Black Bean, Quinoa, & Mango Salad

Black Bean, Quinoa, & Mango Salad | Marigold Mom

A number of years ago, I found this healthy black bean and mango salad in an issue of Cooking Light magazine. The original recipe called for rice, but I much prefer quinoa over rice, so I substituted it and have been using it ever since.  This black bean, quinoa, & mango salad (which also happens to be gluten free & dairy free) has become a staple in our home–it’s easy & simple to make, healthy, and great for people with gluten & dairy allergies.  And we’re not the only ones who love it; any time we serve it to friends, they request the recipe.  In fact, I emailed it to two friends this week.  So I figured it would be best to just put it on the blog for everyone to enjoy!  Hope you love this black bean, quinoa and mango salad as much as we do!

When making this recipe, don’t worry about having exact measurements.  It’s pretty hard to mess up a salad–you can pretty much throw in whatever you want in whatever quantities you want.  So if you really love mango or cilantro and want to throw in extra, go right ahead.  I usually just start throwing stuff in the bowl til it looks good.  And if you want to get really crazy, throw in some cooked chicken breast or avocado.  Yummm!

Black Bean, Quinoa, & Mango Salad | Marigold Mom

 

Black Bean, Quinoa, & Mango Salad
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 cups fresh mango, peeled & chopped (appx 2 mangos)
  2. 3/4 cup thinly sliced green onion
  3. 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa (appx 2 cups cooked)
  4. 2 - 15oz cans black beans, drained & rinsed
  5. 3 Tblsp chopped fresh cilantro
  6. 2 Tblsp fresh salsa
  7. 2 Tblsp fresh lime juice
  8. 2 Tblsp olive oil
  9. salt & pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions.
  2. Once quinoa has cooled, combine all ingredients in a large bowl; toss gently to mix.
  3. Serve immediately.
Notes
  1. Additional Optional Ingredients: cooked chicken breast, avocado
Adapted from Cooking Light
Adapted from Cooking Light
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 Black Bean, Quinoa, & Mango Salad | Marigold Mom

 

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White Chocolate Raspberry Mini Cheesecakes

White Chocolate Raspberry Mini Cheesecakes | Marigold MomGet ready to salivate.  Because these white chocolate raspberry mini cheesecakes are divine!  My friend Laina is a very daring chef, always trying to come up with different recipes based on what she does or doesn’t have in her pantry at the time.  Unfortunately, many times her attempts are a complete disaster (though they do provide for great stories). But every once in a while, she’ll end up with something spectacular.  And this is one of those recipes.

We first had and fell in love with these little bites of delight at our Simple, Grown-Up Christmas Party this past year.  So when I needed a special dessert for our Gender Reveal Party, I had Laina send me the recipe.  They were again a huge hit (people were sneaking 3 and 4 when they thought the rest of us weren’t looking), and I decided to also use them for Henry’s Wheels on the Bus 2nd Birthday Party.  People kept raving and asking for the recipe, and so, with Laina’s permission, I’m sharing it with you.  As far as cheesecakes go, it’s a pretty simple recipe, and you can make it ahead of time, which is a huge benefit when preparing lots of food for an event. They freeze well (without the raspberries) and last about 5 days total in the fridge (though I wouldn’t make them  more than 2 days in advance).  So without any further ado….White Chocolate Raspberry Mini Cheesecake!
 White Chocolate Raspberry Mini Cheesecakes | Marigold Mom

White Chocolate Raspberry Mini Cheesecakes

Crust:
10 oz Nilla Wafer cookies
1/2 cup butter, melted

Filling:
3 8oz packages of cream cheese
2/3 cup sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
4 oz white chocolate, melted
seedless raspberry jam (approximately 1 1/2 cups)

Topping:
2 c sour cream
1/3 c powder sugar

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350.  Line cupcake tin with aluminum liners (remove paper liners).

Crush cookies and mix with melted butter.  Press into muffin tins and refrigerate while making the cheesecake.

Beat cream cheese until fluffy.  Add sugar, vanilla, and white chocolate, mixing until smooth.  Reduce mixer to lowest setting and slowly add eggs one at
a time, mixing until smooth.

Place a small dollop of raspberry jam (approximately 1 tsp per muffin tin) in each cup, then top with the cream cheese filling.  Bake 20 minutes, or until set, and cool.

While the cheesecakes are baking, mix the sour cream and powdered sugar until smooth.  When the cheesecakes have cooled and the centers have dropped, top with the sour cream mixture.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Garnish with raspberries and white chocolate as desired when ready to serve.

NOTES:

I’ve made these a few times now, and they’re always pretty ugly when they come out of the oven. And even more ugly after they have cooled.  I don’t know if ugly cheesecakes are an issue that other people have as well, but if yours are, don’t worry.  They will be very pretty once the sour cream mixture is spread on top.

