Italian-Style Chicken Quinoa Bake

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I got the original recipe for this on the Alida’s Kitchen blog, but I’ve made a few of my own tweaks. This is another great recipe to share with friends – I often take this to people who need a meal after having a baby, or surgery, or just an intense season of life! One of the things I love about it is that it can be made up and assembled in advance, and then the recipient (or you!) can just store it in the fridge until they’re ready to throw it in the oven and eat! You can even make it the night or the morning before…..can I get a hallelujah?! We like to serve this on a bed of fresh spinach for extra goodness and difference in texture. This recipe serves four to six, so I usually double it if I’m taking it to someone, that way we can eat some too! In fact, Chris took the leftovers on a climb the other day and said it was perfect for that kind of situation – providing plenty of protein and fuel for energy!

Ingredients:

4 or 5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 cups quinoa, cooked

1 and 1/2 cups of pasta sauce (like a marinara…or I used Tomato Basil)

1 red bell pepper, chopped small

1/2 an onion, chopped small

A lug of olive oil

1 cup baby tomatoes, halved

A handful of fresh basil, chopped

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Salt & pepper to taste

– Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a baking dish (something like a 9×13 inch) In a pan, sautée the onions and red bell pepper in olive oil. After a few minutes, add the chicken. After the chicken is cooked, shred or chop it up. 

Combine the cooked quinoa, chicken, seasonings, pasta sauce, about half of the basil and 1 cup of the cheese. Put half of the quinoa mixture into your baking dish, and top with half of the tomatoes and half a cup of cheese. Top with the remaining quinoa mixture, the remaining cheese and tomatoes, and the rest of the basil. If you want you can add a little grated parmesan too. 

Cover with foil and bake for 15 mins, then uncover and cook for another 10 or so minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly. (I always put this last sentence on a note for the family I’m taking the meal to, so they know that they can eat it on their own schedule) Serve on a bed of fresh spinach if you wish and enjoy!

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Italian-Style Chicken Quinoa Bake

Fiesta Rice Salad

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This “salad” is my go-to at the moment to take and share at potluck type meals with friends. Every single time I make it I have people asking me for the recipe, so I figured it was time to put it on the blog! Not only is it something different, it’s also good for you and it contains one of Eleni’s all time favorite foods – chickpeas! I’ve had people tell me that they really thought they hated chickpeas until they ate this….so don’t knock it ’til you try it! I often double the recipe if we’re going somewhere with a big crowd, since it’s quite cheap to make too. At home we’ve had this with thick juicy steaks, chicken or burgers, but honestly it’s quite good by itself for lunch!

Ingredients:

4 or so cups of cooked basmati rice (which is like 2 cups uncooked)

1 can whole kernel sweetcorn, drained

1 can chickpeas, drained

1 can black beans, drained

1/2 red onion, chopped very small

1 red bell pepper, chopped small

3 or 4 big handfuls of raw spinach, chopped

The juice of 1 lemon

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

– Mix all together in a big bowl, and serve or refrigerate until you’re ready to eat. Easy peasy! If it seems sticky or too dry, add a drizzle or two of olive oil or an extra squeeze of lemon before serving.

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Fiesta Rice Salad

Potato, Pea and Bacon Pie – A Fall Must-Have!

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This is one of my favorite pies ever….this is high in comfort and indulgence! I’ve adapted this recipe from Jamie Oliver’s Puffy Pea ‘n’ Potato Pie – the original concept came from him, but I’ve changed quite a bit and added my own flair. Serve all on its own as a main dish, or leave off the puff pastry at the end and you’ve got a beautiful side dish that guests will adore.

Ingredients:

2 tbsp all purpose flour

One sheet of puff pastry (they usually sell boxes of two sheets in the frozen section)

1 egg, beaten

1 onion, chopped

2 large potatoes, chopped into small cubes

500g frozen peas (a regular sized pack)

1 large knob of butter (probably about 2 tbsps)

1/2 a large iceburg lettuce, finely shredded

1 cup chicken stock

4 heaped tbsps ricotta cheese

A pack of cooked bacon, chopped into small pieces

– Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Throw your onions in a pan with a generous lug of olive oil. Cook for about 5 minutes until starting to soften, then add the potatoes into the mix. Stir pretty well and cook for a few minutes more before adding the peas, butter and flour. After a few minutes add the lettuce and the bacon and cook over low-medium heat for about another 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for another 10 or so minutes until the potato is cooked. Stir in the ricotta cheese well and season with salt and pepper to taste.  

Pour the entire mixture into a pie dish and cover with the puff pastry. With a pastry brush, paint the pastry with the beaten egg and use a knife to cut a slit into the middle of the pie. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and puffed up. Enjoy!

Painting the pie

Potato, Pea and Bacon Pie – A Fall Must-Have!

HEALTHY Loaded Sweet Potatoes

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I’m kind of in love with this recipe, because it’s easy, fresh, loaded with protein & other good stuff and obviously very yummy! Plus look at those amazing colors – anyone you serve this too will feel special, I guarantee it! This can stand alone or be a side dish – I’ve done it both ways.

Ingredients: (serves 2)

2 baked sweet potatoes

A handful of fresh spinach, chopped

Half a can of drained whole kernel sweetcorn

Half a can of drained black beans

Half a can of drained chickpeas

Half a red bell pepper, chopped

A squeeze of lemon juice, to taste

– Combine all the ingredients except for the sweet potatoes into a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Stuff your sweet potatoes with this mixture and you’re done….it’s that easy! You may have some leftover filling which is delicious on its own or good as a starter for a salad of leftovers the next day. Enjoy!

HEALTHY Loaded Sweet Potatoes