Crackers, Cheese, and Marshmallows…and Bacon (Cheat Treat!!)

I know.  It sounds cray cray.  But years of Kirkwood tradition and countless converts says it’s not.  (P.S…if you don’t know me, Kirkwood is my maiden name.!)  Growing up I would tell my friends about how we ate crackers, cheese, and marshmallows at my house…thinking it was completely normal.  It didn’t take many confused looks to realize that I was wrong.  However, I would promptly invite them over (because my parents loved to cook for my friends), we would broil up a few of these beauties….and we made them believers!!  In FACT, Mr. Rodgers himself has become a believer…and it was his idea to create this post when we were trying to decide on a treat for date night.  🙂

Okay, now a confession.  Kirkwoods ourselves are converts to this concept as well!!  I think of it as Kirkwood tradition because I have never known my family without said tradition.  However, before I was born, my dad’s sister married my uncle Nic…who I have also never known life without.  And he introduced my family to his Anderson tradition.  And the rest is history.  I love my Uncle Nic.  And I love this recipe.  It is perfection.  And now I am proud to say, this is no longer simply an Anderson/Kirkwood tradition…it is now an Anderson/Kirkwood/Rodgers tradition.  I even added a few twists.  Yep.  You guessed it.  BACON.  I figured if we were going to be naughty and eat a treat…we might as well go all out and really eat a treat haha.

Growing up, we ALWAYS made this with saltine crackers.  However, since Mr. Rodgers loves to experiment, he suggested we try it with all different types of crackers.  If we had a bigger budget, we probably would have grabbed even more.  Personally, I wanted to try this on giant Cheese Its.  But we narrowed it down to three types.  At the end, I will reveal our thoughts on all three so that you can decide what you want to try for yourself.  Or maybe you want to try them all!!  Let me know what you like best 🙂 This is a treat you don’t want to miss!!

So, here’s what you need: (For 3 or 4 people)

  • 20 Crackers (Traditionally Saltines.  We also tried with Triscuits and FlipSides)
  • 10 Slices Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Cut in Half (Cracker size!!)
  • 10 Large Marshmallows, Cut in half
  • 5 Slices Cooked Bacon, Cut into bite sized pieces (optional)

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Preheat your broiler.
  2. Prep all your goodies!!
  3. Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.  Lay out your crackers in a single layer.
  4. Top each cracker with a slice of cheese, a piece of bacon (if you are using it), and half a marshmallow (cut side down.)
  5. Slide it under your broiler.  Leave the oven door propped open slightly and keep an eye on it constantly cause this happens fast!!  Cook until cheese is melted, marshmallows are puffing up, and the top of the marshmallows are toasted and brown.  About one minute, maybe two.
  6. EAT AND BE AMAZED!!!

So….after our experiment, here are our thoughts on the crackers:

Saltines:  Best flavor!!!

Sea Salt and Black Pepper Triscuits: Best crunch!  But flavor a little overwhelming.

FlipSides:  Most trendy!  (Pretzel is so in right now!)  But just not quite the flavor of those classic Saltines!

Try it…what crackers can you think up that would win with this combo?!

PhotoHere’s the crackers we experimented with…and our creations…

Photo (3)Half with bacon….

Photo (1)Half without!!  And now, after they hung out under the broiler a couple minutes….

Photo (4)

BAM!!  How gorgeous, melty, and toasty is that?!  You have the crunch of the cracker, the goo of the cheese, the slight crunch and salty smokiness of the bacon, and the super sweet creaminess of the marshmallow with just a little more crunch on top with the toasted top!  It’s layers!!  And again I say…it’s perfection!!  Again, we have with bacon…

Photo (2)And without!  And honestly I can’t way which I love better, because they are both so heavenly!!  I love the tradition of the original, which really doesn’t NEED anything.  However, bacon never HURTS anything, does it?!  😉  Both glorious.  And up for you to decide.

Photo (5)Pretty!!