Secondly, do not use white chocolate chips.  They never melt well. Instead use Baker’s White Chocolate Baking Squares or a white chocolate baking candy bar (Ghirardelli makes a great one!) They will melt much better and make your life so much happier.

 

White Chocolate Raspberry Mini Cheesecakes | Marigold Mom

White Chocolate Raspberry Mini Cheesecakes | Marigold Mom

 

Click here to download a recipe cardWhite Chocolate Raspberry Mini Cheesecakes | Marigold Mom

 White Chocolate Raspberry Mini Cheesecakes | Marigold Mom

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Oreo Truffle Snowman Pops

I recently posted my Oreo truffle recipe, as well as how I made the truffles into spiders.  Shortly after, I received a note from Mel at Mellywood’s Mansion that she had taken the recipe and made snowmen out of them!  Genius!  I don’t know why I never thought of that.  Plus, she called me Marigold Mum (she’s from Australia), which I think is so adorable.  “Mum” sounds so much cuter than “Mom” to my American ears; I may have to change my name. Anyway, I decided to steal her idea for my kid’s Christmas party and make my truffles into snowmen too.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Pkg Oreos (at least one should be regular chocolate Oreos)
  • 1 8-oz pkg Cream Cheese
  • White Chocolate or Dipping Melts (recommendation below)
  • 1 Pkg Mini Oreos
  • Orange Tic-Tacs
  • Black Gel Frosting
  • Cookie/Cake Decorating Balls
  • Lollipop Sticks
  • Foam block or board

To make the Oreo Truffle Snowmen Pops, simply prepare the truffle innards as usual.  When forming your balls, make half slightly larger (for the bottom of the snowman) and half slightly smaller (for the top).  Refrigerate balls until firm.  Assemble snowman body by sliding the large ball on a pop stick; then slide  a small ball on top of the large ball.  Refrigerate about 20 minutes.

While the pops are refrigerating, disassemble as many chocolate Oreos as you have pops. Reserve the cookie without the frosting for the base of the hat.  For each pop, lay out one mini Oreo (for the top of the hat), one Tic Tac (for the nose), and 3 decorating balls (for the buttons).

Melt white chocolate in a double broiler. Dip the entire pop into the chocolate, quickly tapping to remove excess chocolate. Immediate press the Oreo cookie on top of the pop, insert the Tic Tac in the middle of the head, and place the 3 decorating balls down the center of the body.  Using a small amount of white chocolate as glue, adhere the mini Oreo to the large cookie.  Insert pop stick into foam block to dry. Once the white chocolate has set, use black gel frosting to add dots for eyes and mouth.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Initially I decided to just make 6 pops because I don’t really love all the intricacies of cake/cookie decorating. I feel clumsy, shaky, and fat-fingered; I usually mess up and I just don’t have the patience for it. So I decided on six. But after making six (and after all the RSVPs started coming in), Mr. Kay told me I was going to need more (I think he really just wanted to eat more Oreo truffles, but who can blame him). So I made six more. For the first six, I used Baker’s Premium White Chocolate and they turned out great.  For the second batch of six, I had some Vanilla Almond Bark laying around that I decided to use.  Recommendation: use the Baker’s White Chocolate.  This is now the second time I’ve used the Almond Bark and the second time I’ve been really disappointed with it. And by disappointed, I mean angry and wanting to cuss because it’s so annoying to work with; plus it kind of makes me want to gag for some reason.

When Mel made her pops, she went the route that makes more sense, using golden Oreos for her truffles, but I just love the regular Oreos so much that I stuck with them.  It doesn’t really matter which Oreos you use, though the darkness of the regular Oreos did show through the white chocolate just a smidge.  Also, when I made the batch with the Almond Bark, a weird thing happened.  The candy coating must have somehow shrunk or condensed in the fridge because the next morning when I came down, black Oreo truffle was oozing out of the bottom, making it look like my snowmen had pooped. It wasn’t a huge issue; I just wiped their bottoms (haha, pun totally intended) and giggled.

Overall, I was really happy with how my Snowman Pops turned out.  And the kids all loved them too.  But what’s not to love…they’re cute and delicious!

 

 

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Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes with Sour Cream Topping

There are some combinations that are simply divine:  Chocolate and peanut butter.  Caramel and Salt.  Bread and cheese.  Butter and everything.  And I’d like to argue that pumpkin and cheesecake is one of them.  A few years ago, I found a couple different cheesecake recipes and combined them to come up with a pumpkin cheesecake recipe that our family loves.  It quickly became a staple holiday dessert (and an anytime you need an awesome dessert dessert).  I recently was in charge of snacks for our Bible study and thought that pumpkin cheesecake would be perfect.  But I also knew we’d never eat an entire cheesecake.  So I decided to try my hand at mini cheesecake instead–we could eat what we wanted, then freeze the rest to pull out whenever I had a late night craving (which is pretty much every night). I love how they turned out, and with Thanksgiving being this week, I thought it was the perfect time to share.

