Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Quinoa & Chicken

I wasn't sure I wanted to try quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) a second time. The first time I tried it, it was made for us the way rice is made. It was bland and there was a LOT of it (a lot more of those left overs than anything else). It took me a long time to decide to give it a try again and actually make it myself.

I did a little looking into better ways to prepare it, came across a couple different recipes, I changed them a bit, and made my own meal.

2 chicken breasts, cut into small bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup water
1 large carrot, diced into very small pieces (about 1/2 cup)
1-2 stalks of celery, diced into very small pieces (about 1/2 cup)
3 cloves garlic
2 TBSP olive oil
1-2 TBPS minced onion
ground black pepper

1. Rinse quinoa very well in a fine mesh strainer and place in a bowl of cool water for 2-4 hours (if you are in a hurry and can't soak the quinoa for 2-4 hours, at least rinse the quinoa very well - it has saponins, a naturally occurring coating on the outside, which can give a bitter taste, if not rinsed well).
2. In a large skillet on medium to medium-high heat, cook the chicken, carrots, celery, onion, and garlic in the olive oil until chicken is cooked through and carrots and celery are cooked, but not mushy.
3. While the items in the skillet are cooking, drain quinoa, place in a small saucepan with 1 cup of water and about 1/2 tsp salt. Cover and once water comes to a boil on high, reduce heat to medium high and simmer for about 15 minutes until all liquid has been absorbed.
4. Stir quinoa into the chicken and vegetables. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in a sprinkling of parsley just before serving.

This serves about 2-3 people. You can double the recipe for larger groups.

One recipe I saw added finely diced red and green bell peppers to the chicken, celery and carrots mixture. We left these out, as they are not a favorite item in our house.

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