So as I sit here with my Americano (brewed by my wonderful boyfriend) adding my dark chocolate almond milk (for an amazing dairy free mocha flavour)…I decided to finally write the first of my “kitchen experiment” blogs. The following will incorporate tons of pics and step-by-step process of this delicious meal I cooked for Mother’s Day Dinner.
The start of this creation was a result of a conversation I had with my brother on what to do for Mother’s Day. He suggested we cook dinner and asked me to come up with whatever I wanted and he would assist me with whatever I needed.
The influence came from a dish my boyfriend used at work – a bacon wrapped chicken breast stuffed with mushrooms, spinach and a sundried tomato cream sauce. I decided to opt out on the bacon (don’t get me wrong – I LOVE bacon) however I wanted to try something different but still wanted to quench my salt desires. So for the chicken, I decided to incorporate roasted garlic with a type of strong cheese. I got it down to goat or feta cheese, and as feta is favoured more over goat, I went with that.
As for the salad, I wanted something fresh and slightly sweet to balance out the chicken part. I have been experimenting with quinoa recently and decided that would be the base of my salad. Then on to Pinterest! I finally narrowed it down to a southwestern quinoa bean salad. A lot of them incorporated pieces of mango, but it quickly occurred to me that I could use the mango for the dressing 🙂
1. So the first step was to make the dressing. All it took was one ripe mango, one lemon juiced and about 2 tablespoons of chopped red onion. I was going to use shallots instead but somehow I forgot to pick some up, so red onion it was! So I tossed all of the above in my food processor and blended until smooth, adding a little salt and pepper and dash of cayenne (sub sriraicha, tobasco, chili flakes or whatever your favourite heat is!). Et voila! A beautiful fresh dressing:
So the dressing can be made earlier or even a day or two before. I had lots of left overs. I used it for the next week or so.
2. On to the red quinoa. It is very important to rinse the quinoa thoroughly! I threw the quinoa in a sieve and let in run under cold water for a couple of minutes. Red quinoa has a very strong earthly scent and flavour. Rinsing will prevent it from being too bitter in you dish. Alright, so the quinoa is rinse, now to toast it. Yup, toast it – brings out the flavour. So I drained as much water as possible and spread the quinoa on a baking sheet. Then placed it into a preheated oven of 300F for about 10 minutes. Or until dry. Give the baking sheet a shake, they should move around and the little white curls should start peaking just slightly.
Sorry the picture isn’t super detailed but you will know what I mean when you see it. I took the quinoa out and placed it into a container, waiting for the water to boil. A 1:2 ratio I find is sufficient. When the water was boiling I tossed in the toasted quinoa, covered it and turned it down to a simmer. 15 minutes should do it, but basically until all the water is pretty much gone. When it was done I put it back into the container, covered it and placed it in the fridge.
See the little white curls all around? Beautiful. Alright, on to the garlic.
3. I took the heads of the garlic and sliced the tops right off. (You don’t need to put them into a muffin pan as shown. I decided to start them off that way but realized you can just put them right into oven in foil and it works too.)
I placed them right into sheets of foil and wrap them up ALMOST all the way. So they are in their own foil “bowls”. Then I drowned them in olive oil and sprinkled some salt on top. Don’t be shy with salt! It will bring out the wonderful flavour that is garlic 🙂
Then into the oven they went: 300 F for one whole hour.
And there they are! Soft, fragrant and flavourful 🙂 Just set them aside for later.
4. Moving on, I roasted some corn and then placed it all in a container into the fridge for the salad. I also blanched the asparagus (not pictured) quickly and set it aside for the chicken.
5. Next, the chicken breasts. I just sliced the breasts in half and had my brother bash them down a bit with a garlic smasher.
Next, my brother cut up the feta cheese and I mixed in the roasted garlic. He figured it didn’t hurt to have some extra cheese to put on the chicken. Awesome.
Next we simply assembled the chicken breasts. Roasted garlic and feta mix, asparagus and then some extra feta on top 🙂
6. While the chicken was baking, we prepped the salad. We took and red quinoa and corn from the fridge; chopped up the peppers and green onions and drained a can of black beans.
Then we tossed it together with dressing on the side 🙂
7. Finally we took the chicken out the oven and I couldn’t have been happier. It looked amazing!
And there you have it! Mouth-watering goodness on a plate! My mom absolutely loved it and I loved having my brother help out. Try it for yourself. Complete recipe below and for the steps, just follow above 🙂
3 Chicken Breasts
2 heads of Garlic
12 pieces of Asparagus
1 cup Feta Cheese
½ cup Red Quinoa (rinsed and toasted)
1 cup Water
1 ½ cups of Fresh Corn Kernels (roasted)
1 ½ cups of Red Pepper, chopped
1 cup of Green Onion, chopped
1 can of Black Beans, drained
1 Ripe Mango
2 Tbsp of Red Onion
1 Lemon, juiced
Salt and Pepper
Dash of cayenne (or to your taste)
Thanks for reading! If you try this I hope you enjoy and let me know how it goes 🙂 A great way to Get Natural!