Lemon, roasted red pepper and artichoke quinoa

Some days you just have to open up the fridge and wing it, am I right?

Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this sometimes.

The reality is, I do my best to meal plan and to go to the grocery store with a list and a plan in mind. And most of the time, I do. But some weeks, I’m just not feeling inspired. Either I can’t think of anything really great to make, or I just don’t have the time to do serious planning so I just grab staples and run.

Which was pretty much the case this past weekend. I was totally strapped for time, so I just ran to the store and grabbed all of our vital staples (aka apples, bananas, milk and bread) and got the heck out of dodge.

The only problem is that it leaves me in a bit of a bind when I get home from the gym at 7pm ready to eat my arm off, and I have to somehow come up with something to throw together for dinner. Some days, that ends up being cereal or a PB&J. But other days, I actually manage to throw together something worth recreating.

And that is exactly what happened on Tuesday night. After staring in my fridge for about 15 minutes (and opening/closing the door a dozen times because it kept setting off the alarm), I managed to throw something delicious and SUPER simple together!

Lemon, roasted red pepper and artichoke quinoa!

Thirty Minute Thursday

Honestly, the longest part of this whole entire dish is waiting for the quinoa to finish cooking. It was so fresh and light that it would make a perfect meal throughout the entire summer. Or you could just take out the chicken and it would make an awesome side dish!

Lemon, Roasted Red Pepper and Artichoke Quinoa

Lemon, Roasted Red Pepper and Artichoke Quinoa

Ingredients:
  • 1 chicken breast, cut into cubes
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp Trader Joe’s Roasted Red Pepper and Artichoke Tapenade (or 1 roasted red pepper diced, 3 artichoke hearts diced, and 1 tsp olive oil)
  • 2 large handfuls kale, washed and chopped
  • 2 tsp lemon juice (add more or less to taste)
  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Directions:

    1. Cook quinoa according to directions on package.

    2. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add chicken and cook until no longer pink in the center.

    3. Add garlic and let cook for approximately 30 seconds. Add in kale and stir until fully wilted, approximately 2-3 minutes. Add in roasted red pepper and artichoke tapenade and cook for another minute.

    4. Remove from heat. Add in lemon juice, and add more to taste (please note, I really like lemon, so I chose to have a strong lemony flavor – add less if you’re not a lemon fan). Mix in with quinoa, and add salt and pepper to taste.

    5. Serve and enjoy!

    Lemon, roasted red pepper and artichoke quinoaTrader Joe's Roasted Red Pepper and Artichoke TapenadeLemon, roasted red pepper and artichoke quinoaLemon, roasted red pepper and artichoke quinoa

    This recipe was seriously so simple and so quick to make, it was almost silly. As I said, it would be so easy to change this into a side dish by taking out the chicken.

    For any of my veggie friends out there, you could also easily swap out the chicken for beans – white beans would be especially good!

    Overall, I’d have to consider this totally random meal a complete success! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! I gobbled up the leftovers last night for dinner and it was just as good cold!

    So tell me: Are you a meal planner or do you usually wing it? What are your go-to throw together ingredients?

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Comments: 9

  1. Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine April 10, 2014 at 7:21 am Reply

    Ooo thus looks do yummy! :)

  2. Lindsay @ Typically Late April 10, 2014 at 8:42 am Reply

    Ugh, quinoa is a source of contention in our house. The first time I ever made it, I used it in a salad that was just NOT a good recipe, and I made a TON of it, and we had to eat it for days. Charlie is not a fan after that incident… ha! The basic flavors in this recipe sound delish, though, and I think I could easily make it and sub in orzo pasta or another short-cut noodle. Yum!
    Lindsay @ Typically Late recently posted…Putting my face onMy Profile

    • MyFreckledLife April 14, 2014 at 6:50 am Reply

      Hahaha that is too funny! You could definitely sub with orzo or even rice/couscous.

  3. Diane @ Life of Di. April 10, 2014 at 10:57 am Reply

    I love quinoa and am always looking for suggestions on what to add in :) Lemon, roasted red pepper and artichoke sound like a great combination. I think it would work well in angel hair or orzo too!
    Diane @ Life of Di. recently posted…A Little Cabin In the Woods.My Profile

    • MyFreckledLife April 14, 2014 at 6:51 am Reply

      Yumm, it would be great with angel hair or orzo! Or even couscous! Now I have so many new ideas!

  4. B April 11, 2014 at 8:40 am Reply

    I need more recipes to use quinoa, I’ve only used it once before but would like to use it more. I’ll have to try this…sounds good! We try to plan meals but usually not for everyday. Winging it is not so bad because that’s when we get creative and come up with some pretty tasty meals!
    B recently posted…Bring On Some Pineapple Angel Food CakeMy Profile

    • MyFreckledLife April 15, 2014 at 6:49 am Reply

      You should definitely try quinoa again! It’s such a great grain/protein and it can take on so many different flavors!

  5. Ashley@AttemptsAtDomestication April 11, 2014 at 3:25 pm Reply

    This looks delicious! Jesse has been making a lot more quinoa lately so I cannot wait to try this.
    Ashley@AttemptsAtDomestication recently posted…Adding Art Around the HouseMy Profile

  6. Erin @ Erin's Inside Job April 11, 2014 at 7:08 pm Reply

    Nice! Looks awesome :)

    I’m usually a planner but the more I make the more comfortable I am winging it since I know what kinds of things pair well together. Glad it turned out well!!
    Erin @ Erin’s Inside Job recently posted…Fast FoodsMy Profile

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