Monday, November 1, 2010

Quinoa Made Tasty

I like food. I like to eat good food. Yeah--bad food sucks, but I definitely am up for good food. I love to make it and I love to eat it--and the best is when my family tells me that they love it. My youngest actually said last night, "You are the best cook ever, Mom." Talk about melting my heart. Okay, so might have been trying to schmooze me, but whatever--I will take it anyway.

I have found one of the best and most nutritious side dishes you can make is Quinoa. If you don't know about Quinoa, here is a bit of nutritional information about it that pulled off of Wikipedia:

Quinoa was of great nutritional importance in pre-Columbian Andean civilizations, being secondary only to the potato, and was followed in importance by maize. In contemporary times, this crop has become highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (12%–18%). Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine), and like oats, quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete protein source among plant foods.[9] It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest. Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered a possible crop in NASA's Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration manned spaceflights.

So, not only is this stuff good for you, it is TASTY. It is TASTY if you jazz it up a bit, which is easy to do with a little creativity. I make our Quinoa in a rice cooker. I always cook (steam it) in some type of broth--usually low sodium chicken broth, but I have found that Red pepper soup is excellent as well as Butternut Squash soup. Toss in a teaspoon of garlic, dice in some onion, if you like a smoky flavor toss in a few chipotle peppers and the liquid--there is a ton you can do with this stuff. Last night I cooked it with the chicken broth, salt, garlic, a dash of rosemary and some chipotle powder (the peppers can be too strong for my youngest). I made a pork tenderloin with it that I had done a mesquite rub on. I browned the meat on each side and then put a bit of broth and wine in the pot, which I then covered until done--scooped out the quinoa and poured the au jus over the top of it--YUM! I had one of the kids make a green salad, and we had an excellent meal that took all of 30 mins prep time tops and about 40 mins cook time. I figure that if I can teach my kids how to make a good quinoa recipe then when they go off on their own (which, sadly, they will) then if that's the only thing they know how to make then they should be okay. Lucky for them--I'm teaching them a few others meals.

How about you? Is there a dish you make that you or your family loves (unexpectantly loves) that is easy and nutritious? If so, let me know. I'm always interested in good food!


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