Restaurant Style Salsa


I love Restaurant Style Salsa. It’s so good! Especially with the warm chips… Mmmmmm! Too bad store bought salsa in a jar just doesn’t cut it. And I don’t want pico de gallo. I want salsa, like what they have at Chevy’s. So after searching for a recipe on Google and altering what I found, I finally came up with something that I really love! My husband likes it HOT and I like it medium. Tastes good with regular chips or my favorite, Trader Joe’s Quinoa and Black Bean-Infused Tortilla Chips. Perfect snack!


  • 1-28 oz. can of whole tomatoes with juice
  • 1-10 oz. can of Rotel brand diced tomatoes and green chilies or just a can of green chillies (mild, original or hot, whichever is your preference)
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 whole jalapeño, quartered and thinly sliced
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of 1-2 limes

In a food processor or blender, combine whole tomatoes, Rotel (or diced chillies), onion, jalapeno, garlic, salt, lime juice, and cilantro. Pulse until you get the salsa to the consistency you’d like. Taste and adjust as needed, if you need more salt or lime juice.

Refrigerate salsa for at least an hour.

Cheesy Quinoa Salad

cheesyquinoaA few months ago, I went to an upscale deli and had this beautiful quinoa salad that was so delicious and flavorful. I didn’t know how to reciprocate it since I didn’t know all the ingredients used. But I decided to get creative and try to achieve something close. I call it Cheesy Quinoa Salad because, well, there’s cheese in it. Maybe I should have come up with a different name but, hey, my kids will eat anything that starts with “cheesy.”

This makes for a great gluten-free, vegetarian side dish with dinner or you can eat it by itself for lunch. Filling and tasty!


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of grilled asparagus, zucchini, steamed spinach (or whatever cooked veggies you may have)
  • 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese (Not the dry pre-grated that comes in a can but the one that comes fresh in a resealable bag or plastic tub. But you can really use any kind of cheese you prefer: Mozzarella, Cheddar, Swiss, Monterey Jack, etc.)
  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Cook your quinoa following the directions on the package. I cooked mine in my rice cooker using 1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of water.
  2. While that is cooking, grill or steam your vegetables, then rough chop them in to big bite size pieces. I like to see and bite into my veggies.
  3. After the quinoa is cooked, mix in a couple tablespoons of olive oil, the juice from the lemon, and salt & pepper. (You can add red pepper flakes if you want more heat!)
  4. Let the quinoa cool for about an hour, then add the Parmesan cheese.
  5. Add the tomatoes and stir.
  6. Add more olive oil, lemon juice, and salt & pepper depending on your taste.
  7. Serve as a side dish at room temp or cold.

Ginger-Sesame Beef

ginger_beefI posted this photo of Ginger-Sesame Beef on my personal Facebook page and everyone wanted the recipe. I thought I had this on my Guilt-Free Goodies blog because it’s low-carb and gluten-free, but I guess I didn’t. So here it is…


  • two pound of sliced beef (or chicken or pork)
  • olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce
  • salt, pepper
  • 1/2 an onion, diced
  • 1 ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1 package of sliced mushrooms
  • 1 package of firm or extra firm tofu, cubed
  • 1 bag of bean sprouts
  • 1 stalk of green onions, cut in 2-inch strips
  • 1/4 cup of sesame oil
  1. Sauté onions and ginger in olive oil. Then add thinly sliced beef.
  2. Season with salt, pepper and soy sauce.
  3. When meat is cooked, add tofu and mushrooms. Simmer for about 5 min.
  4. Add bean sprouts and green onions. Then drizzle about 1/4 cup of sesame oil over everything and cook until sprouts are tender to your liking.

Eat as is for a low-carb meal, or top over brown rice or quinoa. I like eating this with a side of steamed broccoli, too. Yum, yum!

Cowboy Chili over Quinoa

This Cowboy Chili was inspired by Heather Eats Almond Butter’s Cowboy Quinoa. It’s wintertime and I wanted to make something warm, hearty and filling for dinner (or even for lunch). Totally hits the spot!


Quinoa — I made my quinoa in my rice cooker and added a tablespoon of taco seasoning to give it a little flavor.


  • 1 lb. of ground meat (turkey, beef, chicken, pork… your choice)
  • 1/2 packet (or more) of taco seasoning depending on how spicy you’d like it.
  • half an onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • salt / pepper as needed
  • 1 can of beans (white, kidney, pinto, black, your choice)
  • half a bag of spinach
  • Optional toppings: diced avocado, sour cream, and queso fresco or any kind of cheese you prefer.
  1. In a sauce pan, sauté garlic and onions in olive oil.
  2. Brown the meat and add taco seasoning, salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Once the meat is cooked, add the beans (liquid too), and stir until beans are heated.
  4. Toss in your spinach and cover until cooked.
  5. In a bowl, scoop in some quinoa, then the chili. Top with diced avocado, sour cream and cheese.
  6. Enjoy!


“Breaded” Eggplant

I discovered that you can use coconut flour to bread your eggplant (or chicken, veal, etc.) to get that crispy-crunchy texture we all love so much without all the carbs or gluten.


  • In one container, a beaten egg with about 1/4 cup of water. Season with salt & pepper.
  • In another container, coconut flour.
  • Dip your eggplant (or meat) in the egg mixture.
  • Dredge in coconut flour.
  • Fry in oil until crisp.

So this is what I had for dinner: Breaded eggplant with a side of Trader Joe’s Palak Paneer and a serving of quinoa cooked in chicken broth. Guilt-free fancy dinner right at home!

Faux Fried Rice

It looks like fried rice, but it’s not. I call this Faux Fried Rice because it’s made with quinoa, not rice.

What is Quinoa?

Quinoa is 100% whole grain and is an excellent source of protein, about 12 to 18 percent! Technically it’s not a grain but the seed of a leafy plant related to spinach. According to The National Academy of Sciences, quinoa is “one of the best sources of protein in the vegetable kingdom”. Quinoa contains the amino acid lysine which helps the body produce protein. It also helps the body process the protein in the quinoa and in other foods. The World Health Organization has rated the quality of protein in quinoa to be equivalent or superior to that found in milk products.

Amazing, right? So it’s guilt-free, gluten-free and delicious! And you know what else, it tastes JUST LIKE FRIED RICE! I’m not kidding. Rice by itself doesn’t even have any flavor. The secret is all in how you spice up the proteins and veggies you’re going to mix with the quinoa. This is perfect for lunch or dinner, or even as a side dish – although I must warn you, this can be pretty filling.

Look at the photo again. I swear, every time I look at it, I think it’s real fried rice. 🙂


1 cup of quinoa (cook as directed– I cook mine in my rice cooker. Set aside.)

  • 8 oz. or so of any protein you want (chicken, shrimp, pork, tofu)
  • 1 cup of diced vegetables you like (fresh or frozen: zucchini, broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, etc.)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 an onion, chopped
  • garlic, minced
  • cooking oil (any oil you want: olive, canola, vegetable)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • soy sauce (optional)
  1. In a skillet, sauté garlic and onion in oil.
  2. Add in your protein until cooked.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Toss in veggies.
  5. When protein & veggies are cooked, then push it to the side of the skillet so you have enough room to scramble the 2 eggs in the same pan.
  6. When eggs are cooked, mix it all up (protein/meat, veggies, eggs.)
  7. Throw in the quinoa. Season as needed. You can use soy sauce if you want.
  8. Mix it all up in the skillet…. then BAM, fried rice! I mean, FAUX fried rice.

Eat with chop sticks and enjoy!