So, here we are. It’s January 2, I’m on day four of the ‘Healthy Family Dinners’ experiment and my family is already protesting.
The funny thing about it is that they’re not complaining about the the main item, the meat. It’s the sides that have them up in arms. They were more than happy to gobble down the Chili-Rubbed Roast Pork on Sunday but had no problem leaving the cumin-spiced spaghetti squash on their plates.
Lemon-Herb Chicken? Hubby robbed himself of a packed lunch by eating two servings and Dudette snagged bits and bites from both of our plates after hers was empty. Eating the quinoa, however, was a battle for both.
Then there was the Baked Cilantro Tilapia. True, Dudette would have nothing to do with the fish and I decided not to force her to eat it, but Hubby and I both loved it.
So, here we sit, on day four, where the meal is a salad made up of quinoa and loaded with feta cheese and tomatoes. It’s the dish in this series that I’ve been looking forward to the most. Poor, poor, family.
This will be the weirdest one to explain because it’s pulling the extra servings that I made with the Lemon-Herb Chicken with Quinoa over to today. I’m not going to re-write the instructions for cooking the quinoa or chicken here, so if you want to make it, head over there to see how.
This may be one of the more time-consuming dishes because of the amount of chopping and mincing that needs to be done. The marinade contains a minced garlic clove, which was easy enough to handle. The salad itself had the quinoa and chopped up chicken breasts, along with peeled and chopped cucumber, halved tomatoes, chopped red onion and chopped dill (I took a pair of scissors to that one).
All of it went in a bowl and was tossed well. Then I sprinkled crumbled feta over the top. Salad done.
Dudette liked the dressing and would have picked out every bit of cucumber and cheese if I’d have allowed her, but she still isn’t a fan of quinoa (yet). Hubby surprised me. I handed him my bowl and asked him to taste it and had to keep asking if he just wanted to eat the whole thing. He took bite after bite.
I don’t blame him. I had the salad for lunch and dinner yesterday. It’s delicious; very fresh, full of flavor and texture. I love the crunch of the cucumber with the creamy feta and acidic tomatoes, all flavored with an exotic hint of dill. When I ate it for dinner, I didn’t reheat it and enjoyed it much more than when the quinoa was warmed.
What I’d Do Different Next Time
I wouldn’t bother reheating the quinoa and chicken and I definitely wouldn’t peel the cucumber. The English variety are bred to have tender, easily eaten skins.
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 English cucumber (seedless), peeled, halved and sliced
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
- ¼ large red onion, chopped
- ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
- 2½ cups cooked quinoa
- 4 cooked chicken breasts, diced
- ¼ cup reduced-fat feta cheese
- In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, lemon juice, oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir in cucumber, tomatoes, onion and dill; mix to combine. Let stand 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine quinoa and chicken in a medium bowl and microwave until warm, 4 minutes. Stir quinoa-chicken mixture into bowl with vegetables. Divide among serving plates and top with feta.
If you’ve been tracking these meals with me, you know that I used up the leftovers from Monday’s dinner for this dish. Tonight’s meal will use the extra pork and spaghetti squash that’s been sitting in the fridge. It’s burrito time!