Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Adventures in Quinoa

I do pilates over my lunch break a couple of times a week, and this is the perfect thing to eat after it. I had this for lunch today, and it was to-die-for. Way better than the usual lean-cuisine, and way better for you. Plus, it's super-cheap to make and you get three lunches out of it, easily.

2 tbs. olive oil
1/2 a yellow onion
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup of white wine
1 cup of quinoa (sounds fancy, but it is just a cous-cous like whole grain. It's yummy--trust me)
1 can of chicken broth
About 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
A couple pinches of salt
A couple pinches of pepper
2 tsp. thyme
1 bag pre-washed spinach
Goat or feta cheese (optional, but highly recommended)

The night before, in a medium-sized sauce pan, saute on medium-high heat one half of a finely chopped yellow onion in about a tbs. of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Wait a minute or two and add two finely chopped garlic cloves. Cook until translucent, and then add one cup of quinoa, and sautee until it is well-mixed with the olive oil and onion and heated through.

Once it is hot, add 1/2 cup of white wine and cook until soaked into the quinoa mixture (this just takes a second).

Add 1 and 3/4 a cup of of low-sodium chicken broth, a few cranks from the pepper mill, a tsp. of thyme and a dash of balsamic vinegar and heat to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover for 15 minutes.

In a seperate sautee pan, heat 1 tbs. of olive oil over medium. Add a package of pre-washed mushrooms (whatever kind you like), a pinch of salt and a dash of thyme. Sautee until the mushrooms are covered in the oil mixture and are beginning to soften. Add two generous dashes of balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup of chicken broth and 1/4 a cup of white wine, stir until simmering and cover the mushrooms for five minutes until they are soft and have mostly absorbed the liquid.

When the quinoa is done, add the mushrooms and the remaining liquid to the quinoa, stir and cover and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed (because you will be reheating it the next day, it is okay if it still is a little liquid-y).

Put about 1/3 of the quinoa/mushroom dish in a medium-sized tupperware container and cover with a paper towel. (If you do this three times--you have three lunches already!) On top of the paper towel, put a couple of fist-fulls of pre-washed baby spinach. Put on the lid and store in the fridge over night (or over a few days--whatever).

The next day when you heat it up in the microwave at work, pull the spinach off the top in the paper towel and set it aside. Heat up the quinoa until pretty warm and then add the spinach and stir it up. Put it back in the micro for 30-45 more seconds (until the spinach is starting to wilt) and remove. If you remember to pack it, sprinkle some cheese on the top. Eat and enjoy.

No comments: