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Charge Up for Good Health

Everyday Superfoods: 4 Easy & Healthy Quinoa Recipes

This gluten-free whole grain cooks more quickly than rice and tastes even better. Just try our delic...

The “Everyday Superfoods” series shows you how to use healthy ingredients to make simple dishes full of flavor. Check out previous articles in the series about kale, oats and beans.

Even though it’s considered a whole grain, quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”) is actually an ancient seed that’s quickly become one of our favorite superfoods at Completely You. It has a rich, nutty flavor and since it cooks in just 15 minutes, it can be on the table more quickly than just about any other grain.

Plus, quinoa is high in calcium -- which is so important for teeth and bones -- is both gluten- and cholesterol-free, and provides all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. In fact, it’s so nutritious that the U.N. has actually designated 2013 as “The Year of Quinoa” in hopes that it can help end hunger and malnutrition around the world. It’s a really super superfood!

Quinoa can be found in most supermarkets and health foods stores in all three of its varieties: white, red and black. There is no difference in health benefits among the different colors, so feel free to use the quinoa of your choice.

Flavor tip: Before cooking, always rinse quinoa or it will be bitter. Simply place quinoa in a strainer and run cold water over the top. Drain and cook according to recipe directions. While there are pre-rinsed quinoa brands available, it never hurts to rinse these again before using. Since quinoa has more fat in it than other grains, I recommend storing it in the refrigerator or freezer to prevent it from going rancid.

So why not try some quinoa tonight? You’ll be glad you did.

Quinoa and Chickpea Burgers With Honey Mustard

Try this summery version of veggie burgers using cooked quinoa and chickpeas. Quinoa packs in an enormous amount of protein and vitamins to keep you powered up throughout your day. Look for chickpeas in BPA-free cans, such as those made by Eden Organics.

Serves 4

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 small onion, minced
1 large clove garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
2 cups chicken broth
One 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 large egg
1/2 cup diced roasted red pepper
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Honey mustard for topping

1. In a medium saute pan, over high flame, heat two tablespoons of the olive oil. Add onion and garlic and cook 5 to 7 minutes until the onion is translucent and slightly golden. Add the cumin and cayenne and cook, stirring, one minute longer. Stir in the quinoa and toss to coat in the onion mixture. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook 15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat and cool completely.

2. Meanwhile, place the chickpeas in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and process until finely chopped. Add egg and blend well for 30 seconds longer. Transfer chickpea mixture to a large bowl and combine with cooled onion/quinoa mixture, red pepper, breadcrumbs, cilantro or parsley, and salt and pepper.

3. Divide the mixture into 4 balls and shape each into a 2-inch thick patty. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 20 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with foil and reserve. In a large sauté pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over high heat. When hot, place patties on pan and cook for 1 to 2 minutes on each side (or until golden brown). Transfer patties to the baking sheet and continue to cook in oven 15 minutes. Serve with honey mustard.

Quinoa Breakfast Cereal

Think oatmeal and cream of wheat are the only hot cereals worth eating? Think again. Wait until you try cooked quinoa with this combination of warm spices and sweet and nutty add-ins. You may never look back

Serves 2

1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
Pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 teaspoon grated orange rind, optional
1/2 cup diced dried apricots
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds

1. In a 2-quart saucepot over high heat, combine the almond milk, salt, cinnamon, orange juice and orange rind over high heat. When mixture reaches a boil, stir in the quinoa, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook 15 minutes or until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and let sit 1 to 2 minutes.

2. Stir in remaining ingredients and serve immediately.

Savory Quinoa Pilaf

Try toasting the quinoa first before making this pilaf. Though it’s optional, you may enjoy the even nuttier flavor that toasting imparts. Serve this dish in place of your classic white rice pilaf. It’s full of flavor and has a nice crunch to boot, making it an easy (and much healthier) substitute.

Serves 4

1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, minced
1 large stalk celery, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoons dried thyme leaf
1 bay leaf
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. If toasting quinoa, place it in a large, dry sauté pan over high heat. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, 3 to 5 minutes or until you hear the quinoa start to pop and turn golden. Remove from heat and rinse before using. Set aside.

2. In a 2-quart saucepan over high flame, heat oil. When hot, cook onion, celery, carrot, and garlic for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring, until softened. Add thyme and bay leaf and cook 2 minutes longer. Add quinoa and broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Stir in chopped parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove bay leaf before serving.

Black Quinoa and Salmon Salad

This colorful salad is best served at room temperature, and makes a perfect summertime lunch entrée. Of course, you can use any color quinoa for this recipe, as well as canned salmon if fresh is not available. Choose wild fresh or canned salmon when possible. Frozen edamame (soy) beans are available in your supermarket’s freezer section.

Serves 4 to 6


1 cup uncooked black or white quinoa
1 pound cooked salmon, broken into chunks
1 cup shelled and cooked edamame
1 ½ cups cherry tomato halves
1 bunch scallions, chopped
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
Juice of one lemon

¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
1 small shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Heat 2 cups of water with a pinch of salt in a 2-quart sauce pan over high heat. When it reaches a boil, add quinoa, stir, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer 15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Cool completely.

2. Combine cooked, cooled quinoa with other salad ingredients and toss gently. Set aside.

3. For the dressing, combine vinegar, shallot, garlic and mustard in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Blend well. With motor running, slowly add oil to food processor in a thin stream until combined. Add dressing to salad and toss gently. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Like this “Everyday Superfoods” article? Check out previous articles in the series about kale, oats and beans.



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