Quinoa

Green Chile Chicken & Quinoa Stew

For the last three weeks, the majority of our meals have come from either the hospital vending machine, a Chick-fil-A drive-thru, or Disney World.

Talk about extremes. (And my favorites were obviously from Disney World!)

After getting back from our trip this week, I spent most of yesterday limping around the kitchen for some make-ahead meal prep. I whipped up a big batch of quinoa to be used in stew and for a winterized version of our favorite salad, shredded a massive amount of chicken portioned in half-pound baggies for the freezer, and popped open the jar of Cookwell & Company Two-Step Green Chile Stew that came with this month’s HEB Primo Picks.

Green Chile Chicken & Quinoa Stew

Because a girl can only feed her family Funyuns and waffle fries so many times before feeling a little like a terrible person. And a girl only needs to hear her 3.87 year-old say, “Momma, I can have broccoli for a treat today?” once before really feeling like a terrible person.

But I actually had a plan for the post-vacation and post-vending machine detox. A quick-fix green chile stew beefed up into a healthful, hearty one-bowl meal with shredded chicken, navy beans, quinoa, pico de gallo, and a dollop of fat-free Greek yogurt on top.

Green Chile Chicken & Quinoa Stew

It’s healthy, delicious, and just a hint of some low-grade heat from the green chiles. Minimal prep time – admittedly not as fast as swiping a card and punching D12 – but maximum nutrition. And that’s just something you can’t get out of a vending machine or from a drive-thru window.

Green Chile Chicken & Quinoa Stew

Ingredients

  • 32 oz jar Cookwell & Company Two-Step Green Chile Stew
  • 8 oz "leftover" chicken, shredded*
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 can navy beans, rinsed and drained
  • For serving:
  • 3 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 small jalapeno, seeded (or not) and diced
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  • Juice from 1/2 lime
  • Salt
  • Handful of cilantro
  • Sour cream or plain yogurt
  • * I make "leftover" chicken in the oven in a foil pouch - 2 breasts per pouch at 425 for 20 minutes.

Instructions

  1. In a medium/large pot, heat the green chile stew over medium heat.
  2. Add the shredded chicken, cooked quinoa, and navy beans, simmering until heated through.
  3. Stir together the tomatoes, jalapeno, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, and salt and set aside.
  4. Ladle the soup into bowls, top with a generous scoop of pico de gallo and a dollop of plain yogurt or light sour cream.

Notes

Yields: ~6 servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 30 minutes

This recipe was developed in conjunction with H-E-B and I was provided ingredients as well as compensated for my time. Messy fingers, stretchy-waisted pants, and baby-Elmo-clogged-toilets are all mine. You can find H-E-B on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. And if you’re as lucky as we are, 4 locations within a 5 mile radius.

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Gyro-Stuffed Bell Peppers with Quino & Feta

When Jason and I met, I was living in this tiny, dirt cheap apartment with my fluffy white kitty, Shasta. Shasta & I had accidentally stumbled across the greatest deal in the entire city. We had million dollar houses, the city’s nicest park, running trails, a golf course, and gorgeous green space at our front door. At our back door? Legit crack houses. But not for long.

The area was seeing major regentrification. Just 2-3 years before, if you’d asked anyone “Hey, I’m on Washington – what should I do over here?” They would have screamed “GET DOWN AND CALL 911!” But even at that point, it was only half-sketch. Plus, the million-dollar-homeowners across the street paid for fancy private security to roam the neighborhood. We had security-by-proximation. (And to be fair, crack-house-by-proximation.)

New fences went up weekly, flanked by construction signs and “Coming Soon!” banners. But none of those new places would ever top Bibas.

Gyro-Stuffed Bell Peppers with Quino & Feta

Bibas was a 24-hour Greek diner on Memorial that promised two things: the world’s fluffiest pita bread and fabulously accented late-night conversations from owners who seemed to never take a break, much less a day or night off. Throw in a plate of dolmades and you had one of the best ways to unwind after a play-hard downtown Saturday night.

Then I met a guy who didn’t eat Greek food, Bibas closed down, and I moved to the suburbs.

But 8 years later, that guy didn’t protest when I dragged him down to the Greek Festival. Mostly because after 8 years of all the life changes that come with being an adult, he knew that our Friday nights could very likely otherwise involve a super unsexy trip to the home improvement store for a plunger.

