Quinoa Fall Skillet

I’m trying really hard to think of a way to start this post without the phrase “One of my favorite things about fall is…” I think it is a well established fact that, as a people, we tend to love fall.

So I’ll try this…

What really gets me jazzed about fall…

is all the produce that starts turning up at the market. There is suddenly an abundance of whole stalks of cute little brussels sprouts, gourds, squashes, and pumpkins. So. Many. Pumpkins. Now, I love pumpkin as much as the next girl {really, I do!}, but it isn’t the end all be all of amazing fall veg.

What about all of those other delicious, beta-carotene packed, orange veggies?

Sure there are carrots, but I don’t want to talk about that. {Unless they’re in cake, then I fully support their existence.}

I want to talk about sweet potatoes. These babies are easily my all-time favorite veggie in the history of ever. You can boil them, mash them, stick ’em in a stew. You can roast them and put them in a salad. You can cook them with with bacon and some other fall favorites like apples and brussels sprouts and get this skillet that will make you want to go jump in a pile of leaves and watch Hocus Pocus on repeat until your boyfriend demands that you turn the drivel off.

It’s fall, in your mouth, minus the pumpkin.

Quinoa Fall Skillet from Kiwi and Peach

Quinoa Fall Skillet from Kiwi and Peach

Quinoa Fall Skillet

{Serves two. Adapted, barely, from a heart healthy recipe Prevention magazine. I reduced the recipe for two, and completely eliminating the heart-healthy aspect of the recipe, I used my normal chicken stock, and subbed thick cut bacon for the low-fat and let’s face it, low-flavor, bacon. If we’re going to eat bacon, let’s eat the real stuff from a nice non-factory pig, why don’t we? My method is also a bit different too because of the quinoa.}

The Quinoa
2 cups water
1 cup quinoa
dash of salt
1 Tbsp olive oil for crisping

The Chicken
1 chicken breast, cut into cubes
salt and pepper
dash of olive oil for cooking

The Skillet
2 ounces thick cut bacon, sliced
1/2 of a medium onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small sweet potato, peeled and cubed
about 10 brussels sprouts, quartered
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and cubed
1 tsp fresh thyme
big pinch of cinnamon
little pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup chicken stock

First things first, let’s get the quinoa on. Boil your jug and start heating a medium pot and a large pan, both on medium high heat.

Once the jug has boiled, add your water to the pot and salt it. Bring it to a boil and add the quinoa. Remember to rinse your quinoa with hot water before you cook it to get rid of that bitter powder that coats it! Set your timer for 20 minutes and let it do its thing.

Cube your chicken and season it withe salt and pepper. {I usually go ahead and slice the bacon now as well since I already have the meat cutting board out. Just sit it to the side until we’re ready for it.} Once the pan is really hot, add a dash of olive oil and pop the chicken in there. I usually sear it on one side, then flip and let it cook for 4–5 minutes or so. You want to cook it until it’s a nice golden color. When the chicken is finished transfer to a bowl and set it to the side. Return the pan to the heat.

While I’m waiting for the quinoa to finish up, I go ahead and start prepping the veggies. They all go in at about the same time, so it’s good to have them ready before you start on the skillet. Dice your onion. Peel and press your garlic. Peel and cube your sweet potato and apple. {1/2 – 3/4 inch cubes should do it.} After rinsing your brussels sprouts, cut the bottom off like you would a head of cabbage and quarter them. I discard the leaves that fall off when quartering them since they can be a bit bitter anyway.

By now the quinoa should be finished. Now, this step is completely optional. I, personally, like my quinoa crispy, so it’s worth the extra step to me. It’s completely up to you. Before getting started on the skillet, I add some olive oil to the now very hot pan and transfer the quinoa from the pot to the pan. Stir a bit, let it sit, then repeat a couple times. Basically what we’re doing is getting rid of the extra water and frying it up a tad bit. The quinoa will get a little darker and some bits might blacken. That’s when you know you’re done. Transfer it back to the pot and set it off the heat.

Now. The skillet.

Add your bacon, onion, and garlic to the hot pan and let them cook for a couple of minutes. Add the brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes, cover, and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the sweet potatoes are starting to get tender go ahead and stir in the apple, thyme, cinnamon, and salt and let those flavors cook for a couple minutes. Add half of the chicken stock and let it cook until it is mostly evaporated. {This will soften up those potatoes!} Add the chicken to the skillet along with the rest of the stock and cook for a couple minutes longer until the it is all nice and hot.

Stir the quinoa in and serve it up. Enjoy!

