Pineapple Chipotle Chicken Fajita Bowls

Pineapple Chipotle Chicken Fajita Bowls
Pineapple Chipotle Chicken Fajita Bowls

Do you ever take a spring break, even though it’s not really built in to work-life?

This last weekend we went climbing in New Mexico. I’ve been looking forward to the trip for weeks, partially because the weather locally hasn’t been ideal for climbing outside, and I was craving the sunshine. Also because time in the desert is just the right kind of unplugging: no screens, no desk chairs. Just dust, dirt and the moon.

Last month, I started a Best Self Journal. Have you heard of it? It was recommended to me by co-workers as a journal that gets you into a journalling habit and also tracks you towards goals. The journal is a 13-week track, and one of my goals was to send three V6s outside. This trip was one of our first climbing trips this season, so was also a time for me to really dig my heels and focus. In the end, I did one V6 and even one V7 — two out of three checked off the list, far exceeding my own expectations for the weekend! Maybe I needed a more aggressive goal since there are still 10 weeks left in my journal. Mostly, I think I just needed to believe I could do it.

This is where my mind has been: journalling, planning, climbing.

Admittedly I’ve put less energy to cooking as of late, but that’s how life goes, ebbing and flowing. Between everything else going on, this chicken was a standout meal. The combination of pineapple and chipotle is sweet and spicy and grilling season is just starting to call (well-grilled chicken is SO juicy and satisfying).

With the base of chicken, pineapple, and bell peppers you can make either taco bowls (like in these images) OR fajitas, with tortillas. Both are good — and heck, you can make one for dinner and then use the leftovers to make the other the next day.

Pineapple Chipotle Chicken Fajita Bowls
Pineapple Chipotle Chicken Fajita Bowls

Pineapple Chipotle Chicken Fajita Bowls

Published March 26, 2019 by
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Serves: 6   |    Active Time: 50 minutes



Ingredients:

For marinade:
  • 4 tablespoons adobo sauce from a from a can of chipotles in adobo 
  • 2 tablespoons maple
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1teaspoon dried oregano 
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice 

  • To serve: 
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts 
  • 2 bell peppers, cut into strips 
  • 3-4 slices of fresh pineapple
  • 1 cup black beans (cooked)
  • 1 cup corn (cooked)
  • 1-2 cups rice (cooked)
  • Garnish: cilantro, sliced avocado, sliced jalapeño

  • Directions:

    1. Marinate chicken: combine all ingredients for marinade in an air-tight container large enough to fit the chicken. Place chicken in marinade and turn to coat. Then, close container and marinate in refrigerator for 4-12 hours.
    2. When ready to cook: light a grill with a medium-high flame, and allow grill to heat to 450-500°F. Place chicken on grill and cook, with grill lid closed, for 5 minutes without moving. Then, using tongs and/or a metal spatula, flip chicken. Brush chicken with remaining marinade. Cook on second side for 5 more minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. Move chicken to a clean plate, and set aside.
    3. Place pineapple and bell peppers on grill, turning after 3-4 minutes. Cook for 3-4 more minutes, and then remove from heat. Turn off grill.
    4. In serving bowls, divide rice, corn, and beans. Add bell peppers and pineapple. Slice chicken and divide among bowls.
    5. Garnish with cilantro, avocado, and sliced jalapeño to taste.

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    Roasted Red Pepper, Black Bean & Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

    Roasted Red Pepper, Black Bean & Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

    Leftover quinoa in the fridge? This one is for you. 😊

    I recently bought a bag full of quinoa because I wanted to try my hand at popping it (like popcorn). Popped quinoa is something that was sold roadside and in artisan markets when I visited northern Chile. It was a novelty for me — though I had eaten plenty of quinoa before, and knew it was local to the Andean region, seeing it puffed was different. Think puffed rice, but round, smaller, and with a delicious nutty flavor.

    I tried two methods for popping the grains (one stove top, one in the microwave) and neither produced the results I was looking for. The final product was like a toasted quinoa seed, which was crunchy and nutty and great on yogurt. But it wasn’t a “pop” or a “puff” by any standard. Have you popped quinoa? How did you do it? Do I need an air popper? I have dreams of a chocolate almond butter granola bar with puffed quinoa and need your help!!

    On the bright side: these experiments have meant I’ve had plenty of quinoa in the pantry.

    Roasted Red Pepper, Black Bean & Quinoa Breakfast Bowl
    Roasted Red Pepper, Black Bean & Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

    Roasted Red Pepper, Black Bean & Quinoa Breakfast Bowls have been the highlight of my quinoa-filled week.

    They are an “oooooh, yummy” and also “oh that looks nourishing” kind of dish, at the same time.

    Making these in the morning is easiest when you have leftover quinoa and already cooked (or canned) black beans to start with. You can totally cook up a fresh batch to make these bowls, but using leftovers makes this easy, and easy mornings = good. Next time you’re making quinoa, make extra with tomorrow’s breakfast in mind.

    Then, all you have to do is sauté the bell peppers (doing this over low heat, with a pinch of patience, yields pepper strips that are almost caramelized… 😍 though in a rush, you can crank the heat and char the peppers a bit — just don’t burn the kitchen down - and get something more savory), fry an egg or two, and top with avocado.