Photo (6)Melty.  Yummy.  AAAAAH.  I told myself I would start eating healthy again today.  But this is testing my resolve.  I better end this post now.  Okaaaaay bye!

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Sweet and Spicy Pulled Chicken Sammiches With Peppered Bacon and Fried Eggs

Sammiches.  Yum.  And yes, yes I do call them sammiches…I started calling them that because I can never remember how to spell the actual word.  And now…I can’t seem to say (or type) it any other way.  So forgive me if I sound “Duck Dynasty-esque” in this post.  But I simply can’t call these anything other than..sammiches.

Anywho.  Since our health journey started, we have cut back almost 100% on eating bread.  That is, when we are doing good at least.  😉   So that means, no sammiches.  But I had this recipe (well, the pre-adapted version that is) on Pinterest, and I just knew I had to turn it healthy because it is made using two of my favorite ingredients: Sriracha and Honey.  So I busted out the good ol’ Organic, Sprouted Grain Ezekiel Bread.  And we made sweet and spicy pulled chicken sammiches.  I have made a few new recipes the past two weeks.  I asked Mr. Rodgers which was his favorite…and he whole heartedly replied “THE SAMMICHES!!”  If that alone doesn’t convince you to try it…let the pictures speak for themselves!!  You’ll love ’em!  Alright, let’s get this show on the road!!

Just a note…it may seem like a random combo at first…it’s because the original called for ketchup, which usually has sugar or corn syrup along with some mystery ingredients.  So I worked in a recipe for home made ketchup.  🙂

Adapted from foodiewithfamily.com!

So, here’s what you need:

  • 1 (6 oz) Can Tomato Paste
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • Sea Salt to taste
  • 1 Tbsp Mustard
  • 1/4 C White Wine Vinegar
  • 1/4 C Water
  • 1/2 C Honey + 2 Tbsp
  • 1 Onion, Roughly Chopped
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, Roughly Chopped
  • 1- 4 Tbsp Sriracha, depending on your love of heat.  I did 2 Tbsp, and will do more next time for a little more heat.
  • 2 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Bragg’s Amino Acids (our soy sauce substitute)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Extra Sharp Cheddar, Sliced
  • 1 Cucumber, peeled and sliced into ribbons with a mandolin or veggie peeler
  • 1 Fried Egg per sammich
  • 1 lb Turkey Bacon (try to get some without sugar and nitrites)

It may look like a lot, but this recipe really is quite simple.  🙂  And ohhhh so satisfying!!  Let’s get down to business!

Here’s how you do it!!

  1. Place all the sauce ingredients into your food processor (that is everything up until the chicken breasts, as you could probably guess!!)  Whiz until evenly blended and creamy!
  2. Salt and Pepper the chicken and place in a 4 qt crock pot.  Mine was actually slightly still frozen and it still worked great!
  3. Dump the sauce over the chicken, cover, and cook on low for 8 hours.
  4. Fish out the chicken and shred with two forks.  Replace in the crock pot and stir to coat.
  5. Cover a cookie sheet with foil and lay out your bacon in a single layer.  Place in a cold oven, and set the temperature to 400*.  Leave for 20 minutes.  It should be browned and crispy by then!
  6. Fry your eggs, slice some cheese, and make sure your cucumbers are ready.
  7. Cut your Ezekiel bread into rounds so it is like buns. (Optional)
  8. Butter the bread.  Place under a broiler until it is browned and toasted.
  9. Pile pulled chicken on half of the “buns” and top with cheese.  Place back under the broiler until cheese is melty.
  10. Move to a plate and top with cucumber, fried egg, bacon, and another piece of Ezekiel Bread.
  11. Devour…you can try eating this like a normal sammich if you like…but my guess is that you will have better luck with a knife and fork.  Okay, it’s not really a guess.  I’m speaking from experience 😉

Okay I can’t wait any longer, here is the pictures!!

