I call the recipe below Whatever You Got - Quinoa Bake because after reading a number of various quinoa recipes online, I realized I had similar ingredients but none that exactly matched any recipe I found. I noticed that some recipes called for milk & flour - but I only had breadcrumbs and low-fat sour cream. Some called for fresh spinach & parmesan cheese, or shallots & bell peppers - but I only had frozen spinach & fat-free feta. What to do? Substitute! Use up what you have, whether it's fresh or frozen ingredients - if the combination sounds like it would be good then give it a try! This is also a great way to learn some cooking basics :)
It's also a good idea to keep some staple items in your cupboard to serve as a base for those random week night (or weekend) dishes. Some of my favorites include quinoa, rice & pasta - they are affordable, will last you a long time & offer endless meal options. I have to say that quinoa is my current favorite, although it used to do nothing but sit on the shelves in the grocery store and intimidate me as I made my way down the aisle. Afraid no more, quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) and I now collaborate often, lucky for me. This little wonder seed (also considered a whole-grain but is actually a seed) is not only packed with vitamins, minerals & fiber, but it is also a complete protein - which means it's a great alternative to protein-rich meats & fish.
To cook quinoa you must first soak the seeds in water (cold or room temp) for a few minutes in order to remove the naturally bitter coating called saponin. I like to put the seeds in a sieve set in a bowl of water to soak - that way it's easily transferable to the pot for cooking. Various brands of quinoa may give you slightly different cooking directions, but I think it's easiest to stick to a rule of 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water (or broth if you choose).
Check out the recipe for my Whatever You Got - Quinoa Bake below - a healthy & filling weeknight dinner. The combination I came up with ended up tasting somewhat similar to Thanksgiving stuffing - I was not mad. I've also listed suggestions for substitutions, so get creative y'all!
|Chicken broth | Bouillon cubes | Quinoa|