There are 3 parts to this recipe: the crust, the cheesecake and the sour cream topping.

Ingredients (Crust):

  • 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup ground pecans
  • 2 tblspn white sugar
  • 2 tblspn brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cupcake pan with baking cups.  Combine graham cracker crumbs, pecans, sugars and butter and mix well.  Press about 2 Tblsps of mixture firmly into the bottom of each baking cup.

Ingredients (Cheesecake):

  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese
  • 3/8 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tblspn whipping cream
  • 1 tblspn cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice

Combine 3/4 cup white sugar, pumpkin, 3 egg yolks, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix well and set aside.

Beat cream cheese, with an electric mixer until light and fluffy; gradually add 1/4 cup plus 2 tblspn white sugar and mix well.  Add whole egg, egg yolk and whipping cream, beating well.  Add cornstarch, vanilla and lemon; beat until smooth. Add pumpkin mixture and mix well. Pour onto crust in baking cups.

Ingredients (Sour Cream Topping):
  • 16 oz sour cream
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

In a separate bowl, combine sour cream, sugar, and vanilla in mixer, beating until smooth.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.  About five minutes before the cheesecakes are done, spread a layer of the sour cream mixture over the top. Bake for additional 5 minutes. Cool cheesecakes on wire rack, then refrigerate or freeze until ready to serve.

To make a regular sized cheesecake, bake for 50-55 minutes.

 

 

 

 

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Easy Slow Cooker Chili

I love chili.  To me, it’s the perfect fall-comfort-gathering food. And know there are a million different ways to prepare and serve chili, but I thought you might want to try out my recipe.  This recipe, originally came from my good friend, Sarah. She got married, and therefore was cooking, much earlier in life than I did.  I always loved her recipe, so when Mr. Right finally came around, I asked her to be my maid of honor and give me her chili recipe.  She kindly agreed to both requests.  And over the years, as I’ve developed my own cooking style, I’ve changed up the recipe to better suit our specific tastes.

**Disclaimer**
Let me just say that some food is beautiful and/or easy to take pictures of.  Chili is not one of those foods.  It’s kinda ugly and it’s hard to photograph. So please forgive my photos (I think I did 3 separate photo sessions before simply giving up).  Maybe one day I’ll learn the secret to photographing a bowl of chili.

This recipe is super simple–you cook up your meat, then throw your meat and everything else into a crock pot for a few hours.  So simple.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs ground turkey (or beef, your preference)
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 tblsp olive oil (leave out if using ground beef)
  • 1 16oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 8oz jar of salsa
  • 2 cups frozen corn (or 15oz can of corn)
  • 1 cup black olives, sliced
  • 1 15oz can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2-4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Heat olive oil in pan; add onion and garlic, and saute about 2 minutes; add ground meat and cook until nearly done.  Transfer ground meat to a crock pot; add remaining ingredients; stir to combine.  Heat on high for at least 2 hours.

OR…After meat is cooked, stir in tomatoes, salsa, corn, olives, sugar, chili powder and cinnamon; heat to boiling; cover & simmer 1 hour. Stir in beans; heat to boiling; simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.   Transfer to crock pot until ready to serve.

Garnish with sour cream, shredded cheese, chips, avocado, or anything else that strikes your fancy.

Tips & Notes
One of the great things about chili is that you can add or remove remove ingredients based on the taste preference of you and your guests.  For example, when it’s just me and Mr. K, I make my chili just a little bit spicy and throw in a can of black olives.  But when my brother is visiting, we leave out the black olives and make it less spicy because his intestines just don’t handle the spice all that well (sorry if that was TMI).

Typically I double this recipe, simply because it’s easy to do and then we eat off of it for a few days (which means I don’t have to think about lunches).  It also freezes well.  When I do double it, one of my cans of diced tomatoes will usually have peppers in it. Just for some added kick. Other ways to add or reduce the amount of heat in this recipe include monitoring the amount of chili powder you use and choosing an appropriately heated salsa.  Obviously, a spicy salsa will make for a spicy chili.

Sometimes I’ll add salt & pepper and/or chili powder to the meat when I’m cooking it.  Sometimes I’ll throw in a couple extra cloves of garlic. It really just depends on my mood at the time.  Like I said above, chili is one of those really flexible dishes that you can do a variety of things to depending on your mood, cravings, and pantry stock.

So now you have it: my go-to recipe for group meals. Pretty much any time we have family visiting or a bigger group of friends coming to hang out, this is what I’ll prepare.  It’s inexpensive, easy to make, and loved by all.

 

I’m always looking to improve my recipes. What are some items you add to your chili recipes?

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