Quinoa Stir Fry

My first experience with quinoa was back in college in one of my food science labs. My teacher presented its as this wonder food that was a grain AND a complete protein {meaning that it contains all 9 essential amino acids which are usually only available in animal products}. We then proceeded to make one of the most delicious casseroles I’ve ever had with it, so naturally I was hooked.

But quinoa really is the wonder grain now. I can understand why its been a fave for vegans, but I’m loving that all us omnivores have jumped on the bandwagon too. In theory, and for a while there it did make it easier to get. A few weeks ago I posted an article about the economics of quinoa, and I understand that it’s not always an easy or cheap grain alternative. We are so lucky that a 500g bag is still just 5 euro here which, compared to a lot of places is a steal.

If quinoa is scarce in your area right now, then go ahead and try it with some brown rice. However, I would throw in a chicken breast or and extra egg just to get that extra protein!

Kiwi+Peach: Quinoa Stir Fry

Quinoa Stir Fry

{adapted for two from DamnDelicious}

The Quinoa
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water
1 tsp salt

The Egg
olive oil
1 egg
1 green onion {optional}

The Veg
olive oil
1 clove of garlic
1 small white onion {or 1/2 of a large one}
1 cup fresh mushrooms
2 cups of broccoli {or 1/2 a head}
1/2 of a zucchini
1 ear of corn, cooked

The Juice
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp. ginger

Start heating a medium sized pot and a large pan with deep sides on medium high heat. Go ahead an boil your jug. In a sieve, rinse your quinoa under hot water for a couple of minutes to rinse off the powdery saponin on the grain that has a really bitter taste. Very important step!

Once the jug has boiled, measure your water and add it to the pot along with the salt. Once it comes to a boil, add the quinoa and reduce the temperature to medium low. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is soft.

While the quinoa is cooking away, pour a bit of olive oil in the pan {just enough for the egg not to stick} and add the egg. Scramble and cook until done then put it in a bowl and set to the side. Return the pan to the heat. {If you have a green onion, slice it up and scramble it in with the egg.}

Now get to chopping. This is all about timing. Mince your garlic and onion first. Then get to work on the mushrooms, broccoli, and zucchini. Wash the mushrooms, remove their stems, and then slice ’em up. Cut the florets off the head of broccoli and give them a rinse. Wash your zucchini, slice into half inch-ish sized slices, and then quarter those slices. Cut the kernels of corn off the ear and break them up into individual kernels.

Add the olive oil to the hot pan and toss in the minced garlic and onions. Cook for about 3-4 minutes.

Toss in the mushrooms, broccoli, zucchini, and corn and cook until the broccoli and zucchini are soft enough for your liking. {Usually 5-7 minutes for us.}

The quinoa should be finishing up by now, so use a fork to fluff it up a bit and remove it from the heat.

When your veggies are appropriately soft, add the quinoa to the pan. {I push all the veggies to the side, add a little bit more olive oil to the empty part of the pan and then add the quinoa a little at a time so that the quinoa can get a little bit crispy.} Go ahead and throw that scrambled egg back in there too and mix well.

Season with a little soy sauce and ginger and cook for a couple more minutes. Serve it up and enjoy. I always use a little sriracha sauce on mine for an extra little kick, but it’s just as delicious without.

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Sesame Chicken

In college, my roommates and I wouldn’t think twice about ordering ‘Chinese’ take out. It was so easy! Our favorite place was just down the road, but of course we had them deliver it anyway. So we’d give them a call and 15 minutes later {give or take 5 minutes depending on if the dogs got out when the delivery guy showed up}, we’d be sitting down with our delicious, delicious General Tso’s, Mongolian beef, or sesame chicken… and a boat load of white rice… and maybe a egg roll or two. As good as it was though, we knew it wasn’t good for us.

About a month after I got to Germany, I started really craving some sesame chicken. The thought of trying to decipher German with a Chinese accent on the phone to order take out was just too much, but out of that moment of punking out came a wonderful discovery.

There are so many reasons to make your take out ‘Chinese’ yourself. Its not hard. {Okay. Its harder than it being delivered to your door, but technically speaking, its really not difficult to make.} It takes 30 minutes tops, it’s cheaper, and, most importantly, it’s so much healthier!

