Showing posts with label quinoa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label quinoa. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

One Pot Meals - Yummy Chicken with Squash, Quinoa and Popcorn

During the week, as much as I love a quick meal, I also love an easy to clean meal. Especially since our dishwasher died the other day. I used to hate the idea of dishwashers. I thought they were a pointless waste of time and money. When we bought our house, it had a dishwasher already and in the first year or so of living there, we only ever used it about 4 times. They were when we had a big dinner party that used pretty much our whole cupboard at once. I'm not sure why, but sometime after that first year, something changed and we started using it all the time. There's only the two of us, so generally it takes 4 days or so to fill - but it's awesome. A revelation. So much of my life was being wasted at the sink! And now it's broken, and folks, you can't go back. It's impossible. So I'll be spending the next few weekends shopping for a replacement. My husband scratched up his hands cleaning the gutters, so he currently can't help with the dishes - but he does massage my shoulders while I do. A fair compromise, I think!

Until the dishwasher is replaced, I'm leaning towards cooking everything outside on the BBQ, or making one pot/pan dishes. Like this one. The flavours for this were inspired by a dish my aunt makes that she calls something technical like yummy chicken sauce. It's basically a mixture of whole-seed mustard and peanut butter, that she puts in the pan as she cooks her chicken breasts. It is yummy, so it's well named. I've changed it up a bit to allow for the extra liquid required to cook the quinoa. And added the veges so it all cooks together in the one pan. I swapped peanut butter for cashews, used a different mustard and added maple syrup. So, it's not exactly 'yummy chicken', but it is yummy chicken. I only tell you all of these substitutions, because I remember her once offering me a slice of carrot and walnut cake. Only she didn't have carrot, so she used zucchini. And she didn't have walnuts, so she used pecans. But it was still a 'carrot and walnut cake'. So I think she'd be ok with my substitutions.

And, in a fit of pure craving-based inspiration, I topped it off with fresh plain popcorn. Did you know you can cook plain kernels in a plain paper bag in the microwave? Chuck 1/4 cup or so in, fold the top down a few times so it 'seals' then put it in the microwave for 2 minutes. Done. No oil, no nothing else required. Which is perfect for this dish, because you get all your flavours from the sauce, and it remains a one pot meal. The popcorn is not necessary, but totally worth it.

One Pot Meals - Yummy Chicken with Squash, Quinoa and Popcorn

Yummy Chicken with Squash, Quinoa and Popcorn

2 tbsp rice bran oil
1 brown onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp dried thyme
4 chicken thigh fillets, cut into medium-ish strips
6 yellow squash, large diced (I cut each into 8 bits)
Half a zucchini, large diced
quarter of a cabbage, thinly sliced
2/3 cup cashews, roughly chopped
4 heaped teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup quinoa (I used black, but whatever you've got)
1 1/2 cups more water
parsley, finely chopped for garnish
1 cup popped plain popcorn

Heat the oil in a tagine or deep frypan with a lid. Add the onion and garlic, cook for a few minutes until translucent. Add the thyme and mix through the onion.

Add the chicken to the pan and brown on all sides, a few minutes per side. Add the vegetables and mix through.

In a jar with a tight fitting lid, add mustard, maple syrup, 1/2 cup of water and apple cider vinegar. Shake well to mix completely. Pour into pan. Rinse out with the extra 1 1/2 cups of water, pour into pan.

Add the quinoa and cashews, then mix it all through really well. Put the lid on and allow to cook for 15 minutes or so, until the quinoa is done. Check for seasoning. If it's still a bit liquidy, leave the lid off and reduce it down for a few minutes.

Serve with a sprinkling of parsley and a handful of the plain popcorn.

One Pot Meals - Yummy Chicken with Squash, Quinoa and Popcorn

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Rituals - Quinoa Cookies

Love is in the everyday, in the rituals. My husband and I have developed and perfected various routines for our day-to-day chores and tasks. And mornings are more sort of my domain. When the alarm goes off, I get up and get my husband toast, bring it in on the best plate ever, and pack his lunch while he gets dressed. His lunch has changed over the years to something super easy for me to pack. 

He works with a lot of tradies, and doesn't really like the state of the kitchen in his lunch room, so he was never a fan of preparing, or even storing his food there. And working outside in an Australian summer restricts what he wants to bring in for lunch. His current food of choice for lunch is biscuits. Nutritious, right? But he often doesn't get a proper lunch break, so he likes things he can snack on here and there. Enter quinoa. These cookies are the perfect mix of healthy, extended energy, bite-sized and delicious to work perfectly as a lunch biscuit. Something I don't feel too badly about giving him. Make sure that you use natural peanut butter (the only ingredient should be peanuts), because the texture helps them stick together. I found the original recipe here, but changed the mixing method slightly and added vanilla.

