When it comes to food, improvising is what I do. Some vegetables aren’t in season, what do you do? You use something else or omit altogether. Want to make a summer recipe in the winter – go to town, just use different veggies and the stove vs. the grill. Don’t want to run to the store AGAIN because you forgot one bloody stalk of lemongrass? F-it. Blow it off and find something else.
I got home today from our annual family Sun Peaks vacation. I LOVE this vacation for many, many reasons. Just a few:
- Love to do any and all things outside – we live in a beautiful part of the world, get outside!
- I get to hang with my fave peeps – my stepdaughters, son in law, my grandson, and my hubby.
- We relax, eat, drink, and laugh, laugh, laugh.
- We do this for several days in a row.
Back to food and improvising. I picked three recipes I was going to make when I got home tonight so we would have dinner for the next couple nights and Dale would have food while I am gone at a seminar all weekend long. This meant an easy soup, roasted veggies, a quinoa salad, and something in my IP.
Went to the store, and bloody hell, didn’t have half of what I needed. Oh well. Left it out or Googled “what’s an alternative to XXX” and went from there. My point is this: a recipe is a guideline – it’s a loose framework. This is about the only place I use my imagination – sad, but true. I feel very creative in the kitchen, even when cooking under stress (get it done so I can unpack, etc.). I love cooking – it soothes me.
Have I told you, lately, that I love my InstaPot (sung to the tune of the Rod Stewart song…)? It’s amazing. It allowed me to cook a beautiful Bo Kho from NomNomPaleo easily while I tended to the quinoa salad and the Sausage Kale Soup.
I will post my improvisation recipe for the Bo Kho soon, but for now, here’s what I whipped up. Perfect for the rainy weather that is to come to the PNW this weekend.
Green Quinoa Salad
- 2 cups cooked quinoa, cooked in your fave broth (chicken for me)
- 1 bag frozen peas
- ½ cup torn basil leaves
- 3-4 cups spinach
- Avocado when ready to serve
*Mix all of these things together. Put the peas in a bowl with the spinach. Then toss the hot quinoa over it. Add basil. Add avo LAST when ready to serve.
Then whip together:
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 5 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tbsp minced basil
Add dressing to salad to desired ‘drenchedness’. I know that’s not a word but whatever. It’s what came to my head. I tossed in already cooked chicken thighs I had on hand. Not necessary, but delish. Donezie.
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cups diced celery
- 3 cups diced carrots
- 2 containers (box) Chicken broth
- 1 can rinsed, drained Great Northern Beans (white beans)
- 1 garnet yam, peeled and diced
- 8 Chicken Sausage, sliced (I used chicken sausage with spinach – so good)
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp fennel seed
- S&P to taste
- 1 bunch dinosaur kale de-ribbed and chopped roughly
Sautee garlic, onion, carrot and celery for 7-10 minutes, this is ‘sweating.’ Add broth, beans and potato, bring to boil, reduce heat to medium low. Add sausage and spices. Give it 10-15 minutes, test the tater. If al dente, add kale, let heat through so tater is soft. Viola – S&P to heart’s content, or, get crazy and add more red pepper flakes. So good with a little heat.