When it comes to cooking for myself, I go through phases:
- Phase 1: buying items that allow me to assemble quick, easy meals
- Phase 2: having zero interest in making anything that involves a pot, pan or a spatula
- Phase 3: getting bored with everything I have been making during Phase 1 so seeking out new recipes and experimenting
I’m currently in Phase 3, which can lend itself to some pretty tasty dishes…or some culinary horror stories. Fortunately last week’s experiment turned out very well, and I’m posting the recipe here so you can try it for yourself. I’m a big fan of one-pot cooking, and I eat a lot of chicken at home, so this is my variation on a one-pot chicken recipe I found on Real Simple‘s website.
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is an itty-bitty grain first harvested by Native Americans. It’s got loads of protein and can be served for breakfast (the texture is similar to oatmeal and you can make it sweet or savoury) or as a side dish with vegetables for lunch or dinner. It can be cooked like rice, so it’s very easy to substitute quinoa in entrees calling for rice. Plus you get the fun of saying quinoa.
Chicken with Quinoa, Mushrooms, Peppers & Spinach
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast tenderloins
- 1 T extra virgin olive oil or canola oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 C mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 C mixed bell peppers, chopped (I use frozen mixed but fresh red bell pepper would be great here)
- 1/4 t basil, dried
- 2 C vegetable broth
- 1 C uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 1 1/2 C baby spinach, washed, stems removed
- Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
Heat oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add chicken and saute until golden, about 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to plate.
Add mushrooms to skillet and saute until browned, about 3-4 minutes (Note: you may want to add more oil or a little water to keep the mushrooms from burning; I added water). Add peppers, garlic and basil. Cook until peppers have softened, about 3 minutes.
Add broth and quinoa, stirring gently to mix with vegetables. Increase heat to medium-high and allow broth to come to a slow boil. Return chicken to pan, spacing pieces evenly. Lower heat and cover pan. Simmer for 12-15 minutes or until quinoa has cooked through and broth has been absorbed. Season with pepper.
Remove lid, turn off heat and add spinach, tearing up larger leaves. Season with salt, then stir spinach into quinoa and chicken mixture, allowing heat from the dish to wilt the spinach.
Got any quinoa recipes to share? Tell me in the comments!