Kiwi+Peach: Sesame Chicken

Sesame Chicken

{adapted for two from Slender Kitchen}

The Sauce
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
3/4 cup chicken stock

The Rice
1 tsp olive oil
1 egg
1 heaping cup of brown rice
2 cups water
1 tsp salt

The Goods
2 chicken breasts
pinch of salt
a few grinds of fresh ground black pepper
2 tsp whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp coconut oil
whatever veggies you have on hand {I’ve used finely diced zucchini and onions and broccoli all with good results.}
1/4 cup sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C.  Start heating an oven-safe pan on medium heat and a medium size pot on high heat.  Boil your jug too.

While all of that is heating up, grab a bowl and whisk together all of the ingredients for the sauce.

Then we’ll get the rice started.  Measure the water from the jug and add it to your pot.  Once its boiling, throw your salt and rice in and give it a stir.  Lower the heat to medium and set your timer.  Cook according to the package instructions {usually 25-30 minutes for brown rice}.

In the pan, heat the olive oil and crack your egg.  Scramble for a couple minutes until its cooked through.  Put the cooked egg in a separate bowl and set aside.  Return pan to the heat.

Cut your chicken into bite sized bits and add it to a bowl.  Add the salt, pepper, and flour and let sit for a minute while you chop your veggies.  Add the coconut oil to the hot pan and add your chicken and veggies.  Cook for about 3 minutes on each side or until the chicken has turned light brown.  Pour the sauce in the pan and transfer the pan to the oven.  Bake for 20 minutes.

When it’s finished baking, take it out and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Serve the chicken over the rice and be proud you didn’t order take out!

Cashew Chicken Noodles with Coconut Peanut Sauce

For better or worse, one of my favorite things to eat for lunch is a PB&J. I think it stems back to my high school days when our lovely lunchroom ladies whipped up this magical concoction of peanut butter and jelly that was a party in my mouth, and put it on two pieces of Sunbeam {the white bread to beat all other white breads}. They would only sell this amaze-balls delicacy AFTER you had eaten a real lunch. Fortunately, I was told early in my high school career, that if you flash a lunch box and a smile they would sell it to you anyway. And so began my love affair with peanut butter and jelly. My lunch time PB&J {or rather peanut butter and honey} has come a long way since the days of those super refined, albeit tasty, sandwiches. However, when I moved to Germany, I had a bit of a crisis.

You see, Germany does not share my love of peanut butter. When I first moved to Germany, I was living in a small village with my host family. After searching high and low for peanut butter in said small village, I decided to give ‘Erdnuss-Sauce’ a go. For future reference, ‘Erdnuss-Sauce’ is satay sauce—not peanut butter–and it tastes awful when mixed with jam.

After complaining about it incessantly to my English speaking friends and a failed attempt at making my own, I eventually found the American aisle at the stores in the city and now have a healthy supply of peanut butter on hand. I know you were worried.

However, I still had this jar of satay sauce in my cupboard waiting to be used. This recipe was the perfect thing. It is a super quick meal that is perfect for a busy week night and has become one of our go to meals. When we finished up that jar, I decided to try my hand at making my own healthier, less processed version. It was perfection and, even with making my own satay sauce, it still can be knocked out in less than 30.

Cashew Chicken Pasta

{Adapted for two from Armommy}

The Pasta
4 ounces {100 grams} whole wheat pasta
½ of a red pepper, cut into strips

The Protein
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 chicken breast
salt and pepper for seasoning
¼ cup of cashews

The Sauce
{barely adapted from Kitchen Thymes}
1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/3 cup coconut milk
1 tsp honey
1 Tbsp soy sauce
juice from ½ a lemon
1 Tbsp olive oil
sriracha sauce to taste {we use about 2 tsp}

Start by heating up a deep sauté pan on medium heat.

Put the pasta on and cook according to the directions on the package {usually 11 to 13 minutes}.

While the pasta is cooking, slice your red peppers and set them to the side. You’ll add the red peppers to the pasta for the last 4-5 min of cooking.

Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces and season with salt and pepper. Add the olive oil to the pan and throw in the chicken. Cook until the chicken is nice and brown {about 4 minutes on each side if your pan was good and hot}.

While the chicken and pasta are cooking you can whip up your peanut sauce. Add everything {except the sriracha sauce} to a bowl and whisk until it is all mixed together. Add a bit of sriracha. Whisk and taste. Repeat until you have the right amount of heat for you. {If you don’t have sriracha sauce red chili flakes will do the trick too.}

Once the chicken is cooked, remove the pan from the element and add the cashews and drained pasta and peppers. Mix in the peanut sauce, add a bit of fresh black pepper, and you’re finished!