Quinoa Fall Skillet from Kiwi and Peach

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Kickin’ the ’cocks Boneless Buffalo Wings

{Disclaimer: I am aware this title is a bit on the edge. We are playing South Carolina this week and they’re the gamecocks. Come on, you know it’s funny. The twelve year old inside you is laughing right now.}

It’s Friday friends! It’s finally here. This week has been d.r.a.g.g.i.n.g. Why? Because the Kiwi’s parents are coming to town! We love having folks over, but we especially love it when those folks are our folks.

But before I run pick them up at the train station, I wanted to share a quick game day recipe for your tailgate this weekend. Last week was close, but my dawgs didn’t finish the drill. Hopefully they can make it happen this weekend, and hopefully I will be able to convince the crew that what they really want to do on their only Saturday night in Munich is watch an American football game.

Kickin’ the ’cocks Boneless Buffalo Wings

Kickin’ the ’cocks Boneless Buffalo Wings

The Chicken
2 chicken breasts
buttermilk

The Breading
3/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 tbsp paprika
1/4 tsp chili flakes
salt and pepper

To Cook
1/2 cup canola oil {enough for there to be about 1cm of oil in your pan}
1 cup hot sauce {or for the lightweights, BBQ sauce}

Get started by slicing your chicken breasts into strips. Put the strips in a tupperware container and pour in the buttermilk until the chicken is just covered. Let the it soak in the buttermilk for at least an hour, but if possible, overnight is best.

When you’re ready to eat, start heating the oil in a frying pan on medium heat and preheat your oven to broil {or grill for the Kiwis}.

Mix together all of the breading ingredients in a shallow bowl. When the oil is hot, coat the chicken strips with the breading and pop them in the oil. Shallow fry for about 3-5 minutes on each side. When the breading is crispy, transfer the chicken to a paper towel and let some of that grease drain off. Discard the used cooking oil that’s still in the pan.

Grab a bowl and pour your hot sauce {or BBQ sauce} in it. One by one dip the chicken strips in the sauce and then return to the frying pan. Once all of your chicken is back in the pan, pop it in the oven for about 5-7 minutes. This will finish cooking the chicken and crisp that breading even more. Yum!

Serve it up with some blue cheese dipping sauce and dig in!

Pineapple Glazed Chicken Kebabs

This past weekend was a rainy one. We cleaned, we organized, we did a step-by-step photo shoot. I sewed until I broke my last needle. But really, we wanted to be at the lake. We wanted to be grilling. We wanted to soak up every last bit of summer in Bavaria.

So could we grill when it was bucketing? No, but we could still make kebabs.

Pineapple Glazed Chicken Kebabs

The Marinade {inspired by Tupelo Honey Cafe}
1/3 cup pineapple juice {orange or grapefruit juice would work as well}
3 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1-2 chicken breasts

The Veg
1 bell pepper {I generally use some combination of red, green or yellow.}
1 medium sweet onion
4-5 button mushrooms
1/2 of a zucchini

Soak 6-8 bamboo skewers in water. {This will prevent the wood from splintering and if you’re grilling, it will keep the wood from burning.}

Combine all the ingredients for the marinade in a tupperware container. reserve a couple tablespoons and set aside. Cut the chicken into bite sized cubes and pop it in the marinade. Best case scenario, marinate the chicken overnight, but if that’s not possible at least marinate it while you’re prepping the veggies. {If you can do overnight, I swear the chicken will actually melt in your mouth.}

Wash and dry your veggies then cut them all into bite-sized bits.

Thread the skewer through the veggies and chicken. Get creative with the order. It doesn’t really matter/have to be exact. {Unless you’re OCD, in which case, carry on with your patterns.}

If you can grill these babies, do it! We couldn’t due to rain/lack of grill device, so I just popped them in a pan on medium high heat for about 3-4 minutes on each side. Remember that bit of the marinade you reserved before you put the chicken in? Brush it over the kebabs each time you flip it.

Perfection.

Serve with some green beans or maybe some potatoes or baked beans and dig in!

{This post contains an Amazon affiliate link. That means that if you head over to Amazon from the link and choose to buy the book, a tiny bit of the money you spent on the book will come back to me for the referral.} 

BBQ Chicken and Caramelized Onion Sandwich

I have really terrible luck when it comes to restaurants I like staying in business. My hometown gets a great brunch place next to a farmers market. Closed. One of my favorite beach restaurants opens a branch in Athens, and I can get sweet potato fries with blue cheese dipping sauce whenever I want. Nope, closed. Find a brunch place with the best chicken salad ever. Closed. When I moved to Munich there was this delicious, farm-to-table place that I absolutely loved. Closed. A unique, quirky coffee shop where my friends would have our coffee dates with the friendliest barista in town. Closed. We finally locate a place that does spicy {and reasonably priced} takeaway mexican food. Closed.

