Crunchy Chicken & Quinoa Salad

 “True love is the soul’s recognition of it’s counterpoint in another”

Owen Wilson in The Wedding Crashers

Crunchy Chicken & Quinoa Salad

I love that my husband knows which mug I prefer for my morning coffee.
I love that he scrapes the snow of my car on these cold snowy mornings or gets the fireplace going on these chilly nights.
I love that he always thinks about little things that make me and Briana smile.
I love that he randomly brings balloons for our vivacious 7 year old.
I love that he is the man that can make me smile without much effort.
I love that he shares his super soft oversized long sleeve T-shirt so I can sleep in it.

I love that my daughter can’t live without our hugs and kisses.
I love that she wants to be tucked into bed.
I love that she won’t go to sleep until her daddy is home.
I love that she always considers the feelings of others.
I love her sweetness and all the beautiful pictures she draws for us.
I love her determination and sassiness.

I love that my family gets together to eat on most weekends.
I love the family photos that flash on our TV when it’s in stand by mode.
I love our fishing trips, vacations, bowling, movies, camping in the living room, backyard get togethers, road trips and foodie adventures.

Today, tomorrow and every day I want them to know how much I love simply having them around.

Crunchy Chicken & Quinoa Salad
Originally I planned on making something more Valentine’s Day appropriate but since the web is already filled with hundreds of V-Day dessert recipes I decided to scratch that idea. Instead I bring you a simple, delicious and nutritious salad because when you’re done eating all those sweets, you’re going to need to detox from sugar and eat something healthy.

Enjoy!

Crunchy Chicken & Quinoa Salad

But just in case here are my favorite V-Day desserts.

Guiltless Chocolate Cake

Guiltless Chocolate Cake

Skinny Cake Balls

Skinny Cake Balls

Crunchy Chicken & Quinoa Salad

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Serves: 5-6

Ingredients
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • ½ cup shredded carrots
  • ⅔ cup shredded red cabbage
  • ⅓ cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley
  • salt & pepper
  • italian dressing to taste
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
Instructions
  1. Bring two cups of water to a boil, season with a little salt, add quinoa, reduce heat to simmer. Cook until all the liquid is evaporated and quinoa is tender. Uncover, fluff with a fork and let stand while you work on the rest.
  2. Preheat a grill pan. Coat with a little olive oil.
  3. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Grill 5-6 minutes on each side, until the chicken is fully cooked and no longer pink inside. Let cool, then cut into small bite size pieces.
  4. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, chicken, carrots, cabbage, chickpeas and parsley. Season with salt and cayenne. Stir in italian dressing to your liking.
  5. Perfect when chilled, great the following day for lunch.
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Sunday Suppers: Delicious Cuban Chicken

Delicious Cuban Chicken

This crispy skinned, brightly flavored chicken makes me happy. It reminds me of sunshine and warmth. What gives it the amazing flavor is the Cuban style Mojo marinade made with lots of garlic, fresh cilantro, bell pepper and the juice of orange and lime. Citrus based marinades make an excellent choice for poultry whether roasted or grilled. Since grilling is sorta off limits, roasting makes all the sense. Who said winter food can’t be fun. I am warning you, this is one super flavorful and juicy chicken.

Delicious Cuban Chicken

First start by butterflying the chicken. It’s pretty simple. Place it on a cutting board breast-side-down. Working from the cavity opening up to the neck, cut down each side of the back bone with a pair of kitchen scissors or a sharp knife. Then open the chicken like a book. Turn it over and press gently on the breast bone to flatten. If you’re not sure how to do this, internet is full of videos on the subject.

Delicious Cuban Chicken

Create the Mojo by blending garlic, cilantro, cumin and bell pepper with the juices of fresh orange, lime and a little olive oil. But before spreading it all over the chicken make sure to season your bird with lots of salt, dry oregano and adobo powder (sold in the international foods isle of your grocery store). Be sure to add some sliced onion for that extra goodness. Allow the chicken to marinade for at least 2 hours. I prepared everything in the morning and by dinner time it was perfectly marinated, about 6 hours. This is a good dish to make on Sundays, but don’t let it stop you from preparing everything the night before. The longer the better.

Delicious Cuban Chicken

Oh! Good luck fighting fingers from trying to steal all the crispy skin. My husband is notorious for that.

