I love those relaxing, unscheduled weekends when I can lazily ponder new recipes over my coffee, trek to the store with a long list of sometimes-unusual ingredients and then devote the time to making my selected concoctions.
Then there are the weeknights I get home later than I’d wanted to, when everyone’s hungry, the leftovers are gone, eating out is too expensive and the corndogs and fish sticks mouldering in the back of the freezer (what can I say, I have children) just won’t cut it. Those are the nights I turn to recipes like the one below, so long as I’ve stocked the pantry with a few staples – favorite spices, jarred jalapenos, fresh garlic and a box of that tasty, nutritious whole-grain seed, quinoa. After a quick stop at the store for this dish’s few other ingredients – the vegetables and chicken – I’ve got a delicious dinner whipped up in around 30 minutes.
Chicken-sweet potato stir-fry
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained (line your colander with a coffee filter to keep these small seeds from slipping down the drain)
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into half-inch cubes
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 4 teaspoons canola oil
- 12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs, cut into half-inch pieces
- 1 jalapeno, finely chopped
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Combine water and quinoa in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer until the liquid has been absorbed, 12-15 minutes.
While the quinoa is cooking, put cubed sweet potato in a small saucepan with enough cold water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over medium-high and cook until just tender, 3-4 minutes. Drain.
Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large nonstick frying pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until it starts to brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
Return pan to heat and add remaining 2 teaspoons oil. Stir in onion and jalapeno. Cook, stirring occasionally, 1 minute. Add the bell pepper, garlic and cumin. Cook until the vegetables start to soften, 2-3 minutes. Stir in peas and reserved chicken and cook 2 minutes. Add quinoa and sweet potato. Cook, stirring frequently, until heated through, 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in black pepper and, if using, the cilantro.