Make ahead Chicken and Quinoa Stew

A few things before we get started on this DELICIOUS recipe.

  • This is a make ahead recipe. YAY! Do it on Sunday and it should last a minimum of 4 meals. So, you either got dinner covered Monday through Thursday or your lunches covered… However you decide to split this meal up, you end up with some free time on your hands 🙂
  • Healthy- you get protein/grains from quinoa and brown rice, protein from chicken, you get veggies and cheese and poblano peppers and tomatoes. EEEEE!!!! So good.
  • This recipe was adapted from the Cooking Light April 2016 issue. They called it King Ranch Chicken and Quinoa Casserole. My husband and I both agreed that it tasted more like a stew.
  • Final point- the pictures do it no justice. Stews always look like a mish mosh of stuff. But stews are usually so delicious. So here ya go!
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Stew/Casserole cheese laying situation happening here
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Crispy quinoa and brown rice final layer
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Final layer of cheese

1.5 cups per serving about 4 servings in this dish

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups of rotisserie chicken chopped/shredded or homemade shredded chicken
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa or brown rice
  • 5 tbls EVOO
  • 3 poblano peppers chopped and seeded
  • 1.5 cups chopped onion
  • 1 tbsl minced garlic
  • 2 tbls all purpose flour
  • 2 tsps cumin
  • 1 tsp chile powder
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1- 14.5 ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1- 4 ounce can of mild chopped green chiles
  • 3.5 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
  • 8inch square baking dish
  • Optional: chopped scallions on top

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400F
  • Mix 1 tbls EVOO with cooked quinoa and spread across baking sheet and bake for 10-15 min (this step is really optional… it just gives a crispiness to the quinoa). We also used a quinoa/brown rice blend because that’s all we had on hand and it came out delicious… so if you don’t have quinoa, think about substituting it with brown rice.
  • Heat a dutch oven with olive oil, add poblano peppers, onion and garlic. Sautee for about 5 minutes.
  • Stir flour, cumin, chili powder. Then add stock, tomatoes, and green chiles. Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Remove pan from heat and stir in chicken.
  • Pour half the mixture at the bottom of the dish, top with half quinoa/brown rice and add 2 ounces of cheese. Repeat layers once more.
  • Bake at 400 for 25-30 minutes

I seriously wanted to eat the entire thing in one sitting. I hope you guys enjoy this as much as I did.

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Hump Day Playlist

Some sexy music to get you in the mood…..

 

TO WORK OUT. Where did you think this was going? You guys are sick!

  • Selena Gomez- Can’t Keep My Hands to Myself
  • Ginuwine- Pony
  • Afrojack-Hey
  • Nick Jonas-Jealous
  • David Guetta (feat. Nicki Minaj)- Turn Me On
  • 50 Cent (feat Justin Timberlake)- Ayo Technology
  • Beyonce- Run The World
  • Swedish House Mafia- Greyhound
  • Major Lazer- Watch Out For This
  • Rihanna (feat. David Guetta) – Right Now
  • Ciara-Like a Boy
  • Nicole Scherzinger (feat. 50 Cent)- Right There
  • Pitbull/T Pain/Sean Paul- Shake Senora
  • Grace Valerie- When the Lights Go Down
  • 50 Cent/Ne-Yo – Baby By Me
  • Keri Hilson- Knock You Down
  • Rihanna- Birthday Cake
  • Beyonce- XO

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A Way Out: Eating Without Counting

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This plate contains meat, mac and cheese, and starchy veggies prepared in oil. But notice how it’s mostly veggies. And underneath is entirely greens.

I’m about to describe how I eat, in general.

I think that for most people, a diet like mine will allow them to lose weight – even without exercise. And yes, even without counting calories.

All you have to do is listen to your appetite.

This is basically it:

  • This is KEY: I’d guess that 3/4 of my diet is veggies, by volume. I eat as many veggies as I want. Many greens, but I don‘t shy away from starchy vegetables.
  • I dress my salads however I want – sometimes including croutons, seeds etc. I personally only like a small amount of dressing, and usually no dressing at all.
  • I eat a small amount of meat several times a week. Many weeks I don’t eat any meat at all.
  • If I’m not eating a TON of greens for a particular meal, I use small plates. Large plates are ridiculous.
  • I eat lots of soups, usually broth based (rarely creamy)
  • I eat lots of eggs, every day. With a little bit of olive or coconut oil.
  • I’m not big on dairy, but I have it when I want it
  • I try to stay away from refined foods
  • I eat not too many beans, but probably more than most people
  • I eat 1 or 2 squares of chocolate every day
  • Some days, I drink wine
  • Occasionally, I eat bad stuff

The foods I eat most often are:
greens, eggs, sweet potatoes, avocados, tomatoes and onions

On Meal Frequency (and this is important!!):
 I eat as often as I want, but I NEVER eat simply because it’s meal time. Some days I eat very often, and some days not at all. I eat completely according to my appetite.

On Physical Activity:
I stay active, but only because I enjoy it. I don‘t do harsh exercises. I walk often, hike often, and sometimes jog.

Three caveats to all of the above

1. Losing weight is different than maintaining weight. What I’ve described, to me, is a healthy diet – based on what we know now. If you eat like this, and according to your own appetite, then your weight should take care of itself, barring some other major issues.

If you go from eating processed foods to eating like this – I imagine you’ll lose weight without counting calories. But if you always eat like this, and you haven’t been losing weight, then of course you won’t. For you, adding exercise or cutting out some calories might work.

2. Getting from A to B is a trip. If you rely on processed foods and carbs for the majority of your needs, it could be very difficult to suddenly transition to a diet like this. You don‘t want to torture yourself, and yes – it may take time. I suggest adding vegetables to your diet first, rather than taking anything away. Believe it or not, I actually enjoy and prefer eating this way. It just took some getting used to.

3. This diet makes me feel full and satisfied. If this doesn’t make you feel full and satisfied, it’s not going to work for you.  This is why I suggest adding rather than subtracting. Fill up on veggies that you love, and begin to gingerly try ones you don‘t care for. You might find that you get to an ideal weight without even trying.

Sometimes, Counting Calories is Good.

In some situations, counting calories might make sense. For more on that, check out my post On Counting Calories.

Happy not-counting 😀

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