Well Dined


Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad with Goat Cheese

Well Dined | Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad with Goat Cheese

I don't know if you've noticed yet, but warm quinoa salads are kind of the go-to for my friend, Melissa, and I (like this one, and this one, and this one).  So when we didn't really have a lunch plan a couple of weeks ago, we decided to throw some her CSA veg into, you guessed it, a warm quinoa salad.  I would apologize for the repetition, but these salads are healthy and filling and delicious, so I'm not sorry!

Well Dined | Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad with Goat Cheese

This time around, Melissa was drowning in fall squash.  So we diced up a butternut and threw it in the oven with a sliced onion.

Well Dined | Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad with Goat Cheese

Meanwhile, we cooked up our pretty tri-color quinoa and tossed in some toasted pine nuts.  You could easily sub walnuts or pecans instead.

Well Dined | Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad with Goat Cheese

In went the roasted veg and some arugula, along with some fresh thyme.  Again, you could easily sub another type of green (I do love peppery arugula, though) and whatever herbs you have on hand.

Well Dined | Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad with Goat Cheese

Lastly, and certainly not least, we added in some goat cheese.  We both seriously love goat cheese.  We mixed half of the cheese into the salad to get it melty, and crumbled the rest on top so there would be nice pockets of it.

Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad with Goat Cheese
original recipe, click here for Melissa's post
serves 4

1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 small onion, sliced in half-moons
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and black pepper
1 cup dry quinoa
2 cups water
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 tsp fresh thyme
2 cups baby arugula
4 oz goat cheese, crumbled

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Toss the squash and onion in olive oil, season lightly with salt and pepper.

Spread the veggies in a single layer on a rimmed cookie sheet covered in foil.  Roast for 25–30 minutes, turning the veggies over halfway through.  When the squash is tender, remove from the oven.

Meanwhile, combine the quinoa and water in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil. Cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat, until the water is absorbed and the curlicues pop out.  Season with salt and pepper.

Stir the pine nuts, roasted veggies, thyme, arugula, and half the goat cheese into the quinoa; crumble the rest of the cheese over top.  Serve warm.


Broccolini and Feta Tart

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My friend Melissa (at Smells Like Brownies) and I are trying to make our lunch date a weekly thing, so hopefully these posts will become more frequent.  The last two times we made quinoa dishes, so we wanted to stay away from that this time.  I saw this recipe for a broccolini and feta galette that looked yummy, but thought it might be even better on puff pastry like this broccoli rabe tart.  I suggested this to Melissa, who agreed it sounded delish, and she decided to attempt making the puff pastry herself!

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I was super impressed that she was willing to take that on - brave woman!  But she said that it wasn't as difficult as she thought it was going to be, so I may have to try it myself.  I mean, it was pretty freaking delicious.  I believe she used this recipe, and I will add a link to her blog when she posts about it.

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So, we pressed the beautiful dough into a pan (through we probably should have used a bigger one, as the crust ended up being pretty thick), and layered it with blanched broccolini, feta, garlic, scallions, and pine nuts.  Then we baked it at 350 until the crust was golden, adding some Parmesan towards the end.  This took a while because the dough was a bit thick, but it was so worth it!


Steak Pinwheels and Pasta with Spinach, Ricotta, and Raisins

I always see these beautiful steak pinwheels at the grocery store and was wondering if I could make them myself.  It turns out that it isn't that easy - but stuffed with boursin cheese, spinach, and artichokes these sure are tasty!  I paired them with a pasta using up the last of a big batch of homemade ricotta, spinach, and golden raisins.


Food ‘n Flix – Sideways

This is my second month to be a part of the Food 'n Flix bloggers' circle (see here for my first month).  This month is hosted by Tina at Life in the Slow Lane at Squirrel Head Manor; and she has chosen the movie Sideways to be our inspiration.

Sideways is a movie about friendship, relationships, happiness, and most of all - WINE.  Set in Napa Valley, vineyards and wineries provide the background to the film and wine almost becomes a character itself.

I wanted to make something that would feel like it belonged in Napa Valley, and that would pair well with wine.  I thought about coffee rubbed pork with a wine sauce, or braised ribs, but eventually I settled down on something simple and fresh - Focaccia with grapes, rosemary, pine nuts, olive oil, and sea salt served with fresh homemade ricotta.