Quinoa ideas for every meal

Maybe that sort-of-hippie friend left a box after visiting, you mistook it for couscous on the grocery store shelf or maybe you just happen to be an absolute quinoa devotee – no matter how you cut it (or mix it, cook it, eat it), quinoa is delicious and extremely adaptable. Savory or sweet, try these quinoa ideas for each meal.

Breakfast. Try oatmeal without the oats! Make your quinoa with some milk instead of water, then serve in a bowl with blueberries or apple slices and sprinkled cinnamon. Also try adding scoops of cooked quinoa into your pancakes. It cuts flour usage by half and adds a satisfying texture and flavor to this breakfast classic.

Lunch. This one's easy: Quinoa and kale salad with craisins, walnuts and the perfect citrus dressing. It's so good you could eat it for each meal. For those wanting something a little more savory, try Quinoa cooked with chicken broth or grilled with herbs and spices – tumeric and cumin are especially tasty on quinoa with peppers and a few onions. If you're a vegetarian or just want something that feels more substantive, grill a little eggplant and throw that in too.

Dinner. Of course quinoa makes for a great side, but with so much protein it could almost take over your meal, so why not let it from time to time? Stir frys are great with some quinoa, but how about making quinoa burgers or throwing some together with beans for a south of the border remix? It goes great with chili, yams, tabouli and chicken too – in fact, quinoa goes with everything!

Dessert. Here's the proof that quinoa can work in any dish for any meal. A great dessert option would be quinoa pudding, which can be done in a variety of styles, from vanilla or coconut to rum raisin. Quinoa cookies are great, especially for the gluten-free crowd. Toasted quinoa with some brown sugar, banana and walnuts makes for an excellent dessert or breakfast granola. And at the end of the day, if you're up to try making some quinoa flour there's really nothing you can't whip into a baked dish. Head to Gerhard's Appliances to grab anything you need to become the culinary master of quinoa.

Delicious, helpful, versatile – quinoa has truly redefined the meaning of super food.

Treat your guests to healthier desserts

There's no reason dessert and guilt should be synonymous. Too often we either skimp on one of our favorites or settle for something with a tasteless sugar substitute. If you and your guests share a sweet tooth, there's no reason not to break out these lighter after-dinner desserts:

Mini ice cream sandwiches. Here's the catch – these ice cream sandwiches don't actually have any ice cream. Substitute frozen yogurt between two cookies and maybe sprinkle with some semi-sweet chocolate shavings for a healthy sweet treat.

Angel food cake. Light on the fat and light on the palate, angel food cake is a perfect after-dinner course. Serve with a pile of blueberries, strawberries and raspberries – or make personal serving fruit salads and let your guests dig in.

Cookies. Try using applesauce in your oatmeal raisin cookies for a healthy twist. Honey also makes a great substitute for sugar. If chocolate chip is more your style, try using a ripe banana instead of eggs in your next batch of cookies.

Fruit salad. Always popular, but not always original – why not try this Food Network twist: segment some oranges and grapefruits and toss them with pineapple chunks. Sweeten with a little agave, whip some cottage cheese until creamy, surround a dollop of the cottage cheese with the salad and top with shaved coconut and mint leaves. The result will be as good-looking as it is delicious.

Don't be intimidated by prep time or complicated recipes – Gerhards Appliances will help make your prep and baking a breeze. Easy to make but much easier to enjoy, any of these suggestions can make a great cap to a dinner with friends. 

Wake up with a breakfast smoothie

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but many individuals sometimes treat the meal as an afterthought when trying to beat the traffic or catch the bus. If you haven't been receiving a proper breakfast each morning, it may be time to put your Gerhards appliances to work by making some morning smoothies. Here are a few tips to make this a fixture of your morning routine.

1. Put together your ingredients at night. To make things easier on yourself in the morning, throw together your ingredients inside of your blender and leave it in your refrigerator overnight. In the morning, all you'll need to do is add ice and a splash of juice and your smoothie will be ready to go.

2. Invest in a quality go-cup. You'll want to invest in an insulated go-cup to keep your smoothie at the optimal temperature as you begin your morning commute. Pick up at least two of these vessels so you can put one in the dishwasher at the end of the day and have another one ready to go for the next morning.

3. Variety. One of the biggest benefits of a breakfast smoothie is the incredible diversity of ingredients you can work with each day. Do some research online or pick up a smoothie recipe book to find a number of great ideas that can give you the chance to try something new each morning.

A breakfast smoothie is a great way to start eating healthier and place the proper emphasis on starting the day off right. By planning ahead and picking up a selection of delectable fruits and veggies to blend together, you will have far more energy when you venture into the office each day.

Start a veggie night with Portobello burgers

Burgers are an American tradition, but like many foods in our culture, they're probably not the healthiest dishes to eat on a regular basis. However, over the past few decades, there has been an explosion of interest in chefs that can create vegetarian or health-conscious meals that are based on old favorites. While you may have tried turkey or black bean patties, a Portobello burger is a fabulous change of pace. It's the perfect quick and easy recipe when you want to start a vegetarian night during your work week.

