Are you hot, yet? It’s almost summer, here, and I am utilizing all the tricks I know to beat the heat of everyday cooking. This chicken and quinoa recipe is the payoff for some of that beat-the-heat prepping! Chicken is one of the easiest pantry staples to prepare in bulk and keep in […]
Are you hot, yet? It’s almost summer, here, and I am utilizing all the tricks I know to beat the heat of everyday cooking. This chicken and quinoa recipe is the payoff for some of that beat-the-heat prepping!
Chicken is one of the easiest pantry staples to prepare in bulk and keep in the refrigerator or freezer for quick-fix meals and lunches. Add to that a large batch of quinoa, pre-cooked and tucked into the fridge, and the meal possibilities are pretty much limitless! This recipe could be made with any leftover chicken you have — rotisserie chicken, leftover grilled chicken or even fried chicken. I am a cook-it-in-bulk kind of girl, though, especially in the heat of summer, so I have a large tub of oven roasted Tyson chicken breasts prepped and ready in my fridge, this week. I buy the 10 lb bags of flash frozen chicken breasts at Sam’s Club or the 3 lb bags at Walmart.
I didn’t even break a sweat for my week’s worth of pre-prepped ingredients, this week. The process was quick and simple. I put 15 lbs of frozen, boneless, skinless chicken breasts into my enameled roaster with a quart of homemade (or other high-quality) chicken stock and put the lid on the roaster. I placed it in the oven at 275 degrees when I went to bed, Sunday night, and awoke to the heavenly aroma of roasted chicken at 7 the next morning. It was tender, juicy and packed with slow-roasted flavor. Very little effort, on my part, netted us enough pre-cooked chicken for the entire week and then some, even if we have company!
I also prepped a large batch of pre-cooked quinoa. Equal parts of rinsed quinoa (My family likes the tri-color, best, and I usually make a batch with 4 cups of each.) and water or chicken stock, is all you need. (I typically use water for big batches, since I’m not sure what dishes I may be using it in later. It will absorb the flavors of the liquid you cook it in.) Bring the water to a boil, add the quinoa, reduce to a simmer and in 20 minutes, perfectly, tender and fluffy quinoa will be your reward. It will literally have absorbed every drop of moisture in your pan. Cool it, seal it in an air-tight container and store it in the fridge, easily, for a week. I have seen it last even longer.
With those two items in the fridge, we’ve had barbecued chicken pizza, chicken and quinoa salad, tacos/burritos, fritters and more. This delicious recipe, which can be eaten by itself or popped into a tortilla or pita pocket for on-the-go munching may well be the crowning glory of our menus, this week, though. David has asked for it twice more, since the day I first put it together.
I started with chicken stock, sriracha sauce, garlic, a little lime juice and some cilantro in my cast iron skillet. I transferred the skillet to my stove and began heating the ingredients, together, bringing them to a rolling boil.
Chicken and Quinoa were next in the pan and since both were already cooked, I only needed enough time to heat them through and absorb that delicious sauce — literally, only minutes.
Hot, steamy and drenched in flavor, I transferred the Sriracha Chicken and Quinoa to a plate, dressed it with sour cream, avocado slivers and slices of lime. A sprinkle of fresh cilantro on top and some watermelon wedges, on the side and this fifteen-minute, lunch-in-a-hurry packs ten times the flavor and nutrition of something you would have picked up in a restaurant, took less time to prepare than it would have taken to get food at a restaurant AND cost only a fraction of what I would have paid! Save your budget and treat your tastebuds. Make this simple, delicious recipe at home and you’ll be a rock star in your own kitchen! Yum!
I hope your family loves this versatile and easy to fix dish, as much as mine does. It’s a new favorite in our meal rotation!
What are your favorite quick fix lunches and dinners? Do you pre-cook certain ingredients and always have them on hand for quick recipe inspirations? What leftovers translate, best, to new and exciting dishes? I can’t wait to hear about your family’s favorite lunch-in-a-hurry ideas!
If you loved this quick and easy recipe, you might also enjoy, these simple Busy-at-Home favorites! Both would be delicious with Sriracha Chicken and Quinoa.
When it comes to lunch, whether I’m at work or at home, I like things simple and quick. That’s not really too tough, but when you factor in the requirements of uber-delicous and meaningful nutritional value, those recipes are a little harder to come by. I recently pinned this wonderful formulation from Bon Appetit because it […]
When it comes to lunch, whether I’m at work or at home, I like things simple and quick. That’s not really too tough, but when you factor in the requirements of uber-delicous and meaningful nutritional value, those recipes are a little harder to come by. I recently pinned this wonderful formulation from Bon Appetit because it seemed to meet those standards on every count, plus it simply made my mouth water to read the list of ingredients. For me, there’s nothing better than cold salads for warm weather lunches. Add citrus and the fact that it is a completely nutritious and hearty meal in one bowl and I’m definitely intrigued.
