This is easy week. So if you’re looking for something elaborate, this is not it. Very tasty, though, which is all that counts. The prep was all done ahead whenever I found time, and putting it together was easy. This is the basic timeline:
In the morning:
Soak three cups quinoa in almost twice as much water, plus add a swig of raw apple cider vinegar to help break down the saponins. You could soak it overnight, but I wanted a sturdier grain with more of a couscous texture – unfortunately, I cooked it a little too long and it turned to mush anyway. On the plus side, quinoa is a quick sprouter, so at least the nutrition is enhanced.
Slice chicken (I used boneless, skinless breasts, but any part would work well) and marinate in raw apple cider vinegar (still on the counter from earlier!), toasted sesame oil, and curry masala powder. Store in the refrigerator until later.
About an hour before dinner:
Drain and rinse quinoa and put into a dutch oven with fresh water. Bring to a boil, then let simmer until the water is absorbed, stirring periodically. If you add too much water or cook it too long, it turns into mush (like mine did tonight!), but the leftovers can be eaten for breakfast.
Chop sweet potatoes into cubes and coat in olive oil. Place in an even layer on cookie sheets. Roast at 375 degrees until pleasantly browned. I also cut a butternut squash in half and roasted it along with the sweet potatoes – this will probably end up being for my 1-year old.
Rinse chard well. Because I want to puke anytime I taste a rogue grain of dirt, I like to give leafy things a quick rinse under the water in the sink, then submerse them in a bowl of water for ten minutes, then thoroughly rinse each leaf under the sink water again. This is not as labor-intensive as it sounds, and it’s MUCH better than biting into dirt.
Cut chard into bite-sized pieces and spin in a salad spinner. Sauté in a tablespoon of olive oil – I used this citrusy olive oil from my hometown –
with a clove or two of minced garlic and some sea salt. This cooks quickly, so I just pulled it out after it wilted enough and cooked the chicken in the same pan. The chicken also cooks quickly because I cut it into small pieces.
This might seem like a lot of steps, but I cooked large batches of everything but the chicken. I will use the extra sweet potatoes and chard in some black bean soup, and the quinoa will be tomorrow’s porridge. If it had turned out better, it would’ve shown up at dinner again later in the week. Oh well – it’s not a complete disaster!