Dinner With The Girls: Stuffed Potatoes and Spinach Salad

Happy Friday!!!
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So, to celebrate an early start to the weekend the girls get together for dinner and drinks on Thursday night. This Thursday Smash actually found the potato recipe on Cooking With Quinoa, a totally phenomenal quinoa blog. You all know how much I love quinoa 🙂
To complete the meal I whipped up a quick spinach salad, luckily Jamaica came through with the spinach and Founders came through with yummy mini cupcakes from Trader Joe’s! Enjoyed with a cheap yet satisfying bottle of New Moon Zinfandel.

Quinoa, Artichoke Heart and Basil Stuffed Baked Potatoes
Ingredients for 4:
4 medium/large russet potatoes
2-3 handfuls basil
2 cloves garlic
2 shallots
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (or your favorite substitute)
1 can artichoke hearts, drained
2 T capers
1 and 1/2 cups cooked mixed regular and red Quinoa
S/P to taste
Desired cheese to top! I used the quattro formagio blend from TJ’s

Prep: preheat oven to 375
1) Use a fork to pierce the skin of the potatoes all over, place on a foil lined cookie sheet or baking dish and place in the oven for ~50 minutes until soft
2) prepare quinoa according to directions on box/bag – use veggie stock in place of water!
3) While those are working, combine garlic, shallots, and basil in a food processor and process away till the basil is the desired size – I like mine SUPER fine and using the processor keeps the basil from turning dark
4) add the artichoke hearts and pulse till roughly chopped
5) scoop mixture into mixing bowl, add remaining ingredients (let the quinoa cool a bit) and stir to combine
6) when potatoes are done, cut in half and scoop out the insides into the basil mixture, leaving 1/4 to create a potato bowl
7) fill potato bowls, top with desired cheese, return to oven for 10-20 minutes

Balsamic Spinach Salad with “Quick Pickled” Topper
Ingredients (easy to modify depending on the crowd!):
Spinach – 1 handful per person
Persian Cucumber – 1/2 per person
Red Onion – 1/8-1/4 per person
Avocado – 1/4 per person
S/P to taste
Balsamic Vinegar (try a flavor! I used cherry)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Honey

Prep
1) slice cucumbers and red onion very fine
2) combine in a bowl with enough balsamic to coat, a splash of EVOO, a sprinkle of salt, and a dollop of honey, let set till ready to eat meal
3) rinse and de-stem spinach
4) when everything else is ready, plate spinach, top with cucumber/red onion mixture, finish with avo slices and fresh ground black pepper

SERIOUS YUM HAPPENING HERE!!!

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