Updated: December 19, 2019
Few people know that the reason I started this blog was because I was on a diet and wanted to do an online journal of the process. (“Ahhh,” you say, the blog title makes sense now) As you can see that didn’t last long and I decided instead to blog about my love of food – so much more interesting for all of us.
Well here it is the start of a new year and the time when all of us re-evaluate what we’re eating and what we’re doing and make some resolutions. I’m not sure that mine are as formal as that but I have resolved to make a few changes. One is I’m watching what I eat and the other is I’ve increased my weekly visits to the gym. A pretty basic equation that I hope will equal weight loss in the end.
Because I love food the one thing I cannot do is fall into a formulaic approach to my meals. I cannot only eat oatmeal for breakfast, salad for lunch, and grilled chicken for dinner. My taste buds are used to varied and interesting dishes. I’m also trying to focus on eating fresh foods rather than going to frozen meals and prepackaged foods. It means that I’m combing my cookbooks, magazines, and the Internet for delicious, healthy, low-calorie meals. Let me introduce you to the first one I tried out – Chicken, Butternut Squash, and Quinoa Stew.
A few simple ingredients
Chicken is my preferred protein when I’m watching what I eat – it’s versatile, readily available, and in a pinch it’s easy to pick up a rotisserie chicken cooked and ready to go.
Quinoa is something new I’ve been incorporating into my diet. It’s high in protein and fiber and very easy to cook (although I must admit it smells a bit odd when it’s cooking). I use it as a starch instead of rice or pasta and it’s also a nice textural addition to salads. It’s my new favorite grain.
Butternut squash – and winter squashes in general – is something I only started eating when I moved to Boston. It’s not a big thing in Hawaii. We eat kabocha pumpkin in Japanese food but I don’t remember eating a lot of winter squash growing up. But I like it in all its forms – baked, boiled, mashed. The only thing I don’t like is peeling and prepping butternut squash. I don’t like the film that forms on my hands and fingers. Unless I’m baking the squash, I find it’s worth the little extra I pay to get it peeled and cut.
So doing a search on those three ingredients brought me to this fantastic recipe on the Mel’s Kitchen Cafe blog for Chicken and Butternut Squash Quinoa Stew. The recipe is a modification from one found on the Cookin’ Canuck blog. What I love about the recipe is it’s a one-pot meal. It’s made even simpler by the fact that already had a rotisserie chicken so I skipped that step and shredded what I already had. The only addition I made was adding crushed red pepper when I sauteed the onions and then more cayenne pepper when I added the butternut squash to the pot – I like things spicy.
I hope to share more recipes. I really believe that healthy food can be tasty and satisfying and hope to discover a lot of good recipes. And there will still be opportunities for restaurant meals and other indulgences. That won’t go away. It’s all about finding the right balance. Onward and upward!Print
This satisfying one-pot stew is adapted from melskitchencafe.com, Using rotisserie chicken is a great shortcut and makes it possible to pull together for a weeknight meal.
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, optional
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 can (14-oz) petite or regular diced tomatoes
3 cups chopped butternut squash (about 1 medium squash, peeled and seeded)
2/3 cup uncooked quinoa
Cayenne pepper, to taste, optional
3 cups cubed or shredded rotisserie chicken, white or dark meat
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups chopped fresh spinach
In a large pot heat the olive oil until hot. Add the chopped onions, oregano, crushed red pepper, and garlic. Sauté for 5-7 minutes, stirring often, until the onion is softened. Add the broth and bring to a boil.
Add the tomatoes, butternut squash, quinoa, and cayenne pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes until the squash is tender and quinoa is cooked. If desired, scoop out some of the squash, mash it and return it to the pot.
Add the chicken to the pot. Add the salt and pepper, adjusting to taste, if needed. Cook for 5 minutes to heat through. Stir in the spinach. Cook 1-2 minutes until the spinach is wilted. Serve warm.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 29 minutes
- Category: Main Dishes, Chicken, Stew
- Cuisine: American
- Calories: 402.28
- Sugar: 5.68 g.
- Sodium: 757.65 mg.
- Fat: 14.53 g.
- Saturated Fat: 3.39 g.
- Carbohydrates: 30.65 g.
- Fiber: 4.99 g.
- Protein: 40.92 g.
- Cholesterol: 113.56 g.
Keywords: rotisserie chicken, butternut squash, quinoa, spinach, tomatoes