Related: That age where they outgrow flushing things down the toilet? Not here yet.

Gyro-Stuffed Bell Peppers with Quino & Feta

To the Greek festival we went, sampling dolmades and baklava and souvlaki and tiropita. The light in a person’s eyes when he realizes that a “scary” word like souvlaki means manly grilled red meat on a stick? Beats any look of joy and magical wonder on Christmas morning :)

True story.

Gyro-Stuffed Bell Peppers with Quino & Feta

This month’s HEB Primo Picks showed up with a couple of pantry staples that I regularly buy:
Central Market’s Quick Cooking Quinoa
HEB Basting Oil (a garlic & herbed oil that’s great for dipping pita bread and cooking and sauteeing and drizzling over just about everything)

Along with the black olives, I whipped up some Greek-style stuffed bell peppers to serve along some pita and tzatziki sauce.

The first time I ever made stuffed peppers, I got the expected nose-wrinkling “Why’d you ruin perfectly good food by shoving it in a bell pepper that hasn’t been sliced and grilled and served next to fajitas?” look while poking at the pepper to confirm that it was, in fact, not going to leap off the place and whack him on the head.

But the first time I made a Gyro-inspired stuffed bell pepper on “Greek night,” I got the expected mouth-full mumble, “Th2diy so3048x Greek dhdslkashd” head-nodding approval.

The rambly lesson here? Stuff it in a pepper, call it Greek food. Everyone is happy.

Gyro-Stuffed Bell Peppers with Quinoa & Feta

Greek-style bell peppers stuffed with quinoa, ground beef, feta, and black olives.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Central Market Quick-Cooking Quinoa
  • 2 cups chicken stock (or water)
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 2 Tbsp oil, divided
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 chopped HEB Black Olives
  • 15 oz can fire-roasted tomatoes, drained
  • 2 tsp greek seasoning*
  • 4 oz crumbled feta, divided
  • Small handful of cilantro and/or parsley, chopped and divided
  • 6 large bell peppers
  • HEB Basting Oil, for drizzling
  • Tzatziki sauce, for serving (purchased or homemade)
  • *This was a purchased mix of dried herbs: oregano, parsley, basil, marjoram, garlic, and onion. A mixture pretty decently wingable at home.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 and lightly grease a casserole dish.
  2. Take a thin sliver off the rounded edges off the bell pepper "feet" so the peppers stand on their own.
  3. With the tip of your knife, poke 1-2 small holes in the bell pepper bottom - just deep enough to create an opening for any excess liquid to drain. Soggy stuffed peppers are no fun.
  4. Heat 2 cups of water or chicken stock and cook quinoa according to package directions. Set aside.
  5. Heat large saute pan over medium-high heat and brown the ground beef.
  6. Transfer the cooked meat to a colander to drain.
  7. Add the cooking oil and heat, then cook the onions 3-5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and stir, cooking another minute more.
  8. Return the ground beef to the pan along with the cooked quinoa, olives, tomatoes, Greek seasoning, 3 oz of the crumbled feta, and most of the parsley/cilantro (reserving a couple of pinches for garnish).
  9. Mix well and taste for seasoning.
  10. Spoon the filling into the peppers, lightly drizzle with basting oil if using, and transfer the dish to the oven to bake ~15 minutes.
  11. Top with remaining feta and garnish with chopped herbs before serving.
  12. Reheat foil-covered leftovers in a small baking dish until heated through.

Notes

Yields: 6 servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 45 minutes

This recipe was developed in conjunction with H-E-B and I was provided ingredients as well as compensated for my time. Messy fingers, stretchy-waisted pants, and baby-Elmo-clogged-toilets are all mine. You can find H-E-B on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. And if you’re as lucky as we are, 3 locations within a 5 mile radius.

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Chicken Burrito Bowls with Hatch Chile Pico de Gallo

You can add “forgo dinner at home most nights and drag the family to Freebirds for a steak or chicken burrito bowl” to the list of things I’d do if money grew on trees around here. Right above that – never washing or flat-ironing my hair again.

And since money doesn’t grow on trees, butterfly clip or ponytail it is.

