Let’s Talk Quinoa

Good Morning!

I feel like I have lots to share today. I slept in until 7:30 this morning and headed down for a 4-mile run on the treadmill. I cannot believe how bad I am aching to get outside and run, but knowing it was about 5 degrees outside this morning, I headed straight to the treadmill. I pulled through the 4-miles but was honestly bored out of my mind the whole time. I even had double entertainment on my side–the TV and my music. Still, it was brutally boring. Anyway, I still did it and that’s what counts.

I will also be doing this arm workout from Pinterest by the Tone It Up Girls. I love that you can do it at home and there is no need for extra equipment (just a chair and yourself!).

I was extremely hungry for breakfast by this point and knew I had leftover plain cooked quinoa from last night’s dinner. Experiment time! I started with 1/4 cup cooked quinoa, 1/4 cup almond milk, and a dash of cinnamon microwaved for two minutes. Remove from microwave and stir adding whatever ingredients you wish. I had fresh blueberries on hand so I added those plus a little bit of light maple syrup. I really enjoyed this breakfast and broke the fruit and yogurt breakfast marathon I had going on.

So speaking of quinoa, let’s talk about my dinner last night…

On the way home from work I had no idea what to have for dinner. I thought of what was in our fridge: leftover beans, pulled chicken, onion, jalapeño, cilantro, salsa. I decided to stop at the grocery store real quick to see if any genius ideas would pop in my head. I started in the produce section and spotted the green peppers. Wait a minute, I have beans, chicken, we have frozen corn, onion, jalapeño, salsa, cilantro, quinoa….It’s stuffed green peppers for dinner tonight!

When I got home I was greeted by my boys and this lovely arrangement on the table. Please ignore the messy table and admire the flowers instead.

My sweetheart surprised me with flowers for no reason at all–what a great guy I have! That was a wonderful surprise. Thank you, honey! I love having fresh flowers at home. If I were rich, I would have them on my table year-round.

Okay, sorry for the side-track. Here’s dinner.

Stuffed Green Peppers for Two

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 1/2 cup pulled chicken
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 3/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1 Tablespoon jalapeño, finely diced
  • 2 medium green bell peppers
  • 1/4 cup Cheddar or Colby Jack cheese, shredded

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. In medium bowl, mix to combine corn, chicken, beans, tomato, cilantro, quinoa, and salsa. Set aside.
  3. On stovetop, saute onion and jalapeño until onions are slightly translucent.
  4. Add corn mixture to saute pan and stir to combine. Allow mixture to heat through; about 2 minutes.
  5. Wash green pepper, cut off the top and hollow out the inside, removing seeds and ribs.
  6. Stuff each pepper with half of the heated mixture and place on baking pan.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes until pepper has begun to soften slightly.
  8. Sprinkle cheese on top and place under broiler for 2 minutes or until cheese has melted.

Results….

Veggie packed, protein packed, flavorful, dish. Not too shabby for a thrown together in a pinch, unplanned meal right? It was easy! You can do it.

Quinoa for breakfast this morning, quinoa for dinner last night. So, let’s talk quinoa. Many people are intimidated by this nutrient-packed whole grain seed. I was intimidated myself. How do I cook it? How do I use it? What is it? You’re about to find out.

What is it?

Quinoa (Keen-wah) is a gluten-free seed which originated from South America. It is gluten-free, wheat-free, and 100% whole grain. It is packed with 6 grams of protein per 1/4 cup (dry) and contains all eight amino acids making it a complete protein. It is low in calories and fat as well: 155 calories and 2.5 grams fat per 1/4 cup (dry). It also packs some iron and fiber as well.

How do I use it?

Quinoa is very easy to prepare. Use two cups liquid to one cup quinoa, combine liquid in a saucepan or in a rice cooker. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower heat, cover, and simmer for 15-18 minutes until liquid has been absorbed. The quinoa should be tender but still chewy and have a white spiral thread-like appearance.

Quinoa can be made sweet (like my breakfast this morning) or savory (like my dinner last night). You can use it in soups, granola, burritos, salads, and so much more. It has a slightly  nutty flavor which is very versatile.

Other tips.

Since you may not want to spend 15 minutes in the morning cooking up quinoa, make a large batch of it on the weekend, so that it is ready to go when you need it during the busy work week. Store it in your refrigerator in an air-tight container and have a quinoa of a time throughout the week! That was your Quinoa 101 folks.

I really need to get this sweaty mess to the showers or something. I have lots of errands to run today and am meeting mom at Panera Bread for lunch! We’ll see if I venture out of my usual order of French Onion soup. I hope everyone is having a great day so far!

2 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Quinoa

  1. Pingback: My Feel Good Workout Gear « Beautifully Nutty

  2. Pingback: Some TLC for the Big Man « Beautifully Nutty

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