Thursday, February 28, 2013

Quinoa-Parmesan Chicken

I was perusing one of my favorite food magazines, Everyday with Rachael Ray, and knew as soon as I read this recipe for Quinoa-Crusted Chicken that I had to try it.  I've tried a variety of gluten-free breadcrumb brands and even made my own a couple times, but I'd never even thought of the concept of using a gluten-free grain as a breadcrumb substitute!

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I modified the recipe a bit, combining the toasted quinoa above with lots of grated Parmesan cheese and some roasted garlic & herb seasoning to make a breading blend.

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I chose to use thin-cut chicken breasts for two reasons - I thought they'd cook up more evenly, and they were on sale - always a big influence on what I buy in the meat department.

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After just 20 minutes in the oven, they were golden and delicious!  

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The quinoa definitely added major crunch to the cutlets, not quite the same kind of crunch as breadcrumbs as the grains are obviously a bit denser than bread would be, but really good.  The microwaved leftover cutlet I had for lunch at the office the next day wasn't as crunchy, but also was not soggy at all, unlike regular breaded cutlets after a trip through the microwave.

The only time-consuming part of this recipe was toasting the quinoa, which takes about half an hour, and you could always do that ahead of time to make for a super quick, healthy weeknight dinner.

Quinoa-Parmesan Chicken 

(lightly adapted from Everyday with Rachael Ray)

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Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 package thin-cut chicken breasts (4 count, approx 1 pound)
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp roasted garlic & herb seasoning (or seasoning blend of choice)

Directions

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Spread quinoa out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until golden and crispy, about 30 minutes.  Once quinoa is done, increase oven temperature to 425 degrees.

Combine toasted quinoa, Parmesan and seasoning blend on a plate.  Season chicken with salt and pepper and coat with the Dijon mustard.  Press chicken into breading mixture on both sides and arrange on a foil-lined baking sheet.

Bake chicken for 20 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.  

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