Saturday, March 8, 2014

7 Days of Oranges - Day 3

Orange-Cranberry Quinoa with Feta Cheese

Last night Dave and I had a "date night." We went to The Buffalo Club to work out at the fitness center and have a relaxing dinner. The Buffalo Club is a private social/business club. They recently went through a major renovation and reconstruction of the fitness center and added a state of the art spa. Now that basketball season is over for the boys Dave and I have some extra time during the week to spend together and more out! In 5 weeks we are headed to Punta Cana and this body, yep my body, needs some renovation and reconstruction like the Buffalo Club did! My goal: to loose 5 pounds in 5 weeks. So don't be surprised if my recipes seem ultra healthy over the next month! Since I worked out I couldn't ruin that with a heavy high calorie dinner so I knew I wanted seafood. There were two entrees on the Specials Menu and I totally lucked out because one of the specials: Pan Seared Yellow Tail Snapper, Cauliflower Puree, Roasted Florets, Glazed Radish and Blood Orange! Blood Orange...Red Snapper....I had to order this dinner based on my "7 Days of Oranges" theme. I was all excited to eat this entree! Unfortunately it wasn't bursting with citrus flavor on the snapper that I was hoping for. Hey sometimes it's not about the food but about the experience around the food. So while the entree I chose wasn't 5 stars, my date with Dave certainly was.

Now on to my "7 Days of Oranges" - Day 3. Today I made a side starch for our third course and decided to make Cranberry Orange Quinoa with Feta. Quinoa has become wildly popular in the United States. After all of the hype and health benefits of quinoa I finally introduced it to our family about 2 years ago. I can't say I loved it at first, but I have grown to love it. Quinoa is a grain that is high in protein and fiber and other healthy nutrients. After it's cooked it has a nutty taste and there is a bit of a crunch to it. It reminds me of an al dente couscous. What's great about quinoa is not only it's taste but also it's versatility. You can add anything to it and you can be creative as you want. I have to admit it was very flavorful but reminded me of a dish one would make during the fall season. I chose to make this recipe because I already had many of the ingredients at home. One of my all time favorite salads is arugula, red onion, with cranberries, feta, and sliced almonds so I always have those ingredients on hand.  I figured why not try it with quinoa, it has to be just as good. I'm glad I did because it was just as good. This dish was great but I probably won't make this again until next fall, closer to Thanksgiving. Salute to 7 Days of Oranges - 4 more to go!

Dried Cranberries and 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
The Cranberries soaking in the orange juice adds a nice sweetness
The quinoa and cranberries sautéing. 
Quinoa: a healthy, gluten free, protein packed grain
Cranberry Orange Quinoa with Feta (Click to print recipe)

Preparation and cook time: 30 minutes

Serves: 6


  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1/2 cups sliced almonds
  • 4 oz crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tb fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 t grated orange peel
  • salt n pepper
In a medium saucepan, heat cranberries and orange juice over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add quinoa and heat for 1 minute and stir. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover for 15-20 minutes or until chicken stock is absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy. Add red onion, almonds, feta cheese, parsley, orange peel and salt n pepper and stir until well blended. Serve immediately as a warm dish or refrigerate and serve as a cold dish.

Food Impressions:

Nate: Has almonds and Nate is allergic to tree nuts.

Tyler: "Good, crunchy and sweet."

Zachary: "It's pretty good. I like it." (He didn't love this dish)

Dave: Out of town on business so he didn't get to try it.

Andrea: I thought it was great and I wold make this again but in the fall. The orange really sweetened this dish and added a nice flavor. The raw onion added a nice crunch and spice. I served this with Rotisserie Chicken.

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