I know I’ve mentioned before that I get a little annoyed with ‘trendy foods;’ the prime examples right now being kale, quinoa, and baked doughnuts. It’s not that there is anything inherently wrong with kale, quinoa or baked doughnuts. It’s just that I get tried of the endless refrain of KALE this! Super foods! QUINOA that! HEALTHY doughnuts! (Doughnuts aren’t meant to be healthy though, I mean come on!) It just starts to feel a little silly.
I even stumbled upon a book titled “The Fifty Shades of Kale” at Sprouts a while back. I couldn’t decide between laughing myself silly and just shaking my head in horror. (Totally had to instagram that one.) It might just be my semi-contrarian nature but when a food gets so ridiculously popular I find I have a strong urge not to write about it. Bah, humbug. Or maybe to be a pain and make kale and quinoa baked doughnuts. The ULTIMATE superfood!
Actually, I have to admit I do eat kale, quinoa, and baked doughnuts. I’ve already capitulated to the baked doughnuts and shared a recipe with you. It’s a doughnut, what was I going to do? I had to try it at home right? Kale, while I don’t cook with it often, is an excellent substitute for anything I might want to put spinach in. Though my favorite place to see it thus far is in a creamy potato and sausage soup. That really works.
I’ve had some lovely very fresh quinoa salads out and about, but don’t really cook with it. Quinoa could be a really nice change in the dinner or lunch rotation, but, I’ve had a bag of it sitting in my pantry for ages and just haven’t done anything with it. I feel like it could work really well in place of couscous, rice, that type of thing.
So I figured I might has well get over the trendiness, give it a try, and hopefully share a recipe or two with you guys. I’m trying to take a new approach with popular foods. Like cliches, which people use for a reason (aka, they are quite apt and true sometimes); trendy foods are probably trendy for a reason: because they taste good.
I’m glad I’m taking the new attitude and finally giving the quinoa a try at home, because this dish came together really well! Actually things went so well, I’m inspired! It makes me think you might even get a kale recipe out of me at some point.
So, today I bring you my summer quinoa salad, boozy chipotle chicken and quinoa!
I mentioned that I’ve had some nice light quinoa salads…
This is not that salad.
Now don’t get me wrong, it’s very fresh, but this is a MANLY quinoa salad. I’m not trying to stereo-type men here, but, the guys in my household really aren’t impressed with a light salad. I know if I’m going to serve them quinoa for dinner there has to be more to it then veggies alone. So today’s recipe has the veggies: tomato and sweet corn. But, more importantly there is bacon, cheddar cheese and chicken seasoned with chipotle, cumin, lime, and cooked up in beer! Add the quinoa, top the whole thing off with some avocado ranch, and now we have a hearty ‘salad’ my men folk will actually eat.
This one was lauded by my husband as ‘really, really, good.’ I was even told I should make it again and he took seconds. I should mention that my husband never tells me anything I make tastes bad, no matter how weird it comes out. He’ll eat one serving of anything, but later in the evening he’ll end up snacking on anything but dinner, and the leftovers will linger in the fridge until they rot. However, if he really like something I make he compliments, eats more, and actually eats the leftovers! So rest assured you can serve this husband tested dish to your men folk as well; I’m sure you’ll get rave reviews. Enjoy!
- 6 strips bacon
- 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 and 1/4 teaspoons of chipotle powder
- 2 teaspoons of garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
- 8 oz can of light beer
- 4 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 1/4 cup of lime juice
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- splash of olive oil
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup cooked sweet corn
- 1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, washed and cut in half
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 avocado
- 1 cup of your favorite ranch dressing
- 1. Cook bacon in a large skillet (that has a lid, you will need to cover the pan in later steps) over medium high heat. When bacon is fully cooked set on a paper towel lined plate to remove excess grease. Set aside. Reserve 1 teaspoon of the bacon drippings and discard the rest.
- 2. Place the chicken thighs in the same large skillet used to cook the bacon. It is unnecessary to clean the skillet in between. Season the chicken thighs with the chipotle powder, garlic powder, paprika and the cumin. Add the reserved teaspoon of bacon grease and brown the chicken thighs over a medium high heat. Flip the chicken once so that both sides are browned.
- 3. When both sides are well browned add the light beer, soy sauce, lime juice and brown sugar to the pan. Stir to combine and loosen any bits of chicken on the bottom of the pan. Allow the liquid to come to a low boil and then cover the pan and reduce the heat to low-meduim to maintain a gentle simmer.
- 4. Allow the chicken to cook all the way through, about 20-30 minutes. When the chicken is fully cooked it will be fairly tender. Remove the pan from the heat and use two forks to shred the chicken. After shredding, transfer the chicken and any remaining cooking liquid to an extra bowl. Set aside.
- 5. Reheat the now empty skillet to a medium high heat. Add a splash of olive oil and 1 cup of quinoa. Toast the quinoa lightly. When the quinoa is toasted add two cups of chicken broth. Allow the liquid to come to a low boil, cover the pan, and reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. The quinoa will take about 15 minutes to cook and will split open when ready.
- 5. To assemble: Add the quinoa, shredded chicken, cooked sweet corn, tomatoes, and cheddar cheese to a large bowl. Crumble bacon into the bowl. Mix gently to combine all ingredients. Serve hot or cold, but refrigerate if not serving immediately. Serve with a side of avocado ranch for dressing as desired.
- 1. Add 1 cup of your favorite ranch dressing and one avocado (skin and pit removed) to a food processor. Blend until creamy.