    Something else I love about this breakfast bowl is that it starts with 3 extremely simple ingredients: grains, beans, and eggs. The basics really can “wow!”

    Last comment before the recipe — Is quinoa a grain or a seed? And what’s all this talk about “pseudocereal?” Well… first, you may be interested in this article covering the difference between a grain and a seed (it’s not a huge difference, and has to do with the coating on the seed). A pseudocereal is a crop that is not a grass grain but is used like one. Which is exactly how we tend to think of quinoa, even though it is not a grass grain! SO: Yes, quinoa is a seed. It’s used like a grain, making it a “pseudocereal.” Now that we have that bit of business covered…. Let’s eat!

    Roasted Red Pepper, Black Bean & Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

    Roasted Red Pepper, Black Bean & Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

    Published January 24, 2019 by
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    Serves: 2   |    Active Time: 20 minutes



    Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or other cooking oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced in strips
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa, warmed
  • 1/2 cup black beans, canned or pre-cooked and strained, warmed
  • For serving: salt & pepper, sliced avocado, minced cilantro, lime wedges

  • Directions:

    1. Divide quinoa and black beans between two serving bowls.
    2. Cook the peppers: Heat cooking oil in a skillet over medium heat. When the oil glistens, tilt the pan back and forth to coat it in oil. Place red peppers in pan, and sauté, stirring every 2-3 minutes, until peppers are soft and edges are browning. Transfer peppers to serving bowls.
    3. If your pan is dry, add a bit more oil. Crack the eggs into the pan, one at a time, and reduce heat to low. Cook until whites are completely set and yolks have reached your desired doneness. Use a spatula to transfer eggs to serving bowls.
    4. Top each bowl with salt & pepper to taste, sliced avocado, minced cilantro, and a lime wedge. Serve warm.

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    Slow Cooker Mole Chicken Tacos

    Slow Cooker Mole Chicken Tacos

    There is a lot of folk lore surrounding the creation of mole poblano — the chocolate chili sauce Mexico is so known for.

    One theory is that a convent of nuns invented mole for an archbishop in an effort to impress him, when no other ingredients could be found. Another story says that it was all a mistake, that a monk (rather than a nun) first made the dish for the archbishop when he accidentally knocked several stray spices into the pot. Either way, both versions tie the sauce back to over 300 years ago!

    It’s no wonder there is so much speculation over the dish’s origins… mole sauce recipes typically call for a hefty list of seemingly random ingredients. But that’s part of the magic: it may not strike you that raisins and tomatoes and chili powder and cocoa will blend well together, but sure enough, the result is stellar. Spicy, tangy, with a rich backdrop, thanks to the chocolate.

    Slow Cooker Mole Chicken Tacos
    Slow Cooker Mole Chicken Tacos

    Something else stays consistent across almost every origin story, and that’s that mole is for special occasions. My dad will slave over a batch of mole for Christmas dinner; and me? I usually save it for a day when I know I can sit down and really take the time to enjoy the meal.

    Such a complex sauce does not need many frills. Simmer some chicken (or turkey, or pork, or black beans, or whatever you have) until tender, and then serve simply. All you need for a fancy taco is a corn tortilla, some chicken in mole sauce and a sprinkle of cilantro. A few thin slices of red onion certainly brighten it up, and why not — a few pepitas on top for crunch (you have them out from making the sauce, anyhow). Now, this isn’t the traditional way to serve mole, which is over a bed of rice, but it’s easy nonetheless, and everything is delicious as a taco.

    Slow Cooker Mole Chicken Tacos

    Slow Cooker Mole Chicken Tacos

    Published December 18, 2018 by
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    Serves: 6-8   |    Active Time: 60 active minutes



    Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken (breasts or thighs)
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
  • 2 chipotle chile peppers in adobo sauce, plus 1 teaspoon of the adobo sauce from the can (find canned chipotles in adobo in the Mexican section of your grocery store. Most canned have quite a few peppers, use a spoon to scoop out two)
  • 1 16-oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground anise
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup pepitas, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 1 cinnamon stick (about 2-3 inches long)
  • For serving: corn tortillas, cilantro, finely sliced red onion

  • Directions:

    1. In a skillet, or the bottom of you Instant Pot/Slow Cooker (set to the Sauté setting), heat coconut oil and sauté onion and garlic until onion is transparent. Turn off heat once onions are cooked.
    2. Transfer the onion mixture to a blender, and add cocoa, chili powder, chipotles and adobo sauce, canned tomatoes, cumin, coriander, anise, black pepper, salt, ground cloves, pepitas, sesame seeds, and raisins. Place lid on blender and purée until smooth.
    3. Place chicken in the bottom of your Instant Pot/Slow Cooker. Pour sauce over top, and add cinnamon stick. Place lid on pot and set to slow cook on “medium” for 6 hours or “high” for 4 hours.
    4. When timer goes off, cut chicken into bite-sized pieces (should fall apart easily) and serve in warm tortillas topped with fresh cilantro, red onion, and pepitas.

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