Mediterranean Chicken and Quinoa

5 May

mediterranean chickenI think the dark is gone…for now.  I had the pleasure of meeting Elizabeth this past Saturday (the Crossfit workout Elizabeth).  She and I are not friends….As I finished the last couple squat cleans of my first round of 21, I was pretty sure that I would not finish this workout, but I huffed and puffed my way over to the rings to start the torturous round of 21 ring dips.  5 squat cleans into my second round of 15, I was positive I would not be able to finish…I thought to myself, “This is crazy!  How can I possible to this?”, yet I kept going.  I realized after getting through 5 more that there was no way I couldn’t finish.  This was not because of me by any means, it was because of all the people around me (who had already finished Elizabeth) who would not allow me to quit.  I mustered through the remainder of my workout to the sound of Jill and Pam cheering me on and finished with a time of 15:10.  This Crossfit community that I have become a part of is like nothing I have ever encountered.  Never have I met a group of people that get as much or more joy and pride out of another person’s success than they do their own.  It’s pretty surreal and I feel so lucky to have found Crossfit Templar.

Ok, on to the recipe.  I made this a couple of nights ago and just had leftovers for lunch.  It’s SO good!

I just recently was introduced to quinoa and have really tried to find ways to incorporate it into some recipes.  I like it because it is a gluten free high protein grain and pretty easy to make.  When I make it, I usually make an entire box of it and save whatever I do not use in my recipe for another use later in the week.  One cup of dry quinoa will yield about 3 cups of cooked, so you get a good amount from one box.  I also cook my quinoa using stock instead of water to give it more flavor.  If you have homemade bone stock, it’s a great option, otherwise and store bought stock will work.

I have to give props to Suzanne, the cook at the child care center I teach preschool at, for giving me the idea for this recipe.  Suzanne does a great job trying to incorporate healthy meals to the menu at my center and tries to expose the children to some foods they may not ever have tried otherwise.  She serves a simplified version of this recipe to the children and it’s one of my favorite lunches.

The recipe calls for feta or parmesan cheese, but again, if you have been strong enough to omit cheese from your diet, feel free to leave it out.

Mediterranean Chicken and Quinoa

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 lb cooked chicken, sliced or diced
  • 1 bag of baby spinach
  • 2 cans of fire roasted diced tomatoes with garlic
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Feta or parmesan cheese

Rinse your quinoa in a strainer for at least 2 minutes. Rinsing the quinoa removes its natural coating, called saponin, which can make it taste bitter or soapy. Although boxed quinoa is often pre-rinsed, it doesn’t hurt to give the seeds an additional rinse.  In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil and add rinsed quinoa.  Dry and toast the quinoa, letting the water evaporate (about one minute).  Add the chicken stock and salt and bring the mixture to a rolling boil.  Reduce heat to medium and add the remaining ingredients.  Cook until spinach is wilted and everything is heated though.  Serve topped with feta or parmesan cheese.

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