Colorful Quinoa

ImageHey Everyone!  I’m baaack from a fun vacation back to my hometown in CT and was excited to come home to the kitchen and learn another recipe!  Speaking of which, I’m looking really forward to moving into our new house with not one but TWO kitchen’s, and even better….there’s a dish washer.  Note to all you “chefs in the making”:  Cooking is WAY easier and more enjoyable when you have a machine to do the clean up.

So, this looks very similar to the Stir Fry Sensation AND Scrumptious Spaghetti Squash recipes I have posted (check out the archives), but this is entirely different.  This tasty dish combines two proteins and an explosion of color to give your mouth and your eyes an enjoyable eating experience…and healthy to boot!  So, brace yourself for a meal that is tasty, healthy, and fun to make!  Remember, make it your own by adding your own veggies…and you can always substitute some of the oil for butter, but I’m keeping things healthier and dairy free.  Although the recipe is made for 4….I finished this recipe making two meals out of it and was begging for more!

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa (uncooked)

olive oil

1 cup low sodium chicken broth

1/4 tsp salt

1 lemon (zested and juiced – or you can use bottled lemon juice)

1 cup dry white wine (divided)

1/2 cup italian parsley leaves (finely chopped, divided)

4 garlic cloves (minced)

1/4 cup diced onion

1 shallot diced

1/2 red pepper diced

1/2 cup head of broccoli (or more)

1/4 cup sundried tomatoes (finely sliced)

*Fun Tip – I bought a can of sundried tomato bruschetta paste so I added a tablespoon and a half of this instead -yum!

1 lb shrimp (fresh small pink)

1 chicken cutlet diced in small cubes

Directions:

Cooking the quinoa:

1.) Rinse the quinoa thoroughly under running water

2.) In a 2-quart (or larger) saucepan, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. Add the drained quinoa and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the salt, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/4 cup white wine, 1 Cup Chicken Broth, and 1/2 cup water.

3.) Bring to a boil, then cover and lower the heat. Simmer covered for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat. Let stand covered for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff the quinoa. Stir in the lemon zest and half of the minced parsley and save for later.

Cooking the rest of the dish:

1.) Pound the chicken so it’s thin (about 1 to 1-1/2 inch thick) and season with salt and pepper.  Set a large skillet over medium-high heat and pour in enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan, about 2 tablespoons. Heat the oil for 2 to 3 minutes, then add the cutlets.  Fry each side for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes, turning once, until the chicken is browned and cooked through.  To test, make a small cut in the center of the meat; there shouldn’t be any traces of pink.  Remove from pan and place on a plate and cover to keep warm.  *Another option is to dice the chicken in advance so it cooks quicker, but that’s up to you!

2.) While the chicken cooks, you can pan fry or cook the broccoli in a separate pan.  I’m still learning how to appropriately cook vegetables so I’m not sure if this is the right way to do it but essentially here is how I cooked it:Add about 1 and 1/2 teaspoon EVOO to a pan and add broccoli.  When it starts to brown, add about an inch of water and steam until the water is dissolved and/or broccoli is bright green.  The burning gives the broccoli a bit of crispness but don’t overdo it!  When finished, add to the pan with the vegetables.

3.) Add another tablespoon of EVOO over low heat in the same deep heavy skillet that you cooked the chicken. Add the garlic, onion, shallot, bell pepper, and tomatoes and scrape up the brown bits from the chicken. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the garlic and tomatoes are soft and fragrant. Do not let the garlic burn or get crispy…yuck!  Turn the heat to medium and add another tablespoon of EVOO and the remaining 2/3 cup white wine. Stir constantly and bring the wine to a simmer. Cook until slightly reduced then turn the heat to its lowest setting and keep the sauce warm while you cook the shrimp, chicken and broccoli.

4.) While the sauce simmers, pat the prepared shrimp dry and season with salt and pepper. In a separate large skillet or wok, heat a tablespoon of EVOO over high heat and sear the shrimp quickly until cooked — about 1 to 2 minutes until pink.

* Time Saver:  You can use pre-cooked shrimp – just add to the pan when you add the veggies!

5.) Add the chicken, shrimp, and broccoli to the sauce mixture and toss on low-medium heat until everything is hot.

4.) Serve immediately over the the lemon quinoa.

Image   The Chef in the works

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