When my husband and I moved to our new neighborhood in Kansas City last year, a major draw was that the neighborhood is super bike-friendly. Frank and I decided that, even with two toddlers to drive around town, we would be a single-car household for as long as possible.
We’ve managed to stick to that decision for over year, largely because we can bike nearly everywhere. Not only do we love biking for fun but, unless the weather is really miserable, I bike to work three days a week. Biking to work has turned out to be an incredibly fun challenge. It makes my busy life feel more balanced (not to mention that I can feel my legs getting stronger with each and every hill).
Even if I need to sit in front of a computer all day, I know that my commute will be a time to be outside. As a full-time recipe developer and food photographer, I bounce between my home and a shared office space about a mile from my house.
And because a full-time recipe developer has no excuse for not cooking, most every day, I pack my lunch.
And those packed lunches? They’d better be good.
For make-ahead lunches to be a success they should be three things:
- Healthy and filling.
- Travel well. (If they’re going into a lunch box and on the back of a bike, the ingredients need to taste okay if tossed together in transit.)
That last one is so important. Make-ahead lunches have to be tempting enough that they don’t get passed over for a sushi roll, slice of pizza, or an awesome Indian food buffet (I’ve got one of those dangerously within walking distance of my office).
It just takes a little something extra to transform an ordinary lunch into something tempting and fun. A piece of dark chocolate and a flavored water always do the trick for me. Aquafina launched new flavors of unsweetened sparkling water in 2017 that perfectly fill that “fun” void.
Even better because Aquafina Sparkling has no calories, no sugar and no artificial flavors, so it tastes like an indulgence without the calories of many other choices.
Aquafina Sparkling is available at Target, so grabbing an 8-pack and a few basic ingredients for lunches is super handy, especially for our household with our near-weekly Target run.
This time of year, our Target runs are even more frequent than usual. The weather is so beautiful and warm that patio lights, outdoor pillows and adorable kid-friendly gardening tools have been mysteriously finding their way into my bright red basket alongside the lunch necessities.
Chicken Fajita Quinoa Bowls
Chicken Fajita Quinoa Bowls are the sort of lunch that I look forward to all morning. Spiced chicken, blackened peppers and smoky salsa are piled on top of a bed of kale and quinoa. It’s a lunch that is packed with protein, and when it’s all tossed together with a squeeze of lime, the flavors really pop!
I love to ride my bike from my office to a nearby park, sit in the shade and take a few minutes to relax and enjoy.
Here’s hoping these moments continue. And that I’ve got many more miles ahead on my trusty pink bike.
Interested in trying the new Aquafina Sparkling flavors yourself? In addition to the Lemon Lime flavor (my favorite), I love the new Mango Pineapple and Black Cherry Dragonfruit. There will be tastings of the new Aquafina Sparkling in Target locations across the U.S., so check it out next time you visit your local store! And click here to see all the great new flavors and for recipe ideas and deals!
- ¾ cup Quinoa
- 1 ½ cups Low-Sodium Chicken Stock
- ¾ lb Boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts
- 1 Tbsp Taco Seasoning
- 2 Tbsp Oil
- 2 Bell Peppers, thinly sliced (I like to use a mix of colors)
- ½ Onions, thinly sliced (opt)
- 3 cups Kale, roughly chopped
- ½ cup Salsa, any type
- Lime wedges
- Rinse quinoa under cool water. In a medium saucepan, bring chicken stock to a boil and stir in quinoa. Reduce heat to low-medium and cover the pan. Simmer until all of the stock has been absorbed, 12-15 minutes. Set aside.
- While quinoa cooks, toss chicken breasts in taco seasoning. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tbsp. oil and when oil begins to shimmer, sear chicken on both sides until cooked through, 3-4 minutes on each side. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and let it rest.
- Return skillet to heat and add 1 Tbsp oil. Saute peppers and onions until tender and starting to blacken in spots, 3-4 minutes total. Season with a pinch of salt.
- Slice chicken.
- Divide quinoa between bowls (use bowls with lids if preparing these ahead for lunches). Top with kale and then peppers and sliced chicken. Spoon salsa on top and place a lime wedge on the side.
- To store: Chicken Fajita Quinoa Bowls will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
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