Tag Archives: feta cheese

Beets with Arugula and Feta Cheese

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Beets are one of those vegetables people usually forget about because they are not considered “popular” at least not right now. Foods like fashion are featured as the “in” thing at different cycles in time. Remember when it was said that pork was not good for you then a while later it became the “other white meat” and was the popular thing to eat.

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I really do like beets but I also  forget about beets until summer comes and I am in salad mode. I love to have salads with dinner in the summer because there are so many beautiful fresh veggies available. I have thought about growing beets but I have not had the courage to do it yet. I have tried growing cabbage, squash and eggplant without much success so I stick to the veggies I can easily grow. Tomatoes and all kinds of peppers grow in abundance on our porch. I also grow a lot different herbs. Maybe next summer I will plant a few beets and see what happens.

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Anyway, beets have their own unique flavor and sweetness. Depending on what we are having for dinner I will pair the beets with some other veggie or lightly season the beets and eat them all by themselves. I have two favorite beet recipes. My old trusty beet salad which is similar to a basic potato salad recipe but substitutes beets for potatoes. Then there is my more recent recipe of Beets with Arugula and Feta Cheese. I have been working on more salad recipes to help shake off the winter blues and get ready for summer. In the winter I focus on hearty meals and soup but spring and summer call for lighter meals with lots of fresh veggies.

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Arugula is one of my favorite dark salad greens so I often combine it with several other ingredients to create unique dishes like my Chicken and Pasta with Lemon Cream Sauce. In my Beets with Arugula and Feta Cheese recipe I mix beets, green apples and arugula which all seem to compliment each other. The sweet beets, sour granny smith apples, salty feta cheese and nutty flavored arugula satisfy all of my taste buds.

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I am getting ready for summer. How about you?

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Beets with Arugula and Feta Cheese

Ingredients:
1 bag arugula
2 cups cooked beets cut into wedges
½ cup thinly sliced green apples
½ cup feta cheese
½ cup mandarin oranges (optional)
¼ cup pecan or walnuts
¼ cup vinaigrette

Vinaigrette:
½ cup olive oil
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp minced garlic (optional)
pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

In a medium bowl mix together white wine vinegar, seasonings Dijon mustard and garlic. Slowly whisk in olive oil.

In a large bowl place arugula, beets, pecans, apples and feta cheese. Drizzle vinaigrette over salad then gently toss to coat with dressing. Taste and add more seasonings or dressing if needed.

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Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

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I was watching a cooking show the other day that was dedicated to Mediterranean cooking which my family and I really enjoy. The seasonings used in Mediterranean cooking are a lot different from those used in southern cooking. I always like a challenge whether in cooking or elsewhere so I decided to stretch my imagination and learn how to fix a simple Mediterranean dish. The chef on this particular show made a tabbouleh salad that looked delicious but required a little more work than I like to do.

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Instead of using bulgur wheat as the grain in the salad I decided to add a new twist and use Quinoa. Quinoa has a nutty flavor and takes only a few minutes to prepare. It also helped to add an extra layer of crunch to the salad along with the cucumbers. Texture and taste are two key elements of any dish especially for salads when you are trying to have layers of flavor.

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One of the best ingredients used in Mediterranean cooking is mint. I had not cooked with mint in the past except for making iced tea. The thought of using mint in a salad was a different but welcomed experience. It was amazing how the mint and other seasonings blended so well together and lifted my taste buds to a new level.

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Mediterranean Quinoa salad is a wonderful side dish that goes well with chicken, fish or pork. So the next time you want something healthy, quick and easy to make try this salad to help spice up your meal.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

 Ingredients:

1 cup Quinoa

1 pint cherry tomatoes sliced in half

2 tbsp parsley chopped

2 tbsp mint chopped

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

1 English cucumber chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp Gazebo Room Greek marinade and salad

½ cup feta cheese

Juice from ½ lemon

Prepare Quinoa according to package instructions. Let cool.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Serve at room temperature.