Friday, June 6, 2008


Have you tried quinoa? If you have celiac disease or are gluten intolerant, most likely you have heard of it if not tried it many times. This beautiful whole grain from South America is very nutritious. It's high in protein, has essential amino acids, and is a good source of fiber, phosphorus, magnesium, and iron. You can cook and use it like rice or couscous. It can be made in a rice cooker as well--with the same ratio of grain-to-liquid (1:2) as rice. It lends itself very nicely to stuffed peppers and a yummy vegetable pilaf, which is usually how I prepare this complete food. Since it's gluten free, it's also autism spectrum friendly as well! Learn more about quinoa by reading this article.

I wasn't in full cooking mood today. We had some left over chicken fajita meat, a bunch of luscious fruit, and some veggies that I needed to use. I thought I'd make some quinoa since Joe hasn't probably had his fair share of good grains lately since we've been on the road.

Here's how I make quinoa:
1 TBSP olive oil
1 cup quinoa
2 cups gluten-free, low-sodium chicken broth

On med-high, heat saucepan with oil and toast the quinoa until golden brown (3-5 minutes). This gives it such a yummy nutty flavor--it's a step not to miss! Remove from heat to add chicken broth (We like Pacific.)--watch out, it will sizzle! Put heat back on and bring stock to a boil, then lower heat to simmer for about 10-15 minutes, until quinoa is soft but still has a bite (like al dente pasta). Fluff with fork and add other vegetables and flavorings as you like.

Tonight's additions:
1/2 cup seriously sweet grape tomatoes, diced
1 green onion
2-3 TBSP homemade basil pesto
1 TBSP chopped pine nuts
1 TBSP olive oil
pinch of kosher salt
I also added some left over diced chicken fajita meat to Joe's bowl
If I had it, I would have thrown in some diced cucumber and maybe even some feta.

My "usual" quinoa side:
I usually add sauteed, diced veggies (zucchini, peppers, carrots, onions) and fresh parsley for my quinoa pilaf, but since I was also serving roasted veggies tonight I didn't bother to add more veggies to the quinoa.

Here's what the kids ended up eating tonight: quinoa, roasted veggies, and fruit--a low-maintenance meal from their low-energy mom on this particular Friday! It's just been a busy week, and I'm going to bed!