Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Veggie Deep Dish Quinoa Pizza

News flash! There is a supposed epic snow storm tracked to hit Kansas City. Maybe I'm over reacting, but they have not called off school just yet. Winter Storm Q (insert "fu" in front of Q for a little play on words) is not expected for delivery until midnight tonight. The heavy stuff isn't expected until 8-9 tomorrow morning. This has me a little nervous. We have not ever had a half day of school. They either call it good (no school) or we endure the entire day and have to deal with the ramifications with crazy children and with traffic while driving home. I'm okay with calling it good. I know there is a day of missed instruction; however, we now have kindergarten and preschool in our building. Neither of which handle any amount of remaining within enclosed walls for long periods of time particularly well. It really gets a little scary when you are working with little ones in the masses. The Bear has suggested I prepare a bag of extra clothing and toiletries in case I get stuck at school. I've taken precautionary measures and have my bag ready, just in case. The Bear also only ate one piece of my lovely "Where's the meat Wednesday?" Veggie Deep Dish Quinoa Pizza, stating that if the power goes out tomorrow he will have two pieces of pizza for tomorrow instead of just one.

Why just one piece? Well, my 9' x 13' casserole dish cut 6 nice serving slices. You could make 4 servings if you chose to cut the pieces larger. Since the Bear has caught on to the whole "meatless Mondays" trend, I thought I'd trick him into a vegetarian meal with a "where's the meat Wednesday?" dish. It all worked until he said, "You've changed it on me and I know what you are trying to do. What's the catch?" He laughed when I used my play on words and said he was great without the meat. Not bad, not bad. Especially since I prepared this dish on my day off and had things ready to go while I packed my winter weather bag. Hearty quinoa substitutes as a gluten-free crust topped with a cheesy veggie cream cheese mixture. Because this pizza is baked in a casserole dish, the quinoa crisps at the bottom similar to a deep dish pizza. If you are a beginning vegetarian or meatless Monday newbie, this is a dish for you!

Veggie Deep Dish Quinoa Pizza

1 cup dried quinoa
2 cups water
1 egg white, beaten
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 oz. 1/3 less fat cream cheese
1 small zucchini, grated
1/4 cup carrots, grated
1/4 cup celery, finely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1/4 teaspoon Herbs de Provence or dried Italian herbs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup shredded 2% mozzarella cheese

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.  In a large pot, bring the 2 cups water to a boil.  Add the quinoa, stir until the quinoa is dispersed.  Lower the heat and simmer until the liquid is absorbed (about 15-20 minutes).  Cover, remove from heat, and cool for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the grated zucchini, carrots, celery, shallot, basil, herbs, salt, and pepper together in a medium sized bowl. Stir until combine and set aside.

When the quinoa is cooled, stir in the Parmesan cheese and egg white. Spray a 9' x 13' casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Spread the quinoa over the bottom of the pan and press to form the crust. Spread the zucchini mixture over the crust. Top with the mozzarella cheese. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the cheese begins to bubble and turn golden brown. If you choose to make this dish ahead, cover the pizza before baking. When you are ready to bake and serve, let the dish stand at room temperature while your oven preheats. Add 5-10 minutes additional baking time depending on your oven.

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