Recipe: Sauteed Chicken and Mushrooms with Quinoa

If you know me, you know that “Hala” and “diet” don’t go in the same sentence. So I wouldn’t say I’m on a diet, but I’m pushing myself to eat better for my health. And better doesn’t mean boring or flavorless, not in the slightest!

I’ve been playing around with some of my favorite go to recipes and ingredients to come up with this delicious yet healthy dish. Sauteed chicken and garlic mushrooms, atop tri-colored quinoa with a side of salad mixed with home made goat cheese dressing. It barely took 30 minutes to prepare and cook, so it’s excellent as a weekly meal prep option.

Sauteed Chicken and Mushrooms
2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless, optional to cut into halves or cubes
6 cremini mushrooms, de-stemmed and sliced
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
2-4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, optional
Quinoa
1 cup tri-colored quinoa
2 cups of water
Salad and Dressing
1 romaine lettuce, chopped
3 vined tomatos, diced
1 cucumber, diced
1 tablespoon of goat cheese
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of dried basil
1/2 teaspoon of tajin
salt and pepper to taste

Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides while the olive oil heats up in a saucepan. You can bring the heat a few notches lower before adding the chicken, letting it saute through for about 5-7 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness. Set the chicken aside and use the same pan to saute the mushrooms for about seven minutes before adding the garlic. You may add another tablespoon of olive oil and lightly season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Add the chicken and let it cook for another 5-7 minutes, making sure to taste should you need to add any more salt or pepper.

In a small saucepan or pot, warm the quinoa for a minute before adding the water. Bring to a boil like you would rice or lentils before lowering the heat. Lid the pot and let it cook for about ten minutes.

In a big bowl, start making your dressing. Add the goat cheese, olive oil, salt, pepper, basil, and tajin and mix with a fork. The goat cheese should break down to the texture of your choosing. Dressing is good for up to a week in the fridge. Chop the lettuce and add it to the mix, that way the lettuce is coated with the dressing. Mix again after adding the diced tomatos and cucumbers.

The whole process shouldn’t take you more than 30 minutes. If there are any leftovers, package the chicken and mushrooms, quinoa, and salad separately in airtight tupperware. Should last you at least four days in the fridge. But let’s be honest, this is so good, it won’t last that long!

Belhana welshefa! Buon appetito! Enjoy!

My Take on a Scandinavian Brownie Recipe

As a fan of baking, especially when it comes to chocolate, I’m always craving a new kind of recipe. This time it was brownies! I did a bit of research here and there before coming across this interesting recipe from Cacao Web. The link shows both a recipe for Scandinavian brownies with frosting. I decided to opt out of the frosting so I can make and test the recipe out. Of course as I always do, I made my adjustments to the recipe and decided to make not one but TWO separate batches.

The recipe calls for 1 1/3 cup flour, 1 1/2 cup sugar, 4 tablespoons of cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 3 eggs, 3/4 cup of butter, 3 oz of hot water and 4 oz of chopped walnuts.

For the cocoa powder, I used the unsweetened kind that I get from Trader Joe’s. I find it to be much better for baking. For the butter, I gasped at what the recipe asked for. It’s almost two sticks of butter!! Just way too much for me! Instead, I used less then half a cup of my mom’s Egyptian style butter known as “semna”. For those who don’t know, this is like pure butter with no sodium. To make it, my mom gets unsalted butter and melts it down over low heat. This process separates all the gunk from the good butter rising to the top. She then jars it up after it cools at room temperature. It really makes all the difference in the world!

For the water, the recipe asks for a little under half a cup. However, I used a bit less then that so that I can add a dash of my favorite fresh brewed coffee. Coffee really brings out the chocolate flavor just as salt brings out the sweet flavor in most dessert recipes. I didn’t use any salt here and the recipe doesn’t call for it either.

With my adjusted recipe, I made the first batch into brownie cupcakes with chopped and whole chocolate chips to top it off. I did not use any walnuts per the recipe in this batch but the result was YUMMY!! It’s not too sweet and I promise you it’s not bland either. You can taste the chocolate and the texture is not dense, it’s very light. I do think that the next time I make a cupcake batch, I’ll add the chocolate chips into the batter as well as on top to make it more gooey.

The second batch was your typical one layer brownie with chopped nuts and topped off with powdered sugar. Instead of just the walnuts per the recipe, I used a small handful of walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts and almonds. I gave them a rough chop and folded them into my batter. Again, not too sweet but just right, especially the flavors of the nut variety. I didn’t want to frost them because the brownie are nice and soft. Instead, I let it cool, cut it up and sprinkled powdered sugar on top.

Feel free to try it out and let me know what you think! Happy Friday!