Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Crockpot Chicken & Cranberry, Almond Quinoa with Spinach and Tomatoes


Dear crockpot, please have dinner ready by 7:00 p.m., thanks!

If you have not jumped on the crockpot bandwagon, you are truly missing out!  Who wouldn't want dinner done when getting home after a long day?!  Plus, one pot meals mean minimal dishes! Yet another reason to try this easy cooking method. 

After looking at the ingredients in this dish, I know what you may be thinking ... Do those things even go together? YES, yes they do and they are a delicious marriage of flavor and texture ... trust me!  Have I steered you wrong thus far (its ok, be honest)? 

*TIP: Always read an entire recipe before starting to cook so you completely understand it and make sure your ingredients are used at the right time.*


Crockpot Chicken & Cranberry, Almond Quinoa with Spinach and Tomatoes

Ingredients

2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (*vegetarian modifiable, see below*)
1 cup quinoa
3 cups broth (chicken or vegetable; I used chicken)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 sliced or chopped almonds - click here for storage tips
1/3 cup dried cranberries

**when I leave a space like this, it means the next set of ingredients are added later**
 
1 large handful of spinach
1 cup baby tomatoes, halved or quartered depending on size
1/2 container of feta cheese, crumbled

Instructions

Dump quinoa into the crockpot.  Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil chicken OR vegetable broth, the salt, and cinnamon. Mix around, then stir in almonds and cranberries. Lastly, add chicken breasts. 


Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours, or on high for 2-4.

The chicken is done when it is no longer pink in the center and also easily flakes with a fork.  The quinoa is done when you can fluff it with a fork and it is tender. The liquid should be pretty well absorbed, similar to how you know rice is done.

Carefully remove the chicken and transfer it to a plate.
  You will put the chicken back in to the crockpot but are removing it for a moment for the next step. 

Fluff the quinoa with a fork, and add the baby tomatoes and feta cheese. Stir gingerly to mix. 

Add a large handful of spinach to the crockpot, then put the chicken back into the crockpot over the spinach - and close the lid. 


Cook on high for about 10 minutes, or until the spinach has wilted. Stir again to distribute the spinach before serving. 


Should you wish to make this dish vegetarian, do not add chicken (obvious right) and follow these instructions: 

Vegetarian Cranberry, Almond Quinoa with Spinach and Tomatoes

Use all ingredients above except chicken, replace chicken broth/stock with vegetable broth/stock.  Follow all steps above. Just like that you have a vegetarian dish OR you can simply serve it as a side dish.

Listening to: Jaymay – Gray or Blue
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