Quinoa: Mystery Food Tackled

I have always wanted to make quinoa for myself since I started seeing it all around in Boston. Sometimes they have it in our dining hall but usually I see it at work because the chef makes it for the kids all the time. It is super high in protein and is also gluten free and is a great “one dish dinner.” Since I am at home for the next month, I am cooking for me and my family. I wanted to ease them into the idea of eating quinoa so I started out with a delicious recipe: quinoa mac and cheese. I found the recipe on Pinterest but here is the blog that the recipe links back to if you want the original recipe. If you love quinoa or have never tried it but want to, this is a great starter recipe for you to try! The consistency comes out pretty close to cheesy grits because it is a casserole like dish. I also think this would be great for breakfast with some bacon (or lunch and dinner with bacon but who’s counting.) Anywho, recipe to follow:

Quinoa Mac and Cheese


Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 med. leek white and pale green parts halved and sliced (omitted because I am allergic)
  • 1/2 cup diced tomato or red/green pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • pinch of salt
  • big pinch of seasoning salt
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 3 cups of water of stock (chicken, vegetable)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk (I used skim but you can use whatever, soy, whole, cream)
  • 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese with extra for the top (this is a lie, you need at least two cups if you want it to be cheesy)
  • Optional- I added Panko breadcrumbs to the top but you can also add crushed red pepper or whatever your heart desires
Directions
  1. Heat oil in med. saucepan over med. heat. Add whatever vegetables you want (I used tomatoes but broccoli would definitely be good); cover and cook five minutes until tender. Stir in quinoa and garlic, and cook, UNCOVERED, 3-4 minutes or until the grains turn opaque but they will not even be close to being cooked all the way so don’t worry.
  2. Add 3 cups of water or stock and then add the salt and seasoning salt. Then cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until most liquid has been absorbed (this really took me like 25 or 30 but it depends on your stove, quinoa type, patience, etc.)
  3. Remove from heat and let stand five minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 and spray 13×9 pan. Whisk together eggs and milk in large bowl. Fold in quinoa and cheese (the mixture will be very soupy and you will get scared but it’s okay). Make sure you stir this a lot or you will have scrambled eggs and that’s gross. Stir until some of the cheese melts.
  5. Transfer to baking dish and add bread crumbs and cheese on top. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until browned around edges. (I found that if you add the bread crumbs half way through instead of at the beginning it works better).

I served it with a salad and grilled chicken. If you divide it into six servings, it is 339 calories per serving.

Enjoy!

xoxo

kBp

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