Sunday, April 19, 2015

Q Is For Quinoa A to Z Challenge

Seems like it was a few years ago I started hearing about this power food.  I had just landed squarely and securely on the brown rice bandwagon and now there were those in the health food world saying there was something even better.

First of all, I love white rice. I love it with Chinese food, but  I like it with gravy best of all!  That is the gravy you make from fried chicken or country fried steak.  When my kids were growing up we probably had that at least once a week with a couple sides of green thrown in.  I also love white rice with butter, but don't come near me with rice pudding.

Then, I evolve.  I learn white rice is not such a good thing, but if I just switch to brown and ditch the gravy, I'll be just fine.  That's a pretty easy swap.  I started with 'fast-cooking' brown rice in a bag, moving along to "real" rice and just cooking it longer on the stove.  I'm good with that.

Then, when I've settled into my new staple, here comes quinoa.  It's touted as a Superfood that puts brown rice to shame.  I hate to know what it does to white rice! Well, I experimented....with mostly good results.  My whole kitchen life has changed in the last few years... and including quinoa is one of the basic changes.  Oh, and the mouth-watering, crispy, fried chicken and gravy-smothered country fried steak are just a distant memory.

So quinoa it is.  You pronounce is "keen-wa".  Rice is mostly from China and quinoa is mostly from Central America.  Small world!

Before you cook quinoa, always make sure you rinse it really well in a very fine strainer.  If you don't it will taste bitter and expose you to terrible, horrible, atrocious chemical dangers. After that it cooks pretty much like brown rice....just note the water proportions on the package.  I like to cook mine in chicken broth as I am not a vegetarian and I love the flavor it gives.  After that you just add whatever you have on hand.  I've added shredded chicken, grated carrots, onion, garlic, celery, black beans, tomatoes, little green peas, mushrooms......anything you like.  Make a dressing with equal parts olive oil and vinegar with a splash of lemon juice, salt and pepper, and you are good to go either hot or cold.

So if you haven't jumped on the quinoa bandwagon, you might just consider doing so.  More protein, fiber, and B.  My husband?  He dumps a pile of ranch dressing on top of his.  I had to see it to believe it and didn't say a word.  At least it wasn't mayonnaise! 

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