Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Chicken Parmesan with Quinoa

Life slowed down in the Boston area last week. I can't seem to write a post without at least referencing the marathon tragedy. Marathon Monday is one of my favorite days of the year.We were spectating with friends on Boylston Street.  We were lucky we weren't hurt but I am still wrapping my head around how many were not that fortunate. I'm incredibly thankful for all those working hard to keep the city safe. "Boston strong" is a short but true statement that I think I will never tire of seeing everywhere. I am feeling wicked proud of the accent these days.

Comfort food is perfect in these times when we're grateful and hurting at the same time. This dish combines the protein of quinoa with the indulgence of chicken parmesan. This recipe comes from Elly Says Opa. I recommend that you make this soon and enjoy it with loved ones.

You will need:
*1 tablespoon olive oil

*1 yellow onion, diced

*3 cloves garlic, minced

*2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

*1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes

*1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

*basil and oregano, to taste

*1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water or broth

*1 pound boneless, skinless chicken, cooked and chopped
2/3 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided

*2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

*2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
*2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley (optional for serving)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 and oil a 2-quart baking dish.

2. Place the quinoa and water/broth in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. The quinoa is finished when the liquid is mostly absorbed.

3. While the quinoa is cooking, make your sauce:

Place the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion and cook until tender, stirring frequently. This should take about 5 minutes. Next, add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add the balsamic vinegar, scraping anything cooked on the bottom of the pan, and cook until the vinegar is almost fully absorbed. Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, red pepper flakes, basil, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a low boil, and then simmer until needed.

Combine the cooked quinoa and cooked chicken with the sauce. Place half the mixture in the baking dish, top with about 1/3 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Then add the remaining quinoa mixture. Layer with the remaining mozzarella cheese, and the Parmesan. Top with breadcrumbs.
Cover with foil and bake for about 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake about 10 more minutes, or until the cheese is lightly brown and bubbling.

5. Optional: sprinkle with parsley and/or grated Parmesan before serving.

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