This recipe did not disappoint. Of course, I altered it slightly, to fit what I had in my own kitchen. The results are, nonetheless, extraordinary. I make it in the evening and have lunch for the next several days, as the flavors only get better and better, as it sits. Check out the original on Bon Appetit. The recipe, below, is the way I made it in my own kitchen. It’s light and packed with flavor, and the addition of quinoa provides that perfectly complete protein that leaves you satisfied and energized. The fresh lemon juice makes the veggies in this salad *POP*. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do. Enjoy!
If it has a Southwest or Mexican flair, my family will be all over a new recipe, and my new Southwest Confetti Stuffed Peppers (or Salad or Salsa) was no exception. I’m not a huge New Year’s resolution-maker. Especially with cooking and food, I will probably never be an all-or-nothing kind of girl. So, you […]
If it has a Southwest or Mexican flair, my family will be all over a new recipe, and my new Southwest Confetti Stuffed Peppers (or Salad or Salsa) was no exception. I’m not a huge New Year’s resolution-maker. Especially with cooking and food, I will probably never be an all-or-nothing kind of girl. So, you won’t find me making far-reaching and exacting goals for 2013 like: I will lose 50 lbs or I will eliminate ALL processed food from my family’s diet. What I do aspire to accomplish is to make positive progress toward healthy weight-loss, and to change my family’s palates, so more of the nutrient-dense foods I’ve come to love, will make it onto THEIR own list of favorites. Creamy comfort-food casseroles, cookies and chocolate cake will never be completely eliminated from our diets, but I hope they will take more of a backseat, and assume an occasional treat role, rather than being center stage. All things in moderation is a good way to look at what I’d like to achieve. By integrating lighter, healthier dishes that taste fantastic, into the menus they are used to, the process for my husband and kids will be enjoyed, rather than resisted; and if I do it well, perhaps the subtle changes will go undetected. For this first venture, that’s exactly how it went. I’m really excited! We’ve already eaten this as a main dish, a side dish and as a salsa. Young and old, alike, have loved it and I’m excited that this new creation can be put into our regular meal rotation.
From a budget perspective, this is a meatless dish and so, less expensive than typical meals. Score! From a health perspective it’s intensely nutritious and it’s a powerhouse of textures and flavors that will leave your family wanting more. You could certainly add or subtract other veggies, to fit what you have on hand or want to introduce into your family’s diet. I originally developed the recipe as a way to use some Classico Pear Tomatoes from Heinz, (pick them up at Walmart), that I was trying. I was incredibly excited to pick up the can and see only 4 all-natural ingredients, each of which I could pronounce and recognize – tomatoes, tomato juice, salt, and fresh basil. They are packed fresh, with no preservatives and they were fantastic in this new dish!
As I started working on the recipe, my first idea was to do a rift on a traditional stuffed cabbage roll, lightening it up and doing something unexpected with the flavor. I created the filling, then stuffed and baked the cabbage, only to discover we all scooped out and devoured the filling, but left the outer cabbage leaves on our plates. This was not because we don’t like cabbage. We do. And the filling is chock-full of it. Determined to turn my semi-success into a perfect ten, I changed things up and used the delicious filling to stuff sweet bell peppers, instead. That simple alteration made all the difference and sent this recipe over the top. The stuffed peppers can be baked and served as a main dish, served raw and cold as a salad or side dish, or you can simply set out bowls of the filling on an appetizer buffet, to be enjoyed with tortilla chips. It’s fabulous, each and every way! How can you beat that in a recipe? Versatility, crowd-pleasing delicious flavor; plus healthy, nourishing ingredients??? You can’t. Don’t even try. - lol – Seriously, it’s SO good! I can’t wait for you to try it. Enjoy!
I’m excited at how nutritious this dish is and how much my family enjoyed it. Even without heavy sauces, sour cream or any additions of fat or sugar, Southwest Confetti is a tantalizing burst of delicious flavors and textural variety! Quinoa, black beans and lentils provide some great proteins (Quinoa is the only plant-based, complete protein, I think, containing every amino acid.) and the fiber, antioxidants and vitamins provided from the veggies put Southwest Confetti on a nutrition overload! Shhhh! Don’t tell them! Just bask in the healthy glory and soak up all the applause. Enjoy!
