Thursday, October 30, 2014

ITALIAN QUINOA LUNCH

I am a new convert to quinoa, and I have been using it (in place of rice or pasta) in some of my oldest tried and true recipes. It's amazing how well it works!!

Today's post makes a very satisfying make ahead lunch for the woman on the go. It is not only quick to fix but it has a full flavored comfort food taste and calls for ingredients that most people already have in their pantries. I love recipes like that.

ITALIAN QUINOA LUNCH
1 cup of RED quinoa (well rinsed and drained)
1 14.5 ounce can of small-diced tomatoes
1 cup beef broth (not bullion)
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon olive oil (any vegetable oil will work)
2 garlic cloves minced
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon salt (leave out if you use beef bullion)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons dry basil leaves
1 teaspoon dry oregano leaves
2.5 ounce sliced black olives
cherry tomatoes
Parmesan cheese

NOTE: I use RED QUINOA in this recipe ONLY because it looks more Italian than if I used the ivory colored quinoa. To me they taste the same, but color does make a difference in the overall LOOK of the food.

NOTE: Make sure you rinse the quinoa for a minute or so under running water. If you use pre-rinsed quinoa, you can skip this step, but if you buy it in bulk or if your package of quinoa tells you to pre-rinse.........do not skip this step. Quinoa has a natural bitter coating that you will taste if you skip this step.

Sauté  the chopped onion and celery in the olive oil until it becomes limp and starts to smell a little sweet. Add the garlic and sauté for about a minute but don't let the garlic burn.

Add the rest of the ingredients (except the Parmesan) and mix well. Bring to a serious boil and mix again. Immediately turn the heat down to a nice SLOW SIMMER and put a tight fitting lid on the pan.

Let this mixture cook slowly (without lifting the lid) for 15-20 minutes. You will know the quinoa is cooked when you can see the opaque/white little sprout appear on each quinoa seed.

Turn the heat off and let it "sit" for five minutes. This step is optional, but I like the fluffier result that this step helps with.

Fluff with a fork and spoon into a bowl. Top with sliced cherry tomatoes and some Parmesan cheese.  Delicious!! Sorry, this last photo doesn't do this recipe justice, you will just have to trust me.



One cup of this Italian Quinoa makes a fantastic and filling lunch. Great for work or for anyone with a busy day.  It also freezes well in one cup containers, so you can just grab and go.  I hope you try it.

ENJOY !!




Sunday, October 26, 2014

MUSHROOM QUINOA

The first time I bought quinoa, I cooked it without any seasonings. I tasted it, shrugged my shoulders and then put it back in the pantry. This COULDN'T be the same quinoa that people were raving about could it?

What I found out much later, was that you have to add stuff (veggies, spices, etc.) to the quinoa and then something magical happens. Quinoa takes on the persona of whatever you cook it with......want beefy? cook it in beef broth, want it spicy? cook it with Rotel tomatoes. You can't goof it up, like I said it's almost magical.

So, lately, I've been experimenting with more quinoa recipes and I have created this new one that I really enjoy.  I hope you do too!!




MUSHROOM QUINOA
3/4 cup chopped onion
6 large mushrooms
1 large carrot
1 cup peas
1 cup quinoa (rinsed and drained)
2 cups beef broth
2 teaspoons beef bullion (or 2 cubes)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne

Prep work: Remove stems from mushrooms and put them in the food processor along with the carrot. Pulse them until they are about the size of a pea. Next hand slice the mushrooms fairly thickly and set aside. Note: add as many of your favorite veggies as you want.

Saute onions then scoot them over to edge of pan. Add the mushrooms and sauté them (in the onion pan) until you get some toasty brown color on the edges.

Put EVERYTHING into the pan and bring to a boil; reduce heat and put a lid on it. Use the same "simmer speed" and cooking time that you would use for rice (about 15-20 minutes) A better description would be, if your simmer is fast.....cook for 15 minutes, if you have it turned down pretty low, cook for 20 minutes. That's it!!  Just fluff it with a fork and eat!!

Depending on how many veggies you pack into this recipe (there is no limit), you should get 5 or 6 cups in the final dish. I freeze it in one cup measures. No need to defrost, just microwave uncovered for 2 minutes. It makes a great (and filling) lunch, with no guilt !!

 
ENJOY !!
 
Quinoa is known as a super food for many reasons. The description of most of those reasons are words that I don't use every day, like flavonoids, phylonutrients, antioxidants, etc.
 
For me, my reasons for enjoying quinoa are: it's quick and easy to prepare, it will take on any seasonings you like and most of all, I can eat a big bowl of this and it doesn't effect my blood sugars very much at all, plus it's gluten free!! I hope you try it.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

PEANUT BUTTER WHIPPED CREAM

I came up with this idea one afternoon and (right out of the chute) it was a keeper.  Whipped cream that has a mellow peanut butter taste... the perfect addition to ANY dessert!!

Make this part a few minutes ahead of time, so it can cool just a little:

1 cup Reece's Peanut Butter Chips
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream

Microwave the above just until the cream gets steamy hot, but not boiling. In my microwave this takes about a minute. Remove from the microwave and whisk until the melted mixture is smooth.

Add
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk until smooth and set aside to cool a little.

With electric mixer, start whipping 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream.
When it gets about "half way" to being whipped cream, slowly drizzle in the peanut butter chip mixture.

Continue whipping until it gets to the consistency you like.


ENJOY !!