Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Bowl | Model Behaviors

Announcing the Mommy Makeover Winner!

We thought it’d be fun to have a special edition of the Monday Menu this week by having our Mommy Makeover Contest winner share one of her favorite recipes that she discovered over the last three months of her healthy, productive lifestyle change.

Each of our participants did an amazing job taking our advisers’ wisdom to heart. We saw evidence that each of these five women stepped up their healthy eating game and also integrated an everyday workout routine into their already busy schedules. In last month’s check-in they also shared the profound impact this contest has had on each of them.

It was very difficult for the judges and me to narrow down our participants to the top three. Once we did, we handed the contest over to you, our readers, and your 600+ votes have spoken.

Our winner for the Mommy Makeover Contest is…

Renee Manocchio!

Congratulations, Renee! We’re all so very happy for you!

We’re super excited to meet her in a couple weeks when she flies to Dallas to get a hair and style makeover, plus do a photo shoot with the advisers, the Behaviorists, and me. Later this month we’ll share photos and video from Renee’s makeover journey from beginning to end.

To celebrate, Renee is sharing her Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Salad recipe. Let’s give Renee, our Mommy Makeover Contest winner, a warm Model Behaviors welcome!

This recipe has become a new favorite in our household. One of the many reasons I like it is because it’s kid friendly. The kids eat a more bland version. All I do is take their portion out before I add the sauce and seasoning at the end. It saves me from making two meals and the kids love it just as much as my husband and I do!

As a mom, I’ve had fun cooking and teaching the kids about what we’re eating and why it’s healthy throughout the contest. As I was getting my pictures for the recipe, I climbed on chairs and stood on countertops to try and get everything in the frame. All the while my eighteen-month-old was copying me and standing and climbing while my three- and four-year-old were offering me a time out if I didn’t get down!

Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Bowl | Model Behaviors

Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Bowl | Model Behaviors

It’s always crazy chaos cooking with my kiddos around, but I’m happy to share the memories and values of healthy eating habits while we can. Making time for healthy meals we all can enjoy is one of the fun challenges I enjoyed with the Mommy Makeover Contest!

Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Bowl | Model Behaviors

I captured some of the chaos that took place while cooking. It can be hectic at times, but it’s all worth it in the end. I’m sure other moms can relate to kids getting into things while trying to prepare dinner. I always envision that it’s going to be a beautiful meal with the dinner table set nicely and no mess whatsoever.

However, it usually ends up being a beautifully messy chaos.

Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Bowl | Model Behaviors

Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Bowl | Model Behaviors

I got my original inspiration for this recipe on Half Baked Harvest. The beauty of it is the five-minute prep time and twenty-minute cook time! For a busy mom like myself, a quick, healthy recipe that the whole family can enjoy is a win!

Announcing the Mommy Makeover Winner!
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4 salads
  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 2 cups of water
  • ¾ pounds of boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
  • 1 cup of broccoli florets
  • ¾ cup of shredded carrots
  • ¾ shredded cabbage
  • ½ cup blue cheese crumbs or any cheese you would like
  • 4 green onions chopped (save half for garnish)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

    For the Dressing

    1/3 cup of olive oil
  • ½ cup of hot sauce (we used Franks)
  • 1 teaspoon of seasoned salt
  1. In a fine mesh strainer, rinse quinoa well and drain. I did not have a mesh strainer and this was a near disaster. I highly recommend using one. I attempted to use a regular strainer lined with paper towels and the quinoa just ended up sticking to the paper towels. This is what happens when you are new to making quinoa. I laughed it off and everything turned out great, but I highly recommend a mesh strainer when rinsing quinoa.
  2. Bring to a boil, cover and turn heat to low. Cook until all the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff the quinoa with a fork.
  3. While the quinoa cooks and in a small bowl, combine the olive oil, hot sauce, and seasoned salt. I used half the hot sauce by adding water. Again it’s all preference. Whisk everything until smooth and set aside.
  4. In a medium skillet over medium high heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil and sauté broccoli for about five minutes. You want the broccoli to just start to soften but remain firm. Remove broccoli from pan and set aside.
  5. Using the same pan, add another tablespoon of oil and sauté the chicken for about five minutes or until it is cooked. Then add ¼ cup or so of the buffalo dressing.
  6. When the quinoa is ready, add the chicken, broccoli, carrots, and cabbage. Followed by as much dressing as you desire.
  7. Add the bleu cheese and half of the green onions.
  8. Toss again and serve with extra blue cheese crumbles and green onions if desired.
If you’re cooking for kids or someone who prefers a blander flavor, set aside portions before you add the dressing.

Personally, I left out the cabbage because we’re not big on that. You can add what you like and make it your own. For instance, we also left the onions out and used mozzarella cheese. It’s all preference and that’s the great thing about this recipe!

I hope you and your family enjoy!

We’ll have more delicious recipes from some of our other participants and members of our Comeback Circle throughout the rest of this month. My deepest hope is that you’ll see these women and gain the motivation you need to kick-start a healthy and productive lifestyle change. I’m so inspired by all five of these women and what they’ve accomplished in these past three months.

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