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Make-Do Dinner: Chickpea Quinoa Pilaf

March 1, 2011

Make Do : To manage to get along with the means available At the end of the week we all know the feeling – food food everywhere not a bite to eat. Tonight, I resisted the urge to just throw in the towel and say, “Let’s just eat out.” I was determined to make do with what we had on hand.

Here is the cast of characters:

  • One boneless skinless chicken breast
  • One Sweet Potato Gruyere Turnover
  • Quinoa
  • Broccoli
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Canned Garbanzo Beans
  • Frozen Homemade Chicken Stock
  • One Heart Romaine Lettuce
  • A small vacuum-sealed package of artisan sheep cheese from the farmer’s market last summer.
  • 1/2 bag of frozen green beans

I rinsed and drained 2/3 cup of quinoa and tossed in a frozen block of chicken stock I thought was approximately twice the volume. I let that melt and cook up for about 10 minutes. Tossed in a handful of dried cranberries and let it simmer for another 5 minutes. Once there was only a little stock left to be absorbed I threw in a bunch of broccoli florets to steam and covered with a lid.

Meanwhile I pulled preheated the oven to 400. Tossed the drained and rinsed can of garbanzo beans with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and a dash or two of curry powder. I spread this mixture on to a rimmed cookie sheet along with the turnover and popped the whole thing in the oven.

I seasoned the chicken w/ salt and pepper and grilled it on our Foreman Grill (by the way I adore our Foreman Grill – frozen to fabulous in 10 minutes!) Also I can’t recommend enough the use of a meat thermometer. I am diggin’ my All-Clad Oven -Probe Thermometer – dry over cooked meat be gone!

While everything was simmering, grilling, and roasting…I cut and cleaned the romaine lettuce and cut the cheese (oh you…no I didn’t pass gas…I cut the actual cheese!)

The big show – I tossed the quinoa with the broccoli, roasted garbanzo beans and a splash of lemon juice. The chicken breast was cut and placed aloft the crisp romaine with shaved sheep cheese. The turn over was more than we needed but served as a nice “dessert”. And the green beans well, Guy won’t eat broccoli so this was his, “something green”.

All and all making do was fun and fulfilling in more ways than one! I also have a brand new quinoa pilaf recipe to boot! Good times!

I would love to hear your “make-do” stories!

Make Do Quinoa Pilaf

  • 2/3 cup quinoa rinsed
  • 1 1/3 c. chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/4 c dried fruit (cranberries)
  • 1/2 c vegetable (broccoli)
  • 1 can roasted garbanzo beans (or any canned beans)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • lemon juice to taste (just a splash)
  • Olive oil

Rinse and toss garbanzo beans with salt/ pepper/ olive oil (I also used a dash or two of curry powder.)  Spread out on a rimmed cookie sheet and roast at 400 or 450 until golden brown.

Cook quinoa part way, add dried fruit – cook a bit more. Add veggies and steam on top of quinoa (cover pot and turn down heat). Toss with roasted beans. Season and add lemon juice to taste. (The lemon should be there to brighten not to impart a lemon taste, unless you want to of course.)

You also might like:

Mediterranean Quinoa Bowl

Gut Scraper Bread (AKA Banana Bread)


3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 6, 2011 7:10 pm

    That recipe is great! I will have to try it out.

    The day you posted this, the kids and I ate cheese and applesauce for dinner. Extra sharp white cheddar and homemade applesauce, but still There was supposed to be more to it, but Dan was working late and everything fell apart soon after the cheese and applesauce consumption. The last few weeks have been whack for dinners — too much sickness. Lots of tortillas with beans and cheese and (gasp!) microwave stuff from trader joe’s. Cereal and frozen veggies served together. Wow.

    Usually, I like to cook up 4 cups worth of brown rice to use thru the week. We all really like it, and it can be used different ways.

    The other day I felt all proud because I pulled a serious “make do” and cooked some boneless skinless (a rarity! had some in the freezer!) chicken in the crockpout with 2 jars of my peach ginger freezer jam, a tiny bit of soy sauce, and onion. Ate with brown rice and green peas. That felt pretty sweet to do a meager amount of “cooking” after too much sick-person scrounging.


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