Thursday, March 17, 2011

Quinoa: Super Protein Power For the Pregnant Mama!

Protein is so essential during pregnancy and breastfeeding for maintaining your health and producing enough good quality milk that I want to share yet another high protein meal option. Here is a great dinner- a fiesta of flavors- to try and add quinoa to your diet. Quinoa is a super protein source. Quinoa-which is actually a seed from South America-is a complete protein, meaning that all 8 essential amino acids are present. There are about 14 grams of protein per 100g. It is also high in Magnesium, Folate, Zinc, Phosphate, and other essential vitamins and minerals- and is gluten-free! You can eat it as a hot-cereal in the morning with some berries, cinnamon, and sugar; mixed it in with a cold salad, or eat it as a hot "grain" for dinner. You can get 68 grams of protein in one meal if you also have chicken and plain yogurt with it!
Quinoa (for salads)
2 cups of chicken broth
1 cup of quinoa
Add quinoa to boiling chicken broth and cook for 10 minutes. Place another pan of water (2 in) on the burner with a strainer on top and pour the quinoa/chicken broth over the top (straining the quinoa). Place a cloth and lid over the strainer and "steam" the quinoa for another 10 min. Fluff and serve.

Fiesta Salad w/ Grilled Chicken
*These are adaptations of other people's recipes
For the salad (these are the fresh herbs I had available, but you could vary it according to what you have), chop:
1/4 c. mint
1/4c. basil
1/4 c. cilantro
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1/4 c corn
1/4 c craisins
1/4 c carrots
1-2 scallions (green onions)
Mix, toss in a squeeze of lemon and some salt.

Optional Dressing 
(my kids prefer it plan, but adults usually like the dressing)
4 Tbs red onions minced
3 cloves garlic minced
4 T soy sauce
2 Tbs lemon juice
1/2 olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp chipotle pepper
1/4 c roasted pumpkin seeds (love these!)

Grilled Chicken
OK, so actually I baked this chicken, but sometimes I use our little electric grill (but it can only do 2 pieces at a time and doesn't work well with marinades)
Lemon Juice
Dijon Mustard
Rosemary & Oregano
Marinade the chicken and bake or grill.

My kids like to eat it all separate- but I love it tossed together!

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