Welcome to our nutritious and tasty recipe for Baked Chicken Breast with Quinoa and Steamed Carrots. This meal is a wonderful balance of protein, complex carbohydrates, and vegetables, making it a superb choice for a hearty dinner.
Chicken breast, when properly prepared, is a fantastic source of lean protein that can keep you feeling full and satisfied. It’s also incredibly versatile, adopting the flavors of the seasonings you choose to use.
Quinoa, often referred to as a “superfood,” is packed with protein and fiber, and it’s gluten-free. It adds a delightful texture to your meal and offers a nutty flavor that complements the chicken beautifully.
Steamed carrots are a vibrant, nutrient-rich side that not only adds color to your plate but also provides a sweet and earthy flavor. They are an excellent source of beta-carotene, fiber, vitamin K1, and antioxidants.
This well-rounded meal is as pleasing to the palate as it is beneficial to your health. The simplicity of the recipe doesn’t compromise the depth of flavors you’ll experience in each bite. Let’s dive into the preparation of this wholesome dinner!
To serve the Baked Chicken Breast with Quinoa and Steamed Carrots, start by placing a scoop of the fluffy quinoa in the center of a plate. Slice the baked chicken breast and lay the slices over the quinoa. Arrange the vibrant, steamed carrots on the side. You may drizzle any remaining juices from the chicken over the dish for added flavor. The presentation is not just visually appealing, but it also ensures that every bite has a mix of flavors and textures.
For a finishing touch, you may sprinkle a bit of fresh parsley or any herb of your choice over the chicken and quinoa, and perhaps a small pat of butter on the hot carrots.
For the Baked Chicken Breast:
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
For the Quinoa:
- 1 cup of quinoa
- 2 cups of chicken broth or water
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
For the Steamed Carrots:
- 4 large carrots
- Salt to taste
Baked Chicken Breast:
- Preheat the Oven: Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius) to ensure it's hot enough when you're ready to bake the chicken.
- Prepare the Chicken: While the oven is preheating, take the chicken breasts and pat them dry with a paper towel. This helps the seasoning stick better to the chicken.
- Season the Chicken: In a small bowl, mix together the salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and dried thyme. Drizzle the olive oil over the chicken breasts, then rub the seasoning mix onto both sides of the chicken breasts, ensuring they are well-coated.
- Bake the Chicken: Place the seasoned chicken breasts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a lightly greased baking dish. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes. The exact time will depend on the size of the chicken breasts. The chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius) when measured with a meat thermometer.
- Rest the Chicken: Once done, remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest for about 5 minutes before cutting into it. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the chicken breast, making it more moist and flavorful.
To prepare the Quinoa, follow these steps:
- Rinse the Quinoa: Start by rinsing the quinoa under cold water. Quinoa has a natural coating called saponin that can make it taste bitter or soapy. Rinsing the quinoa removes this coating. Use a fine mesh strainer to do this.
- Cook the Quinoa: In a medium saucepan, combine the rinsed quinoa, chicken broth (or water), and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Simmer the Quinoa: Once it's boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover the saucepan, and let the quinoa simmer for about 15 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed.
- Fluff the Quinoa: Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the quinoa sit, covered, for about 5 minutes. Then, remove the lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork.
- Serve the Quinoa: The quinoa is now ready to be served. It should have a slightly fluffy texture and a delicious, slightly nutty flavor.
To prepare the Steamed Carrots, follow these instructions:
- Prepare the Carrots: Begin by washing the carrots thoroughly. Peel them if you wish, although it's not necessary if they're well cleaned. Then, cut them into slices or sticks, depending on your preference.
- Set Up the Steamer: Fill a pot with just enough water to reach the bottom of your steamer basket. Place the basket in the pot, then the water to a boil.
- Steam the Carrots: Once the water is boiling, add the carrots to the steamer basket. Cover the pot and let the carrots steam for about 5-7 minutes for slices or 10-12 minutes for carrot sticks. They should be tender but not too soft.
- Season the Carrots: Carefully remove the carrots from the steamer, sprinkle with a little salt, and toss gently.
And there you have it, a hearty and healthy dinner of Baked Chicken Breast with Quinoa and Steamed Carrots. This balanced meal is sure to leave you satisfied and nourished. The great thing about this recipe is its flexibility – you can easily substitute the quinoa with other grains like rice or couscous, or the carrots with other vegetables.
We’d love for you to try this recipe and share your experience! Whether you followed the recipe to the letter or made your own adaptations, your feedback is valuable. Happy cooking and enjoy your meal!