Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Chicken, Cranberry and Almond Quinoa Pilaf

With Thanksgiving being tomorrow, I have made sure to keep a balanced diet over the last few days in preparation for the big day. I know full well that come Thursday, I will be an eating machine! All of my meals this week have been low in carbs and heavy in protein.

Tonight was no different. My friend Lauren is staying over so that we can get up bright and early to watch The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade from Times Square. After explaining my pre-turkey day diet plan, we decided to have some fun cooking together.  Tonight's menu: Chicken, Cranberry and Almond Quinoa Pilaf.

The cranberries with the chicken tasted like a little Thanksgiving teaser, which we loved. And the tenderness of the quinoa with the crunch of almond added great balance to the dish. This is definitely a great meal to make when you're limited on time. It's fast and packed full of nutritious flavor!

1 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cups dried cranberries
2/3 cups sliced almonds, toasted
2 pre-cooked chicken breasts, diced into 1/2 inch cubes

1) Heat oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until just softened, about 2 minutes. Add quinoa and toast, stirring constantly, for one minute.
2) Stir in broth and salt and bring to a boil then reduce to medium low. Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes.
3) Stir in cranberries, cover again and continue to cook until all liquid from the quinoa is completely absorbed, about 8 to 10 minutes. By this time, the quinoa should be tender.
4) Toss in heated chicken breast pieces and almonds. Season with salt and pepper to taste then enjoy!

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