March 27, 2011

Cranberry Galore!

Spring is here!  Oh wait, maybe it is not. If you are from Calgary, you will understand my unwillingness to be patient for Spring.  Today is 8th day of Spring and it is still snowing with no outlook for it to stop.  I sometimes wonder why I live in Calgary, but I do love it here (minus the snow!).  Perhaps next year when the girls turn five we will teach our girls to ski or snowboard and perhaps the snow will seem a little less daunting.

Since I am awaiting Spring, the other night I decided to make a light meal including a fresh quinoa salad which reminds me of warmer days and would be perfect for a spring/summer meal.  Our family just started eating quinoa about a year ago and I am not sure if we were living under a rock and therefore we had not heard of quinoa, however we are glad we found it.  It is one of our favorite foods and is very versatile, we love it as a side dish, in salads, and even have baked sweets with it.  And since I seemed to be in a cranberry mood and I was trying to use up supplies in a pantry, for this meal I paired the salad with Cranberry Pork which is simple but full of flavor and great for a quick meal. Enjoy!

Quinoa Salad
-Serve Warm or Cold

1 cup quinoa
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup water

1/2 cup minced yellow onion
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup walnuts or hazelnuts
1/2 cup celery
1 tbsp cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp vinegar

1. Combine quinoa, chicken broth and water in cooking pot.  Bring to boil over high heat, reduce to low and cook for 12-15 minutes.  Allow to cool a few minutes if you want a warm salad or longer if you wish to serve a cool salad.
2.  In a serving bowl, combine cooked quinoa and remaining ingredients. Stir to coat all ingredients.  Serve as its own meal or as suggested with Cranberry Pork.
- Leftover salad is best served cold and makes a great next day lunch.

Cranberry Pork
- Oven or Slow Cooker Recipe

4-6 Boneless Pork Loin Chops (any cut of pork will work)
Salt and Pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 Can Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 cup apple or cranberry juice

1.  Season pork with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Add to preheated and oiled pan. Brown chops for 3-4 minutes turning once.  Remove from pan.
2.  While pork is browning, combine whole berry cranberry sauce, mustard and juice in a mixing bowl. Mix well.  If pan is oven safe, add berry mixture directly to pan to bake in oven. Alternatively, add berry mixture and pork either to a casserole disk or slow cooker.
3. If cooking in oven, bake at 350F for 30-40 minutes.  Alternatively, cook in slow cooker on high for 4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours.   Makes a delicious sauce served well with quinoa salad, quinoa or rice.

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