1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, or small thighs (I recommend dicing these up raw even though it’s the grosses, worst task, if you like shish-kabob style, but cooked whole works too!)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Herbs (fresh if you can find em, totally okay if not) – measurements are not exact. Eyeball & add more to your desired taste.
Small bunch of chopped fresh dill
About a tablespoon of chopped fresh oregano
About a tablespoon of paprika
Salt & Pepper
3 heaping tablespoons of garlic (I used pre minced that I keep in the fridge. I’m sure fresh cloves would be great too!)
1 c quinoa
3 cups of chicken broth
3 large handfuls of fresh spinach
1 fresh lemon, juiced (save some for the end for that extra zing!)
Fresh block of feta, to taste (the more the merrier, right?)
Large handful of pinenuts
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, combine some olive oil (just coat the bottom of the bowl) with the chicken. Add in all your flavorings: balsamic vinegar, dill, oregano, paprika, garlic, and a pinch of s+p.
If you want to prepare it in bite size pieces (like in my photo), now is a good time to cut it all up. Then, toss it around with your hands (gross but necessary), so that the chicken has all the flavorful goodness rubbed onto it all over.
Leave your chicken in it’s bowl for a moment and coat a pan on the stove with more olive oil. Warm it for a second or two with a a low to medium flame.
When the oil is nice and toasty, take the chicken you coated so nicely and throw it (carefully) onto the stove in your heated oil. Turn your flame up to medium to high if you haven’t already. That yucky looking raw chicken will turn golden as it sears, and it will stop smelling like pungent vinegar and start smelling amazing.
Once the chicken has spent a total of about 10 minutes sizzling and being flipped so that both sides have that nice golden color (this applies whether you are cooking your chicken whole or in bite size pieces), lower your heat and take the chicken off of the stove with tongs, placing it on a clean plate. (I only say clean because you can’t put it back in the bowl where the raw chicken was, even though we would love to save one less dish to wash…)
In the skillet that you just removed the chicken from, turn the flame back on to about medium, and add your raw quinoa so it toasts just a touch in the leftover flavors that the chicken searing process left behind. Do this for 2 minutes tops before adding your chicken broth.
Bring your broth to a boil as it begins to cook the quinoa, then add in spinach, and lemon juice. The fresher your lemon juice, the better. I recommend squeezing your lemons into a glass & placing on the side, so that when it’s time to serve later, you can drizzle that last bit of citrus over the top to really enhance those flavs.
Once everything is cookin’, let your chicken back into the pan so it can bubble up with everything else for about 5-6 minutes.
Your oven should be preheated by now. Remove heat from your pan, letting it cool for just a moment while you line an oven safe, edged pan/tray with foil. The foil will keep all the juices and flavors closer together since you can manipulate the foil to wrap ingredients tighter together, plus, we love an easier cleanup. (If you are doing shish-kabob style, stack the chicken on your sticks at this time – or let you can do this before serving, but it’s all just for the aesthetics tbh)
Set a timer for 20 minutes, add all the goodies that were cooking on the stove into your foil lined pan. Make sure no juice or chicken is left behind.
Throw it in the oven, start your timer, and check it when 20 minutes it us. It should be cooked, but always ensure your chicken is cooked and test out your quinoa to make sure it’s softened to your desired texture.
Let it cool as long as your hungry patience allows, then plate it beautifully with your fresh herbs, some pine nuts, and God’s gift that is feta cheese. Let that feta melt & enjoy!