Happy Easter! Ever since I moved away from my hometown, the holidays seem to fade over time. Of course I go home for major holidays my family celebrates, but Easter hasn’t been one of them in a couple years. Luckily one of my closest friends here in LA is the hostess with the mostess. She always hosts a pot luck for all of us who don’t have our families nearby for the holidays. Today we had an Easter brunch full of Micheladas and Mimosas and all kinds of yummy foods. I made carrot cake donuts and mini egg bakes. A full post on our Easter brunch will come soon!
Anyway, I hope you all had a wonderful Easter with friends or family, or both. I am so grateful to have spent it with good friends and awesome food, despite not being with my parents and family and despite mine and Jake’s raging hangover. Haha…
Last night was Jake’s best friend Harry’s big 25 birthday and well, it was a crazy but fun night resulting in little sleep and quite the morning headache. All worth it (even when my alarm went off at 8:30 to cook for today’s pot luck). Sometimes we have to act like were 22 again. Thanks Taylor Swift.
So as I sit here on the couch attempting to recover from our night of drinking plus our Easter brunch carb-fest, I figured why not finally write another blog post.
I’ve been on a quinoa kick. It happened last year, then I kind of forgot about it — probably due to my winter obsession with spaghetti squash — and now I want to use it in every dish possible again. I totally thought I was brilliant to think to make fried rice with quinoa, to find it’s already all over the blogosphere. Oh well, I probably will do it anyway.
Last week I had some random leftover ingredients that all fell into the Greek category: spinach, Feta, red onion, and chicken was on sale at Ralph’s. Yay! Oh and of course, quinoa. So I threw it all together, made a lemon-oregano vinaigrette, and wah-la, dinner. Oh, and I recommend you make the vinaigrette the day before, or even just an hour or two. Letting it sit and marinate with the flavors of the herbs really enhances it’s taste. Also, it allows for the dried herbs to soften up a bit in the liquid. This is great for a simple weeknight meal, or even for company.
Because of all the veggies, the volume of this recipe is huge! It makes close to 8 cups and each serving is about 1 1/2 cups for only 260 calories and 7.5g fat. Plus 4.5g fiber and 23g protein! It’s a well balanced meal for lunch or dinner. To cut calories for my lunch leftovers, I actually skipped the vinaigrette in exchange for a few squeezes of fresh lemon and a dash or two of oregano. Still really great and it cuts the calories down to 195 calories and 4g fat. It’s up to you.
Greek Chicken Quinoa
per serving (about 1 1/2 cups): 260 calories, 7.5g fat, 568mg sodium, 25g carbs, 4.5g fiber, 4g sugars, 23g protein
For Lemon-Oregano Vinaigrette
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. ground oregano
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. ground basil
1/4 tsp. salt, or more to taste
1/4 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper, or more to taste
2 1/2 cups sliced zucchini, halved to resemble half moon shapes
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup chopped red onion
2 cups cooked quinoa
10 oz. cooked and shredded skinless chicken breast
One 10-oz. box frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/2 cup reduced-fat crumbled Feta cheese
At least an hour before you plan to eat, combine all vinaigrette ingredients (red wine vinegar through black pepper), mix well, and let sit.
To prepare quinoa, cook zucchini, bell pepper, and red onion in a skillet sprayed with nonstick spray until softened, about 6 – 8 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
Add all remaining quinoa ingredients to the large bowl and toss to mix well. If desired, add vinaigrette and toss to coat, or serve it on the side.