Three Easy, Delicious, and Healthy Quinoa Recipes Your Kids Will Love

Super Nutritious Cooked Quinoa

A bit of history about  Quinoa and the Mighty Inca Indian Empire
During the 14th and 15th centuries, the Inca Empire was at its most powerful, glorious era. Their ancient Indian kingdom reached up and down the side of South America facing the wide Pacific. They had thriving coastal towns that harvested the bounty of the ocean. They had beautiful fortress towns high up in the snow-capped Andes mountains, one of the tallest mountain chains in the world. From these hills they extracted many precious metals and they had vast quantities of gold and silver. They used “books” of braided, multi-coloured yarn to read and communicate. The different colours and the different braiding made up their alphabet or form of writing.

Beautiful Cities in the Clouds
Many Inca buildings were made of finely crafted masonry, built so tightly that even today you cannot stick a knife blade between the stones they carved. One of their grandest cities was Machu Picchu, a lofty and beautiful capital in the skies. Their main means of transportation was the llama, which also provided them with plenty of wool for their clothes. Unfortunately, the Spaniards came exploring. They were eager to expand their own Spanish empire and they were hungry for gold. They had guns and they brought strange new diseases. Those were two of the factors that finally crumbled the mighty Inca Empire.

The Ancient Quinoa Plant
Whereas we rely on wheat for much of our food basics, such as bread, the Inca Indians used the Quinoa plant for their main food sustenance as long as 5,000 years ago. Pronounce it KEE-nowa. Today, most of the Quinoa in the world comes from the Andean regions of Peru and Bolivia. Though Quinoa resembles a grain and it is cooked pretty much the same way we do rice, it’s not really a cereal grain. Rather, Quinoa is a seed and it comes from plants related to spinach and beets. The low-allergy potential of Quinoa – along with its high digestibility and the fact that it offers protein as complete as that found in most meats – has made it a food of special interest in the diet of healthy youngsters. And it tastes pretty darn good, too.

With just a little supervision, most kids can throw together these three easy-to-make and easy-to-enjoy recipes. Just tell ’em these are fun food; you don’t have to tell them they’re healthy, too.

Quinoa and Cheese
Face it, if you don’t like Mac and Cheese, you’re just not normal. How about a recipe that replaces the macaroni with something a lot more tasty and lot more nutritious – Quinoa! This is a dish that what would warm the heart and stomach of even the most stern Inca Emperor.

What You’ll Need:
● 1 cup dry, pre-washed Quinoa grains
(Rinse well to remove any bitter residue.)
● 2 cups of water and 1 small cube of chicken bullion
(If you’d rather not use bullion, try two cups of low-sodium vegetable stock.)
● 1 dash of garlic powder
● 1 cup of shredded cheese
(Sharp cheddar seems best, but most melt-able cheeses will work.)
● 1 tablespoon of butter or margerine
● 1 splash of milk
(You may not need this; but if the mix gets dry, one or two tablespoons should fix it.)

What You’ll Need to Do:
● Add the Quinoa and water to a medium saucepan.
● Add the chicken bullion and garlic salt.
(If you’re using veggie broth, forget the water and bullion.)
● Bring it all to a boil and stir well.
● Cover the pot with a lid and bring down the heat to low.
● Let the Quinoa simmer while covered for 15 minutes or so.
(The Quinoa should be soft and the liquid absorbed.)
● Turn off the heat and add the butter and cheese.
● Stir it all up until the cheesy sauce is well-mixed into the Quinoa.

Final Touches: You might want to add salt and pepper to taste. Maybe top it off with some grated Parmigiana cheese, sort of like a cap of snow on an Andean mountain top.

Quinoa Forget-Oatmeal Breakfast
This morning meal beats oatmeal any day. Thing is, you can make it the night before and in the morning you can just scoop a serving into a microwave-safe bowl, top it with milk, and microwave it a minute or so or until it’s hot. Start the day the Inca way! Well, sort of.

What You’ll Need:
● 1 cup Quinoa
● 2 cups 1 percent low-fat milk
● 1/3 cup dried cranberries or raisins
● 1 tablespoon butter
● 1/3 cup chopped toasted pecans
● 1 tablespoon honey or brown sugar
● 1/4 teaspoon salt
● 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
● 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
● Chopped toasted pecans, warm milk, honey or brown sugar (optional)

What You’ll Need to Do:
● Bring the milk to a boil in a medium saucepan.
● Stir in the Quinoa, cranberries or raisins, and butter.
● Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer until the Quinoa is tender and the liquid is absorbed.
(This takes about 15 minutes.)
● Remove from heat.
● Stir in pecans, honey, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
● Spoon the Quinoa mixture into bowls.

Final Touches: Top each serving with additional chopped pecans, milk, honey, or brown sugar. You’ll figure out the best combo for yourself.

Keenwah Kookies
As mentioned above, Quinoa seeds can be ground into flower and that’s the basis for this recipe. You can probably find the flour at the grocery, but you may have to check a specialty store. Quinoa flower is so much more nutritious than white wheat flour, tastier, too.

What You’ll Need:
● 1/2 cup Quinoa flour
● 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
● 1/2 cup oats
● 1 teaspoon baking powder
● 1/3 cup canola oil
● 2/3 cup brown sugar
● 1 egg
● 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
● 1/2 cup chocolate chips

What You’ll Need to Do:
● Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
● Mix all the dry ingredients and set them aside.
● Mix all the wet ingredients.
● Now combine all the wet and dry stuff and mix well.
● Next, scoop out balls of the dough made with a tablespoon.
● Plop those onto a lightly greased or sprayed cookie sheet.
(They’ll spread as they bake.)
● Bake at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes.

Final Touches: This recipe should make about 16 cookies. The whole grains make these Keenwah Kookies a healthy snack. But, if you have a sweet tooth, dusting these with some powdered sugar or a few bright sprinkles won’t do that much harm.

Beguile the Kids with Andean Enchantment
Quinoa may be a new food item for you and your family. It’s certainly a healthy addition. If your kids turn up their noses at any new food; try beguiling them with stories of Ancient Peru to pull them in. You might want to get some beautiful and enchanting Andean flute music to play while you and the kids are pulling these recipes together in the kitchen. Variations on these recipes, as well as plenty of other Quinoa recipes, are available on the Web. Follow the llamas down an ancient Andean Mountain Trail – home of the hearty Quinoa.

About the Author:
Joyce Del Rosario is part of the team behind Open Colleges, http://www.opencolleges.edu.au/, one of Australia’s leading providers of Nutrition Courses and Personal Training Courses. When not working, Joyce blogs about health and fitness.


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