Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Summer Stir-fry with Coconut Quinoa: 15 Dollars... 15 Minutes... Done!

If you are what you eat, then I am one big rotisserie chicken. My childhood dinners revolved around lemon-pepper chicken from the local grocery store. Sharona (as we lovingly call my mom) has always been a practical woman - in fact, we tease that she is practical to a fault. While you'd think this character trait would manifest itself in a financial sense, it was most obvious on the dinner table... in the form of a rotisserie chicken.

If I asked her today why she subjected us to so much poultry, I'm sure she would say something to the effect of "Why would I spend hours prepping, seasoning and roasting a chicken myself when I could just grab one in the grocery store check-out line and heat that sucker up?"

Touché, Sharona. Touché.

See how big that bow is? I won't even start on the lace collar.
I see her point. I really do! Wasting an afternoon cooking a chicken is completely impractical. Not to mention, it's HOT down South (no need to linger in the kitchen longer than you have to). But man, I despise rotisserie chicken almost as much as the ginormous hair bows and matching dresses she dolled me up in for Sunday School! 

So... for me and my family (which currently consists of 1 fiancé and 1 cat-dog), a practical dinner means anything BUT chicken! Today, I thought I'd walk you through a quick 15-minute meal that will only set you back $15 (or less!).

...and just so we don't hurt her feelings too much, we're going to "Southern-ize" it by adding some okra and green beans (but definitely not some chicken)! 

Ready for Summer Stir-fry with Coconut Quinoa? Let's get started...

You'll need 2 (16 oz.) bags of frozen green veggies (or fresh! even better!) - we chose organic green beans and okra.
In a saucepan, combine 1 cup of quinoa...
...with 2 cups of coconut milk. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes (no peeking).
Meanwhile, sauté 4 cloves of garlic in 2 Tbs. of sesame oil over medium-high heat.
Add both bags of frozen veggies and mix well.
As the veggies cook, pour in a bit more sesame oil (approx. 1-2 Tbs)...
...and 3 Tbs. soy sauce.
Add sea salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes to taste.
Looking good!
Cover the pan and let the veggies steam for 2-3 minutes.
Remove the lid and add 1 heaping Tbs. of honey (raw and local if you have it!).
Let the veggies cook for a few more minutes until done. Right before serving, add a few more splashes of coconut milk and allow to warm through.
Serve over the coconut quinoa with a large slice of lime and a sprinkling of black sesame seeds. This recipe will make 2-3 servings.
And of course, no meal is practical unless it's also nutritious! 

OKRA - One of my favorite vegetables! The vitamin A in okra helps maintain healthy mucus membranes and gives your skin that healthy glow! Okra is also full of antioxidants, which control inflammation within the body, and it has even been shown to aid in blood sugar stabilization.

GREEN BEANS - Green beans are packed with fiber, which keeps your digestive system in proper order, as well as protein, which helps your body repair and build muscle tissue. The high antioxidant content in green beans also plays a major role in strengthening the immune system and keeping you healthy!

COCONUT MILK - Coconut is a great source of healthy, plant-based fats. It's been shown to regulate blood sugar, improve calcium and magnesium absorption in the body, boost the thyroid and help support the immune system.

QUINOA - Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it contains all 9 essential amino acids (amino acids are essential for building and repairing muscles, tissues and organs). Plus, quinoa is packed with antioxidants which work to prevent damage to cells by cancer-causing free radicals.

With all these amazing health benefits, no need to feel shy about diving into your dinner!

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