Routine use of coconut!?! Fun! We drizzled a bit of the rice vinaigrette from the other salad on this as well.

Beth’s shrimps were pre-cooked, so they just needed to be taken out of the fridge where they’d been marinating, and I cooked my chicken breast on one of those Le Creuset grill pans. I loved that thing! I am definitely getting one! The chicken cooked so well, and it had grill lines on it! The chicken had marinade on it (a bit of butter, smashed garlic, lime juice and red curry sauce), but we sprayed the pan w/a bit of olive oil Pam so it didn’t stick.

This dinner was fabulous – so light, healthy and full of flavor, and not much work at all. We had so many colors on our plates – purples, greens, reds greens, orange – (that’s the new rage – eat as many colors as possible) that it was a treat to look at as well as being quite healthy. I really liked the quinoa salad. I was nervous about the raisins and coconut being too sweet with the savory items, but they came together quite nicely. I’m going to cook some quinoa and let you know how easy it is. It too, is the new rage – apparently the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations has declared 2013 as “The International Year of the Quinoa”. See – and here I am helping you get ahead of the curve! It’s quite healthy for you – it has a lot of anti-inflammatory properties, and has antioxidants and heart healthy fatty acids. Not to mention this was a much more balanced dinner than the one I had the other night that was comprised of one cantaloupe, and one Kozy Shack tapioca pudding. Lol.

Update: After publishing this post, I think my mother was quite distressed at my use of the word “shrimps”, which I do know is not actually a word. Please note I do know that “shrimp” is the singular and plural form of those little things that will kill me.

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