Sweet and Spicy Pulled Chicken Sammiches 1Gather all your sauce ingredients…

Sweet and Spicy Pulled Chicken Sammiches 2Put them into a food processor…

Sweet and Spicy Pulled Chicken Sammiches 3Whiz until everything is combined and creamy.

Sweet and Spicy Pulled Chicken Sammiches 4Salt and pepper the chicken breasts and place in a 4 qt crock pot…

Sweet and Spicy Pulled Chicken Sammiches 5Dump the sauce on top, cover, and cook on low for 8 hours.

Sweet and Spicy Pulled Chicken Sammiches 6When done, fish out the chicken breasts and shred with two forks.

Sweet and Spicy Pulled Chicken Sammiches 7Place back in the sauce and stir to coat.

Sweet and Spicy Pulled Chicken Sammiches 8Cover a cookie sheet with foil and lay out the turkey bacon in a single layer.  Crack fresh pepper over it and slide it into a cold oven.  Turn the temperature to 400* and leave for about 20 minutes.

Sweet and Spicy Pulled Chicken Sammiches 9Fry your eggs to whatever doneness you prefer…

Sweet and Spicy Pulled Chicken Sammiches 10Cut your Ezekiel bread into rounds (I used a wide mouthed cup) and butter.

Sweet and Spicy Pulled Chicken Sammiches 11Slide under a broiler until browned and toasty.

Sweet and Spicy Pulled Chicken Sammiches 12Pile on some chicken from the crock pot and top with cheddar…

Sweet and Spicy Pulled Chicken Sammiches 13Replace under the broiler until cheese is melty…

Sweet and Spicy Pulled Chicken Sammiches 14Top with cucumber ribbons…

Sweet and Spicy Pulled Chicken Sammiches 15Fried egg…

Sweet and Spicy Pulled Chicken Sammiches 16And bacon…

Sweet and Spicy Pulled Chicken Sammiches 18And your other piece of bread!  Melty, salty, sweet, little spicy, fresh twist with the cucumber, wonderful texture and flavor of the egg, crispy smokiness of the bacon…YUM.

Sweet and Spicy Pulled Chicken Sammiches 19

Sweet and Spicy Pulled Chicken Sammiches 17

Sweet and Spicy Pulled Chicken Sammiches 20How fantastic is that?!

Sweet and Spicy Pulled Chicken Sammiches 21Perfection!!!  ❤

Lemon Blueberry Oat Bran

Dude.  I surprised myself with how good this is!!  It could quite possibly be my new favorite breakfast!!!  Though really, it feels more like a “treat” than a breakfast, it just turned out so good!

Have you ever tried Oat Bran?  I hadn’t until a month or so ago…and discovered that I love it.  I was raised eating Malt O Meal…my favorite hot cereal!!  Much creamier and smooth than oatmeal, and a fantastic flavor!  Sad thing is…when I moved to New York, I could not find it any where!!!  So sad!  I could find Malt O Meal brand cold cereal…but never the creamy deliciousness of my childhood.  I found that I enjoyed Cream of Rice…however the whole white rice thing didn’t seem healthy to me.   And then I stumbled upon Oat Bran.  Hallelujah, I have found something to fill the hole in my sad lonely little tummy!!!

And then…then I had this idea.  I tell you what.  Hot cereal will never be the same.  Somehow, without putting anything real bad in it…this ended up tasting like it had a lemony powdered sugar glaze.  It was heavenly.  And now I am going to share with you how you can make this heavenly creation for yourself.  IT IS SO EASY!!!

 

So, here’s what you need:

  • 2/3 C Oat Bran
  • 2 C Water
  • Dash of Salt
  • Tbsp(ish) Raw Agave (do it to taste!!)
  • Dash of Lemon Extract (1/8-1/4 tsp)
  • 2 Tbsp Dehydrated Blueberries (Or fresh…I had a bag of dehydrated ones from Trader Joes.  They plumped up nicely and worked perfectly!)

