Cook it Tonight!
Take Control Staff
Eating healthy is the most challenging when we don’t have time and life gets in the way. It is tempting to grab takeout or fast food when you feel busy, overwhelmed, or stressed. Afterward, you may feel like you let yourself down and might even feel like giving up on your health goals. It doesn’t have to be that way. There are quick and easy recipes that can be made with ingredients typically found in the pantry. Meals that can be made in an hour or less.
We want to help you build a list of quick and easy meals that become your new go-to when life gets in the way. That’s why we are starting a new series called “Cook It Tonight!” We will share our favorite quick and easy meals for weeknight dinners. Try one of these, and you won’t have to spend money on takeout or feel guilty about grabbing fast food. Just open your pantry and make a quick, healthy meal that you’ll feel great about.
Our goal is to share recipes that have broad appeal. Our coaches have diverse backgrounds and cooking skills. Some of us are raising young children and some are empty nesters. And just like you, many of our households have picky eaters and people with food allergies. We’ll share recipes that represent at least three food groups – just like we talk about in our coaching sessions. Our clients are often curious about what we eat. Our “Cook It Tonight!” series is an opportunity for us to give you a peek into our kitchens.
We’ll start this week with two great chicken dishes: Hoisin Vegetable and Chicken Bowls, and One-pot Chicken and Rice.
Hoisin Vegetable and Chicken Bowls with Quinoa
I adapted this recipe from Hello Fresh. This quick, super-easy dinner has become a favorite and a regular in our dinner meal rotation! The biggest commitment is chopping, but is done in no time if you enlist help. I substitute Tamari for soy sauce to make the recipe gluten-free. Brown and Jasmine rice can be substituted for quinoa and finish in the same amount of time. – Laura, Take Control Health Coach
Prep: 15 Min. Cook: 30 Min. Total: 45 min. Servings: 4 servings, about 8 cups
Preheat oven to 425°
- 1 medium sweet potato
- 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 4 green onions chopped
- 1 small head of broccoli cut into florets
- 1 yellow or red pepper cut into ½ inch pieces
- 1 zucchini, halved length-wise, then cut into half-moons about ½” thick
- 4 TBSP hoisin sauce
- 4TSP soy sauce
- Kosher salt – to taste
- Black pepper – to taste
- 4TBSP Mayonnaise
- 4TBSP Light sour cream
- 2 tsp Siracha (start with 1 tsp and add more to your liking)
- Mix ingredients well in small bowl.
- Place a rack in center of the oven and pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. For easy clean up, line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Spray with non-stick spray.
- Place sweet potato, broccoli and mushrooms in a medium bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and 2TBSP of hoisin, salt and pepper. Spread out on one side of the baking sheet and cook for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare quinoa as follows: place 1 cup of quinoa in a bowl and cover with water. Let sit 3-5 minutes. Pour into a mesh colander and rinse for 30 seconds. Finally, pour quinoa into saucepan add 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook until all water is absorbed about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest covered 5 minutes (this allows the quinoa to pop open).
- In same bowl used for sweet potato mixture add remaining vegetables and drizzle with small amount of olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Once timer is complete in step two add these vegetables to the empty side of the baking pan and spread evenly. Place pan for another 10 minutes. When timer expires coat the sweet potatoes, broccoli and mushrooms with remaining hoisin sauce. Toss to coat and return to oven for 5 minutes until vegetables are tender and glaze is tacky.
- Fluff quinoa with a fork and portion into bowls. Top with vegetable mixture and chicken. Top with scallion greens and a drizzle of siracha mayonnaise.
One-Pot Chicken and Rice Dinner
For me, one-pot meals are like the comfy pajamas for the family table; cozy, familiar, and easy to throw on! This Chicken and Rice dinner that I adapted from Iowa Girl Eats is my saving grace on a weeknight. It is a simple, low-commitment dish that includes a starch, veggies, and protein all in one pot. I serve it in a bowl with fresh fruit on the side. The extra bonuses: fewer dishes to clean, leftovers for lunch, and adding cauliflower rice is a great way to sneak in extra veggies. – Shannon, Take Control Health Coach
Prep: 15 Min. Cook: 35 Min. Total: 50 Min. Servings: 6
- 4TBSP avocado oil (olive oil can be substituted)
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 TBSP diced onion
- 2 TBSP Italian Seasoning
- 2 cloves minced garlic (or 1-2 tsp fresh chopped garlic in jar)
- 2 scant cups jasmine OR basmati rice (long grain rice also works well)
- 1 package riced cauliflower
- 3 small chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 8 cups chicken stock
- Heat avocado oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add carrots and celery. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with lid and cook until carrots are tender, 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add rice, diced onions and garlic. Stir to coat with oil and sauté for one minute. Add Italian seasoning and chicken stock. Turn up heat bringing ingredients to a boil, stirring to make sure rice does not stick to bottom of the pan.
- Turn heat down to medium-low simmering for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to pot along with riced cauliflower. Turn heat up slightly to bring mixture back to a bubble – then turn back down to medium-low. Continue to simmer until chicken is cooked through and rice is al dente. About 12-15 minutes stirring occasionally and more frequently near the end.
- Place a lid on top of the pot then remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- To serve: scoop into bowls and enjoy! Dish will thicken as it cools.