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This has been my quinoa experimenting week. Now that I’ve discovered that I love the texture and the nutty flavor, and that the nutritional benefits are extreme, I’ve been challenging myself to create even more recipes to use it in. This quick lunch recipe will be in our regular rotation. It turned out to be […]
This has been my quinoa experimenting week. Now that I’ve discovered that I love the texture and the nutty flavor, and that the nutritional benefits are extreme, I’ve been challenging myself to create even more recipes to use it in. This quick lunch recipe will be in our regular rotation. It turned out to be a delicious, inexpensive and veggie-packed meal that came together in minutes. It’s very simple to prepare and the flavor will be enhanced and get better after being in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight. This made a good-sized batch and we had sandwiches from it over the course of three days.
I think this would also be delicious and beautiful as the filling for stuffed tomatoes or yummy tucked inside a pita for a sandwich on the go. I used the veggies I had in the kitchen, so this is a recipe that will lend itself well to many variations and tastes. I WILL say that the cauliflower was a perfect texture complement and even gave the look of hard-boiled egg whites, so you might be able to pass it off as egg salad, if you have someone who doesn’t like trying new things. Also, the dressing can be decreased or increased, as suits your family’s palate. Some like their sandwiches drier, some moister. In my house I have people on both extremes and so I try to meet somewhere in the middle.
I’m always on the lookout for quick-fix breakfast options and ways to prepare tasty meatless meals. I’ve recently been experimenting with incorporating more quinoa (say KEEN – WAH) into our meal plans, so I’m pretty enthusiastic about blending all three goals into this yummy recipe. Switching up or adding even more veggies is going to […]
I’m always on the lookout for quick-fix breakfast options and ways to prepare tasty meatless meals. I’ve recently been experimenting with incorporating more quinoa (say KEEN – WAH) into our meal plans, so I’m pretty enthusiastic about blending all three goals into this yummy recipe. Switching up or adding even more veggies is going to make this a completely customizable favorite for your family.
Most people think quinoa is a grain, but it is actually the seed of an herbaceous flowering plant, called goosefoot (Chenopodium). Beets and spinach are other common chenopods. Quinoa was a valued staple as far back in history as the Incan Empire. It is protein-rich and nutrient-dense. A 1/4 cup serving of quinoa boasts 58.5% of the DV of manganese, 31.2% of tryptophan, 29.6% of magnesium, 28.1% of phosphorus, 20.7% of fiber, 19.4% of folate and 18% of copper. Quinoa isn’t just high in protein, it is a COMPLETE protein, meaning it contains all nine of the essential amino acids. This delicious, nutty-flavored seed is a powerhouse of nutrition that lends itself to all different types of recipes. I am only just beginning to scratch the surface of all the ways to use it.
IMPORTANT: It is important to thoroughly rinse and drain quinoa before cooking it. The outside of the seeds is covered in saponins, a naturally occurring substance that has a bitter taste. A quick rinse rids the seeds of this outer coating and leaves the yummy seed behind. Please don’t try to cook quinoa without rinsing it. You’ll decide you don’t like it, without ever tasting the real thing and be missing out on a delicious and healthy protein option for your family.
I got the inspiration for this recipe on one of my favorite foodie blogs, Iowa Girl Eats. Kristin created Ham and Cheese Quinoa Cups, and as always, her pictures were so deliciously inspiring, I had to get busy. I wanted to try to make a similar sort of breakfast or brunch option, but without meat. Here’s the trick. I still sort of wanted my carnivore family to think it TASTED like meat. I wondered what would happen if I included seasonings that are great for making sausage and then incorporated some healthy veggies, too. If I had had any color of sweet bell pepper in the fridge, I definitely would have added them. I think some grated carrot would be good, as well! As it was, I had a zucchini, some spinach, green onions and some fresh cilantro. I baked these up in muffin tins and this batch would have made 38 minis, but, I only have one mini muffin tin, so I got 24 minis and 7 regular size.
Here’s the cool thing we discovered. Not only do we love how these quinoa frittatas taste, they would be gorgeous used as appetizers and they would be tasty in salads. You could serve them in pitas, or with dip or with sauces. The possibilities are limitless. I would also bake this as filling in stuffed bell peppers. I think it could be formed into patties and served on English muffins or bagels for a breakfast sandwich on the go, too. The texture of the quinoa with the eggs, gives the mouth feel of ground meat, so with the right seasonings, you can really fool your tongue into thinking you may be eating meat! I haven’t tested this theory, yet, but I am also convinced that these little quinoa bites would freeze well, so they would be great candidates for a bulk/freezer cooking session. Enjoy!