What's For Dinner: Mexican Quinoa Bowls

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

My favorite meals lately have been all about BOWLS filled with layers of goodness.  The great thing about bowl-meals is that each family member can customize it according to their likes/dislikes.  You can also adapt the recipe each time you make it to use what you have on hand.

This recipe--Mexican Quinoa Bowls--would be a perfect meal for Cinco de Mayo on Thursday, so I hope you try it out!


I based this recipe off of this one.  The first time I made it for dinner, I was a little nervous if Brad would like it since it is more of a "Moni meal," but he was a big fan.  My kids were too, although I mostly kept the layers divided evenly on a plate for them.

I've made this several times since without re-checking the recipe, so what you'll see here is more of a "add some of this, add more of that" recipe rather than one with exact measurements.

The main deal-breaker ingredients you'll want: "Mexican" spices (CUMIN for sure, and some paprika, cayenne pepper, ore red pepper, etc. in addition), LIMES, cilantro (although, I've made this recipe without it), coconut oil (you can replace this with other fats/oils), and honey--that's your surprise ingredient.  Everything can be played with according to your taste. You can even do ground beef, instead of chicken.

And if you don't like quinoa, you can always replace it with good ol' rice!


This is how we layer it (from bottom to top):
Quinoa
Lettuce
Sweet Potato Salsa/Relish
Mexican-style Meat
Toppings: Cheese, Sour Cream/Plain Yogurt, Diced Avocado, additional squeeze of Lime


I warn you that the below recipes and steps look complicated.  They really aren't.  You just have to time things well and cook them in a certain order.  Underneath the recipes, I give short instructions on the order I cook all of this.  

Quinoa
Quinoa
Coconut oil
Lime
Cilantro, minced

Make one-two cups of quinoa according to package's direction, adding a teaspoon or two of coconut oil before cooking (you can use butter or another fat here).  Once it's made, add squeezed juice of half a lime, salt and pepper, and a little diced cilantro.

Sweet Potato Salsa/Relish
1-3 medium sweet potatoes
Coconut oil
Salt and Pepper
Half of onion, finely diced
Mexican spices (cumin, especially)
Lime
Onion
Honey
Black/Pinto Beans
Cilantro, minced

Dice sweet potatoes (use as much or as little a your group requires).  In a big bowl, drizzle potatoes with melted coconut oil (around 1 TB), and salt and pepper.  Bake at 350 degrees for fifteen-twenty minutes, or until they're almost cooked all the way through. (Note: I usually bake the chicken at the same time on a second rack.  See bottom of post for more on that.)

Midway through cooking, on the stovetop using a big skillet, heat up 1/2 - 1 TB of coconut oil and sauté onion until it's caramelized.  Add a tablespoon or two of honey, juice from one lime, and some shakes of Mexican spices: cumin, paprika, red pepper.  Put the baked sweet potatoes in and sauté a few more minutes until sweet potatoes are officially cooked through. Add one can (or start with half a can, if you're not using a lot of sweet potato) of drained beans--either black or pinto.  Gently add more salt and pepper and lime, according to taste.  Sprinkle with 1-2 TB of minced cilantro.

Chicken
1-2 Thawed Chicken Breasts (I usually use just one)
Mexican Spices
Salt and Pepper

Place breasts in a smaller baking dish, sprayed with cooking spray.  Sprinkle those mexican spices and salt and pepper.  Bake at 350, for 20-30 minutes (depending on how thick your chicken is) until the liquid runs clear and chicken is cooked through.  Allow chicken to rest for a few minutes, then cut up into diced-size pieces.


I usually cook in this order: start with the first half of the sweet potato recipe and chicken.  While those are baking, make the quinoa then mince cilantro.  While quinoa cooks, start and finish the second half of the sweet potato recipe (where you sauté onion).  While that cooks, I quickly prepare the toppings (shred cheese, dice avocados, etc.).  Take sweet potato salsa off the heat.  Dice the chicken.  Assemble all the cooked parts. Layer according to instructions above.  Enjoy!




6 comments:

  1. Your new blog design is gorgeous! And I'm loving your header.

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    1. Thank you! It's an etsy template, so.... And I still have a ways to go before it's all in order!

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  2. I love all of these ingredients and so do my kiddos. Can't wait to try this!

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  3. Just made this tonight--DELICIOUS! Thanks for the recipe Monica!

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    1. You did?! That makes me SO SO happy.

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