Tuesday, August 02, 2011

AiS: Quinoa ... who knew?

Last week was one of those week where I just completely lost my mojo in the kitchen. The ridiculous heat conspired with a one-year-old who wouldn't sleep to make mommy a complete mess in the one area where she's usually pretty on top of things.

I burned cookies. Twice. From my own very special recipe that has taken me years to perfect. (I'll share it later.)

I didn't have tacos or tortillas in the house for taco night. Really, people, it comes once a week. How hard is it to plan for that?

And I decided to try out a recipe with a new-to-me ingredient: quinoa. Luckily, I made some the week before and had leftovers in the fridge. Really, I had no idea that 1 dry cup of quinoa would yield something like 10 cups of the cooked stuff. (Not really, but it was quite a bit more than I expected.) You'll see why this was so lucky in a minute.

I put a cup or so in the crockpot with broth and added a few other ingredients. I don't even remember what. I set it on low for a few hours. No problem? Problem. It burned. I found out about it at 4 p.m. And going out to eat was not an option. I'd already used that card on taco night which, by design, coincides with kids' night at Moe's Southwest Burritos.

I scoured the fridge and came up with this:

The remaining quinoa (about a cup and half) pressed into an oiled casserole dish topped with:
sauteed chopped chard and diced tomatoes
shredded chicken from a whole chicken that I crocked (is that even a verb? it is now.) 
some mozzarella cheese balls and feta cheese

Bake in a 350 degree oven until cheese goes blub-blub. (That actually is a culinary term. Chef Husband uses it all the time.)

And lo and behold, it was pretty darn good. Kitchen goddess status returned. Next time, though, I'll put  sliced raw tomatoes on top of the chard for a little more juice and skip the chicken. I think the chicken made it a bit dry. I added meat only because my husband looks at me funny when there's no meat with dinner. You could use couscous instead of quinoa, because I know most people don't have quinoa sitting in their fridge. Couscous cooks up in five minutes. And everyone has couscous in their pantry, right? (No? Go get some. Did I mention that it cooks in five minutes?)

So you see, it may seem impressive that I pulled off a back-up dinner in less than an hour, but let's not forget that I burned dinner in the easiest-to-use kitchen appliance on the planet. Next time, I may not be so lucky to have so many decent leftovers in the fridge.

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