While out on the road, Ryan came up with his own hotel version of mexican fare. It consisted of microwaving a package of Uncle Ben's rice and then mixing it up with salsa, black beans, and a can of chicken. While I'm sure the sodium content is out of this world, it's 'healthier' than a plate full of fried chicken and biscuits. While at home, we have created an even better version of what Ryan has dubbed "mexi rice." Tonight I made it with quinoa instead of brown rice, but just about any whole grain can be used including bulgar or barley. Here are a few reasons why we like quinoa: It cooks in about half the time compared to rice, has a more distinct flavor, the fun swirly shape makes it more visually appealing, it stays fluffy and does not get sticky. Something I just learned tonight...quinoa is a seed not a grain; which explains why it is a complete protein. It's also high in phosphorous, magnesium, manganese, copper, and folate; all very important in metabolism and a properly functioning body parts/organs.
My version of "mexi quinoa" or mexican style stir fry, goes like this:
Serves about 4 (more or less depending how hungry you and your dinner guests are)
Simmer 1 cup of water with 1 cup of your favorite salsa or picante sauce in a medium sauce pan. Add 1 cup quinoa, cover and simmer low for 15 minutes. Give the pot a good shake, take off the heat and leave the lid on so it stays warm and continues to steam.
Meanwhile...Saute' 1-2 chopped bell peppers and 1/2 large onion in a large saute pan or wok. (I start with the pepper and add the onion after a few minutes since I chopped it smaller). When the onion starts to turn translucent add 1-2 chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces.
At this time add 3 garlic cloves finely chopped or pressed through a garlic press. If you have it on hand, add a couple dashes of paprika, chili powder, cumin, and black pepper. Stir and cook until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle. Add 1 can drained/rinsed black beans. (I used some that I had cooked a while back and stored in the freezer). When the beans have warmed through, divide the quinoa into bowls and serve the veggie/chicken mixture on top.
Most of the ingredients for this meal where bought over a period of time so I had to guess on a lot of the prices but I'd say it comes out to $10 total or $2.50 per serving = 0.005 cents/kcal. Leftovers freeze well and can be taken to work the next day for lunch.