Alina's Rosemary Lemon Peel Quinoa Stuffed Chicken

After a brief hiatus, I'm back with a savory lemony dish, and I'm hoping to begin posting at least monthly from here on out.
This recipe was the result of playing in the kitchen, and so it's fitting that it tastes so fun! I stuffed this quinoa in chicken breast, but you could easily stuff it in a variety of other bases, such as a bell pepper.

Total time: 60 minutes. Serves 4.
1/2 cup quinoa
1-2 carrots, finely chopped
Several cloves of garlic, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
Several sprigs of rosemary
6-10 cherry tomatoes, blanched and skinned
Several tablespoons of EVOO
1 ear of corn, shucked
1 onion, finely chopped
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Zest from one lemon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Create a foil packet with the chopped carrots, garlic, a sprig of rosemary, salt and pepper, and about a tablespoon of EVOO. Wrap it tightly like a tent, and put it in the oven to bake. The goal is to get nice, soft (but not mushy), perfectly cooked carrots for your quinoa. Set the timer for about 35 minutes. You'll test it in 35 minutes, but if it's not soft enough for your tastes yet, you can always add more time.
Start preparing the quinoa. If you've never cooked quinoa before, check out these quinoa cooking directions here.

Next, begin grilling the corn. I grilled mine on my indoor grill pan, but you can do it on a real grill or even over the open flame of your stove top if your stove produces a flame. Once the corn is starting to color, slice off the kernels and throw them into time-out in a medium sized bowl. Blanch the tomatoes and add them to the bowl too. You can chop them more finely if you'd like. It's up to you.
Next, warm 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and add the onion. Add 3/4 of the lemon zest as well. Saute until the onion starts to become transparent and the lemon zest is soft and then add several cloves of minced garlic. Hit it with 30 more seconds of heat, and then remove it from the heat. Don't hit it for too long though; you don't want to burn the garlic. Transfer the contents of the skillet to a bowl to wait.
Next, slice a thin slit into each of the chicken breasts. This is going to be the pocket that you fill with delicious quinoa goodness, so make it deep enough and wide enough to stuff appropriately (and by appropriately, I mean gluttonously ... but not really, because this dish isn't unhealthy, so it can't be THAT gluttonous).
Salt and pepper the chicken breast, and then stuff it with a little bit of the cooked lemon zest/onion mixture and a sprig of rosemary. Add another splash of EVOO to the skillet if necessary and cook the chicken for 6 minutes over medium heat on each side. For added flavor, add any remaining uncooked lemon zest to the skillet. Don't touch the chicken while it's cooking! The flavor will be a little richer if you let it hug the skillet.
While the chicken is cooking you can remove the carrots from the oven and mix everything together: the quinoa, the carrots, the corn, the tomatoes, and the onion/lemon zest mix. This recipe is really flexible, so if there's something else you think would be delicious, then go for it!

After the chicken is fully cooked, open the pocket and remove the rosemary. Fill the pocket to overflowing with the quinoa mixture. I let it overflow so much that it nearly doubled as a side dish as well. I squirted the whole dish with a shot of lemon juice for a little added zest, but you can decide if it's already lemony enough for you or not.

Eat up!

Adam’s taste rating: 3 ladles
Alina's taste rating: 3 ladles
Healthy rating: 4 ladles
Ease of prep rating: 3 ladles
Overall average:  3.25 ladles


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