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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Pesto Shrimp Quinoa Bowl with Thatcher Controlled Chaos

My day began with our coffee pot breaking, followed by a mad dash to Starbucks which caused me to be late to work. Throw in an unexpected and an especially busy day, and the last thing I wanted to do when I got home was deal with dinner. This is a simple and healthy dinner that is perfect when you need a little lazy at dinner time. In addition to easy, this recipe is extremely versatile. You can use cooked shrimp, cooked chicken or langostino tails (I like the ones at Trader Joes). I have made this recipe with all kinds of different veggies: asparagus, broccoli, snap peas, green beans…whatever you like or have on hand. Tonight I went with langostino and asparagus! You can make your own pesto or use store bought.

Quinoa is one of those superfoods we keep hearing about. This whole grain is a complete protein and full of fiber. It is also higher in is higher in calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, and zinc than other grains. It is also an anti-oxidant and is believed to fight diabetes and breast cancer. The only down side I have found with quinoa is that it needs to be rinsed before eating, and the seeds are so tiny that I have not found a way to do this without rinsing half down the drain. I solved this problem with spending a little more money on spouted quinoa at Whole Foods which doesn’t need to be rinsed.

WINE: 2007 Thatcher Controlled Chaos, Paso Robles

I wanted a lazy dinner, but I also wanted some wine. When trying to decide on a bottle, I saw this bottle of Controlled Chaos. After my crazy day, I had to select this 42% Zinfandel, 37% Mourvedre and 21% Grenache. The unusual blend was full of fruit, spice and all that was nice. Was it the perfect wine for my dinner? Probably not. Was it the perfect wine for my day? Definitely.

A Pinot Grigio or a Sauvignon Blanc would be two good white varietals to try with this dinner. If you are looking for a red, I would suggest a robust Pinot Noir or a more traditional Rhone including GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre).

RECIPE: Pesto Shrimp Quinoa Bowl
2-3 Servings

• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 1 tbsp lemon juice
• 1 cup quinoa
• 2 cups chicken broth (adjust if directions for quinoa call for a different amount)
• 12 oz cooked shrimp, langostino tails, or cooked chicken breast
• ~1 1/2 cups of chopped asparagus (1 inch pieces), snow peas, snap peas, broccoli or whatever vegetable you want etc
• ¼ cup Basil pesto (see below for recipe or buy some!)

1. Cook quinoa according to package directions using broth instead of water.
2. Heat olive oil on medium heat.
3. Add shrimp, langostino tails, or chicken and veggie to pan. Cook about 5minutes until shrimp etc is heated and veggies are tender.
4. Drain any excess water from shrimp and veggie pan.
5. Stir in lemon juice.
6. Add cooked quinoa and basil to pan and stir. Serve.

RECIPE: Basil Pesto
Makes about 1 cup (you can freeze remaining)

• 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
• 2 cloves garlic
• 1/4 cup pine nuts
• 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
• ¼ tsp salt
• ¼ tsp pepper
• 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Place all ingredients in food processor or blender.
2. Combine well.

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