I’m having an affair

I have fallen in love with another. Alex need not worry, this new love is certainly not a man. It is not my grill, either. It is a food. A delicious, versatile, filling, fantastic food. My new love is none other than Quinoa.

Even before I made the decision to get healthier, I kept stumbling upon delicious looking recipes using quinoa on Pinterest. Mixtures of luscious vegetables, flavorful meats, and creamy sauces, all mixed in with these tiny, moist, soft little granules.

It is ridiculously simple to prepare, both on the stove top and in the microwave when I’m feeling lazy. I have paired it various proteins, using it as a side with broiled salmon, as a main course with chunks of chicken, veggies, and soy sauce, and as a southwestern casserole with black beans, corn, salsa, and cheese. It is the perfect base for any accompaniment.

Tonight Alex started on his quest to perfect the “Juicy Lucy” (apparently this is the popular term for a burger cooked with the cheese on the inside, who knew?) He even made a special Lucy for me, stuffing mine with a little Atheno’s Tomato and Basil feta, and topping it with fresh spinach.

While he was busy on the grill, I was busy whipping up a delicious quinoa side. The amount prepared could comfortably serve about 8 people, and I am super excited about the leftovers. I am affectionately referring to tonight’s concoction as, simply, “Italian Quinoa.”

Italian Quinoa
-1/2 cup Ancient Harvest Quinoa
-1 can of Del Monte diced tomatoes with garlic and basil
-1/2 10oz package of Fresh Express baby spinach
-1 cup baby bella mushrooms, chopped

I prepared the quinoa in the microwave using the directions on the box (2 parts water to 1 part quinoa, loosely covered in a microwave safe bowl for about 8 minutes) so that I could use the stove to prepare the veggies without having to stress too much. (I’m PMSing this week, forgive me.)

While the quinoa was cooking, I sauteed the mushrooms with a little grape seed oil in a saucepan. Once tender, I added the spinach and let it cook down. I drained a little excess liquid out of the tomatoes, and added them to the pan along with the now finished quinoa.

I seasoned with a pinch of salt, pepper, garlic, and McCormick Perfect Pinch Italian Seasoning, and about 3 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese. I brought the mix up to a boil, reduced to simmer, and let it cook for just a couple of more minutes (until the Lucy’s were ready for consumption.)

The whole meal was a bit above where I typically like to stay, coming in at 734 calories, but again- PMS. It’s getting really hard to behave right now, and I’m proud I’m doing as well as I am.

The quinoa dish breaks down as follows per serving: 84 calories, 13g carbs, 2g fat, 4g protein, and 2g of fiber.

Have you tried quinoa? How do you like to prepare it?


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ben
    Apr 12, 2012 @ 00:40:13

    One of my favorite blogs, emmycooks.com, has a recipe for quinoa cakes and quinoa chili that look amazing. We usually just use it as a catch all at the end of the week and stir in whatever left over veggies are in the fridge. It’s an amazing flavor catch all.


    • ashlee2012
      Apr 12, 2012 @ 07:04:01

      I agree- the PERFECT catch all! A friend of mine recently shared a recipe for quinoa pizza bites that I’m going to give a try…and that chili…sounds amazing, I’ll have to look it up! Thanks for stopping by!


  2. 40 Fit In The Mitt
    Apr 12, 2012 @ 11:31:07

    I love Quinoa! I saw a recipe for those quinoa pizza bites also, and I have been wanting to make them, but I have a list 3 miles long of things I want to make.


    • ashlee2012
      Apr 12, 2012 @ 16:41:03

      Me too! My Pinterest food board is already 200+ pins strong, and I just can’t keep up! Not to mention the 400 bookmarks and flagged pages in my cookbooks, and the recipe cards I have inherited. Oh, and the 3 months of Bon Appetit magazines I have dog eared. So much food, so little time!


  3. Trackback: Who says healthy can’t be tasty? « firstdayoftherestofdays

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