But knowing I make these biscuits for his lunch and help him get off to work every day makes him feel loved. Like when he gives me a back rub when it's my turn to do the dishes. It's the little things.

Rituals - Quinoa Cookies
Rituals - Quinoa CookiesRituals - Quinoa Cookies

Quinoa Cookies

Makes around 30 small cookies
2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled
1/2 cup natural peanut butter (I like chunky)
1 tsp vanilla
3 tbsps maple syrup
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (or cacao nibs if you're feeling especially virtuous)

Preheat oven to 180C
Line a baking tray with baking paper
Combine quinoa, salt, coconut, chocolate chips and oats in a large mixing bowl.
Stir in coconut and chocolate chips, make sure it's evenly distributed.
Add peanut butter, maple syrup and vanilla and mix it all in really well.
Very lightly oil your hands (to stop the mix sticking too much!)
Mix round balls, forming together tightly and push to flatten slightly. They do not flatten/spread themselves.
Bake for around 20 minutes until golden.
Cool completely before storing.

These are also delicious with dried fruit - cranberries, sultanas and the like!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tofu, nectarine and broccoli salad with toasted quinoa. And bacon.

I am a carnivore. Well, technically an omnivore, I guess. But I love meat. And I love bacon. When I was younger, I used to tell mum I could be a vegetarian if it weren’t for bacon. This is not even slightly true anymore. I was going to start listing all the meats I couldn’t do without now, but it got too long just thinking about it. And that’s without even adding seafood into the mix. But I think I’ve someone taken that initial theory on in a subconscious way. Now when I see vegetarian recipes, I almost always find myself thinking, ‘that looks so good…but it’d be so much better if it had bacon’.

This is a common theme in my cooking, so it’ll end up being a common theme in my blog. Much like the more common Meatless Mondays, I present “Vegetarian Dishes Improved by Bacon”. I’ve told a few people now that it’s my dream to write a cookbook with that as the title, and so far have 10 willing buyers. Maybe one day, I’ll get there!

Anyway, I made this summer salad with beautiful sweet nectarines, salty crispy bacon and crunchy greens for dinner on a hot, humid night and it went down a treat. Unfortunately, this was before my decision to make this blog, and therefore take more photos. Food blogging is going to be a bit of a learning curve for me. I am not hugely comfortable taking food photos - yet. I love taking photos, I love food…but somehow the idea of taking photos of the process and finished result is a bit weird and foreign to me. Despite the fact I adore food porn. That’s pretty much all I am on pinterest for. I will try and improve at this. I’ve been practicing by uploading some photos of my dishes to Instagram (follow me!). In the meantime, and for when I am too lazy to whip the camera out, I will post “Instagrams of Yumness” such as this one.


Tofu, nectarine and broccoli salad with toasted quinoa. And bacon.
Serves 2

Tofu slices – around 200g I believe??

3 tbps balsamic vinegar

1 tsp olive oil

¼ cup quinoa

One small onion, diced

Two cloves garlic, minced

Zest of one lemon

Finely diced green chilli

3 rashers of bacon, cut into small dice

1 small eggplant,  sliced

Large tomato, finely chopped

1 tbsp wholegrain mustard

Juice of one lemon

1 tbsp agave nectar

Big handful Italian parsley

Salt/pepper to taste

Half head broccoli

2 nectarines

Half red capsicum


Add balsamic to slices of tofu, leave to marinate for at least 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, toast ¼ cup of quinoa until slightly golden, put in a bowl

Fry the onion,  garlic, chilli and bacon in the olive oil over a medium heat. The bacon should crisp up around the edges. Add the lemon zest

Add to the quinoa, mix well and set aside to cool slightly.

Chop tomato finely, add to quinoa bowl. Then add mustard, lemon juice, agave and parsley. Mix well. Check seasoning and adjust to taste.

Chop broccoli into small florets, cut capsicum to desired size and dice nectarine,. add to quinoa bowl, mix well and put in serving bowl

Grill eggplant slices until soft, a few minutes either side. This can be done in the same pan to save dishes.

Grill tofu until desired level of crispness on the outer layer.

Dice tofu and eggplant, and arrange on top of salad


Voila! Lovely summer salad!