I am a scheduler. I like the structure of a schedule, and I appreciate the sense of security that a schedule can bring.
And, I’m a planner. When I was home with the kids on a regular basis, I could plan our meals for a whole week, or even for the month (with some allowance of taste change and cravings).
One of the things that I’m struggling with now that I’m back at work full-time is the lack of time for scheduling and planning. I have the intention on the weekends of cooking meals that can be remade throughout the week with just the addition of a few flavorful ingredients – like a roast chicken that can be pulled apart and put in a salad, or made into chicken noodle soup or seasoned up and put in tacos or enchiladas. But, for some reason, the weekends just slip by and all of the sudden it’s Monday morning, and I’m rushing around looking for bottles and socks and baby shoes and MY shoes, and car keys and travel coffee mugs (an absolute must) and I’m late leaving for work, and I have to turn around and come back to the house AFTER I’ve dropped the baby off at daycare because I went off without my PURSE of all things, and I realize I haven’t stocked my fridge with meal one for the week. None of this brings security or a sense of structure to my life.
Luckily, I’ve always got a few handy ingredients in the pantry and the freezer that can get me through in a pinch. Tonight, it was some quinoa and frozen chicken breasts. Boring and mundane by themselves, but perked up with some Mediterranean flavors they became a very healthy and flavorful meal for the family. Even the four (almost five)-year-old liked it (as much as he likes anything these days).
I decided on a Mediterranean theme because I had a lot of tomatoes from the garden and quite a bit of fresh parsley left over from when I made falafel last week. I also almost always have some lemons on hand. Really, I had almost everything I needed to make Tabouleh.
Except bulgar wheat.
So, I decided to make a quinoa version instead.
For the Quinoa “Tabouleh”
2 cups Quinoa
3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 or 4 tomatoes, chopped
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
Juice of one lemon
1 Tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
- Begin by soaking your quinoa in cold water for 15 minutes or so.
- Once soaked, cook quinoa in liberally salted water (I’m guessing I used 1/2 a teaspoon, but it could have been more. It could have also been less) according to package directions.
- Once fully cooked, rinse the quinoa to quickly cool it.
- Mix the cooled quionoa with the tomatoes, parsley and spinach.
- Dress with lemon juice and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
For the Chicken
Three chicken breasts, split lengthwise in thirds (this lets them cook super quick)
Juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onioin, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
liberal pinch of salt
5 or 6 cranks of your pepper grinder
- Let the chicken breasts marinate in the other ingredients in a zip-top bag for 10 or 15 minutes.
- Heat a grill pan until it’s smoking.
- Cook the chicken in batches until done – do not overcrowd the pan, or they’ll end up boiling in their own juices (and you definitely don’t want that).
- Serve over your quinoa “tabouleh”.