I think I’m jinxed.

So it’s with a lot of fear that I mention this next place to you. There would be real tears if this place closed. I just don’t think I could handle it. This place called Transmetropolitan. Now, this isn’t new news to anyone who has ever been to Athens {Georgia, not Greece}, but Transmet is the place to go for a delicious, substantial, and cheap slice of pizza. Seriously, you can get a slice of sicilian bigger than my face for like 2 bucks. College kids can’t beat it. My staple, during the college years, was the Johnny Hector’s BBQ Pizza. It had these amazing caramelized onions and a sweet and spicy BBQ sauce that really set it apart from other BBQ pizzas I’ve had in my day. So. Good. Y’all.

If you’re ever in Athens, please promise me you’ll check them out. Pretty please. You don’t want to see the tears.

So what’s a girl to do when she’s half way around the world and craving a Johnny Hector? Obviously we are going to make our own.

Kiwi+Peach: BBQ Chicken and Caramelized Onion Sandwich

BBQ Chicken Sandwich

The Onions
½ red onion
2 tsp butter
1 tsp brown sugar

The Chicken
1 chicken breast
pinch of salt and pepper
1 tsp olive oil
2 Tbsp bbq sauce

The Assembly
2 buns
2 Tbsp bbq sauce
1/4 cup cheese {gouda is good} or 1/2 ball of buffalo mozzarella

Start heating a pan on medium high heat. Slice your onion and when the pan is hot, drop the butter in the pan, add the onions, and then sprinkle with brown sugar. Give it a stir and cook for 10 minutes or until they are caramelized to your liking. When they are finished, put them in a small bowl and set them to the side.

While the onions are a caramelizing, slice your chicken breast into strips and sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper over the strips. Once the pan is free, add the olive oil and chicken to the pan. Seal the chicken on one side and then let it cook on the other side, undisturbed for about 3 or 4 minutes and then flip. After a few more minutes, pour the bbq sauce over the chicken and give it a stir until the pieces are completely covered. Let it cook until all the bbq sauce has been reduced then remove from the heat.

While the chicken is cooking, grate your cheese {or slice your mozzarella} and your buns. Spread bbq sauce on each side of the bun. When the chicken is finished, load the bottom halves of the sandwiches with the chicken, onions, and grated cheese. Pop them in the oven on broil {or grill for y’all Kiwis} until the cheese melts {3-5 minutes depending on your oven}.

Put the top on and get messy!

Bruschetta Chicken

Monday, we meet again.

Have you got a case of the Mondays today? I sure do. My parents are off to Amsterdam and Paris for the week, and the Kiwi and I are back at work after a great weekend of castles, hiking, and the Kocherball. Bummer, man. I can’t really complain though. We’re meeting up with them in the Black Forest on Friday, so life’s not that bad. I guess.

Today I thought I’d share my version of a Pinterest find. I made it for my mom when she was here back in April, and it was one of the first things she requested I make when they decided to come back this summer. This is super simple y’all. You can do with when you’re dead on your feet after a full day of running, bike riding, and walking 40 million miles; or just work.

Kiwi+Peach: Bruschetta Chicken

Bruschetta Chicken

{adapted for two from this Flickr}

The Chicken
2 chicken breasts
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 egg
2 tsp butter, melted
2 Tbsp whole wheat bread crumbs
2 Tbsp parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 tsp garlic salt

The Bruschetta
2 medium tomatoes
8-10 fresh basil leaves
5-6 fresh oregano leaves
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

The Pasta
4 oz whole wheat pasta
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
juice from 1/2 a lemon {about 1 tbsp}
1 clove of garlic, minced

Preheat the oven to 375°F/180°C. Using olive oil and a pastry brush, grease the bottom of a glass baking dish.

Measure your flour and put it in a shallow bowl.  In a separate bowl, crack your egg and scramble it a bit. Coat the chicken with the flour first, then dip it in the egg, and place it in the baking dish.

In a separate bowl, melt the butter and add then bead crumbs, cheese, and salt. Give it a mix, making sure that the butter is absorbed, then spoon it over the tops of the chicken breasts.

Cover it with tin foil and pop it in the oven. Set your timer for about 35 minutes.

While its baking, I go ahead and whip up the tomato topping and make my pasta. Since the tomato topping is essentially the ‘sauce’ for the pasta too I make a lot. Chop up everything and add it to a medium sized bowl. Give it a toss and let it sit for a bit.

When the timer goes off, remove the tin foil and spoon the tomatoes on top of the chicken breasts. Put it back in the oven {uncovered} for 5 more minutes so the tomatoes can get nice and warm.

