As you’ve probably guessed by now, I love food. I enjoy cooking, baking, (ahem) eating. I love trying new things. I found a few online dinner delivery services that have amazing looking recipes, but they are way out of my price range. Yeah, I’m a single mom and I don’t have the extra cash to drop on fancy foods.
Since I am pretty handy in the kitchen, I figured out a compromise with my wallet. We have a pretty upscale grocery store near my house so I surf the dinner websites and find a few fancy meals that look good. Ha, then I take their ideas, hit the grocery store, and try to recreate the meals on my own. It may not be exact since I don’t have a recipe, but it’s fun and saves a ton of money.
The Kid let me have some fun with a special dinner and agreed to indulge me. We had pan roasted quail in a balsamic reduction with quince, garlic smashed potatoes and steamed broccoli. I even splurged and got balsamic sea salt for the potatoes. I will say that the original idea for this meal came from a dinner delivery website, BUT you had to buy it to get their recipe so they can’t take credit for the actual meal making itself.
Neither of us had ever tried quail or quince before so it was a first. Judging from the fact that we had two cleaned plates, I’d say it was pretty good. Especially since The Kid is a pretty picky eater. This is also proof that you can diet and have freaking awesome dinners! The online version was $30 for 2 meals and my version was about $12 for 4 meals. Seriously quail and quince on the cheap!
Before you freak out that it takes forever to make something like this, it doesn’t. You chop the quince, mix in some vinegar, sear the quail and roast for 20 minutes while you do something else. Boom, and done in a flash. We used the fancy china too. The best part is the wishbone. It’s the cutest thing!
Pan Roasted Quail with Balsamic Quince Reduction
- 1 medium quince
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 Tbsp brown mustard
- Salt and pepper
- 4 quail (or is it quails?)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel the quince and cut it into bite sized cubes. Add them to a microwave proof measuring cup or bowl, and add the vinegar, water, and mustard. Stir and toss to combine. Microwave for 1 minute. You just want to soften the quince just a bit.
Heat an oven proof pan or skillet over medium to medium-high heat and spray with non-stick spray. My burner dial goes from 1 – 10, and I used 6 as a reference for heat. Add the quail to the pan and sear for about 3 minutes until the skin begins to brown. Flip the quail and sear the other side for about 3 minutes.
Remove from heat and pour in the quince/vinegar mixture. Sprinkle with a little rosemary and sage, and salt and pepper to taste. Roast in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes until the quail are cooked to a temperature of 155 degrees and the juices run clear. Remove from oven. Place the quail on a plate and arrange the quince around it. Drizzle with the sauce and serve.
Makes 4 servings at approximately 267 calories – 25g protein, 8g carbs, and 15g fat.
If you want to complete the meal, chop broccoli crowns into florets and steam in the microwave for 5 minutes while the quail are in the oven. Poke about 1 1 /2 cups of mini yellow potatoes with a fork. Microwave for 5 minutes until softened. Smash them on a cutting board with the back of a knife until they are smooshed. Mix the potatoes with 1/4 cup almond milk and salt and pepper to taste.
Since I was aiming for the experience, I pressed the potatoes into a metal measuring cup and turned it out onto the plate so that the taters were in a cute round shape on a plate. Yeah, that’s how I roll. I’m fancy. The entire meal including the smashed potatoes and broccoli came to 27g protein, 21g carbs, and 15g fat for approximately 327 calories.
Try getting those calories with the flavor and experience from a microwaveable box for dinner. Betcha can’t do it. I promise you that you can make fast meals that taste great and still lose weight. If you’re interested in learning more and building some great healthy eating habits for life, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to see what we can do together.