Saturday, January 22, 2011

Quinoa Stir-Fry

I chuckled alittle to myself when I heard a lady ask the clerk in Trader Joe's, "could you help me find the 'quinn-oh-ah'?".  Quinoa, pronounced keen-wah, is a tasty grain that has more protein than most other grains but is somewhat unknown.   Good for her for trying someting new!  You can often find it in the bulk bins of most markets.  It has a delicate flavor similar to rice or couscous.  You can use it in soups, salads, breads or even as a breakfast cereal.  This stir-fry was delicious and I couldn't help but smile as our 3 year old shouted, "this stuff is really delicious Mom".  Add whatever vegetables you like, I hope you give it a try.  Enjoy!

Recipe: (Serves 4)
1 cup Organic Quinoa
2 cups Low-Sodium chicken broth
1-1 1/2 pounds of boneless, skinless, chicken breast tenders
olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
2 medium zucchini, sliced
2 medium carrots, sliced
4 oz Crimini mushrooms, sliced
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
fresh basil, julienned, for garnish (optional)

1. Place 1 cup of quinoa and 2 cups of chicken broth in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until all broth is absorbed about 10-15 minutes.  When done, the grain will appear soft and translucent, and the germ ring will be visible along the outside edge.
2. While the quinoa is cooking, season the chicken tenders lightly on both sides with salt and pepper, grill on a grill pan or flat skillet over medium-high heat about 3-4 minutes per side or until they reach an internal temperature of 165'F.  Set aside.
3. In a large skillet over medium-high heat add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, add onions, bell peppers, zucchini, carrots and mushrooms, saute for 5-7 minutes.  Dice the chicken tenders into one-inch pieces.  Add the chicken, minced garlic and Italian Seasoning to the vegetables in the pan and reduce the heat to low, saute another 2-3 minutes until the garlic becomes fragrant.
4. Remove the pan from the heat and add the quinoa, stir to combine; garnish with Parmesan cheese and fresh chopped basil. *substitute vegetable broth and omit the chicken to make this dish vegetarian.
Recipe adapted from Trader Joe's Organic Quinoa box recipe

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