What's Quinoa (pronounced keen-wahh) you ask? It's a grain that is good for us! Yup, that's right, it's a starch that is a complete protein. It is grown in South America and is used like rice there, and that's what I'm doing. I studied in Spain when I was a freshman in college, and I loved Paella, but now that amount of rice would put me in a carb coma and plummet my blood sugar to an all time low. I never have a problem with quinoa, it tastes like rice, but doesn't mess with your body. It's becoming very popular in regular supermarkets, I have bought quinoa in trader joes, wegmans, whole foods, shop rite, genaurdis and pathmark, so its pretty easy to find. 1 cup of dried quinoa produces 3 cups cooked quinoa so it goes far. *Note when you look up the nutrition facts for quinoa it will say one cup is 600 something calories, but it's not, it's reffering to the quinoa when it's dry, but one cup cooked is about 200 calories* So here are the ingredients for a healthier version of a Spanish favorite!
- 1 cup dried quinoa, rinsed first
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon saffron threads
- 1 cup chorizo (Spanish spicy sausage, taken out of skin and broken up)
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1 large onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 bell pepper chopped
- 1 can rotel (mostly drained)
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- cooking spray
- salt and pepper
- cilantro if you have it (I used dried, that works fine)
Cook quinoa according to package ingredients using chicken stock instead of water. Add the teaspoon of saffron into the boiling quinoa.
While the quinoa is cooking, in a large sprayed skillet, cook the chicken until cooked through. Remove from skillet and put on a plate to sit. Cook chorizo, then place on plate with chicken. Remove the oil from the chorizo from the pan and re spray. Then add in the chopped peppers, onions and cilantro with salt and pepper and cook until soft. When the veggies are cooked add in the peas and saute for a minute. Lower the heat and add the garlic. Let cook for a minute more and then add the whole can of rotel. Bring the chicken and chorizo back into the pan, then add the quinoa into the pan also on low heat and stir for a few minutes until all the flavors are incorporated.
This is REALLY good, it has all the traditional flavors of traditional paella, without all the fat. Of course the chorizo is a little more fattening, but it really brings out all the flavors in the paella. *Note, I made this recipe doubled and it is a LOT of paella, luckily my husband agreed to eat it for lunch for the next few days LOL*