Chicken Baked with Quinoa and Freekeh Grain Salad
The powers that be tell us that we are not to eat a lot of red meat and that we should eat more chicken and fish. While the cows may be breathing a sigh of relief the chickens are clucking and fish, well they do whatever they do, in contempt. Last week the Food and Drug administration came out further saying that frying or even grilling can have certain risks. Seems like everything is a risk now days. They do encourage broiling and baking your chicken or fish. Below is an excellent recipe for baking chicken breasts with some feta cheese and Bruschetta that will come out very juicy. This is easy to prepare and with large chicken breasts will feed 4-6 people. I prepared this for my family last week and served it with Quinoa and Freekeh Grain Salad. This salad was an excellent side dish to serve with the baked chicken.
- 4 large chicken breasts, skin on and with the bones (6, if smaller)
- 1 to 1/2 tsp. Lawry Season Salt
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 2 tbsp. Trader Joe’s Garlic Oil or olive oil if you can’t get garlic olive oil
- 1 tbsp. Garlic Powder
- ½ tsp. fresh cracked Black Pepper
- ½ tsp dash of Sea Salt
- Zest of ½ Lemon (rubbed on the chicken)
- 1 cup of Trader Joe’s Bruschetta (extra liquid drained)
- Crumbled Feta Cheese (amount depends on you)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Take the chicken breasts and lay them onto a baking pan. Coat the chicken with the Garlic Olive Oil and Lemon Juice. Be sure and get underneath. Rub the Garlic Powder and Lawry’s Seasoning Salt, salt and pepper onto the skin of the chicken. Sprinkle the lemon zest over the chicken breasts.
Place the chicken breasts into the oven for 10 minutes. This will allow the skin to brown and have some texture. Open oven and pour ¼ cup of Bruschetta over each breasts.
Lower heat to 350 degrees. Place back in oven for another 10 minutes.
Remove from oven. Set oven on broil and spread the crumbled Feta Cheese over the breasts. Place back in over for another 3-5 minutes or until cheese is slightly browned. Remove, cover with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes.
Quinoa and Freekeh Grain Salad
This is an interesting product that I picked up at Costco. First time that I’ve ever used it and I have to admit it is pretty good. I could even eat it as a main dish or a light lunch.
Prepare the salad according to the instruction on the box. Now the instructions say to cool the grain by running tap water over it. Shay Gourmet Hint: Rinse the grain but leave it a little warm so that when you add the enclosed ingredients that come with the salad, the grains will absorb them for better flavor. You can also enhance this dish by adding some toasted pine nuts or almonds as in a Pilaf. Just toast them in a pan and spread over the salad once you plate or toss them in the salad, your preference. To add color add pomegranate seeds. Your family or guests will absolutely love this dish.
Now for those who might not have or be near a Costco, try this salad as an alternative to the Quinoa and Freekeh Grain Salad.
- 2 cups of dry Quinoa
- Chicken or Vegetable Broth
- 2 tbsp. Olive Oil
- 1tbsp. Butter
- 2 tbsp. Pinenuts (can’t find pinenuts try Slivered Almonds
- ½ cup diced onion or shallot – small diced
- ½ cup carrot – small diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- ¼ cup of chopped fresh Parsley
Prepare 2 cups of Quinoa according to directions using either chicken or vegetable broth. Set aside. In a sauté pan on medium heat, add pinenuts and toast until lightly browned. Pour out on a paper towel. In the same pan place olive oil and butter. Heat until butter is melted. Add onion, garlic and carrot. Sauté until tender. Add chopped parsley, quinoa and pinenuts. Toss together. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Oh Yeah, add pomegranate seeds if you like.
Quinoa has been around some 7,000 years. It originated in the Andean region of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia for use as feed. The populace at that time were hunter and gathers along with the beginnings of animal domestication. The Columbian Andean civilizations began using it for human consumption around 3,000 to 4,000 year ago. The seeds contain essential amino acids like lysine along with calcium, phosphorus and iron. The Incas thought the crop to be sacred and called it “chisaya mama” or “mother of all grains”. With the arrival of the Spaniards they scorned it as a food and suppressed its cultivation forcing the Populace to grow wheat.
The grain has become popular in the US, Canada, Europe China and Japan. It became so popular that between 2006 and 2013 the crop prices tripled. Quinoa has become popular in the Jewish community to be a substitute for leavened grains that are forbidden during the Passover holiday. Wikipedia states that several kosher certification organizations refuse to certify it as being kosher for Passover citing reasons including resemblance to prohibited grains or free of cross contamination. In December 2012 the Orthodox Union began certifying quinoa as kosher.
United Nations General Assembly declared in 2013 as the “International Year of Quinoa.”
Thank you Wikipedia.