One of the first meals I remember cooking over and over again in college is chicken and rice. It was the perfect easy one dish meal. Throw some rice in a 13×9 pan, add some onions, maybe peas, maybe mushrooms. Top with chicken breasts, poor broth or water over it, bake. I remember having a fight with a boyfriend. We were standing in the kitchen yelling as I was assembling the chicken and rice (this version was with mandarin oranges and almonds – sort of an Asian flare), I got it all put together and ready to go in the oven just as our argument reached it’s peak. He picked up my pan and threw it all in the sink! I wish I could say that I broke up with him right then and there, but it took me a couple more months before I totally embraced what a jerk he was.
So, on a much happier note, I bring you a newer spiced up version of chicken and rice – chicken and quinoa! I found this version while browsing my Donna Hay magazine collection on my iPad. If you have an iPad and you aren’t subscribed to Donna Hay’s magazine, you have no idea what you are missing. This was in the winter issue June July 2012.
This was so easy and so good. And, like chicken and rice, so easy to modify. You could take this in so many directions. My next version will be a Mediterranean version because I am always looking for an excuse to cook with kalamata olives.
Chicken, Date, and Quinoa Bake
- 1 1/2 cups quinoa
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 3/4 cup dates, halved
- zest of one lemon
- sea salt and fresh black pepper
- 8 chicken thighs, skin on and bone-in (I used thighs and legs)
- olive oil
- 2 cups flat leaf parsley leaves
Preheat the oven to 400. Place the quinoa, water, garlic, pine nuts, dates, lemon zest, salt and pepper in 9×13 baking dish and mix to combine. Rub the chicken with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add to the baking dish. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the chicken and quinoa are cooked. Top with the parsley to serve