An Uncomplicated Life Blog: Healthy Creamy Shroomy Quinoa

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Healthy Creamy Shroomy Quinoa

Confession: I've never followed an exact recipe, not even once in my life. Which is why I'm an excellent cook and terrible, no good, very bad baker. (What do you mean I have to measure off exactly one teaspoon of baking soda?! can't I just throw it in there and call it a day?!)

I love to look at what is "suggested" in a given recipe and then make amendments to the ingredients, the amount of an ingredient, or simply get an idea from a popular recipe and change everything all together.

I came up with Healthy Creamy Shroomy Quinoa by taking stock of what was in my kitchen the day I wanted to make supper. It turned out fantastically! Who loves not having to go to the store for the ONE thing you don't have in your home that the recipe calls for? Everyone!

Healthy Creamy Shroomy Quinoa (c) An Uncomplicated Life Blog

- 2C quinoa
- 2 chicken breasts (or sub out a can of navy beans or chickpeas if vegetarian)
- 1 package mini portabella mushrooms, cut into thin slices
- 1 small head of fresh broccoli, sliced into small bites
- 1 large shallot, thinly sliced but left in natural rings
- 4C chicken broth (veggie can be substituted)
- 1/2 to 3/4C plain Greek yogurt*
- 1/2 to 3/4C ricotta cheese*
- 1T thyme
- 1-2T white wine vinegar
- 2T butter*
- 2T olive oil*
Salt and pepper

*While you can use reduced/low fat versions of these products, I highly suggest cooking with whole foods. I use 2% Greek yogurt (4% if I can find it), whole milk ricotta, and regular butter (please don't touch or even think about margarine. Please.) Fat got a bad rep in the 1990's sometime for some reason - about 10 years prior to the beginning our obesity epidemic (weird...) Fat doesn't make you fat. Sugar makes you fat. You know what they replace the fat with when you buy reduced fat foods?? SUGAR. And not even real sugar, sugar substitutes. Also, chemicals to preserve the altered food. GROSS. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil baking dish, salt and pepper chicken breasts and bake for about 30 mins, or until chicken is just barely cooked through. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Chicken breasts dry out quickly, so cooking them until barely done will help to keep them juicy and more delicious.

In a large pot, bring chicken broth to a boil. Rinse the quinoa, then add it to the boiling broth. Once it returns to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and cover pot with a lid. In a large skillet, melt butter and add the shallots. Once you can smell them cooking (and what a glorious smell it is!), add the olive oil, broccoli and mushrooms. Saute until just barely tender.

Saute the veggies in the butter/olive oil combo

When the veggie mixture looks nearly done, add the thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Set mixture aside. The chicken should be cool by now; take a fork and "pull" or "fork" the meat into bite size pieces, then set those aside. Once the quinoa doesn't have any standing broth left, turn off the heat. Add the Greek yogurt, ricotta cheese, white wine vinegar and mix together. Fold in the forked chicken.

Mixing the quinoa, cheese/yogurt and chicken together. You'll want to get these items blended before you add the veggies so as not to "smush" the veggies, and essentially make what looks like baby food. If subbing beans for chicken, drain the beans and add them to the veggie mixture as they'll smush into the creamy quinoa with excessive stirring, too!

Once the quinoa mixture is well blended, gently fold the veggie mixture into the yogurt/cheese/chicken quinoa.  Serve immediately, while still warm. I garnished my bowl with a few more shakes of white wine vinegar and sprinkle of parmesan cheese!

This recipe will easily serve four adults as the main course meal. I LOVE leftovers, so I make this much for just me and my hubby, then I eat what's leftover for the rest of the week while he travels and I dine supper solo. I happen to be a big fan of  the "cooking once, eating many times" philosophy so that I'm not eating junk/convenience foods throughout the busy week.

Happy eating!


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