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!
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons sriracha sauce
- 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- 1 Tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped and divided
- 2 cups roasted chicken, diced (leftover chicken of any kind will work)
- 3 cups cooked quinoa
- optional, sour cream (It's great to cut the heat of the spicy sriracha.)
- optional, lime wedges, avocado slivers and cilantro for garnish
- Bring chicken stock, garlic, sriracha sauce, lime juice and about ½ of the cilantro to a rolling boil in a deep skillet.
- Add the chicken and quinoa to the skillet and reduce heat. Continue cooking for just a few minutes, until the chicken and quinoa are hot and the sauce has been absorbed.
- Serve on a plate with your favorite garnishes and cool summertime sides or stuff it into a tortilla or pita pocket with some fresh greens and veggies for lunch on the go.
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.