Friday, August 27, 2010

thursday - chicken with peanut sauce, quinoa pilaf

Last night I grilled half a chicken breast that had been marinating in a peanut sauce made up of peanut butter, hoisin, rice vinegar, and chili garlic sauce, a recipe from Pressure Perfect by Lorna Sass (this was one of the foil packets I prepared and froze a few weeks ago). The chicken was so much better on the grill than in the pressure cooker (yay!), and actually took less time to cook. The peanut sauce got a little overly charred, but otherwise it had a great flavor. So far I like the pressure cooker for cooking grains and soups, but my experience with entrées has been a bit dicey.

I had lots of pesto quinoa left over from a couple of nights ago, plus various vegetables that I had been snacking on with the tzatziki I made earlier this week, so I decided to combine the two for a kitchen sink sort of side dish. I was very pleased with the results, which is good because I have tons left. In case you aren't familiar with quinoa, it's a quick-cooking, gluten-free whole grain that is higher in protein than most grains (and is a complete protein--meaning it has all of the essential amino acids--which is important if you follow a vegetarian diet). I love it and use it often. In particular, I think it's a great substitute for couscous because, while they both have a similar shape and texture, quinoa provides much more fiber, protein, and other nutrients.

Quinoa Pilaf

1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa, warm
1/4 cup pesto (I used garlic scape pesto, but any kind will do)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 carrots, peeled and diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 pint grape tomatoes
1/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese, diced
1 tablespoon chopped basil
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large bowl, stir together the quinoa, pesto, and lemon juice. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add carrots and peppers, and cook until soft, stirring often, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add tomatoes, and cook until beginning to break down, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Transfer vegetables to quinoa mixture, add cheese and basil, and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Makes 6 servings.

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