I Was Reminded Of Two Things Today

1. Don’t go to Trader Joes on an empty stomach.

2. Cooking at home, with real food, is a good, good thing.

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I think it’s been about 3 weeks since I’ve set out and cooked an actual meal (as opposed to heating up something pre-made or grabbing something to-go). And even though it was simple, it was light and summery and the perfect antidote to the torture I put my body through over the holiday weekend.

Greek-Inspired Quinoa Salad
Serves: 2, or 4 as a side-dish.
Total cooking and prep time: 30 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • boneless, skinnless chicken breast (2)
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup cucumber, chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup + 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup fresh herbs, chopped. I used: basil, oregano, and parsley (You can substitute dried herbs, but the fresh herbs really give it an extra fresh punch of flavor)
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Directions:

  1. Cook quinoa in a saucepan according to directions.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, in a seperate pan place 2 tbsp of olive oil and cook the chicken breasts 4 minutes per side over medium heat. When the chicken is cooked, remove and set aside. Let cool, and slice or chop into bite-sized pieces.
  3. In the same pan you used to cook the chicken, add the onion and garlic. If you need to, you can add another tablespoon of olive oil. Cook for about 3 minutes, and thenĀ  add the red bell peppers. Continue to cook for another four minutes, or until all of the vegetables are cooked through, but still firm.
  4. Add the 1/2 cup olive oil, the juice of one lemon, and the chopped herbs to a small mixing bowl. Whisk together and add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Slice the chicken into 1-inch pieces and add all of the ingredients, including the cucumbers, into a large serving bowl and enjoy!

I enjoyed this both hot and cold, and I liked it both times. It’s easy, not very expensive, and surprisingly filling.

The only thing missing that would have made this an absolute home run, would have been a nice piece of crusty bread. I also think the addition of some greek olives would add a nice salty dimension. Can’t wait to make this again and experiment further.