Monday Meal!

Good Day to All!

I had the great pleasure of going on the Trolley Wine Tour on Saturday, June 14th. I attended on behalf of Rochester Women Magazine. My friend Melissa McNallan and I are co-writing a wine column for the magazine. This was our first event that started at Johnny Mangos Catering Company. They hosted a father’s day buffet (and included our wine tour group) that included BBQ brisket, smoked salmon a beautiful and tasty fruit salad and gourmet hot dog bar with all the trimmings. For dessert, Johnny Mangoura, owner of Johnny Mango’s, created a sinful breakfast cake made with Kahlua, Grand Marnier, Butter Toffee and Rum. The cake was topped with a decadent Captain Morgan’s gooey drizzle. Oh, so, delicious!

Melissa McNallan and I on our first winery tour for Rochester Women's Magazine. The two of us will be co-writing articles about Minnesota winerys.

Melissa McNallan and I on our first winery tour for Rochester Women’s Magazine. The two of us will be co-writing articles about Minnesota winerys.

smoked-salmon-orzo-and-fruit

Johnny Mango’s smoked salmon, orzo salad and fruit were the first to hit my plate! I passed up all the beef they had to offer.

 

Johnny Mango's offered a gourmet hot dog bar, ribs and baked beans.

Johnny Mango’s offered a gourmet hot dog bar, ribs and baked beans.

BBQ brisket, hmmm, I don't like meat, but I heard it was fabulous!

BBQ brisket, hmmm, I don’t like meat, but I heard it was fabulous!

Melissa and I rode in the co-captain’s seat up in front of the trolley. Our first visit was to Cannon River Winery, in Cannon Falls, Minnesota. We tasted eight wines that ranged from sweet and fruity to more robust wines with a slight oak finish. The wines here, in my opinion, had a lot of depth and distinguishing tastes. The second winery however, Alexis Bailly Vineyard, in Hastings, Minnesota, had wine that was simple, crisp and very easy to drink. My friend Melissa on the other hand was not impressed with Alexis Bailly wines. She thought they were too boring. In her defense, there was not a lot of depth to the taste in the wines.

When we asked one of the winery employees about pairing wine with food, she mentioned that it is best to pair simple wines with simple foods. She said that you don’t want your wine to overpower your food or your food to overpower your wine. However, when you find a wine you like, stick with it and enjoy it no matter what varietal of grape you are drinking or what you are eating. Wine and good food should be a good experience and I couldn’t agree more.

Cannon River Falls Winery

The Cannon River Winery is located in a historic building that used to be a car dealership back in the 40’s.

 

 

Cannon River Winery had many wines that were very easy to drink!

Cannon River Winery had many wines that were very easy to drink!

 

A charming look inside of the Alexis Bailly Winery.

A charming look inside of the Alexis Bailly Winery.

There was live music playing and lovely Christmas lights that added to the ambiance.

There was live music playing and lovely Christmas lights that added to the ambiance.

It was a beautiful day and my friend Melissa and I strolled through the vineyard as we sampled wine.

It was a beautiful day and my friend Melissa and I strolled through the vineyard as we sampled wine.

That being said, if you’re looking for a tasty, healthy dinner, I’ve got a little something you might like. I found this recipe in Fitness Magazine back in the July/August 2011 issue. I finally made this about a month ago and loved it so much I made it again a week or so after that. My husband even liked it — and he is a meat and potatoes kind of guy.

Now, let this be noted, I don’t (but I want to) spend a lot of time cooking. I generally don’t stray too far from the recipe on the first time. When I have made it a time or two, I begin to experiment a little more. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. We keep a back-up DiGiorno Pizza in the freezer. 🙂

The recipe below, in my opinion is deelish! It wasn’t too spicy, so those of you with intolerant tummies shouldn’t worry. However, if you really have sensitive tummies, a diced chicken breast or even tofu may work for you! If you want a good bottle of wine to go with it, you may try a making some sangria or a wine that is soft and fruity. At Cannon River Winery, they had a wine called GoGo Red that would be perfect for this meal. If you are a finicky wine person as I am, please note, the GoGo Red stinks, but it tastes so good. It was difficult for me to get over the initial smell, but I didn’t dump the sample, I drank it all!

Recipe: Corn and Quinoa Salad with Chicken Sausage

A quick glance at all the goodies packed into this yummy meal!

A quick glance at all the goodies packed into this yummy meal!

Makes: 4

Prep time: 20 minutes plus 30 minutes chilling (We actually ate it hot and I loved it! Ok, so I strayed a little on the first time)

Cook time: 20 minutes

¾ C. uncooked quinoa

1 ¼ C. Chicken broth or Veggie broth

3 Tblsp. Olive Oil

8 oz. spicy chicken sausage or veggie sausage cut into chunks

1 medium onion, diced

1 large zucchini or 2 small, diced

2 ½ C. corn kernels

2 Tblsp fresh lemon juice (I also added lime)

½ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

1 medium red bell pepper, diced

½ C. fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

  1. Put the quinoa and chicken broth in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until the liquid is absorbed, 12-15 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  2. While quinoa cooks, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Addt he sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer sausage to a plate. Add another tablespoon oil to pan, then add the onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the zucchini and corn and cook about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are tender-firm.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon/lime juice, remaining oil, cumin, salt and black pepper. Add quinoa, sausage, corn-zucchini mixture and bell pepper; mix. Chill the refrigerator at least 30 minutes or up to two days (note: we ate the meal hot and it was wonderful). When ready to serve, stir in the parsley.

Nutrition facts per serving: 424 calories, 20 g protein, 51 g carbohydrate, 18g fat (3 g saturated), 6 g fiber. (note: fat content may change if you use veggie sausage)

I made this delicious meal with both Italian flavored Chicken Sausage and Vegetable Sausage.

I made this delicious meal with both Italian flavored Chicken Sausage and Vegetable Sausage.

Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think.

As always,

Stay Strong in all that you do!

~Nicole

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