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Crunchy Quinoa Crusted Chicken Strips

quinoachicken

Today we are going to start a new tradition. Every now and again we will post recipes to cook on a day when you have a bit more time. For us it’s Sunday (Yay for Home-Cooked Sundays!). The recipes will make enough for two family dinners, as I’ll offer an idea for transforming the leftovers into a quick and easy dinner on a busy night. We will call that Easy Tuesday (so you can fit in Meatless Monday).

Our first recipe, Quinoa Crusted Chicken, is adapted from our new cookbook The Family Cooks, and the way to turn the leftovers into an easy Chicken Parmesan is from our last cookbook The Family Dinner … So it’s very much a family thing.

CRUNCHY QUINOA CRUSTED CHICKEN STRIPS

YOU NEED:

3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (preferably organic and free-range)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ cups quinoa (rinsed if needed)
2 cups flour (any kind: wheat flour, rice flour, gluten-free baking flour)
4 eggs
2 tablespoon mustard (your favorite kind)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoon olive oil

TO MAKE

1. Cut any fatty bits off the chicken and if a breast has a “tender” (the extra strip under the breast), cut it off as well. Slice each chicken breast length- wise into 3 or 4 thick strips, about 2 fingers wide. Drop them (and the chicken tenders) into a bowl, toss with 1 teaspoon salt, and pop into the fridge.

2. Cook the quinoa in a pot of salted boiling water until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain extra well.

3. Get out three shallow containers. Put the flour in one. Lightly beat the eggs with mustard in the second. In the third container, toss the quinoa with the Parmesan (and any extra ingredients—see Play with It!), then taste to see if you would like to add salt and pepper.

4. Dip each chicken strip first into the flour so it is white, shaking off the excess, then into the egg (it is helpful to use tongs for this) so it is yellow, then press it hard (hard!) into the quinoa so it gets completely coated on both sides.

5. Preheat the broiler with a rack about 6 inches from the heat. Drizzle the olive oil onto a rimmed baking sheet. Slide it into the oven to heat it (this helps to achieve a crispier crust). When the baking sheet is hot, remove it from the oven and place the strips on it. Using tongs, flip them over so that the strips are coated on both sides with oil.

6. Broil the chicken until golden, about 5 minutes. Flip over and broil 5 minutes more or until the chicken loses its pink color.

PLAY WITH IT!

* If you prefer to use breadcrumbs instead of quinoa, use 11⁄2 cups, and rather than broil the chicken, bake on an oiled baking sheet for 20 minutes at 350º.

* Spice them up with a few dashes of hot 
sauce added to the eggs.

* Go the herby route by adding chopped chives, parsley, or thyme to the quinoa mixture.

* Make them tangy and add a squeeze of lemon to the eggs and the grated zest to the quinoa mixture.

EASY TUESDAY QUINOA CRUSTED CHICKEN PARMESAN

YOU NEED:

Leftover Quinoa Crusted Chicken
1 pound penne
6 cups of your favorite tomato sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
8 slices of fresh mozzarella, or 1½ cups shredded mozzarella
Fresh parsley or basil chopped

To make 6 servings

1. Heat up your oven to 425º. Boil the pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain and toss the pasta with half of the tomato sauce.

2. Pour the pasta into a large oiled baking dish and top with the chicken breasts.

3. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the chicken.

4. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes.

5. Now that the chicken is a little crunchy and the noodles are hot, take out the baking dish, dollop the remaining tomato sauce over the chicken, and arrange the mozzarella on top. Bake for 15 minutes or until bubbly. Top with the fresh herbs and serve with a green salad.

PLAY WITH IT!

* Add chopped vegetables to the pasta, like cooked broccoli or kale (cook it with the pasta for the last 4 minutes), grated carrots or frozen defrosted peas.

* If you are low on chicken, you can always augment with sliced cooked Italian sausage.

 

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