WOW it’s been a while. I have been meaning to post this for a week, but life gets busy. I have traveled to Boston to see friends, worked a bit extra, and watched UConn win the first two games of the March Madness Tournament (GO UCONN!) so this is one of the first times I am actually sitting down at my computer to post.
First, I love quinoa. I think it is the perfect base to a meal and you can do so many different things with it. Second, I love goat cheese. I have an issue. I can put it on anything and everything and I have no intention of slowing my pace. Third, there is nothing better than combining sweet and savory (aka salty) flavors. In keeping all of these ideas in mind, I decided to create this dish for a delicious and filling (and healthy, of course) meal. It’s super easy and you can throw in whatever you have lying around in your fridge. Did I mention I am a leftovers queen? If you are one of those people who throws away leftovers then you probably won’t have anything lying around… and I feel sad for you.
Onto the recipe!
What you will need:
- 1 cup dry quinoa
- 1/2 cup craisins (dried cranberries)
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 3/4 log of goat cheese
- ~1lb of boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 bag of kale (or “bunch” of kale)
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 sweet potato, diced in 1″ pieces and roasted in the oven
- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey
- olive oil
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
- salt/pepper/garlic powder
pretend to rinse your quinoa. Okay, I admit it. I don’t rinse my quinoa. But I think you should? Does anyone know why? I would love to know. For now, I will continue my rebellious ways.
I let it boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the quinoa. Personally I think the directions tell you to cook it too long so I keep a close watch and when almost all the liquid is out I turn off the heat. I “fluff” with a fork. “Fluffing” basically means not to hard stir it or it could all get mushy and clump together.
Voila. Place aside.
Next, onto the kale. I typically buy mine from Trader Joe’s because it comes pre-washed and chopped in a bag. So I boil a pot of water and toss it in, stems and all.
As I am doing this, I am also heating a pan with olive oil, and sauteing some garlic. As soon as the kale is soft (it takes 7-10 mins) I place it right into the pan to finish cooking.
Mix it with the garlic and olive oil and allow the water to cook off (about 5-7 more minutes). Make sure to stir it.
Make sure to season this with salt, pepper and a little parmesan cheese. For all those scared of kale (I was for a long time) you will notice this ends up having a texture similar to broccoli rabe with the taste of spinach. Fantastic.
Now, you have the quinoa and kale ready to go. Quick tip, soak your craisins in warm water to plump them up and soften them. I do this anytime I use craisins or raisins in a recipe. If you get them soaking now, they will be ready when the chicken is done (~10-15 minutes).
I marinated my chicken breasts in 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of honey.
I love using a grill pan for chicken in the winter because it makes me feel like its summer time.
I hope other people get excited about grill marks….
In a big bowl, to the quinoa add the craisins (drain them from the water), kale, chopped walnuts, sweet potato (I didn’t show cooking this because I had it left over in the fridge), 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, drizzle of olive oil and 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar. I also mix in about half the goat cheese and save the rest for topping each plate.
Now, time to plate.
I sliced the chicken and added it to the top. This is a delicious meal and can also be served cold for lunch the next day! Enjoy!