Friday, August 24, 2012

Mmmm...What's for Dinner?

I have a dear friend whose husband has been informed that he must get in better health. She is a crazy busy high school teacher. So busy that, I often don't see her for the nine months that school is in session unless I make arrangements to get together. Then we try to see each other as much as we can during summer vacation.

Well, that being said, I have decided to try and research some easy (or tasty or both easy and tasty) recipes for her.

Tonight we had one of my own creations for dinner, Southwestern Quinoa. Quinoa is a great grain. It is gluten free and a complete protein. (If you haven't heard of it before, Jen Cafferty's article will give you some good information on it.) I love the nutty flavor of Quinoa and the slightly crunchy texture. To the usual black beans, corn and red pepper, I added hominy. My daughter saw it in the Mexican aisle at our local grocery store and wanted to try it. The kids ate this well (but my kids eat anything). This dish is different than most of the quinoa salad recipes that I find online because it is served warm and I did not add any acid(i.e. vinegar or citrus juice). Variations could include adding avocado/guacamole, sour cream, salsa, cheese. Really the options are limitless.

Southwestern Quinoa

1 Cup of organic red Quinoa (pictured, but any quinoa can be used)
2 Cups water*
2 beef bouillon*
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp onion powder**
1/2 tsp garlic powder**
7 oz (1/2 can) black beans
7 oz (1/2 can) corn
1/2 cup red pepper, reserve remaining red pepper
1/2 cup hominy, optional
1/2 cup cilantro, optional

Rinse 1 cup of quinoa in a fine mesh sieve to remove the bitter protective coating. Put quinoa in a medium saucepan with 2 cups of water and bouillon or 2 cups of broth. Add chili powder, onion powder and garlic powder. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until water is absorbed (about 20 min). Remove from heat. Add lid to retain heat if you still need prep time. Salt and pepper to taste. (I didn't add any salt because the boullion has some in it and we don't use a lot of salt.)

To cooked quinoa, add black beans, corn and 1/2 cup of red pepper. Reserve the rest of the red pepper to serve as crudites. I added about 1/2 cup of hominy and 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro. Stir and serve immediately, or refrigerate and serve cold. Garnish with pieces of fresh cilantro. Any of the amounts can be decreased or increased based on your preference. Makes 4 - 1 cup servings or 8 - 1/2 cup servings.

Suggested variations: cheese, queso fresco, guacamole, avocado slices, tomato, sour cream, salsa, green chilies, hot peppers, ground cayanne pepper, sriracha
*replace water and bouillon with 2 cups beef broth, reduce to 1 bouillon cube to reduce sodium to 282 mg per serving
**replace onion and garlic powders with 1/4 cup diced onion and 1 minced clove of garlic

I served this with a side of hominy (warmed up with 1/2 Tbsp butter, dash of salt and pepper),and red pepper and jicama crudites.

Nutritional Data: 1 Cup - Cal 226.4, Fat 3g, Chol 0g, Sodium 509.6mg*, Carbs 40g, Dietary Fiber 7g, Sugar 2.37g, Protein 8.9g, Vitamin A 7.5%, C 23.25%, Calcium 3%, Iron 15.25%   5 pts Weight Watchers Points Plus