Chicken Burrito Bowls with Hatch Chile Pico de Gallo

But because they’re so stinking easy to make at home, I can dump a bunch of burrito fixins into a bowl, call it a burrito bowl, crank up the theme song to Supernatural (Carry on my wayward so-oon!), and pretend I’m at Freebirds.

Our burrito bowls start with a super simple cilantro-lime quinoa (a compromise since I don’t really eat rice anymore), black or pinto beans, leftover diced chicken or steak, cheese, pico de gallo, a spicy tomatillo salsa, and extra jalapenos or serranos – because you can’t take your tastebuds with you when you die.

With hatch chiles everywhere right now, including the floor of my kitchen – don’t ask, we added a couple of the smokey, sweet chiles to the pico de gallo.

Chicken Burrito Bowls with Hatch Chile Pico de Gallo

Minus the scoop of queso Jason usually adds to his burrito (were we just meant to be, or what?!), it’s just like eating at Freebirds. I do have to clean the kitchen but I can afford to keep the lights on around here :)

Chicken Burrito Bowls with Hatch Chile Pico de Gallo

Ingredients

  • For the quinoa
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • Juice from 1 1/2 limes
  • Handful of cilantro, chopped
  • For the pico
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 hatch chiles, roasted, seeded, and chopped (directions here)
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Salt
  • For assembly
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed
  • Leftover chicken or steak, diced
  • Shredded cheese
  • Diced jalapenos
  • Your favorite salsa

Instructions

  1. Add a generous pinch of salt to the cooking water and cook the quinoa according to package directions.
  2. Let cool a bit, add the lime juice and cilantro, and fluff with a fork.
  3. While the quinoa is cooking, make the pico (stir all ingredients in a bowl and set aside) and prepare your other ingredients as necessary.
  4. To build the burrito bowls, spoon quinoa into each bowl, top with beans, cheese, meat, pico de gallo, jalapenos, and a couple of spoonfuls of your favorite salsa.

Notes

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 30 minutes

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Kale and Quinoa Salad with Strawberries and Goat Cheese

Today should be “Garden Friday” where I show you how I somehow managed to make it another 7 days without killing the green things growing in my backyard. But it’s raining outside. Like, “you shoulda’ built that ark” raining. So instead of showing you our first zucchini, or telling you about my peach tree dropping all but 6 fruit [sob], and that the beast Juliet tomato plant is loaded with almost-ready-to-pick tomatoes… I’ll just show you what I did with my recent kale overload.

I made salad.

I have introduced you to my favorite salad before. And this is its one-course-dinner cousin.

It’s what happens when strawberry season meets I-can’t-believe-I-went-30-days-without-goat-cheese meets holy-crap-I-planted-way-too-much-Kale. So like nearly everything else on my menu, it meets the requisite 2 parts desperation.

The salad is a perfect host for the beautiful strawberries that are coming out of the markets (and my backyard) right now. And the strawberries-goat cheese combo?

Nearly as perfect as chocolate and peanut butter.

Kale and Quinoa Salad with Strawberries and Goat Cheese

Because I had leftover chicken in the fridge, I used that to top the salads for a quick, light dinner. Or, for you Honey Boo Boo watchers, a “multimeal” :)

Don’t have two pots full of kale on your back patio? Use spinach instead! And don’t forget, this is a “cold salad” – the quinoa has to be cooked and cooled before so it doesn’t turn your kale into a bowl full of sad, wimpy greens.

Kale and Quinoa Salad with Strawberries and Goat Cheese

Fresh strawberries, kale, quinoa, and goat cheese come together for a perfectly light spring or summer dinner. Just add leftover chicken to make it a little heartier.

Ingredients

  • For the salad
  • 2 cups cooked and chilled quinoa (from 1 cup uncooked)
  • 3 oz kale, chopped (about half a bag or clam shell)
  • 4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • Leftover grilled chicken, optional (I used this wet rub)
  • For the dressing
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped shallot
  • 1 Tbsp spicy brown or dijon mustard (I use Creole)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, add the chopped greens, cold quinoa (it must be cold so it doesn't wilt the salad), crumbled goat cheese, and strawberries.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, shallot, and mustard.
  3. Slowly stream in the olive oil while whisking and add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Before serving, toss the dressing with the salad and serve topped with sliced chicken.
  5. Leftovers will keep a couple of days covered in the fridge.

Notes

Yields: 6 generous servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 20 minutes

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