So….

Cuban Chicken and Black Bean Quinoa Bowls with Fried Bananas | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

I am on a huge “bowl” food kick right now. I think it’s all this healthy, fresh eating that I’m currently into at the moment. It seems that when it comes to healthy, fresh food it just works nicely in a bowl!

I don’t know, either that or I really just like making giant bowls of delicious food.

Cuban Chicken and Black Bean Quinoa Bowls with Fried Bananas | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Cuban Chicken and Black Bean Quinoa Bowls with Fried Bananas | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

But umm, happy Wednesday!! I am so excited for today because I am back in the kitchen cooking. Yes! I spent Monday and Tuesday catching up on computer work (ugh) because I had people finishing up in my kitchen and photo room. They were finishing the final coat of paint and other miscellaneous things, which meant no cooking for me. I cannot even remember the last day I didn’t cook for practically the entire day. With Christmas and New Years, I’ve honestly been cooking for three weeks straight – and pretty much all of December too. My new kitchen surely got a good workout though, especially over Christmas.

Oh my gosh, I was tired, but believe it or not, I still hated sitting and staring at my computer screen all day long.

That is just so not my thing, but everyones gotta do it at some point…I guess. Bottom line is I am crazy exited to get back to cooking and photographing today. I guess I kind of love it…obviously.

Cuban Chicken and Black Bean Quinoa Bowls with Fried Bananas | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Oh, and I also spent a decent portion of my Monday night pulling my brother’s friends giant trailer full of snowmobiles out of my driveway. Yup, I didn’t even know I had it in me, but apparently I am pretty good at getting people unstuck. Even if their trailer is the biggest I have ever seen and they don’t have snow tires (ahh..yes). Who doesn’t have snow tires up here (his friend IS from Michigan though)? And yes, I do have five brothers…wonder where the heck they were?

Ah ah hmmm…..the bar. Yes, I’m serious, or at least the older ones were. Brothers.

Cuban Chicken and Black Bean Quinoa Bowls with Fried Bananas | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

And back to these Cuban chicken and black bean quinoa bowls, because my rambling is making me tired.

Doesn’t this just look so pretty and delicious? I think so, especially the delicious part. So many good flavors, so many textures. Besides being a flavor freak, I am also a texture freak, so this is totally my kind of bowl.

Cuban Chicken and Black Bean Quinoa Bowls with Fried Bananas | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Cuban Chicken and Black Bean Quinoa Bowls with Fried Bananas | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Plus, hello! Cuban food. YUM!

Cuban Chicken and Black Bean Quinoa Bowls with Fried Bananas | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Now I realize there are a fair amount of steps to this recipe. DO NOT let this scare you off. I will not lie, these bowls take a little time, but nothing is that hard and you make them to your liking. I of course would not recommend skimping on even one part of this meal, because I think everything in it is a must. The fried bananas? FOR SURE? The Mangos? WITHOUT A DOUBT. The quinoa? Well, rice would totally work awesome here too, but quinoa gives us protein and whole grains. The chicken? THE BEST.

And that pretty much sums up how I feel about this meal.

Meaning I clearly love it to death, which is why my caps lock has been on way too much throughout this post. Sorry, but how else am I supposed to show you my excitement. I mean you can’t actually see me, so caps lock it is. Don’t get annoyed, just know I really, really love this bowl.

Cuban Chicken and Black Bean Quinoa Bowls with Fried Bananas | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

And I am kind of mildly (or maybe wildly?) exited for you guys to make them too. I hope you love them as much as we all did!

Oh, but before I go – fried bananas done in a savory dish? Best. Thing. Ever.

Seriously, do not be freaked by them. They are delish!

Cuban Chicken and Black Bean Quinoa Bowls with Fried Bananas | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Cuban Chicken and Black Bean Quinoa Bowls with Fried Chili Spiced Bananas + Spicy Mangos.

  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Total time: 1 hour

Yields: 4

Cuban Chicken and Black Bean Quinoa Bowls with Fried Bananas-10

Ingredients

  • Chicken
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 red chile, seeded
  • good pinch of pepper
  • 3/4 + 1/4 cup orange juice, divided
  • the juice of 4 limes + 1 lime zested
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 pound boneless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Black Beans + Quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups dry quinoa
  • 2 cups cooked black beans, rinsed + drained if using canned
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Bananas + Mangos
  • 2 bananas sliced + chili powder if desired
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 mango, diced
  • 1 red chile, seeded + chopped
  • 1/2 of 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Instructions

To a blender, combine the ingredients for the chicken marinade. Add the cumin, 3 cloves garlic, red chile, pinch of pepper, 3/4 cup orange juice, lime juice + lime zest, honey, soy sauce and a handful of cilantro to the blender. Blend until everything is finely chopped and smooth. Next, add the chicken to a bowl or a ziplock bag and pour half the marinade over the chicken. Toss to coat and allow the chicken to sit for 20 minutes, or even overnight, in the marinade.

Meanwhile, work on the quinoa. Heat a large high sided skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot add the oil and onion. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until the onion is soft. Add the red pepper and quinoa, cook another five minutes until the red pepper is soft and the quinoa is lightly toasted. Now pour in 3 cups of water or chicken broth, bring the mixture to a boil, cover and then simmer over low heat for 25-30 minutes or until the quinoa is cooked and fluffy. Once the quinoa is done cooking, scoot it over to the side and add another drizzle of oil to the skillet if needed, add the black beans, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook until warmed through. Alternately, you may just stir the black beans into the quinoa.

While the quinoa cooks, fry the bananas. Remove the peels from the bananas and slice into 1/2 inch thick slices. Set a skillet over medium to medium-high heat and add the oil. Lay down your banana slices and sprinkle with chili powder if using, fry for 4-5 minutes on each side. Be sure to watch the heat and turn it down if the bananas are browning too quickly. You want enough heat to caramelize and brown the slices, but you don't want them to burn. Remove from the skillet and place on a plate. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Add the mango, red chile, lime juice and cilantro to a bowl. Toss well.

To cook the chicken, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add a drizzle of olive oil. Add half the chicken and cook, 3-5 minutes or until browned all over and cooked throughout. Remove and repeat with the remaining chicken. Once all the chicken is cooked, cover with foil. Add the remaining marinade + 1/4 cup orange juice to the skillet and bring to a boil. Add the 2 tablespoons of butter and cook about 5 minutes or until reduced slightly. Stir in some chopped cilantro if desired.

To serve, divide the quinoa among bowls. Top with chicken, black beans, mangos and bananas. Drizzle with the the mojo sauce and chopped cilantro if desired.

Cuban Chicken and Black Bean Quinoa Bowls with Fried Bananas | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Thinking 2015 may be all about food in bowls? Bring it on!

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