Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Back to Basics: Quinoa

Just a few years ago, no one could pronounce 'quinoa' correctly.  Now, it is a increasing staple in people's diets. For me, it's a perfect basic--quick and easy to make, but lots of great uses. I serve it as a side at dinner, I add it into my salad, I even turn it into a hot cereal.

Below is my basic recipe for quinoa, but there are lots of ways you can dress it up:

  • Quickly sauté shallots, garlic, etc before adding in quinoa. 
  • Add fresh herbs, toasted nuts, or dried fruit to your finished quinoa.
  • Toss your quinoa in a light dressing of olive oil and lemon juice.
I'm eating my quinoa tomorrow in a salad with arugula, peaches, goat cheese, and balsamic vinegar. 

Quinoa Recipe:

1 cup dry quinoa
1 cup water
1 cup chicken broth

1.  Rinse quinoa off under cold water with a fine mesh strainer.
2. Add quinoa, water, and chicken broth in a saucepan.
3.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium.
4.  Simmer for 15 minutes.
5.  Drain quinoa (you can reuse your fine mesh strainer).
6.  Return quinoa to the hot pan, cover, and let it rest for 15 minutes.  

Perfect fluffy quinoa.  

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The New Normal

I moved across the country. I started a new job. I lived out of two suitcases for five weeks. I moved into a new house.  I spent seven hours putting together furniture from Ikea. I made countless Target trips. I unpacked eight boxes (thanks Dad!). And finally, after six weeks, I feel settled.

I now have groceries, cookware, and plenty of time to cook dinner. And, at 3pm this afternoon, I had a craving for peanut sauce and noodles.  

By 7:30 pm, I was sitting in my kitchen with a big bowl of steaming noodles, gingery peanut sauce, grilled chicken, and matchstick vegetables.  

Please note: you will want to make extra of this recipe so that you can have delicious left overs later in the week for lunch. 

Whole Wheat Pasta with Peanut Sauce and Chicken

2 chicken breasts
1 tablespoon olive oil
Black pepper
8 oz. whole wheat spaghetti

Peanut Sauce
3 tablespoons creamy, all-natural peanut butter
3 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons minced ginger
2 tablespoons minced garlic
Juice from 1 lime
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/2 cup of reduced sodium chicken broth

Matchstick vegetables (I prefer bell peppers, carrots, and cucumbers)

1.  Season chicken breasts with black pepper on both sides of the chicken breasts.  
2.  Heat pan on medium, and add olive oil.
3.  Once pan is hot, place chicken breasts in pan.  
4.  Cook chicken on one side until bottom is well-browned, and more than half of the chicken is white and firm.  Also, fill a pot with water and place on high heat for the pasta.  
5.  Flip chicken, and continue to cook until done (there should be no more pink in the chicken).
6.  Move chicken to a cutting board and lightly cover with foil. 
7.  When the pot of water is at a rolling boil, add the pasta.
8.  In the pan from the chicken, add all ingredients for the peanut sauce and cook on medium.
9.  Stir peanut sauce occasionally.  
10.  When the noodles are done, add then to the pan with the peanut sauce.  
11.  Slice the chicken breasts and add them to the pasta.  
12.  Stir until well-mixed.
13.  Serve the pasta in bowls.  Add matchstick vegetables of your choice.  Add a little Sriracha.  Enjoy.

Hope you all had a relaxing weekend!


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