For the pasta, boil your jug and cook the pasta according to the directions on the package {usually 11-13 minutes for whole wheat pasta}. Always remember to salt your water. It makes the pasta taste so much yummier! When its finished, drain the water and turn off the heat. Return the pasta to the pot and mix in the parmesan, garlic, and lemon juice.

Serve the chicken on a bed of pasta and dig in. I suppose you could forego the pasta altogether and have a nice salad with this instead of carbo-loading, but where’s the fun in that. {Just kidding. I think it would be real tasty!}

Mama’s Chicken Burritos

My mom will be the first to tell you that she doesn’t enjoy cooking. That’s not to say she’s not good at it–quite the contrary, but she doesn’t enjoy trying out new recipes and coming up with new combos in the kitchen. Being the working mom she was, she tended to go for the tried and true recipes that she knew we loved. This is one of those recipes.

Whenever I’d come home from college this would always be my first request. No one can make it quite like Mama, right? So, in honor of their visit, I’m sharing her famous chicken burrito recipe. It’s been altered slightly to eliminate some of the processed ingredients {like taco seasoning}. I usually make my own refried beans and salsa too, but the stuff from the jar is just as good. Promise.

Kiwi+Peach: Mama's Chicken Burritos

Mama’s Chicken Burritos

The Chicken
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp chili flakes
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp olive oil
1 chicken breast, cubed

The Goods
½ of a red pepper, sliced
½ of an onion, sliced
1 tsp chili powder
½ can of refried beans
¼ cup sour cream

The Wrap
2 whole wheat tortillas
1 ball of fresh buffalo mozzarella
2 tbsp{ish} salsa

To make a marinade for the chicken, mix the spices together with the oil. Add the chicken and let sit for at least 30 minutes.

Begin heating a sauté pan. Slice the pepper and the onion and add to the pan. Dust with a bit of chili powder and give it a stir. Cover and let them cook, stirring occasionally, for 7-8 minutes or until the onion is translucent and soft.

Add the chicken (marinade and all) to the pan and cook until the chicken is done {5-7 minutes}.

While the chicken is cooking, warm the tortillas in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Then give the refried beans a hit for about 45 seconds. Spread the beans on the tortillas and then top with sour cream. When the peppers, onions, and chicken are finished, layer them on and wrap it up.

Slice the mozzarella and lay the cheese on top. Pop it in the micro to melt the cheese. It takes me about a minute and 45 seconds. Spoon some salsa on top and dig in!

Chicken and Spinach Baked Taquitos

When I was a kid, I almost always took my lunch to school. Except, that is, on Taquito Thursday. Sure, some folks might have gotten excited about ‘Pizza Fridays’ but ‘Taquito Thursdays’ what really where it was at. In retrospect, these could not have been worse for us–deep fried corn tortillas stuffed with ground mystery meat beef and cheese. Oh, but they were good.

One day, not long ago, I went on the hunt for a healthier way to make these suckers. There had been this recipe floating around on Pinterest that I thought that I could adapt to make into just the perfect thing. Really though, it had me at the secret ingredient…beer.

Kiwi+Peach: Drunk Chicken and Spinach Taquitos

Chicken and Spinach Baked Taquitos

{adapted for two from Healthy. Delicious.}

The Chicken
10 ounces {300 mL} beer
2 chicken breasts
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

The Stuffin’
1 green pepper {or jalapeño for those of y’all that live in a sane country}
a handful of spinach

The Wraps
4 corn tortillas
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup of a cheese that melts well {monterrey jack would be my preference}

Preheat your oven to 450°F/225°C.

In a medium sized pot on medium high heat, bring the beer to a boil and add your chicken breasts. Crank it down to medium and cook for about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a medium sized bowl when it’s finished. Using two forks, shred the chicken. Add all of  the yummy seasoning and mix well.

While the chicken is cooking, remove the seeds from your pepper and dice it up. After the chicken has been removed from the pot, add the pepper and your spinach to the beer and simmer on low for about 5 minutes. When the spinach is a bit wilted, remove from the heat and drain the beer.

Go ahead and grate your cheese so its ready for the assembly process. Cut each wrap in half, and, using a pastry brush, give it a light coat of olive oil. On the longest bit of the wrap, pile your chicken, spinach/pepper combo, and cheese. Roll it up and place seam side down on a lined baking sheet. Repeat for the rest of the wraps and then give the tops a brush of olive oil.

Pop it in the oven for about 8 minutes. Take the pan out and {carefully} flip them. Give the tops a brush of olive oil and return to the oven for about 8 more minutes or until they look appropriately crispy for your liking.

Serve with sour cream, salsa, and, if your feeling particularly hungry/ambitious, maybe some spanish rice or refried beans.