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Follow the package instructions…or bring the water and salt to a boil.
  2. Stir in Oat Bran and simmer for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in lemon extract, Agave, and blueberries.
  4. Eat and be comforted from the inside out!!

 

Peectures!

Lemon Blueberry Oat Bran 1Cook your oat bran and add in lemon extract, agave, and blueberries.

Lemon Blueberry Oat Bran 2Now get ready to enjoy!!  I ate mine with a nice side of turkey bacon.  🙂

Lemon Blueberry Oat Bran 3Ready to try?!  DO IT!!  Breakfast will never be the same I tell you!!

Chronicles of a Chipotle Pepper; Entry 3: Four Cheese Chipotle “Macaroni” and Cheese

Yum.  This little experiment has been in my brain for a long time!!  Ever since I first posted on facebook asking my friends what their favorite recipe is with Chipotle Peppers in Adobo sauce, in fact!  A wonderful, genius-in-the-kitchen lady from my church commented and told me about how her family blends chipotle peppers into their macaroni!  I have only tried to make home made macaroni once before…it didn’t work too well.  It was in the crock pot, and the recipe had an option where you mix eggs in.  Well, being a young cook at that time (well, honestly…I’m still a young cook)…I didn’t think about how that could be weird.  I like to use everything in the recipe the first time I make it, to make sure I get the full flavor.  So I put in the eggs.  Yeah.  Eggs.  Macaroni.  Crock pot.  Not a good combo.  It was like scrambled egg macaroni.  Gag.

This attempt was the opposite of gag.  It was super successful and delicious!  And I am proud to say that this is very nearly “healthy macaroni!!”  I say “very nearly” because…well, frankly, it’s macaroni and cheese.  The “diet” we try to loosely follow, The Maker’s Diet, says that dairy should be raw and less than 25% of your daily intake.  This exceeds the dairy limit according to that standard.  However…as far as macaroni and cheese goes, this is pretty phenomenal because of the substitutions I used in place of some of the more traditional ingredients.   Curious?  Read on!

So, here’s what you need:

  • 1/4 C Ezekiel Bread Crumbs
  • 2 tsp Olive Oil
  • 2 C Almond Milk, divided
  • 1 Medium Butternut Squash (Alternately, apparently you can find frozen winter squash puree)
  • Small amount of butter or coconut oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 lb (2 Boxes) Ancient Harvest Quinoa Pagodas
  • 1 1/3 C Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Grated
  • 2/3 C Monterrey Jack Cheese, Grated
  • 1/2 C Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Powdered Mustard
  • Pinch of Chipotle Chili Powder
  • 2 Tbsp Parmesan, Grated

And here’s how you do it:

  1. First, you gotta get your squash started, because it takes the longest.  Obviously, if you are going the “frozen puree” route then you can skip these next couple steps.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Very carefully cut your squash in half long ways.  You may have to cut into the squash as far as you can, then use a rubber mallet or something similar to tap the blade through.
  2. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds.
  3. Place on a foil-lined pan.  Rub with a small amount of butter or coconut oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper!
  4. Bake until tender, about 40 minutes.  When done, turn your oven up to 375* for your macaroni.
  5. Grate your cheese.
  6. In your food processor, dump your ricotta, 1/2 C of the almond milk, 1 chipotle pepper with a tsp or so of the sauce (depending on how spicy you like it), garlic cloves, salt, mustard, and chipotle chili powder.
  7. As soon as your squash is cooked, spoon the flesh into your food processor.  Pulse until smooth and creamy!
  8. Time to start your noodles!  Cook them according to the package directions.
  9. Now, pour your squash puree into a pan over medium heat.  Stir in the remaining 1 1/2 C of almond milk.  Stir until combined and creamy
  10. When squash mixture is getting bubbly, mix in your ricotta/chipotle mixture and stir until combined.  When your noodles are cooked and drained, you can stir in the cheddar and Monterrey jack cheese.
  11. Dump in your noodles and stir to coat.  Dump into a baking dish (9X13 or comparable)
  12. In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, oil, and parmesan.
  13. Sprinkle on top of the macaroni.  Slide into your preheated oven and bake about 20 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and bread crumbs are browned.  Flip your oven on to broil if you want more brown…but watch it close and only leave in there for a minute or two.  It’s amazing how fast things burn in the broiler!

