Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Quinoa Cauliflower bites

Feeling creative and looking forward to a healthy meal disguised as a treat I came up with these yummy bites! Lots of people don't know what to do nor how to cook quinoa so this is a nice basic recipe for beginners and experts!

It's not 100% clean, I'll be honest, since it has parmesan and turkey sausage but it was healthy and clean enough for my dinner! Especially considering amounts of these items are very reasonable.

Adjust to what you have in the fridge. All you have is broccoli and some old slices of turkey breast? No problem! Leftover zucchini and a piece of swiss lingering in your fridge? I'm sure that will work too.

Try these as an afternoon snack or as a side for a nice meal.

Base ingredients:

1/2 cup of quinoa
1 cup of vegetable or chicken broth (optional)
1 small head of cauliflower, steamed, chopped tiny
1/2 cup shredded parmesan
2 extra large eggs, free range preferably
2 T of extra virgin olive oil
2 small shallots
1 handful of fresh herbs (parsley, chives, thyme, oregano...)
1/2 package of smoked turkey sausage (approx. 7oz), diced small
1/4 teaspoon of salt (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
pinch of nutmeg
ground black pepper to taste

Cook 1/2 cup of quinoa by adding it to 1 cup of boiling liquid. I used chicken broth. As soon as it boils again, lower the heat and let it simmer covered. When water is absorbed and dries from surface, let quinoa finish cooking with the lid off until all water evaporates. A total of 20 minutes, approximately. Set aside.

Steam a head of cauliflower in a spaghetti pot for about 7 minutes or until vegetable is tender but still has a firm bite to it. Chop it carefully into small pieces after it cools. Do not let it cool inside the pot as it will keep cooking and form a puree! (Which, now that I think about, could work for this as well... )

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients. Fill a nonstick muffin tray with the mixture, flattening the surface of each one with a spoon to compact contents.

Cook in pre heated oven @385F for about 20 minutes, until golden brown. Let it cool for 5-10 minutes before removing from tray.


> If desired, you can top each muffin with more parmesan or any cheese and broil it for a few extra minutes.

> I pan fried the diced shallots with the sausage for extra flavor!

> The best olive oil for this is the Mild & Buttery by Olive Ranch California

> Try using 1 cup of cheddar instead of the parmesan for a more moist and compact bite. (a bit fatter, too!)

> If you don't let it cool, it will be very hard to get the muffins out of the tray without crumbling.  Plan ahead!

> Hubby said he would be ok if I replaced the turkey sausage with real bacon and fried the shallots in its grease. I was aiming for something a bit healthier but, hey... Whatever works for you! Give it try if you're anything like Justin! It does sound delicious!

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