Loaded Quinoa Salad

As I mentioned yesterday, I randomly threw together a quinoa salad that ended up coming out good enough to share! In the summer, I love light and refreshing meals (similar to this zoodle recipe) because they pair so nicely with the hot weather 😉 Winter time? Sure, I love being in the kitchen for hours with the stove going, whipping up a bunch of delicious things, but when it’s hot, the last thing I want to do is start my stove.

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Our plan last Friday was to grill up some burgers and when I asked what RM wanted to go with them, he just said “veggies. you pick what kind”. Since I am not one to go boring or basic with side dishes, I spent some time thinking about what I could make that would be quick, easy and veggie-filled.

Thinking about what I had in my fridge helped get things going:

  • cucumbers from my dad’s garden
  • tomatoes from the fresh garden section at Whole Foods
  • mozzarella cheese
  • avocado

From there, I thought about how I could throw those together, while coming up with something different than the Caprese Orzo Salad I made when my parents were here. Enter: Loaded Quinoa Salad. In addition to the ingredients above, I picked up an ear of corn and can of black beans… and frozen microwaveable quinoa! Have you guys heard of this? It’s amazing- in three and a half minutes I had some delicious quinoa ready for my use. Normally I’d just make it on the stovetop, but I had already packed all of my pots and pans so I needed to figure something else out. This worked perfectly.

Loaded quinoa salad


  • 1 bag of frozen quinoa, cooked according to the package
  • 1 ear of corn, steamed and kernels shaved off
  • 1/2 can of black beans, rinsed
  • 4 small garden cucumbers, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 big handful of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1/2-1 cup mozzarella, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 avocado, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup EVOO
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • S&P, garlic & basil


  1. Cook quinoa according to the package and steam the corn. Chop up the veggies & cheese and drain the beans and add to a big bowl.


2. Once the quinoa has cooked, let it cool. Once the corn has cooked, take a knife and shave the kernels off.

3. While the corn and quinoa are cooling, assemble the dressing by combining the EVOO, white wine vinegar, lime juice and herbs/seasonings in a small container or glass.

4. Once the corn and quinoa have cooled, add them to the chopped veggies, beans and cheese and mix well.


5. Drizzle the dressing over everything and continue to mix until it looks as though everything has been coated with the dressing.


We just ate this as a side dish with our burgers, but there are so many other ways to enjoy it, too!

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The other night I topped a bed of spinach with this and it was such a nice change up to my normal, boring salads!

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The colors and various textures/flavors in the dish created a little party in my mouth and I found myself continuing to go back for more spoonfuls!

Loaded quinoa salad 4

Not only is this great for weekly dinner sides and lunches, but this is also a great dish to bring to a party as it’s different than most salads you’ll see. I highly suggest giving this a try!

Questions for you: What’s your favorite summer salad? What do you make when you don’t want to start the stove?


Sausage, Veggie & Pineapple Grilled Summer Skewers

Good morning! I am so happy to say that I FINALLY have a recipe for you 🙂 RM and I have been grilling quite a bit lately and this meal was so healthy, tasty and fun I figured it was perfect to share with you. I loved the colors from everything and it was like a flavor party in your mouth between the sausage, veggies and sweet pineapple.

sausage, veggie & pineapple grilled skewers

We decided to amp the skewer meal up even more by serving them on a bed of deliciousness- spinach, quinoa and corn and everything was topped with a really simple and fresh EVOO/fresh lemon juice/s&p/garlic powder concoction.

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Of course, if you don’t have sausage, you could do this same meal with steak or chicken- no problem at all!



  • 4 sausage links (we used RM’s homemade sausage- 2 were plain and 2 were garlic, parmesan and parsley)
  • 1 small green pepper, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 small red pepper, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 small onion, cut into thick slices
  • 1 cup chopped pineapple


  • Spinach for 2 people (about 1/2 a box for us)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 ear of corn, steamed and then the kernels shaved off
  • 2-4 tbsp. EVOO per salad
  • Juice of 1 lemon- 1/2 lemon per salad
  • Salt/pepper/garlic powder to taste


1. Cook quinoa according to the package and let cool. Steam the corn and let cool- once cool, take a knife and shave off the kernels.