Chipotle Macaroni .5First, you gotta get your squash started, because it takes the longest.  Obviously, if you are going the “frozen puree” route then you can skip these next couple steps.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Very carefully cut your squash in half long ways.  You may have to cut into the squash as far as you can, then use a rubber mallet or something similar to tap the blade through.

Chipotle Macaroni 1Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds.

Chipotle Macaroni 2Place on a foil-lined pan.  Rub with a small amount of butter or coconut oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper!

Chipotle Macaroni 6Bake until tender, about 40 minutes.  When done, turn your oven up to 375* for your macaroni.

Chipotle Macaroni 3However, that is a long time, so while you are waiting, prep everything else!!  Grate your cheese…which is really easy if you a fancy little grater attachment.  🙂  Gotta love wedding present goodies, even two and a half years later 😛

Chipotle Macaroni 4In your food processor, dump your ricotta, 1/2 C of the almond milk, 1 chipotle pepper with a tsp or so of the sauce (depending on how spicy you like it), garlic cloves, salt, mustard, and chipotle chili powder.

Chipotle Macaroni 7As soon as your squash is cooked, spoon the flesh into your food processor.

Chipotle Macaroni 8Pulse until smooth and creamy!

Chipotle Macaroni 9Time for your noodles!!  Now, I know that these technically aren’t “macaroni’s,” but as far as pasta goes, I have found these to be the best noodles as far as health nerds go…they have quinoa flour in them, they are gluten free…and yet they are still a great texture and taste!

Chipotle Macaroni 10Cook according to directions on your package.

Chipotle Macaroni 11Now, pour your squash puree into a pan over medium heat.  Stir in the remaining 1 1/2 C of almond milk.  Stir until combined and creamy

Chipotle Macaroni 13When squash mixture is getting bubbly, mix in your ricotta/chipotle mixture and stir until combined.  When your noodles are cooked and drained, you can stir in the cheddar and Monterrey jack cheese.

Chipotle Macaroni 14Dump in your noodles and stir to coat.

Chipotle Macaroni 15Dump into a baking dish (9X13 or comparable)

Chipotle Macaroni 12In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, oil, and parmesan.

Chipotle Macaroni 16Sprinkle on top of the macaroni.

Chipotle Macaroni 17Slide into your preheated oven and bake about 20 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and bread crumbs are browned.  Flip your oven on to broil if you want more brown…but watch it close and only leave in there for a minute or two.  It’s amazing how fast things burn in the broiler!

Chipotle Macaroni 18Yummy!!!  Doesn’t that look heavenly?!

Chipotle Macaroni 19Crispy, creamy, cheesy…

Chipotle Macaroni 20Doesn’t that look amazing?!  It is!!  The perfect amount of heat…not overwhelming like a Chipotle Pepper has the potential to be…but just a kick at the end.  A fantastic saltiness from 4 favorite cheeses…and just a hint of sweetness from the squash.  And more than a hint of health because of that same squash!

“Ezekiel” Bread Crumbs – A Healthier Alternative!

In my journey to health I have found healthy…or at least healthier…substitutions for almost everything that I find questionable.  But when it comes to bread crumbs…I was lost.  Sometimes I use oatmeal, which works alright but obviously isn’t the same.  I’ve tried gluten free bread crumbs, but let’s all just be honest with ourselves…gluten free does NOT mean healthy!  A lot of recipes can be worked out…but then there are just those few meals that will simply not work without them!!  A few of which I will mention in later posts!!

