Thursday, January 26, 2012

Cheesy Quinoa Casserole...

I'd never had quinoa before, but thanks to a pile of delicious looking pictures on Pinterest, I decided to try it this month.  Apparently quinoa is some sort of wonder grain that's supposed to be really good for you.  The part that appeals to me is that it's a "complete" grain, which basically means it has plenty of protein and makes you feel full for longer than, say, white rice (helllooooooo Chinese food...maybe I should have quinoa with that instead of rice...perhaps I wouldn't be ready to eat another meal an hour after dinner!).  If you read my menu plan, you'll notice that it was not called Cheesy Quinoa Casserole on the original list.  The original recipe on Monica Nelson Fitness is called Quinoa Mac and Cheese.  Upon making it though, I think it's definitely more of a casserole than it is a mac and cheese.  It's one of those diet problems, I think...ever had that problem?  You've been eating 100 calorie pack brownies for the last 2 years, and you're finally so far removed from real brownies, that you're sure that's how real brownies really taste?  And then you recommend them to someone who DOES know what real brownies taste like, and tell them they're practically the same thing, and they look at you like you've lost your mind?  (Ahem...not that that's ever happened to me).  So yeah...definitely NOT mac and cheese, but still a yummy casserole.  I think next time I would add some mushrooms and red peppers to take it even further in the casserole direction.  Based on the texture, I'm pretty sure it'll reheat well, but I'll update if there's any issues.  Here's the recipe I made (adjusted a little from the original):

Cheesy Quinoa Casserole
8 servings, 250 Calories Per Serving


- 2 tsp. Olive Oil
- 1 c. Green Onion, Diced
- 1 Green Pepper, Diced
- 1 1/2 c. Quinoa, Rinsed and Drained
- Pinch of Salt
- 1 c. 2% Milk
- 2 Eggs
- 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
- 1 1/2 c. Shredded Cheddar
- Pepper, to taste
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, to taste


Heat oil over med/med-high heat in medium-large skillet.  Add green peppers and green onions and cook 4-5 minutes till tender.  Add garlic and quinoa, and cook 3-4 minutes until quinoa starts to become translucent (quinoa is NOT done yet, so don't worry about it looking a little like uncooked rice).  Add 3 c. water, and season with salt and pepper.  Cover, turn down heat to med/med-low for 10-15 minutes until most of the liquid has been absorbed.  Remove from heat and let sit 5 minutes.

In a separate large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and crushed red pepper.  Fold in quinoa mixture and cheese.  Transfer to greased 9"x13" pan.

Bake at 350 degrees, uncovered, for 30-35 minutes, until the edges start to brown.

It was easily 8 servings, although the recipe said 6-8...I think you'd probably burst if you only made it into 6 servings.  I'll be having mine with a crescent roll for a total of 350 calories per serving.

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