Tasty Tuesday {Southwestern Bowls}


Today I thought that I would share a Cairns Family Dinner Staple, Southwest Quinoa Bowls. We eat this at least once a week, it is easy, fresh, delicious and Hubby’s staple. WIN! We love quinoa in our house because it is a seed not a grain (read: paleo friendly) and it is a complete protein.
Because I think that it is important to know what we are eating, I wanted to share a picture of a quinoa plant, a relative of spinach, to give you a picture of what is really on your plate.


Chicken Breast (1 large or 2 small)

Quinoa (1 to 1½ cups)

½-1 Bell Pepper (not green, diced 1/4inch)

1 to 2 Jalapenos (seeded and finely minced)

3 gloves of garlic (finely minced)

1 cup of Corn (frozen white Trader Joe’s is great)


Salt & Pepper


Garlic powder


Favorite BBQ sauce


1)   Cook the Quinoa in a rice cooker (easiest) fill the water just above the seeds and place a pat of butter on the top. If you don’t have a rice cooker than follow directions on the bag and I recommend using chicken broth instead of water (20-30 minutes)

2)   Season Chicken with salt, pepper, paprika, and a little garlic powder.

  1. With a flat mallet (tenderizer), tenderize the chicken to about ¾ thick all around
  2. b.    Using a Le Creuset, seasoned cast iron skillet, thick bottom pan, or non-stick if you have nothing else Heat 3 counts of EVOO on high. Once up to temp, place the chicken breast in pan (top part down). Sear on high both sides for 2 minutes each (to seal in flavor). Reduce Heat to medium to medium low (depending on your range) and cook until done.

3)   While Quinoa and Chicken are cooking, cook the vegetables in a large non stick on medium to medium high.

  1. a.     If adding other vegetables you like, you want to cook in order of vegetable density. If not then:
  2. b.    Place the diced Bell and minced Jalapenos in the pan with a pat of butter and sauté until softened (add a pinch of salt to help).
  3. c.     Next, add the minced garlic to sweat and then the corn (just to heat).
  4. d.    Mix all together. (turn off heat)

KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR CHICKEN, Take off and let rest when done

4)   Quinoa should be done, dump it into the large skillet that contains the bell pepper, jalapenos, garlic, and corn and mix thoroughly.

  1. a.     Serve in medium bowls

5)   Chicken should be done and resting on a cutting board. Slice chicken in the desired size

  1. a.     Place the chicken on top of quinoa mixture in each bowl

6)   With a microplane, grate cheese on top of each bowl (we like Dubliner cheddar, but also a fresh grated parm or Mexican mix works too)

7)   Last but not least, pour your favorite BBQ sauce on top (heated is preferred and as much as desired) and then enjoy.



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