Now that I have FINALLY figured this out it has opened a whole new world of recipes I can make and still feel good about!!  What’s the secret?! Ezekiel Bread!!!

What is Ezekiel bread you ask?! Well…it’s delicious…and it’s organic, sprouted, healthy grains.  Hard to find these days, cause even “whole wheat” bread in the stores is usually crammed with crap.  But Ezekiel Bread is from a company called “Food For Life.”  Just the name goes to show their standards in health!  And apparently, the combination of grains they use turns the bread into a complete protein, which I think is amazing!  Anywho, I don’t know all the deets…but if you want more info, click here

 

So, here’s what you need:

  • 4-5 Slices Original Ezekiel Bread, preferably stale
  • Sea Salt to taste
  • Italian Seasoning to taste (about tsp)

 

And here’s how you do it!

  1. If you have the time, I would leave the slices of bread out over night to let them get a little firm and stale.  Sounds weird I know, but it’s just the truth of how bread crumbs work.  If you don’t get a chance to do that (or just forget like I did), lightly toast the bread in the oven or a toaster.
  2. Rip the bread into pieces and place in a food processor.
  3. Pulse until you have small crumbles.  Add your sea salt and Italian seasoning and pulse a couple more times.

WABAM!  YOU’RE DONE!!  How easy is that?!  And now you have enough bread crumbs for a few different meals!!!

 

Ezekiel Bread Crumbs 1Lay your bread out over night and let it get a bit stale, or toast it lightly in the oven or toaster.

Ezekiel Bread Crumbs 2Rip the bread into pieces and place in a food processor.

Ezekiel Bread Crumbs 3Pulse until you have small crumbles…add salt to taste, along with about a tsp of Italian seasoning.  Taste and adjust!!

 

Now make your meat loaf, or top your casserole…you’re welcome!!  Yay!!!!

 

Fresh Four Layer Quinoa Salad

 

Wow.  Just wow.  I didn’t know how I would feel about this…being a not-so-big fan of tomatoes.  I have found a few things I can eat them in that I can tolerate…even almost like.  But I always know they are there, and fight the cringe because I know they are good for me and it’s just in my head.

Well this was different.  It’s like they weren’t even there.  Not a thought to cringe.  I was too busy shoving this in my face.

Funny thing is, I made this the day after Mr. Rodgers and I had decided “we really have to stop cheating, let’s try harder to plan ahead and eat healthy.”  Well my day was insane…leaving the house at 7 am, working a 6 hour shift at one job, coming home for a couple of minutes, then heading to job number two for an 8 hour shift.  I really wanted to just drive through McDonalds.  Gross, I know.  Guilty pleasure.  I cannot pretend that I do not like McChickens and cheeseburgers and lard-fried French fries.  But I am trying so hard to leave them all behind.  So in my short amount of time I had at home, I made this bad boy.  Texted Mr. Rodgers to see where he was, and found out that he was at said job number two with a friend, waiting to say hi to me.  So I packed up this beautiful salad, and drove on over.  Walked in to see him spooning marshmallow ice cream into his mouth.

Instead of reacting, I just walked over with this gorgeous salad in my hand.  He looked at it, stopped, and said something along the lines of “Oh my gosh, what is that?!  It looks sooo good!”  And then proceeded to look at his ice cream with an ounce of disgust.  Not a “you are gross” sort of disgust.  I’m not gonna lie.  Marshmallow ice cream is my favorite.  But more of a “why am I eating you right now when I could be eating that instead, and feel a lot better afterwards…?”  Haha!  Then as I continued to walk through the store, I got similar reactions from our friend that was hanging out with Mr. Rodgers, and my manager, who was talking about how “cute” that salad was until she left for the evening.  And I got to introduce her to quinoa!  I love informing people of my wonderful protein-packed and oh so delicious  friend called quinoa!

