Basil Lemon Chicken, Quinoa Salad

Guess who’s back in the kitchen again?  My dear, helpless husband who’s still trying to figure his way around.  Remember his first meal (the only one he’s made since we got married), the best lasagna ever?  Yup, that’s was his FIRST.  I’ve spoiled him rotten all these years, haven’t I?  But you know what?  He’s got some MAD skills!  A natural talent!  Well, minus his “can it take any longer?” pace.  He’s def got me on my toes.  I gotta step up my game now.  Nonetheless, Tim made another home-run dish.  He found an Ellie Krieger recipe, which he ran by me first ;).  Although I followed her other recipe,  to the tee, I had to change some things (actually…a lot) mostly because we didn’t have those ingredients on hand.

The original recipe called for saffron, which is not a staple in our pantry.  I’ve actually never cooked with it, but I hope to soon!  It seems so fancy ;).  Instead of mint leaves and thyme, we decided to stick with two of our fav herbs (possibly the only two herbs we consume), basil and cilantro.  We really need to expand our horizons.  Another time.  As my normal tendency is to pack as many vegetables as possible into a dish, just green beans didn’t cut it for me.  Hence, say hello to mushrooms, asparagus, and broccoli!  It was a bit more work for Tim (he didn’t seem too happy), but I had full confidence that he could do it!  I just had to make sure to eat plenty of snacks to keep my tummy from grumbling in the meantime.

So how long did this dish take to make?  3 hours!  Yes…but it was totally worth the wait!  So good!  Feast your eyes on this….and please make it for yourself and your loved ones!

Basil Lemon Chicken, Quinoa Salad

Print this recipe


  • 1 lemon, preferably unwaxed
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt, plus more to taste, divided
  • Pinch of cajun seasoning
  • 2 Tbs chopped basil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/4 pound skinless boneless chicken breast, pounded to 1/2 in. thick
  • 1 pound asparagus
  • 8 oz. cremini mushrooms
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 Tbs finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 Tbs honey
  • 1 Tbs honey dijon mustard
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Prick the lemon in 3 places with a fork and place in a small pot with 1 tsp of salt and cover with water.  Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 50 min or until the lemon is very tender.  Drain and set aside to cool.
  2. In the meantime, combine the basil, cajun seasoning, garlic, 1 Tbs of lemon juice, 1 Tbs olive oil, and 1/4 tsp salt in a small bowl.  Pour the marinade into a plastic bag, add the chicken and let it marinate in the fridge.
  3. Cook quinoa.
  4. Steam the broccoli and asparagus for about 10 min or until tender and set aside to cool.  Roughly chop.  Sauté the mushrooms in olive until browned (you can skip this if you don’t mind the texture of raw mushrooms).
  5. Preheat a large nonstick skillet and cook the chicken for about 4 min on each side or until cooked through.  Set aside to cool.  Cut into bite-sized pieces.
  6. Slice the ends off of the lemon and slice it in half lengthwise.  Scoop out the pulp.  Slice the peel thinly and then again into 1/4 in. pieces.
  7. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients.  In a small bowl, combine the rest of the lemon juice, honey, and honey dijon mustard; whisk in the remainder of the olive oil; and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.

Don’t ask me why he decided to use such a GINORMOUS pot to boil one dinky little lemon.  No wonder it takes him so long to cook anything!  Not complainin’..just sayin’ 😉

In case you’re interested, I got that meat tenderizer from QVC, and it’s simply the best!  No more pounding the meat to death (although it’s great for anger management) and being afraid of spreading chicken germs on my countertop.  Oh how those chicken germs terrify me…

Doesn’t the broccoli floret look so cute in his monstrous hands?  And it wasn’t even that small…

Yes, I got him that Lego man shirt from Korea… I he loves it!

He forgot to add the honey dijon mustard  (how convenient as he does not like it), so I ended up adding it at the end.  It makes a HUGE difference in my opinion.

Doesn’t it just scream FRESHHH?!?!  I packed the leftovers to take with me to school the next day, and I made quite a few of my classmates jealous ;).  I was so proud to bust open my tupperware in front of everyone hehe.  I shall stay busy so the hubs can cook more often.


– Have you cooked with saffron before?  What does it taste like?  Does it really make all the difference in the world?  Worth the money?

– Do you ever feel so proud of your packed lunch that you just want to show it off?  Obviously I do ;).