Portobello mushrooms are highly versatile ingredients, and you can choose to grill them on your new Gerhards appliance or explore a myriad of marinades and toppings to enhance their flavor. Ideally, grilling them will help them achieve the consistency you're looking for from your burger and it will help add a delectable smoky flavor. Like any burger, the bun you put it on is also important, so consider a whole wheat variety to add to your dish's use of all-natural and healthy ingredients.

Marinades can be a versatile idea to enhance the flavor of your Portobello burgers and give them a unique twist that your family will love. The Food Network suggests a balsamic vinegar-based marinade that's accented with spicy mustard, black pepper, olive oil and salt. After letting these mushroom caps marinate for two hours, you can throw them on the grill to cook for about three to four minutes each side and then put them on a roll with your favorite toppings.

Last but not least, you can explore a variety of toppings when whipping up your Portobello burgers. Fresh sliced avocados, gouda cheese, pesto spreads, spinach, arugula, red peppers or anything else that piques your interest can probably work with your burger. It's best to experiment with a few of your ideas to find the right combinations that your family will love.

Whether you're looking to start a vegetarian night each week or simply trying to find healthier recipes for your spring and summer barbecues, grilling up a few Portobello caps could be a wonderful way to get the ball rolling. Of course, the best way to do this is by investing in a charcoal or gas grill, or one of the many Gerhards appliances that can improve your culinary capabilities in the coming seasons.

Reinventing your cocktail shrimp appetizer

If you have a seasonal gathering on the horizon, you may be wondering what sorts of side dishes you can break out upon your guests' arrival. The old standard of cocktail shrimp is always a great go-to, but some people may not like the taste of cold shrimp and cocktail sauce. If you'd like to reinvent the recipe and make it a bit healthier, your new Gerhards appliances will play an important role in creating the dish.

Start with a bag of cooked shrimp and allocate the amount you'll need to give each guest a thorough helping. In a bowl, dust the shrimp in cumin, thyme, salt and a touch of black pepper. Take a non-stick pan and coat it with olive oil and cook each of the shrimp until they are brown on both sides. Cooking them really shouldn't take long, as you are only trying to warm them up and give them a bit of color.

Before you start this process, you should create a delectable dipping sauce for your guests to enjoy. A cilantro lime dip could be a great choice with your spices, and all you'll need is a cup of light sour cream, the juice of two limes and a quarter of a cup of chopped cilantro. When all of these ingredients are mixed together, you can serve your dip in a large bowl and place the shrimp on the side to improve the visual interest of your platter.

This is a surprisingly healthy, fresh and festive twist on cocktail shrimp that your guests are sure to enjoy. Best of all, you can put your new Gerhards appliance to work and create a fabulous addition to your table spread that will wow your friends and family.

How to make a Mother’s Day frittata

With Mother's Day little over a week away, you may be wondering how you're going to commemorate the occasion for the most important woman in your life. While flowers and sweets are a great step in the right direction, giving your mom a chance to relax all Mother's Day morning while you make her breakfast could be a nice break from her usual routine. Instead of pancakes and bacon, whip up a frittata for your whole family, and put those Gerhards appliances to good use.

If you consider yourself a breakfast expert, this is a recipe that just about anyone can pull off. First, ask your mother what sorts of meats and veggies she would like in her frittata. You can use everything from asparagus to smoked salmon, so make sure you have a wide variety of ingredients to work with. After browning these ingredients in a cast iron or similar oven-safe pan, blend together six eggs with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.

Before you pour in the egg mixture, turn your oven on the broil setting to have it ready for your pan. When the eggs begin to set at the bottom of the pan, you can then transfer it to the oven for about three to four minutes, or when it is lightly-browned. You can choose to make one large frittata for everyone in your family to share, or use a smaller pan so you can create individual portions.

Set up your dinner table and create an elegant spread with fresh-cut flowers and everything your mom will need to unwind on her big day. This is a great way to make Mother's Day all the more special, and you'll get to show off your culinary abilities in the process.

Wow your friends with black bean and corn salad

Now that the mercury is rising all over the country, many culinary experts will make the major shift from comfort food to more versatile recipes that can be enjoyed during the hot summer weather. If you have a barbecue coming up, you may be wondering how you're going to perk up your chicken, burgers and hot dogs with a delectable side dish. Instead of buying salad mix and whipping up a boring pile of lettuce, put a few of your Gerhards appliances to work and create a summer black bean and corn salad instead.

For this recipe you'll need two garlic cloves, two jalapeno peppers, three cups of fresh shucked corn, two cans of rinsed black beans, two tomatoes, a half cup of sliced green onions and a half of a cup of chopped cilantro. When all of these ingredients are chopped and prepared completely, you can combine the garlic and jalapenos in a pan with a teaspoon each of cumin and oregano. If you and your family are big fans of spicy foods, consider adding a few of the seeds and the membranes of the jalapenos to give your salad a bit of an extra kick.

