Friday, January 25, 2013

Cooking Quinoa

I started adding quinoa to my diet on a regular basis about three years ago.  There are some secrets to cooking it to make it taste really good!  I don't like it plain boiled in water. I like to doctor it up!

Ingredients
1 Cup Quinoa Uncooked
2 Tbs Butter
1 Small Onion Chopped
1 Tbs Olive Oil
2 Cups Chicken Broth/ or 2 Cups Water with 2-3 Cubes Chicken Bouillon
Salt and Pepper to Taste
To make it Mexican:
After it's cooked add:
Taco Seasoning of Your Choice
or
2 Tbs Chili Powder
2 tsp Cumin
1 Can Rotel Tomatoes and Chilies (Or an off brand. I use Kroger)
1 Pinch Cayenne
1 tsp Ancho Chili Powder


Onions
If I'm making it Mexican style, first, I throw the onions and olive oil in a pan and cook them until they are translucent. If I'm not adding onions to the quinoa, I skip this step.
Quinoa Dry
After the onions are cooked, I throw in the quinoa and let it cooked with out the water for a minute or two.  This is like some Mexican rice recipes.  If I skip the onion, I put the butter in the pan and let in melt a little.  Then, I add the dry quinoa to the butter and let it cook for a few minutes. 




Boiling Quinoa
Then, I put in the water with the bouillon cubes or the chicken broth. I also put in the garlic powder to add flavor and maybe some ground pepper. I boil this for the time it says on the box, or until the quinoa starts to look translucent and is soft.
Finished Chicken Quinoa
If I'm serving this as a side with a chicken dish, this is how it looks finished.  I think, if you did add the flavor of the chicken broth and garlic as it cooks, it can taste very plain.  I prefer it very flavorful. 
If I'm serving it as a Mexican side or as a replacement for the meat, I add the tomatoes and chilies and Mexican seasonings at this point. 
Mexican Quinoa Burrito
One day, I really wanted Mexican food, but didn't want to go out for it, and didn't want to defrost my ground beef.  I decided to make a burrito with quinoa.  I am definitely a carnivore, and I just happened to have some bacon already cooked in my fridge.  I through the bacon in with my cheese and sour cream.
I know people that use quinoa to make completely vegetarian meals.  You can skip the chicken broth and use a vegetable broth instead.  Quinoa is easy to experiment with!  You can turn it into a pasta salad type dish also! If you're trying to add something different and healthy to your diet, quinoa is a good easy place to start! 

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