Thursday, November 8, 2012

What's for Dinner? Easy Baked Chicken, Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Quinoa

I want to start off by saying that I took a nice long break to focus on planning and enjoying our beautiful wedding! I couldn't ask for a sweeter husband and more supportive family, it was an amazing time!! Here's a glimpse of our beautiful ceremony:

With that being said, now I can continue..
 One thing my husband tells me the one thing he enjoys the most about my cooking is how good his stomach feels afterwards. Let me explain. Sometimes when you go out to eat, or eat unhealthy foods, you are left with rumbling in your stomach and feelings of extreme fullness. Heartburn, indigestion, etc. are signs that you ate something that your body is not digesting well.
Over time, poor digestion leads to malnutrition and, according to the Mayo Clinic, can lead to various health problems, including fatigue, depression, weakened immune system, anemia, muscular weakness, digestive, lung and heart problems and poor skin integrity. Poor digestion equals poor health.
That is why I strive to use natural ingredients that are whole foods in my meals so that after the meal, you are left with a happy tummy and a healthy body!
Eating healthy can be easy once you get used to cooking your own meals. Here is what I made for dinner with a break down of 3 easy recipes: Baked Chicken with Lemon & Herbs, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Quinoa and a light salad. Please read through all recipes and follow the steps to see how to prepare them so that everything is ready at the same time. This takes practice but comes easy over time.
Baked Chicken with Lemon & Herbs
8 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp melted butter
2 tsp dryed basil
1 tsp dryed oregano
Step 1: prepare chicken and put in oven for 50 minutes total.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place chicken thighs into a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Prepare marinade by mixing olive oil, butter and lemon juice in a small bowl. Add in herbs and mix well. Pour marinade over chicken and toss to coat. Let the chicken marinade for 10-30 minutes in the fridge. Once chicken has marinated, layer the chicken out into a large baking dish, skin up and cover dish with aluminum foil. Place in heated oven. total cooking time is 45 minutes plus an extra 5 minutes for browning.
 *Add sweet potatoes to oven with chicken after 15 minutes. Once you remove the sweet potatoes, remove the aluminum foil, turn heat up to 450 degrees and allow chicken to brown for about 5 more minutes.
Roasted Honey Sweet Potatoes
2 lbs sweet potatoes (or 4 large), rinsed and cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp melted butter
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp honey
salt and pepper to taste
Step 2: Cut and rinse sweet potatoes, toss with glaze and place in oven with chicken for 30 min.
Place cut sweet potatoes into a large bowl. Make a simple glaze for the potatoes by mixing olive oil, butter and lemon juice. Add in honey, mix well. Pour over the sweet potatoes and toss to coat. Season with salt and lightly with pepper. Spread out the sweet potatoes evenly onto a large baking sheet. Place them in the oven once chicken has been baking for 15 minutes. The potatoes will take 30 minutes to fully cook and you should toss them around half way through to make sure the cook evenly. Remove from oven once tender. *You will then need to brown the chicken for 5 more minutes on high heat. Allow potatoes and chicken to cool some before serving.

1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
2 cups water
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin for flavor
Step 3: Rinse quinoa well and cook for 15-20 minutes until fluffy
Once well rinsed, add quinoa and water to a medium size saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, add butter and simmer for 15-20 minutes until fluffy. Season with salt and cumin once cooked.
**Optional: add in finely chopped veggies such as squash and zucchinni, carrots, spinach or bellpepper half way through cooking. Other ideas for flavor:  use 1 cup water and 1 cup broth. Which ever option you choose, dont over do it. Quinoa has a great nutty flavor and doesnt require much additions, it tastes well just lightly seasoned. And of course, it's gluten free! It is very nutrient dense and is a complete protein source, providing all essential amino acids. Read more about it here:

Chopped tomatoes
Chopped avocado
Coconut vinegar
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Step 4: Create a light, easy salad to go with your meal for added veggies.
Toss some awesome veggies with a light dressing, salt and pepper right before your meal is ready. I have been using coconut vinegar on my salads along with olive oil and it gives such a great taste. It also is very low glycemic, and is an abundant source of 17 amino acids, minerals, vitamin C, broad-spectrum B vitamins, and has a nearly neutral pH. Its very healthy and inexpensive. The Coconut Secret Raw Coconut Vinegar can be ordered at my favorite site:

If you followed the steps and watched the timer, all items should be ready about the same time.  Here's my finished meal:


  1. Yay, so glad you're back! Your wedding picture is absolutely STUNNING and this meal looks drool-worthy! I love quinoa (...even though my spell-check refuses to admit it is a word...) and my fiance loves chicken, so this meal would be a great compromise!

  2. Thanks so much!! The wedding was so fabulous!! And Im happy to be blogging again :)
    Glad you both will enjoy the recipe! It's a pretty simple recipe and oh so yummy :)
    I love quinoa too!