I used to loathe discovering new dishes. I always like them and anything new that I liked was usually a dessert or a high calorie casserole. I tended to avoid giving myself something else to want but shouldn’t have. I gave up collecting recipe’s thirty years ago.
Quinoa, pronounced Keen-Wah, is certainly an exception to the rule. In fact, as I prowl through the grocery stores, I think I am going to find more and more healthy alternatives to foods I’ve fixed and eaten for decades. Quinoa, I discovered, is a complete protein source, which is unusual for grains. It’s loaded with dietary fiber, magnesium and iron. The best part is its gluten free!
I believe I first saw it on The Rachael Ray show last winter. It was easy to fix, keeps in the fridge and is so versatile you can use it in hot soups or cold salads! I had no intention of ever fixing it. My eyes always used to glaze over on cooking segments of shows. I totally poo poo’d the idea that I would remember to buy it, let alone use it if I did. To prove that, I have one lone box of flax seed on my kitchen shelf that expired eons ago. It’s still sealed.
But, it’s a different world now, with our new lifestyle and gourmet diabetic menu. I’m charting new territories.
On Sunday when we sampled our way through the Whole Foods store in Cincinnati, I saw it packaged as a bulk grain item and picked up a small container. That night at my daughters home I made some to try it and a half cup of grains fluffed up into about 2 cups. I added a half cup to a bowl of leftover chilled green bean salad and it stretched it for another meal. It didn’t change the flavor much but it gave it a new texture which made a wonderful new salad. I’m finding that it’s important to keep meals fresh and new, while using up leftovers. I left the rest of it in my daughter’s fridge to experiment with.
I looked up some recipes on Monday and did some shopping. Of course I forgot some ingredients for the Quinoa Salad I was planning to make so I was stuck. I might have to use it in another way.
While in the Whole Foods store we had sampled some soups and when Bill went back for his third sample (I know…) I made a mental note to add soup to our menu this week. Fortunately when we shopped on Monday I had picked up some chicken thighs on the bone to stew. I quickly threw them in a pot, added celery, onion, s&p and sage. I made the Quinoa in my rice cooker after rinsing it first. Most Quinoa sold here is already pre-rinsed but I wanted to make sure the bitter coating was completely off.
After about an hour the thighs were tender I had a good base of stock. I lifted them out to cool and added zucchini and cauliflower. I put in a can of low sodium broth and added the fluffy freshly made Quinoa. (remember…it’s pronounced keen-wah!) When the chicken cooled, I deboned it and chopped it and put it back into the soup. Even though the zucchini still had the skin on it the soup needed a little color so I was going to add corn, but was I was out so I chose frozen peas instead. I threw in a half cup of bow tie pasta for fun. I always cook with Kosher or Sea salt and I keep it to a minimum, but it needed a little something so I added a pinch more salt and some lemon pepper. On a whim I sprinkled in Cayenne pepper and it was perfect. It was delicious with a surprise kick and it only took about an hour and half to cook.
Our meal was my own Chicken Quinoa Vegetable Soup and toasted Ezekiel bread, and a chocolate sugar and fat free pudding. .
We dined like kings. Lunch today was much anticipated leftover soup!
Jeannie Marie’s Chicken Quinoa Vegetable Soup
4 Chicken Thighs
2 cups cooked Quinoa
1 cup chopped Zucchini
1 cup small cauliflowerettes
¼ cup Bow Tie Pasta
½ cup peas
3 stalks celery
½ cup chopped white onion
1 T Sea salt
½ T Black Pepper
½ T Lemon Pepper
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 T Ground Sage
1 can low sodium chicken broth
Boil chicken, celery, onions, salt and black pepper and sage for an hour or until chicken begins to fall from the bones. Remove chicken and add the vegetables and Quinoa. Remove the chicken from the bones and chop into cubes when cool. Add the chicken back to the soup the pasta and 1 tsp or Cayenne Pepper. Cook until the pasta is done about 7 minutes. My recipe makes approximately eight cups of soup.
1 generous serving is two cups
Nutritional information for 1 serving:
279 Calories, 32 Carbs, 7 Fat, 21 Protein, 2 Sugar, 53 Chol
Copyright June 2010 Jeanne Baney