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Summer Chickpea Quinoa

There’s nothing better than fresh produce from a farmer’s market – food tastes better knowing you’re supporting local, sustainable farming. For this recipe I used half quinoa and half brown rice, but you could use all of just one of those.

Ingredients:
1 c. cooked quinoa
1 c. cooked brown rice
1 tsp. rosemary
1 can chickpeas (drained)
1 medium zucchini
1/2 head of cauliflower
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. dried parsley
1/4 tsp. garlic salt

Combine quinoa and rice after it is cooked. Dice cauliflower and zucchini and stir into quinoa/rice mix along with chickpeas. Add all spices and stir well, then add more spices to taste.

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Veggie Chickpea Rice

This is a quick, easy, and delicious recipe for a busy night!

Ingredients:
2 c. cooked brown rice
1 head of broccoli
1/2 can chickpeas
1 c. frozen chopped spinach
1/2 small onion
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. dried basil
~2 tbsp. soy sauce

Chop the broccoli and onions into small pieces and saute in pan until soft, and then add in frozen spinach. Combine sauteed vegetables, chickpeas, and brown rice in bowl. Pour in balsamic vinegar and basil and stir well, then add soy sauce to taste.

Rice/Vegetable Casserole with Tomato-Balsamic Chicken

This main course was an experimental meal that I made for my mom, and she loved it! You could experiment with adding other vegetables to the casserole and varying the amount of cheese in the dish; it’s sure to be delicious no matter what.

Casserole:
2 c. cooked brown rice
1 package (10 oz.) frozen spinach
1 medium-sized head of broccoli
1 c. mushrooms, chopped
1/2 c. scallions, chopped
1/2 c. feta cheese, crumbled
3/4 c. Parmesan cheese, coarsely grated
2 eggs
1/4 c. milk
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Italian seasoning
Salt

Chicken:
3 boneless chicken breasts
1 can diced tomatoes (with basil, oregano, or other spices)
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
Handful of scallions
Garlic pepper

For the casserole, cook brown rice as directed on the package. Allow spinach to thaw and drain the water using a strainer. Chop mushrooms, broccoli, and scallions into small pieces. In a bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, and Worcestershire sauce, and add a pinch of salt and Italian seasoning. Stir in the scallions, mushrooms, broccoli, and spinach. Then add in the feta and 1/2 cup of Parmesan. Finally, add in the rice and mix well. Pour into a casserole dish (ours was 1.5 quarts) and bake on 350 covered for 30 minutes. It should be warmed all the way through with the cheese beginning to melt. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan on top and return to the oven, uncovered, for 20 minutes, so that the cheese on top is beginning to brown.

Here’s a photo of the casserole just out of the oven!

IMG_3666

While the casserole is baking, prepare the chicken. Cut the breasts into 1-2 inch pieces, sprinkle with garlic pepper, and saute on medium until mostly cooked – it’s okay if they are still pink in the middle. Remove the chicken from the pan, and saute the scallions for a few minutes. Then add in the diced tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. Return the chicken to the pan and allow to cook on medium for another 5-10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked all the way through. Let the chicken simmer until the casserole is done, and then enjoy the two together!

An Authentic Nicaraguan Meal

After a visit to Nicaragua where we were impressed by the food, we decided to try making our own Nicaraguan meal. As a side note, you can get incredibly sweet mangoes for about 5 cents each there! Definitely worth the plane ticket. Anyway, this is a classic Nicaraguan breakfast, but we made it for dinner. The main course is gallo pinto, scrambled eggs, tortillas, and fried plantains. We served the main course with a fruit salad of watermelon, pineapple, and banana, as well as the national cocktail of Nicaragua, macuá.

Gallo Pinto:

Gallo pinto (translated to painted rooster) is a combination of rice and beans, a staple in Nicaragua and much of Central America. The sauce traditionally used to make the dish is called Salsa Lizano, but unfortunately it can rarely be found anywhere outside Central America. We made this dish with Worcestershire sauce instead, which worked surprisingly well, but we will order Salsa Lizano online for our next go at it.

2 cans of beans
4 c. cooked white, long-grain rice
1 bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Handful of cilantro, chopped
5 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce or Salsa Lizano2 tbsp. canola oil

Saute onion, pepper, and garlic in canola oil until soft. Add beans and rice and allow to heat up. Add Worcestershire sauce and cilantro and mix well. Serve with scrambled eggs, tortilla, and fried plantain.

Fried Plantains:

Plantains are hugely abundant in Central America, but much harder to find in the US. Ideally, the plantains will be very ripe – this means that the skin is dark brown. However, we used plantains that were yellow and beginning to turn brown, and the dish was still delicious. We fried these plantains in 2 batches, in a medium-sized frying pan.

2 large, ripe plantains
4 tbsp. canola oil
1 tsp. sugar

Slice the plantains diagonally into disks that are about 1/2-inch thick. Lightly sprinkle sugar on sliced plantain. Pour half the oil into the pan and allow it to heat up on medium heat. Place the plantains into the frying pan and allow to cook for a few minutes on each side. They are done when both sides have a well-done brown color.

Here’s a picture of our main course:

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Macuá:

1 1/2 oz. white rum
2 oz. lemon juice2 oz. guava juice
1 oz. orange juice
1/2 oz. simple syrup

Fill shaker halfway with crushed ice. Pour in all ingredients and shake. Serve over ice.

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