Friday, May 4, 2012

Avoiding a domestic disaster

Express Staff Writer

Sometimes I worry about how domestic I am becoming. Maybe it's the influence of Betty Draper, Martha Stewart and the huge number of food and lifestyle bloggers in the cyber-world today, but lately I have found myself possessed by the need to have my boyfriend come home to a sparkling apartment and a home-cooked, three-course gourmet meal.

There's really no rational reason for this. As can be expected from a 20-something reporter, dinner more often than not falls by the wayside in a whirlwind of meetings I should attend, nonprofit groups I should volunteer for and stories I should write sooner rather than later.

My dog keeps begging me to go for a run, all of our things are in boxes from a recent move and usually I feel like eating peanut butter out of the jar and going to bed.

But there is this impending sense of obligation. I know that thanks to Gloria Steinem, I don't need to feel like I am not fulfilling my potential as a woman if I don't make dinner every night—but I do. It's a little like working out every day—I know I don't have to work out every day to have value as a person, but I feel so much better when I do.

This recipe is perfect for nights when I have that half-hour—but no more—and want to fulfill my duties as the household dinner-maker. Quinoa is beloved by health nuts and gluten-phobes alike, and the fruity dressing that covers the chicken boosts the dish from simple to surprising. The goat cheese melts slightly on the top, then bursts on your tongue with each bite.

The whole thing takes maybe 20 minutes to make. Force whomever you are making this for to do the dishes (there are only two pans) and call it a day. And after having pulled off this masterpiece tonight, maybe when you succumb to the charms of the peanut butter jar tomorrow, you won't feel guilty at all.

Spinach and Chicken Stir-fry with Raspberries

Adapted from the food blog Iowa Girl Eats

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed

1 cup chicken broth

1 teaspoon canola oil

2 chicken breasts, sliced

3 shallots, sliced thin

2 cloves of garlic, minced

8 ounces baby spinach

1/4 cup raspberry balsamic vinaigrette

1/2 cup fresh raspberries

2 tablespoons chevre

Combine quinoa and chicken broth in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then cover and turn the heat down to medium-low. Simmer until quinoa is tender and all the broth has been absorbed, about 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat canola oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add chicken, shallots and garlic to the skillet and sautee until chicken is cooked all the way through. Add salad dressing and baby spinach to the skillet and toss until spinach is wilted, about 1 minute.

Divide quinoa among plates, then top with the chicken stir fry, raspberries and cheese. Serve warm.

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