2. Turn on your grill to heat. Cut up your veggies, pineapple and sausage and arrange them on skewers. Place on grill, rotating sides every 3-5 minutes. I think it took about 15 minutes for the sausage to be cooked through on low heat.

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3. Combine the EVOO, lemon juice and salt/pepper/garlic powder and set aside. Place the spinach in the bowls, top with the quinoa and corn and then the skewered items. Lastly, coat everything with the dressing and serve.

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This meal came together so quickly, which was perfect for a weeknight meal. I was also able to enjoy leftovers the next day, too. We decided that we are big fans of quinoa spinach salads- so much so that we made them on Thursday of last week, too, to go with the burgers we grilled. Great texture/flavor combo!

Would love to know if you see these- take pics and tag me @Burpeestobubbly.

Questions for you: What’s your favorite thing to grill? Do you like sausage or do you prefer chicken or steak? Cooked pineapple- yay or nay?

Warm Kale Salad {with candied pecans, grilled pears, craisins & goat cheese}

I know, I know- this salad does sound amazing, doesn’t it?! The first time I made it was last year for Mother’s Day, per my mom’s request. She had gotten one at Mill 67 when they first opened and instantly fell in love with it, so my goal was to try and re-create it. The result? A pretty decent first shot at replicating her beloved salad. I just recently decided to make it for book club and I think I may have nailed the recipe, which is why I’m sharing it with you today!

kale salad 2

The thing i love about this salad is it’s relatively easy to make since you don’t have to chop up a million veggies. Is it just me or are salads super annoying to make because of that?! I actually hate making salads for myself, but since this was such a different salad than the norm, it made the process fun! Imagine that 😉 I wouldn’t say it’s the healthiest salad based on the fact I added candied pecans and craisins, both of which are pretty sugary, BUT in small doses and for special occasions (such as a brunch!), it’s totally worth it. Some day maybe I’ll make my own candied nuts… I digress.


  • 1 head of organic kale, rinsed and de-stemmed
  • 1/2 of a pear, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup candied pecans
  • 1/4 cup craisins
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 2-4 tbsp EVOO (but, let’s be honest, I never measure this because too much EVOO is not generally a bad thing!)
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon

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Tomato, Cucumber, Corn & Spinach Quinoa “Salad”

Well that’s a mouthful, huh? In an attempt to amp up my boring lunches, a few weeks ago I whipped up a batch of this quinoa dish. I based it off of this Caprese Orzo Salad recipe, but changed quite a few things. What I loved about this dish was that it was filling, super flavorful and chock full of good stuff!

quinoa salad



  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 1 cup chopped seedless cucumber
  • 1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
  • Corn from 1 ear of corn
  • 1 big handful of spinach
  • Goat Cheese (I just used maybe a tablespoon?)
  • ½ cup EVOO
  • ¼ cup White wine vinegar (or red wine)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Few big shakes of crushed red pepper
  • Juice from ½ a lemon


  1. Cook quinoa according to the back of the package. While that’s cooking, chop up your veggies.

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2. Sautee or wilt the spinach as the quinoa is cooling.


3. Combine the EVOO, vinegar, S&P, crushed red pepper and lemon juice in a separate bowl.


4. Once the quinoa has cooled, add the spinach, corn, cucumber, tomato and cheese and mix together. Add in the ‘dressing’ and refrigerate for an hour before serving.

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This dish lasted me throughout the week and I loved eating it alone, on top of my salad and even with some chicken mixed in.

Questions for you: What’s your favorite non-traditional salad? How do you “spice up” your salads?

Artichoke & Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken & a Summer Quinoa Salad

The title of this post caught your attention, didn’t it? Last week, as I was thinking about what to make for my first *real* meal in my new apartment, I decided I wanted to make something different from the “normal” Monique meals. I always text my friend JP photo’s of my meals and he said a few weeks ago: “your meals always look the same! Delicious, but the same!”, so I decided it was time to change that! In addition to my meal looking different, I also wanted there to be no trace of zucchini or summer squash. No offense to either vegetable, but after 3 meals in a row with those veggies being the main focus (Summer Squash and Zucchini Lasagna, Zucchini Boats, and Zucchini & Summer Squash Parmesan), I wanted nothing to do with them!

