As PopKitty Kitchen is in its very early stage, I’m thinking that we will fill you guys in on who we are and what we are about as these posts evolve. It seems daunting (and unrealistic) to describe ourselves in just one post or a small “About Me” section. This stage of life is best described as BUSY! I am a mom to two little ones (2 ½ year old boy and 8 month old girl), a wife to an extremely talented and smart legal eagle (who works long hours, as expected), and I work for a large corporation as part of its in-house legal team. To be completely open, on “easy” days it feels like we are treading water. It is the norm to find ourselves on nightly runs to CVS because we’re out of diapers/wipes/formula/milk. Our dogs have found themselves firmly in positions 3 and 4, and they are not happy about it. We haven’t slept past 6:30 am in years. Publix delivery has been a life saver.
I say all this as a lead in to this recipe post of Coconut Quinoa with Roasted Vegetables and Indian Spiced Chicken. If I am going to make something, it has to last for more than one meal. When the pediatrician recently asked me how often we eat at the table as a family, it was a challenge to suppress my look of “ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I WISH!” However, I do really try to have a healthy meal prepared in advance so that David and I can at least sit down and eat together once the kids have gone to bed. After a few nights of starting dinner around 8:00 during the week, I quickly realized that I needed to plan better and have something on hand that could be reheated and still taste great.
This coconut quinoa was inspired by one of my favorite meals at a local restaurant, the Wicked Hen. They serve a vegetarian quinoa that is OUT OF THIS WORLD. I love it. I could eat it every day and be completely happy. I haven’t quite figured out how Wicked Hen makes their quinoa, but it is definitely cooked in coconut milk. So, this is where I started and plan to do so in the future.
For the chicken, I just threw the spices together that I used for the quinoa it was surprisingly AMAZING. Honestly, I thought the chicken was going to be a fail because I forgot to put it in the oven until the quinoa was almost finished and we were approaching 9:00 pm on a Wednesday. (Above I said that I “tried” to have a meal prepared in advance. That does not mean I actually have my life together and can do so.) And, I apologize this post is light on pictures. I was in a hurry and completely forgot to document the process once I started cooking.
Here is what you'll need:
1 head cauliflower
1 head broccoli
2 large chicken breasts
1 cup quinoa (I used red)
Medium sweet onion
14 oz can unsweetened coconut milk
1 Tbs plus 1 tsp ground ginger (separated)
1 Tbs plus 1 tsp ground turmeric (separated)
2 Tbs ground curry powder (separated) (curry paste would be good as well, but I had curry powder in the pantry. I may try curry paste next time to see if there is a big difference.)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower
Cut the broccoli and cauliflower into bite-sized pieces. Toss in 2 Tbs of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet (I always line with foil to make clean-up easier) and roast on 425 for about 40 minutes, or until the edges get toasty.
Indian Spiced Chicken
Combine 1 Tbs ginger, 1 Tbs curry powder and 1 Tbs turmeric. In a baking dish, drizzle about 1 – 2 Tbs olive oil. Dredge the chicken through the olive oil on both sides. Coat the top of each chicken breast with the spices. Bake on 350 for about 20 minutes or until done.
Dice the onion into small pieces. Heat 2 Tbs olive oil in a large pot and add onion. Cook until slightly translucent and starting to soften. Add the quinoa and spices and stir for 30 seconds. Pour in coconut milk and ½ cup of water. Bring to a boil, then cover the pot with a lid and let simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let the quinoa sit to thicken, about 5 minutes.
In the same pot, fold in the roasted broccoli and cauliflower, along with any remaining olive oil, until mixed evenly. If the pot is not large enough, a separate bowl is fine. But who’s trying to unnecessarily dirty dishes that will need to be cleaned? Not me!
To plate, place the Coconut Quinoa with Roasted Vegetables as the base and top with the chicken. Enjoy!
Lunch the next day with a simple arugula side salad.
NOTE: I don’t want to fool any of our readers that have toddlers as well, so I will go ahead and say that our 2 ½ year old could be starving and he would not eat quinoa or cauliflower or broccoli. Right now, his diet primarily consists of “chick-a-lay,” but I’m hoping one day we will get to a better place with his eating habits.
I am a huge gumbo fan. If a restaurant has gumbo on their menu, I order it so that I can critique it and hopefully, enjoy it. Gumbo is a science and if you get it wrong, it won’t turn out right.
When I decided to make gumbo during this cold spell, I wanted to make sure that I followed the important steps from a recipe. I looked no further than the king of Cajun cooking, Emeril Lagasse. My recipe is based off of his “Emeril’s Classic Seafood Gumbo” recipe. But if you know me, I ended up straying away from all the details and creating my perfect gumbo.
I think the hardest part of any gumbo recipe is getting the roux right. It takes patience, constant stirring and little prayer that it doesn't reach the point of burning. You come oh so close to burning the roux in order to get the deep, complex flavors that make a great gumbo.
I cooked this gumbo in my trusty Le Creuset dutch oven. Any heavy bottomed pan will do, one that can hold up to the heat.
Here is what you'll need:
¾ cup vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups finely chopped onion
¾ cup finely chopped green peppers
¾ cup finely chopped celery
2 tablespoons minced garlic
One 12-ounce bottle amber beer
6 cups seafood stock
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 package andouille sausage, diced
1 pound chicken tenderloins, diced small
White rice, for serving
Chopped green onions, for serving
Place an 8-quart stockpot over medium heat, and add the oil. Allow the oil to heat for about 5 minutes, then add the flour to the pot. Stir the oil and flour together with a wooden spoon to form a roux. Lower the heat to medium low and continue to stir the roux for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the color of milk chocolate.
Add the onions, bell peppers, and celery to the roux and stir to blend. Stir the vegetables for 5 minutes, then add the garlic. Cook the garlic for 30 seconds before adding the beer and Seafood Stock to the pot. Season the gumbo with the thyme, bay leaves, Worcestershire, salt, and cayenne. Add the diced chicken and diced andouille sausage to the pot. Bring the gumbo to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer.
Continue to simmer the gumbo for 1 hour, skimming the foam and any oil that rises to the surface. Stir the shrimp into the gumbo and cook for 5 minutes. Taste the gumbo and season if necessary.
Garnish with the parsley and green onions and serve in shallow bowls over white rice.
If you don't like shrimp, chicken and/or sausage, you can substitute any of them for something you do like. You could add fish, maybe catfish, grouper or some other sturdy fish. You could add more vegetables such as okra or tomatoes. Don't be scared, make some changes to make it your own!
Now go make this, you will not regret it!
Chandler and Cathryn