It’s a new year, and with a new year comes a desire to improve habits. Nick and I are among the group of people who want to improve our health. We have tried working out a bit more and eating healthier now that we can control what we eat and don’t have to rely on our parents dictating what’s for dinner. #adulting, right?
The day I made this quick meal on Instagram, I talked about how much I typically spend on groceries as well as what my shopping habits are: what I foods I buy organic and what foods I pass on. Shopping for organic foods can get SO expensive. Trust me, I’m not shelling out my entire paycheck to eat healthy/buy organically, but I do think it’s important to spend a little more for some items especially because food is grown and manufactured in ways that is so unhealthy and wrong. If you run a quick Google search, you’ll find the “dirty dozen list,” and these foods are things you should definitely consider buying organically. I mentioned that I typically spend about 70-80 dollars a week on groceries, and that includes a lot of organic produce and protein.
St. Louis is home to some pretty awesome farmers markets. We actually have one of the oldest farmers markets which was established in 1779. 1779 y’all. That’s only a few years after the U.S. declared its independence. WILD. I try to buy locally and organically, but my rule of thumb is to buy as much of my protein and produce organically, which is easy to do when you have an affordable grocery store like Fresh Thyme. If you don’t live in the Midwest and don’t have Fresh Thyme, shop around! Look at weekly ads and shop according to sales and specials. That has helped me stay within budget and not overspend on food. Buying foods that are in season also helps because farmers are growing LOTS of it…. and something about supply and demand and food waste. Now that my PSA is over…. let’s get to the recipe.
Inspiration for this meal came from just wanting something to mask the flavor of quinoa. I have a hard time eating quinoa because the flavor gets SO bland after a while. It’s a superfood, and it’s SO good for you, but it definitely bores me after a bit. I also cook my quinoa in vegetable stock which helps impart some flavor but still… it isn’t rice, which would be my carb of choice. I started with flavors and ingredients that would go in chili but also was inspired by tacos… tacos are my best friend. I love em. I decided to make this meal resemble a healthier version of a burrito bowl: it’s full of veggies, ground chicken breast, beans, and quinoa. A perfect meal if you’re trying to eat a little healthier without sacrificing flavor. If you’re looking to make this vegan/vegetarian, you can definitely take out the chicken breast, and add more beans for more protein!
Quinoa and Chicken bowls
A great weeknight meal for something quick, healthy, and filling
- 1 cup of dry quinoa
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 bell pepper, diced (I used orange, but you can use what you have on hand)
- A handful of mushrooms, chopped
- 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed (15.5 ounces)
- 1 can of corn, drained and rinsed (15.5 ounces; you can substitute about 1.5 cups of frozen corn)
- 1 pound of ground chicken (I used ground chicken breast but you can certainly sub for turkey)
- 2 tsps. salt
- 2 tsps. cumin
- 2 tsps. red pepper flakes
- 2 tsps. oregano
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 1 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1/4 cup of vegetable stock (or any stock/broth you have on hand; you can also sub for water)
- Cook your quinoa as you normally would. I cook 1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of vegetable stock and throw in a bay leaf.
- As your quinoa is cooking, drizzle in the olive oil into a dutch oven or cast iron pan. Once it gets hot, add in onion, carrot, bell pepper, and mushrooms, and sauté until translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add in corn and black beans and continue to cook with veggies, about 3 minutes.
- Remove veggie mix from pot into a separate bowl. Add in ground chicken and cook until fully cooked and no longer pink, about 7-9 minutes.
- Add veggie mix back into the pot, and add in the tomato paste and cook for an additional minute.
- Add cooked quinoa into the pot, and stir all to combine. Add vegetable stock to the pot and allow the mixture to simmer on low for about 10 minutes.
- Serve! I love topping this with some cilantro and fresh tomatoes. You can add avocados for even MORE good for you food. Enjoy!