This post is sponsored by American Family Insurance. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
I don’t know about you but my life is pretty darn hectic during the week. Long days at work, horrible traffic during my commute, and training for a marathon do not leave very much time left in the day for making dinner. The last thing that I want to do when I get home is to spend an hour in the kitchen making dinner. Most of the time I find myself making a sandwich or stopping someplace on my way home from work or the gym.
In an effort to eat healthier during the week, Pete and I have been stocking our pantry and refrigerator with ingredients for simple dinners that can be thrown together in about 30 minutes or so. We love having fresh veggies waiting to be steamed or sautéed in the fridge. We keep a brown rice, quinoa, and couscous in our pantry so can have a healthy grain with our meals. When it comes to the protein, we have been obsessed with our smoker since January. Every other week, Pete spends a day smoking chicken breasts and wings as well as a pork tenderloin. Following this method has really helped us over the last few months to stay on track with our goals.
Every now and again, we decide that we just don’t want smoked chicken (or pork) for dinner and end up throwing together a one dish meal. A simple meal that is filled with ingredients that taste great alone but even better when thrown together. My latest one dish meal is an idea that has been floating around in my head for a few months now. I came up with it after having breakfast with my parents at one of our favorite restaurants. My first attempt of this dish involved spinach instead of kale but the spinach just didn’t hold up the way that I wanted. I was hoping the greens would stay intact and still have a slight crunch to it. The spinach just didn’t do that. Even though I have never cooked with kale before, I knew that it would probably be the right leafy green for this dish. Cabbage might have worked too but would have added a different flavor.
When coming up with simple, healthy meals for the week, I always try to get ingredients that don’t require very much prepping. To make this meal even simpler, I recommend using pre-sliced mushrooms, matchstick carrots, and pre-chopped kale leaves. The first time I made this dish, I actually shredded my own carrots but they got lost in the dish and Pete had no idea that carrots were even in it. You can also chop up the chicken breasts after you get home from the grocery store so that they are waiting in the fridge to be used. Reducing the prep time is one of the easiest ways to reduce the amount of time spent in the kitchen, which is always a good thing when you are having a hectic week.
If you are looking for more healthy recipes ideas and fitness inspiration, be sure to check out the Health and Fitness #ChooseDreams Pinterest board. There are plenty healthy recipes and fitness tips that can help you and your family stay healthy while living a busy life!
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- 2 cups low sodium chicken stock
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup dry quinoa
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1.5 to 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped in 1 inch cubes
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 4 cups kale, roughly chopped
- 2 cups sliced white mushrooms
- ¾ cup shredded carrots
- 1 lemon
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced
- In a large saucepan, bring the water and half of the chicken stock to a boil over high heat. Add the quinoa. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer until all the liquid has been absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes.
- Heat olive oil and minced garlic in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken and let it cook for 5 minutes of until the chicken is cooked halfway. Season the chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Turn the chicken for another 5 minutes.
- When the chicken is almost done cooking, remove it from the skillet and set aside. Add the remaining chicken stock and kale to the skillet with the onions and garlic. Raise the heat to high and cover. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove the cover and add the sliced mushrooms. Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking until the remaining liquid has evaporated, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add the chicken back to the skillet. Add the shredded carrots and stir. Continue cooking until the chicken is cooked through, about 3 to 5 minutes. Squeeze the lemon over the skillet and stir. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the tomatoes.
- When the quinoa is done cooking, mix it into the skillet. Thoroughly mix everything together.
- Serve and enjoy!
If you are looking for more healthy and simple weeknight meals perfect for your active family, be sure to check these other great recipes for inspiration!