Friday, January 7, 2011

Making Do...and Using Quinoa Again

I have challenged myself not to set foot in the grocery store or Costco until this weekend, and just live on what's here.  I found many years ago, when we had home milk delivery, that the longer I could put off store visits, the less I spent, overall.  
Last night I noted that we had several tomatoes that definitely needed to be used.   - We had plenty of lettuce.   - We had ground chicken, but only 1 1/2 pounds, which is a bit skimpy for dinner for 7, plus tomorrow's lunches for Hubby and Prince Inventive.  
Being Thursday, so "Mexican Food Night," 3 things/people motivated my specific choice in what to make for dinner: 
1) Gena of Bluebonnet in Beantown's request for a tasty way to serve quinoa
2) Breezy's suggestion in a blog comment to use quinoa in salad
3) Cotehele's post called "Grrrrrr!!!" on her blog, The Old Kitchen, which had instructions for a marvelous looking Frito Salad.  Hope I'm not coming off as a copy cat!  Check out her recipe, because it's different than mine, and vegetarian.

Taco Salad 
with ground chicken & quinoa

1 1/2 lbs ground chicken
1 c quinoa
2 c chicken broth
Brown and crumble the ground chicken in a skillet, generously seasoning with pepper, garlic and cumin or chili powder, according to your spiciness preference.  
A close-up of the quinoa as prepared for this recipe...
It is done when transparent and you can see its white germ
Rinse and drain the quinoa in strainer.  Add to a saucepan with chicken broth, 2 Tbsp dehydrated onion (or 1/2 onion, minced), 2 Tbsp chili powder, 1 tsp dried oregano, and 1 tsp garlic powder.  Put on lid and bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes.  Mix in meat, cover and let sit for 5 minutes.
While the quinoa cooks, prepare the following and place in separate serving dishes:
6 tomatoes, diced
2 heads shredded Romaine lettuce
1/2 lb cheddar cheese, shredded
Tortilla chips
If we had them, we might also add diced onion, sliced olives, and sliced jalapeno, and offer salsa on the side.  But no one complained about having them, so there's a lesson there in saving money.
Layer as you please, but we do it in this order:
Crushed chips
Meat mixture
Top with sour cream or your choice of salad dressing.
Prince Inventive didn't realize the meat mixture wasn't all meat.  Prince Go-For-It had spied the quinoa, so assumed there was no meat.  The whole family liked it, and that's what counts.


  1. We just stared using quinoa recently. I like it so far! Never would have thought to use in tacos.

    Thanks for dropping by and commenting on the Hand Painted Tile post. I like what you ended up doing on your baking area backsplash - probably better than if you had found something like I had posted in your colors. I think what you have looks better with your range backsplash... and as you know, I am a multi-color cabinet and countertop person, so I really think you did a good job on your kitchen.


  2. Oh yummy! Isn't great fun to make supper with what's on hand? The salad dressing looks good. What's in it? I want to try your guinoa recipe. At times we have spiced meatless burger with the frito salad.

  3. Thanks, Allison, for the nice comments on my backsplash. I like it, too...Those handpainted tiles just tug at my heart still sometimes. When I thought about using those, I was planning to do ceramic on the stove wall, too. Would've been a whole different look...One of those things that turned out just fine or better, as it is.

    Cotehele, you would have to ask about the salad dressing...LOL. It is such a mishmash of things! I started with a bit of our leftover homemade Garlic-Parmesan dressing (without the Parmesan since we were out), added a big dose of plain Greek yogurt, a dump of bottled cole slaw dressing left from Princess Eager's birthday, and then seasoned with more garlic and some chili powder. Hubby LOVED it, so he wants me to try to remember the combo again sometime....I think if I add the chili powder to almost any fairly simple white salad dressing, it'll do the trick. ;-)


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