So, without further ado, here is my four layer salad…my new salad obsession that forever changed my life! 😉

Adapted from this wonderful $3 find!!!

Steak Mango 2Find it on Amazon here, or if you are in my area…go to a 5 Below store and pick it up!  They have lots of cook books I want to try!

This is the same book I adapted my Steak and Mango Salad from…it’s hard to say which I liked best cause they were both so fantastic!!  Yay for salads worth getting excited about!

 

So, here’s what you need:

  • 1/2 Large bag fresh spinach
  • 2-3 Ripe Tomatoes, diced…depending on your love level for them 😉
  • 1/4 Large Red Onion, Minced
  • 1 Small Yellow Bell Pepper, Diced
  • 1/2 Serrano Pepper, Minced
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 2 Avocadoes
  • 1 Lime (for the juice)
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 C Uncooked Quinoa
  • Handful of Cilantro or Parsley, Chopped
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Mrs. Dash, Onion powder, Chili powder…whatever you want to season your guacamole
  • 1 Tbsp Vinegar of choice (I usually use Red Wine because husband loves it)

 

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Start your quinoa cooking according to package directions.  It should say something along the lines of “Bring 2 C water to a boil, stir in 1 C quinoa, cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for 12 minutes or until liquid is gone.”
  2. Now prep all those beautiful veggies!  Mince, dice, chop!!
  3. Cut your avocadoes in half long ways, twist halves apart, remove pit, and separate flesh from the skin with a spoon.
  4. Smash avocadoes with a fork until it looks creamy but still a little chunky.  Squeeze in the juice of a lime, sprinkle with salt, pepper, Mrs. Dash, Onion Powder, and Chili Powder.  Just enough to get a little flavor, but not too much to overwhelm the avocado flavor…especially since there are so many other flavors in this salad.  Mix until combined.
  5. Put tomatoes, onions, garlic, bell pepper, and Serrano in a bowl and stir together.  Add Olive Oil, vinegar, salt, pepper.  Taste and adjust.  Stir in cilantro or parsley.
  6. In bowls, fill the bottom with a layer of spinach.  Add a large spoonful of the tomato mixture.  Drop a large spoonful of guacamole on next and gently smooth it out slightly.  Last layer!  Scoop up a spoonful of quinoa, and drop it on top of the guacamole as is.  Sprinkle with more cilantro and lime if you desire…now devour!!!

 

So filling…usually I am not satisfied with a meal unless there is meat in it.  This one had so much going on that it filled me right up and I didn’t even think about the fact that I hadn’t added chicken to my salad.  (I always add chicken!)  The protein in the quinoa filled me up, the thickness of the guacamole stuck to my bones, the freshness of the pico-style tomato mixture popped with flavor, and the spinach was delicious as usual and totally completed this perfect combo!  Give it a try and let me know what you think!!!

 

Peectures!!

Pico Salad 1Start your quinoa cooking, and start prepping your veggies!!  Try to get nice small, even cubes…

PIco Salad 2Do you remember how I showed you to get nice even squares out of bell peppers?  This picture is a hint…if you want a reminder head on over to my Summer Veggie Salad with a Crunch post!

Pico Salad 3Mash your avocadoes with the lime juice, salt, pepper, and seasonings of choice.  Set aside while you combine all your colorful veggies in a bowl…

Pico Salad 4Don’t you just love all those colors together?!  Now add your olive oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.  Stir to combine.

Pico Salad 5Stir in your fresh cilantro or parsley, whatever you have on hand.  Personally, I prefer cilantro! 🙂

Pico Salad 6Now line your bowl with a layer of spinach…

Pico Salad 7Dump in a ladle full of your “pico” mixture…

Pico Salad 8Smear on a big spoonful of guac…

Pico Salad 9Then top with a spoonful of quinoa, and you are ready to go!!  SO GOOD!  Make sure to get a little bit of everything on your fork for the first bite, so you can experience all of it’s beauty at once!  🙂