Newlyweds navigating their way through married life – and the kitchen

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Southwest Quinoa Bites

Happy Friday everyone!  Here’s a fun Friday Quinoa fact for you:

2013 has been declared International Year of Quinoa by the United Nations (thank you Wiki Wiki Wack Wikipedia).  Looks like we were one step ahead of the game with this Quinoa Bite series eh?

Ok, enough jib jab.

One of my favorite things is when you throw a bunch of stuff together, throw it in the oven and keep your fingers crossed that it will come out delicious and it does! That’s just what happened with these Southwest Quinoa Bites.  I love me some southwest flavor, as you’ve seen in recipes like Southwest Chicken Burgers and Mexican Pizza.

So why not share the Southwest wealth with Quinoa Bites?

Southwest Quinoa Bites

INGREDIENTS
*yields 12 regular muffin sized bites

2 cups cooked Quinoa

1 cup shredded, cooked chicken

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1 cup cheddar cheese

1/2 cup pepper jack cheese

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup black beans

1/2 cup canned corn

1 medium red pepper, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

3-4 scallions, chopped small

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon chili powder

3 eggs, lightly beaten

salt & pepper to taste

ranch dressing for dipping

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) Place your Quinoa, bread crumbs, cooked chicken and cheeses in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

3) Heat your olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Once the oil is heated, add your black beans, corn, red pepper, garlic, scallions, cumin and chili powder and saute for 3-5 minutes.  The goal here isn’t to cook the vegetables through, but simply allow the flavor of everything to combine a bit before adding it to the rest of the mixture.

4) Add the veggie/spice mixture to the quinoa/chicken/bread crumbs/cheese and allow it to cool for a few minutes before adding the eggs (about 5 minutes).  You can then add the beaten eggs and combine the mixture.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5) Take a regular sized muffin tin (12 muffins) and spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Add about 1/3 cup of the mixture to each muffin slot.

4) Bake in your preheated oven for 30 minutes.  Serve with a side of Ranch dressing for dipping!

Since this was dinner, I decided to use a regular sized muffin tin vs. the mini-muffin tin, but these would certainly be great bite sized as well!  Served with a nice side salad, it was a perfect, healthy and scrumptious dinner.  If you wanted to add a little kick to these, you could always toss some crushed red pepper flakes in with the cumin and chili powder! I personally like when my lips aren’t on fire, but to each his own 🙂


Sorry for the crappy picture – I was starving – and you know how I get when I’m hungry!

Ground chicken is one ingredient we don’t use much of, but on a whim, I tossed it in the carriage at the store on our last trip.  And for some reason, grabbed it out of the freezer to defrost for dinner before leaving for work.  And then I got to work and thought “WTF am I gonna do with that chicken?”.  Embarking on a new ground meat journey, while exciting, is somewhat nerve racking.

Then I remembered that Dave and I get these Chile Lime Chicken Burgers from Trader Joe’s, and even though they’re frozen, they’re pretty good in a pinch, and also pretty easy on the hips too!  So I started browsing and looking up some chicken burger recipes and after taking bits and pieces from a few, and adding a few twists of my own, came up with what I thought would be the perfect Southwest Chicken Burger.

Southwest Chicken Burger 

INGREDIENTS

1 lb ground chicken

2/3 cup panko or plain bread crumbs

1/2 cup black beans, pureed

1/2 cup corn (or corn of 1 ear removed)

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. chili powder

juice of 1 lime

salt and pepper to taste

1) Puree the black beans and corn together in a food processor (or if you don’t have an FP, you could just chop them finely with a knife.  They’re meant to add texture anyway so they don’t have to be super small)

2) Put the ground chicken, bread crumbs, black bean/corn mix, garlic, cumin, chili powder, juice of 1 lime in a large mixing bowl.  Season with salt and pepper and mix together – try not to over mix though.

3)  Form 4 patties (or 6 – if you make 4, they’re pretty large patties) – chill in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes so they’ll hold their shape.

4) Heat a grill or frying pan for a few minutes to let it get hot – then place the formed patties on the grill pan and cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side, until the chicken is cooked through.

 5) Remove from grill pan, let sit for a minute or two, then place on a bun and enjoy!

I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by this little creation!  The flavors were awesome together, and the black beans and corn added a little something extra to crunch on.  Like I said before, I would probably actually make 6 patties instead of 4 next time – it was a LOT of burger and I’m they type that likes a somewhat even ratio of bun to meat when I’m eating a burger or sandwich even.

Dave had his with pepper jack cheese and I mixed a little ketchup and ranch dressing together and spread it over the top.  DELISH! And easy! And healthy! My three faves!



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