Author Archives: Nedra Dias

About Nedra Dias

a girl who likes to cook I traded in the ideals of my youth for a cubicle and a paycheck. My company traded me in, so I left the country for a month.

Quinoa, Lentil, and Kale Salad

This is meant to be a very basic, base recipe that anything can be added to.  Tofu, chicken, other vegetables, etc.  I was just using things I had in house.  It can be eaten warm or cold.  (I wanted to try it before it cooled and it tasted good warm).

Ingredients:

1 bunch Kale

1 cup dried lentils, cooked per directions

1 cup dry quinoa, cooked per directions

lemon

1 tbsp Olive Oil

1 1/2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar

Salt

Pepper

Onion Powder

Garlic Powder

 

Directions:

  1. Cook lentils according to directions and then drain.  You’ll want to undercook them slightly if you want a little more crunch and less mush.  (Mine were more mush but still tasted good).
  2. Cook Quinoa according to directions.
  3. Mix lentils & Quinoa together
  4. While Lentils & Quinoa are still warm, toss in kale.  This will get it to wilt slightly
  5. Add remaining ingredients.  I used flavored olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Spaghetti with Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-recipe/spaghetti-squash-with-basil-and-creamy-cauliflower-alfredo-sauce/  This is the recipe I started with.  Modifications shown below.

Things I changed/misc points:

  • The original recipe makes double or possibly triple the amount of sauce you need for one spaghetti squash.  I halved it below.  I made the entire amount, mixed it in, and since I used a green cauliflower, it looked like split pea soup.
  • One spaghetti squash makes enough for two people plus several days of leftovers.
  • Original recipe has you add the garlic raw to the sauce which was over powering.  I’ve moved it to be sauteed with the bell pepper, mushrooms, and onions.  alternatively, you could roast the garlic and put it in.  original called for 5 cloves which was too much.  i reduced to three

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Large organic red bell pepper (diced)
  • 1 cup organic mushrooms (diced)
  • 1 Small organic onion (diced)
  • 1/4 cup organic fresh basil (diced)
  • 3 cloves organic garlic chopped
  • 1 – 2 tablespoon coconut oil or olive oil
  • Parmesan Cheese (optional)

For the Sauce (cut in half from the original since there was an over abundance of sauce)

  • 1/2 of a head of cauliflower
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 – 1/2  salt (or to taste)
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper (or to taste)

For the Spaghetti Squash

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 – 2 teaspoon organic extra virgin olive oil

PREPARATION

For the Spaghetti Squash Pasta

  1. Prepare spaghetti squash by cutting the spaghetti squash in half.
  2. Scrape out all the seeds from the inside.
  3. Rub olive oil on the inside of the spaghetti squash.
  4. Bake face down at 350 degrees for approximately 45 – 50 minutes.
  5. Use a fork to scrape the inside of the squash out to use as “pasta.”

For the Sauce

  1. Cut the cauliflower into florets and boil in a large pot for about 15 minutes or until tender, and then strain.
  2. Put the cauliflower, milk, nutritional yeast, salt, cayenne pepper and garlic in a Vitamix (or other high powered blender) and blend until smooth and creamy.

For the Vegetables and Assemble

  1. Dice the red bell peppers, onions and mushrooms.
  2. In a saucepan, saute the red bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, and garlic until they are tender.
  3. Combine the sauteed vegetables, spaghetti squash pasta and cauliflower alfredo sauce.
  4. Toss with fresh chopped basil right before serving.
  5. Optional: Top with Parmesan cheese.

Lemon Curd with Shortbread Cookies

Husband 2.0 brought me a bag full of lemons from a co-worker’s tree.  there were about 10 or so lemons that I used for this recipe.

I started with this recipe as a base – http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/lemon-curd-104568

I made 1 1/2 times the amount called for since I had enough lemons to juice out 3/4 cup of lemon juice.

I made shortbread cookies to go with the lemon curd – http://www.food.com/recipe/super-easy-shortbread-3-ingredients-437729 is the simplest shortbread cookie recipe I could fine and it worked perfectly.  Great if you don’t want to roll out and chill dough.