After these veggies have browned, you can add in the corn and then add a half cup of water and allow it to cook down. Finally, when this mixture is complete, you can add your black beans, scallions, tomatoes, and cilantro in a bowl until it is mixed together evenly. Your dressing is the final step – mix together a tablespoon of dijon mustard, cracked pepper and the juice of two limes together and a dash of olive oil. Once the dressing has coated the majority of your black bean salad, it should be ready to serve.

This dish is a wonderful choice and is served cold, so you can make it a few days in advance and have it ready for your summer gathering. The salad is so versatile, it can work with a Cinco de Mayo celebration or even a traditional Fourth of July barbecue. The recipe couldn't be easier, and all it takes is a bit of chopping to get all of your ingredients ready to meld together. It could be the perfect way to wow your family and friends over the coming months and show off your culinary ingenuity.

Grilling pizza is a great idea for your upcoming summer barbecues

The first time someone ever told you about the idea of putting pizza on a grill, you probably thought they were crazy. However, unless you've actually tried this delectable dish, you may be missing out on something that could shake up the traditional barbecue fare. If you've recently invested in a gas grill or a similar Gerhards appliance, skip the burgers and hot dogs at your next get-together and whip up a few grilled pizzas instead.

When you've purchased or made your own dough, you should take a few practice runs before your friends come over, suggests 101Cookbooks.com. You will cook your dough first before you add any toppings, so go through a trial and error period to see what the ideal temperature setting on your grill will be. Before placing the dough on the grill, coat both sides with olive oil and one side with flour and cornmeal so it won't stick to the surface. You will have to watch the top and the bottom of your dough continuously throughout the process to find out when you should flip the dough.

Once you have the regimen down to create the perfect grilled pizza dough, you can set up your kitchen to accommodate your guests' needs. Turn your get-together into a pizza-making party by supplying your guests with everything they'll need to make a pie, suggests SimplyRecipes.com. Pepperoni, sausage, onions, peppers and mushrooms are must-haves, but you can also shake things up a bit by giving your friends the option of going with spinach, caramelized onions, fresh mozzarella, artichoke hearts and anything else you'd like to include.

If there's one thing to keep in mind when grilling pizza, it's that you should never be too far away from your grill. The second one of your conversations goes too long or you spend too much time in the kitchen, your dough could become charred beyond recognition. Do yourself a favor and put your Gerhards appliances outside near the main seating area so you can still mingle with your guests and keep a close eye on what you're cooking.

It's going to be a long summer, so you don't want to keep making the same old barbecued foods all season. Grilled pizza may be the perfect chance to show off your culinary chops and give your guests something they've probably never had before.

Creating an antipasto plate at your upcoming spring gathering

With your next spring party on the horizon, you may be wondering how you're going to impress your guests with your culinary capabilities. If you're looking for a way to cut your prep time and make the most of your new Gerhards appliance, an Italian antipasto plate will give your guests a delectable mix of foods that can whet their appetites for the main course.

First, you should start by heading off to your nearest Italian deli to pick up a selection of foods that will pair beautifully with one another. Cured meats like prosciutto, mortadella and salami can form one side of the plate, and you should also pick up a fresh loaf of Italian bread. Keep an eye out for cheeses like parmigiano reggiano, taleggio, as well as spreads like olive tapenade that your guests can spread on the bread if they wish.

With your selection of meats and cheeses ready, you could stop there, but your platter could use a pop of festive color. Consider firing up the grill and roasting a few red bell peppers and artichoke hearts. These veggies are the ideal finishing touch for your meal that will add a bit of festive hues and variety to your platter.

When it's time to serve, place all of your meats, cheeses and veggies onto a large cutting board with small appetizer plates and let your friends dig in. This platter goes wonderfully with a bottle of fruity white wine or a chilled red, and it will be a fabulous introduction for the rest of your meal. Best of all, you will only have to do a bit of slicing and take a trip to your local market to pull it off!

Homemade guacamole is a fabulous choice for your upcoming outdoor gathering

Now that the spring and summer entertaining season is in full swing, it's the time of year when you can show off your culinary abilities and wow your guests at upcoming parties. Instead of putting out the standard chips and salsa this year, use your new Gerhards appliance to make your own homemade guacamole.

This side dish is wonderful for dipping and you can also use it down the line as a spread on sandwiches or in other dishes. First, you'll need three to four ripe avocados peeled, then place the pulp in a bowl. Next, juice a few limes and add a touch of salt, cumin and cayenne pepper and mash them all together.

What will really set your guacamole apart is the addition of taste-boosters like tomatoes, cilantro and onions, so incorporate as many as you wish to adhere to your guests' palette. After all the ingredients have been blended together, you should let the mixture reach room temperature and serve as one of your first courses.

Guacamole is a wonderful change of pace and a great idea for a warm weather get-together. Simply break out your favorite bag of chips and let your friends and family go to town!