Written By: Amanda – At The Red Table
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably already know that it’s the holiday season. You know it because you’ve already had to avoid the influx of white-chocolate/peppermint/Christmas-tree-shaped/ridiculous goodies out there. You know it because you’ve already seen that every other commercial is for a Christmas deal – and ps: I love that Old Navy recruited old Clark Griswold for a Christmas Vacation-inspired ad. Brilliant! You know it because in Nebraska, the weather has taken on a distinct chill, and maybe you know it because you’ve seen a bit of snow already.
You also know it because you can feel it in your fingers…feel it in your toes…Christmas is all around us. Love, Actually, anybody?
Okay, anyway, during this season it’s easy to get carried away with treats and party indulgences, so at home, I try to keep dinners more on the healthy side. But I’ll be honest, these healthy dinners are usually completely cancelled out by the white fudge-covered Oreos and glass of wine I have afterwards. Tell me you’ve been there. Please?
Which brings me to my Christmas list. I would really like the following:
- a sudden overwhelming aversion to anything sweet
- new shoes for working out
- a tropical vacation
So, if you have any aversions or tropical vacations lying around, I’ll take them off your hands. In the meantime, let’s eat quinoa (keen-wah), which is a grain-like little seed that’s packed with protein and essential amino acids. It’s a superfood! Plus, it tastes real good. Two of my favorite ways to make quinoa is a simple quinoa-based “risotto” and Quinoa “Mac and Cheese” – so delicious.
Check out a couple of other ways to use quinoa here.
My quick quinoa tips:
- always rinse quinoa well – it’s got a natural bitter-tasting coating that could upset your tummy if you don’t
- cook quinoa in chicken or veggie broth for extra flavor
- generally, cook quinoa in a 1:2 ratio of quinoa to liquid
- use quinoa in place of pasta or rice for a low-carb and gluten-free option
- quinoa comes in various colors – but they all taste the same, so go ahead and give them a try
This quinoa dish parades around with all the best Mexican-inspired flavors – tomatoes with green chilies, corn and avocado – top it with a fried egg for a filling and healthy dinner!
Mexican Quinoa with Fried Egg
1.5 cups quinoa, rinsed well
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup frozen corn
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes with green chilies (like Ro-tel)
1 T coconut or olive oil
2 large eggs
1/2 avocado, diced
salt and pepper to taste
crumbled goat cheese (optional – but totally and highly encouraged!)
In a large saute pan with straight sides, heat half the oil until hot over medium-high heat, then add the pepper and onion and cook several minutes until they begin to soften. Add a bit of salt and pepper and stir. Then add the garlic and cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the rinsed quinoa and stir to mix. Cook until the quinoa has toasted a bit and smells a bit nutty – about 2 minutes or so.
Add the chicken broth, diced tomatoes (undrained) and frozen corn (no need to thaw). Add another sprinkle of salt and pepper. Mix well and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover the pan. Let it cook 15 or 20 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed. Add more salt to taste.
While the quinoa cooks, add the rest of the oil to another saute pan over medium-low heat and heat until hot. Carefully crack the eggs into the pan, add a dash of salt and pepper, and let cook slowly until the whites are set and the yolks are still runny, about 4 minutes. Put a lid on the pan for a minute or so if the bottoms are cooking too much and the tops are not set to even out the cooking.
Serve the quinoa with the fried egg, avocado and goat cheese on top.