By Nancy Smorch
It was another one of those days where I was stuck on what I could make for dinner. I knew we couldn’t go out to eat - it was Sunday in Ocala. During the week, our options are limited enough. On Sunday, they are much worse.
To add to my lack of inspiration, our Michigan State Spartans had just lost their game in the NCAA basketball tournament. I was hoping we were going to make trip to Dallas for the Final Four Tournament, but we were 6 points shy. They had an incredible season though - very happy for them!
So I was determined to come up with something new and tasty - for Mike as well. The end of college football for the season is a hard day, as is the end of the college basketball tournament season... only for Mike and I, mind you. The girls could care less! Occasionally they will show interest, but only to cheer for whatever team Michigan State is playing.
I knew this called for something special, so I went to one of my trusted sources for recipes, Food52. I had just received an email from them about a variety of ideas for using quinoa, so I thought I would scan through them.
Glad I did - I found quite a few that I want to try, Toasted Almond and Coconut Quinoa Porridge being one of them.
But the one that caught my eye for dinner was the Buffalo-Style Quinoa Chili.
I did make a few adaptations. Rather than putting in just one 14 oz can of diced tomatoes, I used almost the whole 28 oz can. Instead of the hominy, I used one 15 oz bag of frozen organic corn. I didn’t have any hot sauce on hand so I just left it out of the recipe (which works just fine for us who are a little shy about hot stuff). And, finally, I opted out of the blue cheese - not a big fan of blue cheese, and we’re not doing a whole lot of dairy over here anyway. I do think some sort of cheese on top would be good though, if you can do cheese - maybe some freshly shaved parmesan, goat, or feta cheese.
Anyway, it turned out great - it had a light smoky flavor from the smoked paprika, and a variety of textures with the beans, quinoa, corn, and tomatoes. And, it was nice and filling.
Had I planned ahead, I would have had a side of gluten-free corn bread, but didn’t think of that until it was too late. It would have made a great addition. Since I didn’t have any corn bread, I just took some gluten-free bread, buttered both sides and grilled it in a pan. That always works out nicely in a pinch as well. Speaking of pinches, I always put a pinch of sea salt (Maldon’s of course) on my bread when I’m grilling it.
This recipe is a definite keeper. I knew I could count on Food52!