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I am a wife and mom of two beautiful girls who happens to be a professionally trained chef. I have dreams of one day publishing a cook book, but in the mean time I want to share this gift I've been given with all of you, so grab a fork (or sometimes a spoon)...because I'm in the kitchen!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Quinoa Loaded Bowl

It's been embarrassingly too long to admit since my last post, but the 12-24 month stage has me on my mom toes. My youngest is a daredevil and busy as can be. There just hasn't been the time I have wanted to post new and yummy things on here!! Since I'm all about doing things quickly at this moment of my life I have a quick dinner (or lunch) idea.

Quinoa-is technically a seed, but we tend to refer to it as a grain. It is a complete protein source with all essential amino acids, and guess what?...it cooks in 15 minutes! It has a 2-1 ratio for cooking, so 2 cups water and 1 cup quinoa. Put it all in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and lower the heat to simmer 15 minutes, or until all water is absorbed. This makes 3 cups. Feel free to change up the liquid- chicken stock, veggie stock, or even grape juice (and have it for breakfast!).

Now if you buy quinoa in a package you just use as is. If you buy it in the bulk foods section, you will have to rinse it first, as it has a bitter coating on the outside.  I usually line a colander with cheesecloth, pour the quinoa in and rinse.

My favorite way to eat quinoa is what I call the loaded Mexican bowl. Serves at least 4.

1 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 can pinto or black beans, rinsed
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup mild salsa, plus more for serving
1 cup grated cheddar or jack cheese
1 avocado, diced for serving

other yummy additions:
cooked beef, chicken, pork or shrimp
diced squash and zucchini
diced tomato
diced radishes or jicama
grated or diced carrot
chopped fresh cilantro

Cook quinoa according to package directions.
While that is cooking, in a large saute pan over medium heat, saute your onion and bell pepper about 5 minutes. You can use cooking spray, a little olive oil, or whatever you usually use.

Now throw in the pan your beans of choice, salsa and frozen corn. Cook an additional 5 minutes until corn and beans are hot throughout. salt and pepper to taste. Feel free to add garlic powder, chili powder and/or a pinch of oregano here.

Line up your bowls and place 1/2 to 3/4 cup quinoa on the bottom. Spoon over the veggie/bean mixture. Sprinkle with grated cheese and diced avocado.
Let me know what you think!

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