"Quinoa Leftover Makeover"
1 cup quinoa
2 cups cooking liquid
1 tablespoon healthy fat
1-2 cups vegetables
1-2 cups meat
2 cups water
1 maggi cube
1 tablespoon ghee
8 ounce package of sliced baby bella mushrooms
1 1/2 cups chopped leftover chicken
sprinkle of sage, oregano, and sweet marjoram
Measure 1 cup of quinoa. Pour it into a sieve and rinse under running water.
Put the quinoa and 2 cups cooking liquid in a pot. Bring to a boil. Turn down heat to a simmer and cover with a lid. Cook for about 15 minutes until the quinoa absorbs all the liquid and pops its shells.
If the vegetables are raw, you'll need to cook them while the quinoa cooks. I sautéed the mushrooms in ghee and sprinkled them with sage, oregano, and sweet marjoram which somewhat overlapped the herbs in the leftover chicken. If canned or frozen, heat them up just before you mix them into the quinoa.
Meat should be chopped into bite-sized pieces. It's better to do this before you start the quinoa cooking, but you can also use pre-chopped meat. It should also be heated before you mix it in.
When the quinoa is done cooking, add the vegetables and meat, then stir to combine. This takes some doing because cooked quinoa sticks to itself. Ingredients should be evenly distributed. Serve hot.
Quinoa is a healthy whole grain with a mild nutty flavor, high in protein and iron. It comes in various colors. I usually use white.
You can cook quinoa in many different liquids. I like water with a maggi cube; bullion cubes also work. Broth gives a richer flavor.
If you sauté vegetables, you need fat for that. Otherwise, you can just add a little splash to the quinoa after it's done. Fat carries flavor. I typically sauté in ghee or red palm oil. If you're just pouring it in, full-flavor olive oil works great.
A wide range of vegetables and other plant foods will work in this recipe. You just need chunks of stuff to break up the quinoa. I used freshly sautéed mushrooms. Peas, corn, and mixed vegetables all work great. You can also use beans. To make this zestier, throw in an onion and/or a pepper. You may use any leftover vegetables you have. Vegetables should be pea size to bite size.
Most kinds of meat will work also. Usually you will start with some leftover meat and then match the vegetables to it. Chop the meat to bite size. For a vegetarian dish, substitute a plant protein such as tofu, beans, or nuts.
Make this a healthy meal using proportions:
First, you are starting with a whole grain, quinoa, as the base. That's much better than refined grains such as pasta. Then you add vegetables and protein. You can use meat or a plant protein such as tofu.
While it's very difficult to figure out proportions by looking at a mixed dish, it's much easier to set proportions as you make the dish. Half quinoa plus equal amounts of vegetables and meat is already pretty healthy. To make it healthier, use more vegetables. The recipe makes 3 cups of cooked quinoa, so 2 cups of vegetables and 1 cup of meat works well. If you want to get it down to the recommended ratio of 1 part whole grains, 1 part protein, and 2 parts vegetables then use 2-3 types of vegetables for variety. You could make a party-size dish of 3 cups quinoa, 3 cups chopped chicken, 2 cups peas, 2 cups corn kernels, and 2 cups diced carrots.