Spinach salad with aduki beans

While searching one night for a salad that would pair well with dinner I found this recipe.  It’s light, and sweet, and packed with protein and iron.

baby spinach & aduki beans

Did you know that the aduki bean is the second most popular legume in Japan, following the soybean?  And that sometimes they are referred to as “red cowpeas”?  If you’ve ever eaten red bean paste, then you’ve eaten aduki beans because that’s what’re typically used to make it.

ingredients combined in a large bowl


6 Clementines, 2 juiced & 4 segmented
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 (15-oz) can aduki beans, rinsed and drained
1 pound of baby spinach
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley


  • In a large bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup Clementine juice, vinegar, salt and pepper
  • Add clementine segments to the vinaigrette
  • Add onion, beans, spinach and parsley and toss
  • Plate and serve

spinach salad with aduki beans


Recipe adapted from a post on Whole Foods Market

Chicken & gnocchi with spinach and peas in a lemon cream sauce

Ladies and gentlemen: what kitch has for you today is another creation out of guest chef Neil’s kitchen.  This started off as a vegetarian dish to which Neil added chicken for protein, but it could certainly swing back to veg in a heartbeat.  He pulled off a cream sauce made with no butter and no cream- amazing!  And it tastes great.  The sauce has a soft heat from the red pepper being simmered into the milk, add to that a zing from the lemon, the sweet crunch of the peas… I could go on and on- just make it.


2 chicken breasts

½ cup flour

Olive oil

1 cup frozen baby peas

1/2 cup evaporated skim milk

1/4 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes

1 garlic clove, smashed

3 cups packed baby spinach (3 ounces)

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 pound gnocchi

1/4 cup grated parmesan


  • Put on a pot of salted water to boil for the gnocchi
  • Cut the chicken breasts into bite-sized chunks, season with  salt & pepper  and dredge in flour
  • Heat a large skillet to medium heat and add some olive oil, cook the chicken
  • Set cooked chicken aside on a dish
  • Simmer peas with evaporated skim milk, red-pepper flakes, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in the skillet, covered, until tender
  • Add spinach and cook over medium-low heat, uncovered, stirring, until wilted. Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest and juice.
  • Cook the gnocchi according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta-cooking water, then drain gnocchi.
  • Add gnocchi & chicken to the sauce with the cheese and some of reserved cooking water and stir to coat. Thin with additional cooking water if necessary


Quinoa stuffed peppers

I can honestly say that I make stuffed peppers about twice each cool season, and I have never made them the same way twice.  Sometimes I stuff them with quinoa & veggies, sometimes with brown rice.  When I was a little girl my Mom stuffed green peppers with hamburger & rice and spaghetti sauce.  Some folks use sausage in their stuffing.  What I am trying to say is that there’s no limit to the flavor combinations you can make.


1 tablespoon Olive oil

1 rib Celery, chopped

½ of an Onion, chopped

1 Carrot, chopped

2 cloves Garlic

½ small Eggplant, chopped

6 Mushrooms, chopped

½ of a Summer squash, chopped

½ of a Zucchini, chopped

Handful of Spinach, sliced into ribbons

½ can of Aduki beans

Parmesan cheese

1 cup Quinoa

2 cups Chicken or vegetable broth

2 cups Tomato sauce (half for the stuffing, half for the baking dish)

2-4 Red peppers (depending on how many you plan to stuff)


  • Preheat oven to 375
  • In a large fry pan heat the olive oil, then add the celery, onion and carrot and cook for 3 to 4 minutes
  • In a small sauce pan bring the quinoa & broth to a boil, then turn heat down to low, cover with a lid, and cook for 15 minutes

  • To the fry pan add garlic, eggplant, mushrooms, summer squash and zucchini and cook for 6 to 8 minutes

  • Set a large pot full of salted water to boil, cut the tops off of the peppers and remove their seeds while leaving the peppers whole
  • Add to the fry pan the spinach and beans, and any seasonings you might care for (salt, pepper, oregano, basil, cayenne, crushed red pepper, parsley- for instance)
  • Add the whole peppers to the boiling water, making sure that they are totally submerged, and cook for 3 minutes

  • Add the cooked quinoa to the vegetables into the fry pan, pour in 1 cup of tomato sauce, and simmer for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to come together, add Parmesan cheese to your taste

  • Pull the cooked peppers out of the boiling water and run under cool water to stop the cooking
  • Spray a loaf pan (for 2 peppers) or square baking dish (for 4 peppers) with baking spray and pour 1 cup of tomato sauce into the bottom of the pan
  • Stuff peppers with quinoa & vegetable mixture and place in baking pan
  • Cover baking dish with foil to prevent peppers from burning and bake for 20 minutes

Note: none of these ingredients are set in stone.  If you don’t like something- leave it out.  If you want to add things like artichoke hearts, olives, peas, broccoli, fresh tomatoes, anything– just add them.

We had the peppers as a second course, after spinach salads with blueberries & tomatoes.


A simple spinach salad

I was in a small grocery store in town the other day looking for a cucumber and they had none.  What I spied in its stead was a package of organic blueberries.  I couldn’t say no.  It’s the beginning of March and I haven’t had a blueberry that wasn’t frozen in months.  Besides eating them a few at a time straight from the carton, we had them in salads as a course at dinner, then I had them again in my breakfast cereal.  I was going to throw them into a smoothie but quickly realized that would be a waste of a fresh berry when smoothies are just as good with frozen.

What is missing from this pic is the balsamic vinaigrette that we topped the salad with, and the goat cheese that I wish I had added.  Simple.  Colorful.  Bursting with flavor & nutrients.


Quinoa stuffing

Yesterday’s Farmer’s market had the best selection of fruits and vegetables yet this year, so I stocked up.   I had fresh garlic and eggplant, summer squash and zucchini, farm fresh eggs, and the list could go on and on.  A few nights ago my sister-in-law was over for dinner and talking about spaghetti and meatballs (which I love).  I decided that I would make myself some meatballs this week so I grabbed some ground turkey breast meat at the grocery store.  Since Duncan woke me up at 6:00 this morning I had nothing else to do before the rest of the human world awakes, so I decided to get started on those meatballs.

I began with a saute of celery, onion, and shallot and added to that mushrooms, summer squash, zucchini, eggplant, baby spinach, fresh basil, and assorted dried herbs.  Then I tossed in some cooked quinoa and shaved over a bit of Pecorino Romano.

Quinoa stuffing

Quinoa stuffing

I took about half of this mixture and tossed it in with my ground turkey, added an egg and some herbed bread crumbs and made meatballs.  I think that I’ll mix the other half with some tomato sauce for a stuffed pepper mixture.  If it doesn’t make it into a pepper it’ll be because I ate it as a side dish to eggplant stackers.