Ingredients:

3/4 c lemon juice
3 tsp lemon zest
3/4 c sugar (i had to add more bcs it was too tart… but start w/ 3/4 c and then have more on hand to add to taste)
5 eggs
9 tablespoons butter

i used a double boiler, but it’s not required. put everything in the pot except for the butter. whisk. add the butter 1 tbsp at a time (i let one mostly melt before adding the next). it’s done when it’s thick and slightly bubbling. then chill for at least an hour.  After an hour, it’ll be close to the right consistency, but letting it sit longer will get it perfect.

The lemon curd will be good for a week in the fridge.  I plan on freezing small batches for use later.


Quinoa, Spinach, & Mushroom Quiche

This recipe started as a Whole Foods Recipe that I modified based on what I had in the house.

The quinoa for the most part settles to the bottom of the pan and creates a crust.  a few renegade pieces were left in the middle but tasted fine.  The quinoa didn’t get cooked like it normally would in water/stock where the little curly thingy pops out, but it was still quite tasty.

Ingredients:

non-stick cooking spray

1/3 cup quinoa

6 eggs

1/2 cup milk (I used Almond Milk – any type of milk works)

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

spices to taste (the original recipe called for fresh thyme which I didn’t have.  I used a small amount of powdered thyme – be careful, it can overwhelm the recipe.  I also used some dried basil.  I recommend using whatever spices you like including salt & pepper)

1 cup baby spinach (can be roughly chopped as the original recipe indicated, I left it whole and it worked fine)

2 small portabella mushrooms (again, use the amount you like)

1 tablespoon julienne sun-dried tomatoes

the original recipe also calls for Parmesan cheese which I didn’t include.  i’m sure it would be very good with it though.  If used, the cheese should be put on in the last 10-15 minutes.

 

Method:

preheat the oven to 350F.  Spray a pie pan with non-stick cooking spray

Rinse quinoa (i never do this, up to you).

Whisk eggs, milk, garlic, spices, and quinoa.  Add in vegetables.  pour mixture into a prepared dish.  cover with foil and shake it like a polaroid picture so the quinoa settles to the bottom.  Cook for 30-40 minutes.  Cook 10-15 minutes more uncovered.  


Bacon Salad with Potatoes (or Potato Salad with a lot of bacon)

Makes 10-16 servings.  Depends on how big the guys are that you’re feeding.  in my case, I think it’s going to be the lower

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs your favorite thick cut bacon (I chose the peppered bacon) – buy something good, not any of the cheap shit.  and no turkey bacon for this recipe, use the real deal.
  • 6 -7 lbs red potatoes (used just over a 5 lb bag) – cut into pieces, about 3/4 inch thick.  you can go as thick as you want… it’s up to you how you want the consistency to be and how long you want the potatoes to cook.  I like smaller pieces
  • one large red onion
  • 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup whole mayonnaise (none of the light shit for this recipe… seriously, you’re cooking 2 lbs of bacon, why the heck would you use low fat mayo at this point?)
  • 2/3 cup sour cream (whole, fatty, yummy)
  1. in reality, you need about 1 1/2 lbs of bacon, but let’s be real.  you’re going to eat at least 2-3 pieces while you’re cooking it.  and if anyone else is in the house, they’re going to eat some bacon.  So the goal here is to cook enough bacon for the recipe and not end up short because you only bought a pound.  Buy the 2 lbs, cook the 2 lbs, “sample” freely and if you have a few slices left over for a BLT, then you’ve executed it perfectly.
  2. Cook the bacon
  3. Save some of the bacon grease
  4. Saute the red onion in a little bit of bacon grease (including all those little brown bits in the bacon grease… yeah, save some of those and let the onion just bask in it).  Also add garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste.  Saute until tender.
  5. Ideally use a giant pasta steamer pot for the potatoes.  fill salted water just to the bottom of the steamer basket.  get the water boiling, then steam the potatoes covered for anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.  however long it takes to get them tender.  Stir periodically.
  6. Mix the potatoes and the vinegar together and let sit until the potatoes are cooled.  Stir periodically.  Add pepper to taste.  you can also add salt, but be careful, the bacon will also be salty so you dont’ want to over-salt.  It’ll take about an hour for everything to cool.
  7. Add the cooled onion and tear the bacon with your bare hands like a caveman.  Big ‘ol chunks of bacon in this recipe.  none of this “oh, hey, is that a piece of bacon” crap – you’re going to know it’s bacon when you bite into this salad.
  8. Add the mayonnaise and sour cream – you can add a little more of either depending on taste and how creamy you want the whole thing.  Keep in mind that you don’t want to add the mayo and sour cream to the potatoes until they have cooled – it will be gross if you do.
  9. Chill – I’m chilling it overnight… i suppose you could chill it for less, but I think overnight is going to be the best option.

Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies – Nedra Style

I took the Quaker Oats “Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies” recipe and made a few changes/additions.  I used the America’s Test Kitchen approach for browning the butter and also added honey and pecans.  I also used the America’s Test Kitchen approach for stirring the batter and letting it sit which they use for their Perfect Chocolate Chip cookie recipe.  Additionally I plump and soak the raisins.

Ingredients:

  • 14 tablespoons butter (1 stick plus 6 tbsp)
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (I use the C&H Baker’s sugar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups Quaker Oats (quick, uncooked)
  • 1 cup raisins.
  • 3/4 cup pecans, ground

 

Directions:

  1.  Heat oven to 325′ 
  2. Put 10 tablespoons of the butter in a pan and cook over medium heat until the butter starts to brown.  Put the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter (cold or room temp) in a large bowl.  Pour the browned butter over the solid butter and stir until all is melted.  
  3. Add the honey
  4. Put the raisins in a saucepan and cover with water.  Bring just to a boil.  Turn off heat and allow to sit.  Drain the raisins about 5 minutes before you are ready to add them to the recipe.  It’s okay for the raisins to be wet.
  5. Mix Flour, Baking Soda, Cinnamon, and Salt in a separate bowl.
  6. Add both sugars to the butter and beat well.
  7. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well for 30 seconds.  Let batter rest for 3 minutes.
  8. Repeat step 7 a total of three times.
  9. Add oats, raisins, and pecans and mix well.
  10. Add flour mixture and stir until just combined.
  11. Bake for 10-12 minutes rotating the baking sheet half way through cooking.
  12. Cool on a wire rack.

Notes:

  1. The browned butter gives this recipe a nuttier flavor.
  2. The beating and waiting will change the consistency of the batter making it airier and smoother.
  3. I add the flour last because I want to be careful not to overmix it and thus overdevelop the gluten.
  4. I rarely measure the honey or the vanilla – I just put a spoonful.

Broccoli & Tortellini Salad

I’ve made various versions of this quite a few times – it’s my go-to recipe for any sort of pot-luck or picnic.  I originally got the recipe from Allrecipes.com, but I’ve modified it quite a bit.

 

Ingredients:

  • at least 6 slices of bacon or turkey bacon, cooked, cooled, and chopped or crumbled
  • 20 ounces fresh cheese-filled tortellini (I usually get two packages of cheese tortellini from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (you can use regular or light, whatever your preferences are.  I’ve done both and both come out good)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 4 tsps apple cider vinegar
  • 2 bags fresh broccoli
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds (I usually use salted but you could use unsalted as well)
  • Freshly cracked black pepper

Optional ingredients:

  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped (If I’m making this around Christmas time, I’ll add in red bell pepper to make it look more festive)
  • 1 tsp chipotle chili powder (gives the recipe a little kick)

 

  1. Cook the tortellini per the package instructions, rinse with cold water, and let cool.
  2. Mix together mayo, sugar, vinegar, black pepper, and any other spices you’re adding for the dressing.
  3. Chop broccoli to desired size.  I typically chop up the larger florets in the bag and then leave the smaller ones intact.  if you’d rather have a finely chopped salad, you can do that too.
  4. Combine the Broccoli, Tortellini, bacon, raisins, sunflower seeds, and other optional ingredients in a large bowl.  Pour dressing over salad and then toss.
  5. Chill for at least an hour before serving.  Re-toss before serving.

 

This recipe will serve 10-12 people, more if you’re at a large pot luck where everyone takes small servings.  It fills up a large bowl easily.  The dressing amount is medium so add more or make less depending on your taste preferences.  This recipe should be kept cold since it does have mayo in it.