Can we be completely Midwest for a minute and talk about this weather?! Above freezing? I’ll take it! Above 50 degrees? Heat wave!
Even just last week I was trying to soak in all things winter by going cross country skiing again in the fresh powder that had fallen last weekend. But now. Now I want puddles and warm weather and spring jackets. One taste of spring weather has me wanting all things spring. While a part of me is saddened that the season of winter activities is coming to an end, I am so ready for some warmer weather. Going for a run this weekend without 4+ layers or mittens you would think you’d only need in the arctic tundra felt so freeing!
Alas, if I’m being realistic, it’s still only February. I’m trying not to get my hopes too high. Although, I’ll admit, I haven’t brought myself to look at the forecast this week, because I already know I will most likely be disappointed.
In this in-between weather, it’s hard to know what recipe to go for — do I make a hearty, comforting stew or a light and fresh spring-inspired dish? I found a happy balance with Maple-Dijon Chicken & Quinoa 30-Minute Skillet.
To me, this recipe still can look like a hearty, winter meal with the deep colors of the cranberries and spinach and the maple flavor. Yet, the whole-grain quinoa and lean chicken make this a lightened up comfort food that’s fit for spring, too. Best of both worlds!
Whether you have this on a blistery cold evening or a balmy 50-degree day, Maple-Dijon Chicken & Quinoa Skillet is going to satisfy. And no matter what time of year it is, we’re always pressed for time, amiright?! Two things I love about this recipe: 1) 30-minutes and done. 2) One pan. Nuff said.
The flavor is well balanced with a maple-dijon sauce that’s drizzled on top of each individual’s serving — perfect for those wanting more or less of the mustard sauce. The maple syrup nicely sweetens without being overly sweet and offsets the potency of the mustard. This is definitely a flavor combo you want to try!
No matter what the weather is where you are, Maple-Dijon Chicken & Quinoa 30-Minute Skillet will compliment the forecast perfectly.
Maple-Dijon Chicken & Quinoa 30-Minute Skillet
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water
- 5 ounces baby kale (about 5 packed cups), (you can also use 5 ounces baby spinach instead of the kale)
- 3 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- In a large skillet on medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon of oil. Add chicken, season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper, or to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 3 – 4 minutes. Chicken does not need to be cooked through completely.
- Stir in quinoa and 2 cups water to the chicken. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes. If quinoa is still crunchy and water is soaked up, add an additional 1/4 cup water and continue to cook the quinoa.
- Meanwhile, while the quinoa cooks, in a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, maple syrup, lemon juice, and remaining tablespoon of oil. Set aside.
- Once the quinoa is cooked, add kale and stir to combine. If there is not enough room in the skillet, add half of the kale and let it wilt before adding the remaining kale. Simmer until the kale is tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 3 – 4 minutes. If all the liquid absorbs before kale finishes cooking, add more water as needed. Remove from heat.
- To the skillet, add about half of mustard sauce and the cranberries and stir to combine. Divide among plates and drizzle desired amount of remaining mustard sauce on top of chicken and quinoa.
Adapted from: Clean Eating