While walking and talking to my mom, I decided to make one of my favorite “go to” chicken recipes: Artichoke and Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken. A number of Christmas’ ago, my mom got me the Cooking Light Chicken cookbook and this was one of the first recipes I made from it. I’m not big on repeating recipes (why would you when there are SO MANY recipes to try?!), but I have repeated this recipe a handful of times because it’s THAT good. And, it’s really quite easy, which is always a nice thing.

Once I decided on the main dish, I looked through all of my Hannaford “Fresh” magazines (which always has delicious looking recipes- I’ve tried a number of them and have loved them all!), in search of a fun side dish. In the January/February 2013 edition, they had a recipe for a Toasted Quinoa-Pistachio Tabbouleh and I knew that was what I wanted to make. I ended up changing the recipe quite a bit, but I followed the dressing recipe to a T, so that counts for something, right? Anyway, these two recipes paired for a delicious Sunday dinner! I hope you enjoy them as much as I did 🙂

Artichoke & Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken

-recipe is from Cooking Light

Ingredients – Just an FYI, since I was only cooking for myself, I halved the recipe below. This is how it is listed in the cookbook.

  • 2 1/2 tbsp. Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp grated lemon ride (I don’t have a grader so I just squeezed the juice of a 1/2 of a lemon instead)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (6 oz) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained & chopped
  • 1 (3 oz) package herbed goat cheese, softened
  • 4 (6 oz) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves



1. Preheat oven to 375*.

2. Combine the first 6 ingredients, sir well.


3. Flatten the chicken breasts so they are nice & thin- it’s easier to roll them this way. Place about 2tbsp of the cheese mixture and roll the chicken (jelly roll style). Secure with toothpicks.



4. Heat a large skillet, coat with a little EVOO and brown the chicken rolls. Move the chicken rolls to a baking pan/dish and bake at 375* for about 15 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink.


Summer Quinoa Salad

-Recipe from Hannaford’s Toasted Quinoa-Pistachio Tabbouleh. My changes are noted in red.


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 3/4 cup low-sodium vegetable broth– I forgot to buy this so I just used 2 cups of water
  • 2 tbsp. EVOO
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/3 cup pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 English cucumber, diced
  • 1 cup chopped parsley (packed)– didn’t buy this so I skipped it, but added lots of basil!
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint– thought this was weird so I skipped it
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced– didn’t add this
  • 1/3 golden raisins– didn’t add this



1. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add quinoa and toast, shaking the pan occasionally. Should brown in 3-5 minutes. Add broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer (covered) until quinoa is tender- about 15 minutes. Once it’s cooked, remove from the heat and let cool. I skipped this- I just cooked the quinoa with water according to the package- how boring 😉

2. While quinoa is cooking, prepare the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes.


3. Chop the tomatoes and cucumber accordingly. If you’re following the recipe, also cut the scallions, parsley, and mint. Add to the dressing.


4. Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add pistachios and toast until fragrant and slightly browned (about 3 minutes). I did this, and burned them. Well, most of them. Whomp. (Don’t worry- I still used them)


5. Once the quinoa has cooled, add it to the cucumbers, tomatoes and dressing. Mix well. Top with toasted pistachios. (if you’re following the recipe exactly, you’d be adding the quinoa to the veggies, herbs, and raisins.


Ta-da! I steamed up some broccoli on the side, even though it wasn’t necessary. This was such a fun and delicious meal that was totally different from the normal meals I make. It’s a great dinner party meal, too!


I happily ate leftovers of this meal for a good part of the week. Once the chicken was gone, I added the quinoa salad to a bed of lettuce, added some sliced turkey deli meat and goat cheese… ohhh my goodness! This was the best “salad” I’ve had in a long time.


Questions for you: What’s a recipe that you tend to repeat? What’s your favorite salad right now?