I took a little vacation from work last week, and come Tuesday morning when it was over I had a really hard time getting back into the grove of things. It was especially difficult since I am now busy preparing for pharmacy school, which starts in about a month! Seriously, where is summer going??? My vacation started Thursday, when Alejandro and I took a trip to Water World to celebrate his birthday. Then, my mom arrived that night to stay with us for a long weekend. It was wonderful to see her, and I couldn’t believe it had been over 6 months since we last got together! We had a great time, as always, and visited the Celestial Seasonings Tea Factory, Pearl St. Mall, the Denver Botanic Gardens, Flatirons Mall, and Scrumptious Ice Cream and Candy Shop. We also did some garage sale-ing Saturday morning and came home with a few good finds. I found a file cabinet for $10 that I’m excited to makeover, as well as an old metal watering can that I plan to use as a planter in my butterfly garden. My mom’s best find was a dark red Fossil purse in excellent condition. She left Tuesday morning, and as always, it was hard parting with her. BUT, she’s coming for another visit with her husband this Fall, so it was comforting knowing that I’ll see her again soon.
The recipe I’m sharing this week is my all-time favorite quinoa recipe. Because quinoa is generally pretty bland, the buffalo sauce gives it a wonderful flavor. I also appreciate that the sauce essentially “hides” the vegetables in this dish. Though I love cooked broccoli, I usually have to force down carrots unless their flavor is mellowed out in soup or a roast. Plain cabbage isn’t a favorite of mine either. Because I also have a dislike for almost any raw vegetable, including broccoli, I cook the veggies longer than stated in the original recipe from Half Baked Harvest. I also packed in a higher volume of vegetables and increased the buffalo sauce accordingly. This is a quick, healthy, and wonderfully tasty recipe that is a perfect weeknight dinner.
1 cup quinoa
2½ cups water, divided
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
2 cups chopped broccoli florets
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup shredded cabbage
¾ cup buffalo sauce
¼ cup olive oil
4 green onions, chopped
shredded cheddar cheese
1. Rinse quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer. In a large saucepan, combine quinoa and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then cover and turn heat to low. Cook for 10 minutes, then stir in vegetables and remaining water. Return to a boil, turn heat to simmer, and cook an additional 10 minutes until quinoa is cooked and vegetables are crisp-tender.
2. Meanwhile, heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the chicken and cook for about 5 minutes or until cooked through. Add buffalo sauce, reduce heat to low, and allow to simmer until quinoa mixture is ready.
3. Stir the chicken mixture and remaining olive oil into the quinoa and vegetables. Mix in half of the green onions. Garnish meal with remaining green onions and shredded cheddar cheese.
Yield: 4 servings
(Recipe adapted from Half Baked Harvest)