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By Christine Luken
Your Strong Tower
I love being adventurous in life and in the kitchen. In the past month, I’ve tried two new foods that I’ve never had before and one that I haven’t had in years.
The first one is Swiss chard. For some reason, I’ve been resistant to trying greens other than my old standby, spinach (which I love). When I was on vacation last month, my Aunt Claudia and I bought some baby Swiss chard at the farmers market in Michigan. My Uncle Paul cooked it up for dinner, and it was delicious! I can’t believe I waited so long to try it. Now, I’m inspired to try other types of greens, too.
I made quinoa for the first time two weeks ago. Quinoa is actually a seed, not a grain. It’s high in protein and gluten-free. It cooks up like rice and absorbs the flavor of the spices you mix in with it. My friend and cooking genius, Julie Brawley, gave me a recipe for a Mexican-style quinoa, which was awesome with grilled chicken and a salad. (See recipe below.) I’m now hunting for other quinoa recipes to try.
About a month ago I did 6 Day Detox to recharge and rev up my metabolism. Brussels sprouts were one of the veggies on the detox menu. As a kid, I refused to eat these mini-cabbage-looking vegetables. I tried them a few years ago at my sister-in-law’s house, but they were cooked in bacon grease. (Because bacon makes everything better – and way more fattening!) So I steamed the sprouts for my detox and tossed them with some Mrs. Dash’s seasoning and bit of olive oil. They were OK, but not great. However, Leah Kelley sent me a recipe Grilled Brussels Sprouts with Whole Grain Mustard. So, I am vowing to give them one last try before I write them off completely. I understand that not all of my culinary adventures will be a smashing success and that’s OK. Nothing ventured, nothing gained!
Here’s my Meal Plan for this week. What new food have you tried lately?
Monday ~ Turkey chili. Mondays are always busy, so I’ll make use of one of my freezer meals today.
Tuesday ~ Grilled chicken tenderloins, hash brown casserole, and Swiss chard.
Wednesday ~ FFY (Fend For Yourself!) I’m having dinner with a good friend at Bonefish Grill for $5 Bang Bang Shrimp and happy hour cocktails!
Thursday ~ Chicken marsala with quinoa (instead of the usual rice) and a side salad.
Friday ~ I am SO excited for Friday’s dinner! I am hosting a potluck with my Facebook recipe group. Everyone is bringing a dish to share. There are so many good cooks in that bunch, I can’t wait to see what everyone brings.
Saturday ~ Grilled salmon, potatoes, and grilled Brussels sprouts with whole grain mustard.
Sunday ~ Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and green beans.
Fiesta Quinoa Pilaf (From EatingClean4Life.com)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 cloves of minced garlic
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups of cooked quinoa
2 tablespoons lime juice
¼ cup chopped scallions
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and thoroughly combine. Serve hot or cold.
Note: I cooked my quinoa with chicken broth instead of water. I also substituted red pepper flakes for the cayenne pepper, because I was out. I think this would also be good if you decreased some of the quinoa and added black beans.
Meal Planning Monday is a regular feature of yourstrongtower.com, a website dedicated to promoting the financial well-being of families through the use of coupons and good money management principles. Financial coach and self-proclaimed Coupon Queen Christine Luken, along with partner Craig DeLisle, aims to reduce the cost, time and stress of shopping and meal preparation so families have more time and money to invest in the things that matter most to them. Read more of Christine’s money management tips and check out her Coupon Wizard at yourstrongtower.com.
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