quinoa

Chicken and Goat Cheese with Quinoa (recipe)

Today I have a great recipe to share with you!

While I was in Washington D.C. my friends and I went out to eat every opportunity we had.  Eventually our stomachs and wallets were dying for a homemade meal! Thanks to my good friend Mel, always the creative cook, we came up with a really easy and healthy dish to prepare for a family-style dinner on Saturday night.

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Before I post this, I just have to say: I’m not the biggest fan of quinoa. To me, it needs A LOT of work to be enjoyable. Spices are imperative when creating a dish involving quinoa, because alone it doesn’t taste like much.  Well this recipe opened my eyes to the beauty of goat cheese, and all that it can do for a recipe! I had never had goat cheese before!  It added just the right amount of creaminess and decadence to this dish.

Without further ado, a new recipe for you to try!

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Chicken and Goat Cheese Quinoa

Ingredients

  • 3 grilled chicken breasts (precooked)
  • 16 oz bag of quinoa
  • 4 assorted bell peppers (we used yellow, orange, and green)
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1/2 of a 5oz. log of goat cheese–more or less depending on  your preference
  • 2 15oz. cans TJ’s Organic Great Northern Beans (or any other kind of white bean)
  • Cumin (start with 3 tbls. and add according to taste/preference)

Start by cooking the quinoa according to the instructions on the bag. Once it is cooked season it with a tablespoon of cumin and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside.

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Once the quinoa is cooking, chop your peppers and onions.  You want these pieces to be bite-sized but not too small.

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Sautee the chopped peppers and onions in olive oil until cooked, but still crispy.  Season with salt, pepper, and a tablespoon of the cumin.

Once the peppers and onions are cooked, add the chicken breasts (chopped). Finally, stir in the goat cheese! Mix only until the goat cheese is combined throughout.  Add your third tablespoon of cumin, along with a few pinches of salt and pepper.

Now that everything is combined, it’s important to keep tasting until the amount of cumin is just right.  It’s a very important flavor that really adds a lot to the dish, so make sure you use enough.  You can always add more, but you can never take some back!

Serve with the quinoa and a simple side salad.  I made one using my dijon mustard dressing and leafy greens.

ImageI don’t know if it was the family atmosphere or the dish itself, but I enjoyed this meal more than I’ve enjoyed one in a long time. We ate this dinner, drank margaritas (not the best pairing haha), and talked about everything from music, politics, and current events for hours. I love being with people who appreciate food as much as I do. Food isn’t just about the action of eating, it’s about the community it creates and the art it can exhibit, if you just give your meals a little time and attention.

On a side note, ever since I stopped “dieting” and started eating mostly whole foods, I’ve noticed that I have a much deeper appreciation for food. When you eat things that are natural such as fruits, veggies, lean meats, and nuts there aren’t any restrictions! That was what always caused me to fail and be stressed out all the time with food in the past. There were so many opportunities “to fail”.  When you view your diet as an opportunity to eat all the whole foods that you want, you start seeing all the wonderful things that you CAN eat, not all the things that are forbidden.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did!

Question: do you know anyone who sees eating as a “nuisance”? A man on the radio the other day said that eating often “gets in the way” of his day and it annoys him. How is that possible?!

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Hard Day + *recipe*

Today is one of those days when things just aren’t going my way.  When it rains it pours, right?  I do consider myself lucky because these days are few and far between!

Today I woke up and saw peaches in the freezer. I knew I had to make oatmeal with them! Seriously guys, peach oatmeal is so good because if you add the right stuff, you can make it taste like peach cobbler (one of my all time favorites).

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I boiled 1 cup of almond milk on the stove, added 1/2 a cup of oatmeal, and stirred in a bunch of flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, peaches, blueberries, and cinnamon. So comforting and it sat like a rock in my stomach for a few hours, which did a lot of good helping me fuel for my run.

I headed to the gym to attempt a “non-stop” 5 mile run. Success! I love setting a fitness goal and accomplishing it.  It’s a great feeling!

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I’ll be running the Big Ten 10k in just two weeks so I’m glad these 5 miles are getting easier.  I can’t wait to run in the city–it’s one of the best things to do.  That, plus running in huge groups–it’s an endorphin high like no other.

I made a quick lunch before running off to work.

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I sliced up some grilled chicken, tossed it in jalepeno bbq sauce and red onions, and served that over mixed greens.  I have so much spinach to use up!

Finally, I decided to ACTUALLY cook something that I pinned on Pinterest 🙂

I think most people who are active on that site know that it’s easy to pin a hundred things in one sitting, but actually doing them? That’s a whole other story.

I tackled a Black Bean and Quinoa casserole! I left out the cheese because of my dietary changes this week but when it was done I topped it with some plain greek yogurt and sliced avocado with sea salt and it was delish!

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Black Bean Quinoa Casserole (adadpted from Pinch of Yum.com)

  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 4 bell peppers chopped (I used 2 green, 1 yellow, and 1 orange)
  • 2 small jalepenos, seeded and minced
  • 5 cups cooked black beans
  • 1.25 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin

Instructions

  1. Black beans: Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onion, and jalapeno, sauteing for 4 minutes and stirring occasionally. Stir in broth and black beans. Bring mixture to a boil and cook for 7 minutes. The mixture should be thick, not watery. If you still have a lot of moisture, let it cook out by keeping it on the heat for another few minutes. Taste and season with salt.
  2. Quinoa: In a dry nonstick skillet over medium high heat, toss and toast the cooked quinoa with the cayenne, chili powder, cumin, and salt for 1-2 minutes. Taste and season with salt. Set aside.
  3. Peppers: In the same dry nonstick skillet as the quinoa, over medium high heat, place the diced peppers and do NOT stir. This allows the peppers to get a brown roasted look on the outside. Wait for 2-3 minutes before stirring, then let them “roast” for another few minutes before removing from the heat.  Add the peppers to the quinoa that is set aside.
  4. Assemble: Preheat oven to 375 . Put black bean mixture into a 8X8 glass baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with quinoa/pepper mixture. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Top with whatever you’d like–avocado, greek yogurt, sour cream, cheese, tortilla chips, etc.

Enjoy!!

Question: does having a bad day motivate you to work out more or less?