Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa Bake

I cannot tell you how incredibly stoked I am to share this recipe. Let's just say there might be a lot more make ahead quinoa bakes coming this season. This particular creation just happened to be the perfect meal for a cold, rainy, meatless Monday.

Let's talk quinoa (pronounced KEENWA) a little bit shall we? This ever so popular and mispronounced ancient seed commonly used as a grain is incredibly versatile. I've used it in many dishes as a gluten-free alternative for pizza crusts, pasta, rice, couscous, you name it just to change things up a bit and take advantage of all the nutritional powers. Yes, quinoa is super powerful. These little suckers are packed with protein and amino acid chains equal to a cut of meat. Pretty stellar right?! I am just amazed. Here I've taken my classic make ahead Broccoli Penne Mac recipe and vamped the whole dish up by switching out the pasta to quinoa. While I was already super excited about this, I got even more excited when the Bear said this was the best quinoa recipe I had ever made. So if you haven't hopped on the quinoa trendy-train or have been afraid your loved ones might not enjoy it, this recipe is for you.

Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa Bake

Nonstick cooking spray
1 cup water
1 cup 2% milk
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1 cup dried quinoa
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
4 oz. 1/3 less fat cream cheese
4 oz. cubed 2% processed cheese such as Velveeta
1 bag steamed frozen broccoli florets
1 cup shredded 2% cheddar cheese

Spray a casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside. Bring the water, milk, and ground mustard to a boil. Add the quinoa. Stir, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 20 minutes or until the liquid is mostly absorbed. While the quinoa is cooking, steam the broccoli in the microwave for 5 minutes and heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spray with nonstick cooking spray and add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally for 5-6 minutes or until the onion softens. Add to the quinoa mixture. When the liquid is mostly absorbed in the quinoa mixture add the broccoli, then gently stir the cream cheese and processed cheese. Continue stirring until the cheese is melted. Pour the mixture into your casserole dish and top with the shredded cheddar. At this point you can cover the dish and store until you are ready to bake and serve. When you are ready to bake and serve, place the dish in a cold oven. Set to 350 degrees and cook until the cheese on the top of the dish begins to bubble and turn golden brown around the edges.

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