A few weeks ago, Chad and I revamped our kitchen and eating habits — we’ve always eaten reasonably healthy, but we started to realize that we were consuming a LOT of junk food. In New York, I’d usually stop by a grocery store once every few days, and there were always easy takeout options that we went to in a pinch. In Houston, our routine is really different — we cook a lot more on a day-to-day basis, but since everything isn’t in walking distance of our house, we depend a lot on what we have on hand.
Which… eventually became a lot of junk food. We were caught in this cycle of me buying food, Chad not knowing what we had and grabbing less healthy options by default, and then I wouldn’t buy as many healthy options because we never ate them… big mess. But a few weeks ago, we decided to make a major effort to be all-around healthier.
So I thought I’d share with you guys one of my new go-to recipes! Quinoa is actually super easy to make — it only takes 15-20 minutes to cook and it’s a whole grain that’s packed with fiber. Pair it with some easy staples like artichokes and fresh baby spinach, and you have a quick, simple dish that’s perfect for a healthy weeknight dinner!
And, yes, I still totally cheat — there’s still ice cream in our freezer and I’ll kick and scream before giving up flavor-blasted goldfish (love them!). But overall, these are good, healthy steps in the right direction!
Artichoke and Spinach Quinoa
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped baby spinach
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel
1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts
1 cup vegetable stock
2 cups uncooked quinoa
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Before cooking, rinse the quinoa thoroughly using a mesh strainer.
Cook the quinoa according to package directions, but replace one cup of water with vegetable stock (so, if the package calls for 4 cups of water, use 1 cup of vegetable stock and 3 cups of water). After the quinoa is cooked, stir in the artichokes, baby spinach, olive oil, garlic powder and lemon juice. Leave the mixture on low heat, stirring frequently, for about 2-3 minutes or until heated through. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Once a year, everyone thinks about roasting a turkey — but what about the other 52 weeks?
I love turkey, don’t get me wrong. It’s delicious, it’s impressive, and it’s actually pretty darn healthy. But you know how often you’re going to buy and roast an 18-pound turkey? Once a year. Exactly that much.
But the same techniques can be used on smaller birds, and they’re just as delicious! (Ok, maybe not “just as” delicious, but also very delicious!) A perfect roast chicken only takes an hour and a half, and it’s SO much better than the boneless, skinless chicken breasts you buy at the store.
My secret trick? Start the chicken upside down! That way, as you cook, all the delicious moist juices run over the breast and not just into the bottom of the pan. An added bonus? No basting! Easy, simple and super delicious.
Perfect Roast Chicken
1 5-6 pound roasting chicken
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tsp garlic powder
Fresh ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Wash the chicken and dry it with paper towels. Rub olive oil under the skin gently with your hands, and then over the skin. Season the entire chicken with garlic powder, sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Place the chicken in a roasting pan upside down (breast side down) and cook for about 60 minutes. After 60 minutes, flip the chicken over so that the breasts are facing up, and cook for an additional 30 minutes until the breast temperature is 180 degrees and the thigh is 190 degrees.
Let the chicken rest for about 15 minutes before cutting into it. Serve in large portions with a simple side salad or roasted vegetables.
It’s funny, but some of the most popular recipes that I’ve made aren’t the ones that take all day in the kitchen, require fancy ingredients or equipment, or even seem all that creative. Some of the most popular things I make are simple, straightforward, and perfect for just about any weeknight.
So if that’s the kind of thing you’re into, you should definitely try this one. Combine a few ingredients that you’ve probably already got in your kitchen, spend a few minutes of prep time, and you’ve got a delicious dinner that makes a weeknight just a little more special. I’d take this over takeout any day.
Easy Stuffed Chicken
1 chicken breasts (can be adjusted for as many servings as you need)
2 ounces goat cheese
10 baby spinach leaves
2 tbsp olive oil
Fresh ground pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Gently pull the chicken skin back from the meat. Place a layer of crumbled goat cheese between the skin and the meat, and then top that with a layer of baby spinach. Make sure everything is covered by the chicken skin, and then drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and bake for about 40 minutes, or until juices run clear.