Delicious Cuban Chicken

A butterflied chicken cooks a lot faster and because I cooked it in a skillet all that fabulous juice accumulated right at the bottom. Pour it over rice, veggies or whatever your heart desires, it’s pretty amazing. I also made a delicious sofrito rice and beans to go along my  Cuban Chicken and let me tell you both Briana and Kurt were in foodie heaven. Briana said that I am the best “Cooker” ever. :) I think she meant cook. Kids say the cutest things.

I’ll be sharing the recipe for the rice on Monday so be sure to check back.

Delicious Cuban Chicken

Delicious Cuban Chicken

Happy almost weekend!!!

Mojo

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Ingredients
  • ¼ orange bell pepper
  • 9 garlic cloves
  • handful of cilantro
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • juice of one lime
  • juice of ½ orange
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. Pulse all the ingredients in a blender. Store in a glass jar until ready to use.

Sunday Suppers: Delicious Cuban Chicken

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Ingredients
  • One whole chicken
  • 1 tbsp adobo powder
  • ½ tbsp oregano
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • salt
  • prepared Mojo (recipe above)
Instructions
  1. Place the chicken on a cutting board breast-side-down. Working from the cavity opening up to the neck, cut down each side of the back bone with a pair of kitchen shears.
  2. Turn the chicken over and press on the breast bone to flatter.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Generously season the bird with salt, adobo and oregano. Top with onion slices.
  5. Transfer to a glass dish and coat well with Mojo on both sides. Cover with plastic wrap and marinade for at least two hours or overnight.
  6. To roast the chicken, set into an oven proof skillet. Do not cover.
  7. Roast until internal temperature is 165 degrees. It took me about 1½ hours, but this will vary depending on the size of the bird.
  8. Before carving allow to rest for 10 min. Enjoy.

 

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Roasted Chicken with Chorizo & Red Onions

Roasted Chicken with Chorizo & Red Onions

As it gets colder outside, the switch in my brain goes into oven mode to cook as many dishes in the oven as possible. The combination of the smell that fills the house, the ease of cooking and the heat from the oven is hard to resist. Just like the grill that works overtime in the summer, the oven does a lot of my cooking in the winter.

Roasted Chicken with Chorizo & Red Onions

This chicken, unlike other roasted chicken recipes, starts out on the stove. I like to get a golden crust on both sides before transferring it to the oven. While the chicken is the star of this dish, it gets a lot of flavor from its new best friend, the chorizo sausage. The smoked spanish chorizo can be purchase at your local supermarket, usually by the deli counter. I like using it a variety of dishes, especially with beans and fish. This was my first time combining it with chicken and the result was nothing short of delicious.

Roasted Chicken with Chorizo & Red Onions

A fresh Caesar salad with homemade Caesar dressing and homemade croutons is a perfect accompaniment to my chicken. I’ll be sharing the recipe with you  for my homemade Caesar dressing soon, be sure to check back. It’s so good, you’ll never want to buy the store kind again.  Small pasta like orzo, quinoa or couscous are also wonderful sides especially since there is a lot  of juice at the bottom of the pan.

SONY DSC

I used a beautiful organic whole chicken that I cut up myself, but thighs and drumsticks make an excellent choice as well. Don’t forget to season well with salt and pepper.

Roasted Chicken with Chorizo & Red Onions

Have a fantastic weekend.

Roasted Chicken with Chorizo & Red Onions

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Serves: 4

Ingredients
  • 1 whole small chicken, cut up into pieces
  • 1 large red onion, cut in half and sliced thick
  • 2 smoked spanish chorizo links (i used Goya brand), sliced into ½ inch rounds
  • 1 tbsp italian seasoning
  • zest of half orange
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed and roughly chopped
  • ⅓ cup chicken stock
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat oil in a deep oven proof skillet or a cast iron pan.
  3. Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper. Sear on both sides until golden brown. Don't worry if it's not cooked through, it will finish in the oven.
  4. To the same pan add chorizo, red onion and garlic (arranging it around the pan). Season with italian seasoning, more salt and zest of the orange.
  5. Pour in the stock, transfer to the oven and cook until the chicken is fully cooked (165 degrees) about 35 minutes.

 

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