The whole ideology of cooking fast meals after a day at work—whether it be for a whole family, a couple, or a workaholic looking to make something affordable and healthy at home—has been showing up on my social media feeds for as long as I can remember. Even growing up, watching channels like Food Network taught me that you don’t necessarily have to sacrifice a good meal if you’re scrapped for time or simply don’t (or can’t) spend hours of a busy day preparing dinner. And, as I have come to find living alone, this is completely true. So what did I do today? I tried out a new recipe that I found online.

 

I have loved cooking over the last few years, and have some fond memories of experimenting in the kitchen while living with my mom and sister during my later university years. She was mostly willing to let me try out anything that sounded tasty and didn’t take too long to make. I remember being incredibly disappointed if I had to miss dinner due to working evening shifts at my part-time job. I think that those years of having the freedom to test out some recipes gave me the capability to cook for myself as an independent adult living very far from my family. And—my teenaged self would never have expected this—I enjoy cooking for myself every day. It’s therapeutic for me in a way, knowing I have something cool to look forward when I get home from work, something new to create. As a creative person, this is essential to my well-being. I thrive on creating things with my mind and seeing how those images can come to fruition.

Tonight I tried out an amazing recipe that involved chicken, quinoa (my first time making it for myself), and a plethora of vegetables. I didn’t have exactly everything on hand, and I didn’t resort to using salt and pepper. I instead opted for using a little bit of honey garlic sauce to give it a familiar flavour. Now, it’s been one crazy week for me so far. Anyone who knows me personally can tell you I’ve been running around since I moved to Kingston almost a year ago. Between two part-time jobs, freelance work on the side, publishing Free Lit Magazine, writing for local magazines and newspapers, and doing my own writing, I am most definitely a busy person. It’s been one of those weeks where I suffer to get out of bed in the morning, thinking about how many more days of work I have ahead of me. Cue in some dreamy music and Rachael Ray softly whispering in my ear how badly I need to make one of her amazing 30-Minute Meals.

So the recipe isn’t a Rachael Ray original. But that’s what I knew growing up, alongside talents like Michael Smith and Emeril Lagasse (BAM! is still the only thing I associate that man with). Years later, who would have thought how beneficial a quick dinner could be for me. I did, however, make time after work today to pick up some wine (um, HELLO, it’s Wine Wednesday/Winesday, after all). And it paired so nicely with this light meal. I definitely liked the way the quinoa filled me up without making me feel entirely made out of carbs. But carbs are still great, just saying.

Give the recipe a try, and as always, I encourage you to modify it based on your own needs. I use recipes as inspiration, rather than as excuses to copy what other people have done. And they mostly help me cheat in deciding what to plan for meals for the week. But that’s between you and me.

Published by Ashley Newton