Thursday, October 18, 2012

Blackened Chicken and Cilantro-Lime Quinoa

This recipe utilizes a fiesty spice mix! I imagine you can do this with any spice concoction you choose. :) This is actually very similar to the rub I make for baby back ribs, so I imagine rubs are quite versatile.

This is another recipe I found on a blog from pinterest. Continue reading to see my experience!

If you don't like spicy foods at all, this isn't for you. I like spicy foods when they have flavor and aren't just "hot" tasting. This is one that definitely has flavor, but it's not for spice-weaklings. I am surely not someone who is tolerable of high heats, but I think my palate is working its way toward withstanding more and more each time I try something with a zip. ;)

I really enjoyed this recipe because it was extremely fast to prepare and cook! Also, very cheap if you have already invested in your spice collection.

Ingredients (for 1 or 2 chicken breasts):
-1 tsp paprika
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
-1/2 tsp onion powder
-1/2 tsp cumin

-2 tbsp olive oil

-2 cups chicken stock
-1 cup quinoa
-1-2 tsp ? lime juice (not sure, I just kinda added some to taste. not a lot)
-dash of salt and pepper
-2 tbsp cilantro, chopped

optional sauce for wimps ;) :
-1/2 avocado
-2 tbsp greek yogurt

So I think I used half the chicken that the original recipe called for because I pounded down a breast and cut it in half. We're trying to cut down our meat consumption and increase our fruits and veggies, so not only does this do the job, but it's very cost effective! Even if you wanted a whole breast to yourself, pounding down is just a good idea when cooking chicken on a stove top or grill to cook more evenly.
But anyway, I also made double the original spice mix. I think you should make enough to cover your chicken well to maximize flavor. :)

1. Combine all the seasonings in a bowl.

2. Pound down your chicken (I cover the chicken with plastic wrap before I pound it to make sure microscopic raw chicken pieces and juice are not flying around my kitchen and infecting my life) and liberally season both sides.
I didn't pound it yet in this pic. 

3. Heat the olive oil in a large pan that has a lid on medium-high heat for about a minute.
4. Put the chicken in the pan and cook each side for 7 minutes, with the lid on. The sides of the chicken might look burned...or as appropriately named, "blackened". This is normal; your chicken is not burned.

5. After you get the chicken started, put the quinoa and chicken stock in a small pot that has a lid. Simmer on medium-low heat with the lid on for about the same time it takes to make the chicken, the stock should all be absorbed.
6. Now that everything is in the midst of cooking, cut up some avocado and mix with the greek yogurt. This is an optional topping for the chicken to counter-act and cool the spicy-ness.

7. When the chicken is all done, serve it onto the plate, but don't cut into it. Let it "rest" for another 7 minutes so it'll finish cooking through and the juices will stay in. Mmmm moist.
8. Instead of focusing on your rumbling tummy and watching the timer tick down while you wait to dig into your chicken, put the finished quinoa in a bowl. Add your lime, S&P, and the cilantro. Stir.
9. At this point, you probably still have about 4 minutes, but that's okay. Serve your quinoa, pour a drink, and watch this minute-long video. Go ahead, do it:   Watch me for a smile

(One of my favorite videos)

By now... it should be ready to eat! It had my nose running a little bit (I told you, I'm kind of wimpy) but I enjoyed it and Sal loved it as well :)
I almost forgot to take a pic, so here is my plate, a bit eaten :-P

I think some steamed vegetables would fit perfectly with this dish!

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