This entry was posted in Food, recipes and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Basil Lemon Chicken, Quinoa Salad

  1. Linz says:

    I def feel proud of my packed lunches!! My co-workers are always like Ooooh what’s that?? hehe

  2. Great job, this looks awesome! I think saffron seems so fancy too 🙂 Let me know if you use it and if I should add it to my lineup!

  3. Kym says:

    *MMMMMMM* that looks so fresh, vibrant, and delicious! i’ll have to bookmark this recipe 🙂 I’ve never cooked with saffron before… actually, i’m not that adventurous in the kitchen. I would like to be!

  4. Sally Boyster says:

    Saffron is wonderful stuff…especially with rice dishes. It doesn’t take much.

  5. This looks delicious! I heart Ellie Krieger. I got to meet her at FNCE twice and I always sound like a dork. 🙂
    Saffron isn’t something I cook with often either. I will have to try it too.

  6. Oh wow – what a great dish! I am so impressed with Tim’s cooking efforts! I’d be proud of my lunch too if it looked like this 🙂 (And I’m like you, I am proud of them when they do look good, less so when they’re random leftovers or something that might taste good but doesn’t look it!)

    I have cooked with saffron but am like you in that I tend to stick to the same few herbs, and not buy the other ones regularly, which means they aren’t on hand to use. I keep meaning to push myself out of the box too!

  7. That looks incredible Min, really delicious! I love cooking with my boyfriend, truly such a nice thing to ‘flow’ around the kitchen together. We have such a tiny space and I’m sure it looks like we are doing some crazy dance sequence!

  8. Great job, Tim!! What a supportive husband 🙂 I’m with Tim on the dijon mustard, just can’t get myself to like the flavor, do you think it’s essential?

    I have cooked with saffron before to make a seafood stew. It gives a really vibrant color, but I’m not sure it’s worth the price?

    Hope you have a great weekend, Min! 🙂

    • Min says:

      I personally loved the addition! Not only did I appreciate the punch of flavor it added but that it thickened the sauce as well. Tim actually didn’t mind it so much either. He thought it complemented the lemon pretty well. Since the recipe didn’t call for dijon mustard either, it’s def not essential.

      mmmm..seafood stew…sounds wonderful! Oh yes, I heard that the color is quite fancy ;). I do need to impress some people…haha

  9. Min!!!! Can you believe how close this semester is to being complete!? And Thanksgiving is just around the corner! Do you get much of a break for Thanksgiving? We get the week off so I can’t wait! I have my last orgo test (besides the final) to get past before I earn my break though!

    I know what you mean about chicken germs! I’m in Food Sanitation Management right now, and it has me fearing bacteria and pathogens everywhere I turn in my kitchen 🙂

    I’ve never cooked with saffron either – I’ve never even checked it at the store because I hear it’s so expensive! On some food network show (I think it was the Neely’s), they said to buy some and split it with a friend. One day when we are nearer each other, we will do that. And we will cook fabulous, fancy meals with our saffron 🙂

    • Min says:

      I know! Thanksgiving is just around the corner! Unfortunately, I only get Wed-Friday off. I don’t get much of a break as I still have 4 more papers and presentations to knock out. I can’t wait until this semester’s been a toughie. I’m so incredibly proud of you! You’re doing awesome!! And yes..that class…All I have to say is ignorance is bliss sometimes.
      And cooking together sounds absolutely amazing! I seriously wish we were neighbors. We’d have so much fun! Cooking, drinking wine, studying, eating, cooking…oh and of course Kona and Meeko will become best buds also ;).

  10. I have never used saffron either, but I want to try it out sometime. It is just so darned expensive!! Looks good though girl!

  11. Cath says:

    Three hours!! Haha well done! But oh-my-gosh I absolutely love quinoa (and I still keep pronouncing it wrong, even when I know it’s pronounced keen-wah!) 🙂

  12. jamesabyad says:

    May I just comment that I also love that lego man t-shirt?? haha

  13. Agne says:

    What about mushrooms? When do I add them and do I cook them in any way?

  14. Min says:

    So sorry about this! The mushrooms I got at the famers market were so amazing that I didn’t cooke them. If you don’t like the texture of raw mushrooms, cook them in olive oil for a few minutes while steaming other vegetables. Then at the very end, toss them along with all the other ingredients. Hope you like the recipe!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s