Broccoli Quinoa Casserole

Now that I have 4+ pounds of quinoa from a recent Costco trip (thanks, Justine!), I am always looking for new quinoa recipes.  Pinterest helped me find this broccoli quinoa casserole recipe, which looked intriguing:

10 oz can condensed cream of broccoli soup (or mushroom), low-sodium if you prefer
1/3 cup reduced fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/4 cups reduced fat shredded cheese (cheddar, colby-jack, etc.)
1/2 teaspoon Splenda/sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
dash freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups cooked broccoli
1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat a shallow (8×8 in or 5-6 cups) casserole dish – or individual ramekins – with vegetable cooking spray.

In a large bowl combine the soup, mayonnaise, milk, shredded cheese, Splenda, pepper, and nutmeg until well mixed. Stir in the quinoa and broccoli.

Spoon mixture into prepared casserole.  Sprinkle on a couple tablespoons of Parmesan and bake for 35-40 minutes (20-25 minutes for ramekins) or until bubbly on the edges and golden.  Makes 8 generous 1/2-cup servings.

Broccoli Quinoa Casserole

Giant was out of all fresh and frozen broccoli (WTF?), so I used a steamer bag of broccoli/cauliflower, which ended up being quite good.  I probably could have used two bags since I am a big fan of both.  I need more recipes involving cauliflower.

I used condensed cream of mushroom soup since the cream of broccoli version was not low sodium.  I could probably add actual mushrooms next time.

Also, I used the “Chipotle” flavor of mayo since it was on sale and reduced fat, and I thought it would give the dish a kick.  It did not disappoint.

This dish is quite tasty with some fresh ground black pepper on top.  I look forward to eating it for the next few days.

P.S. Quinoa aficionados, what is the best way to rinse quinoa without making a mess?  The holes in my sieve are too large.  What if I put a paper towel under it?  I’ve also read that coffee filters work?


Lemon Chicken

Last week, I needed an easy chicken recipe that involved using ingredients already in my kitchen.  Enter: the easiest lemon chicken recipe ever:

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
4 teaspoons flour
salt and pepper
2 teaspoons oil
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon butter


Flatten chicken slightly. Dust with flour. Salt and pepper chicken.

Fry in hot oil 5 minutes each side. Remove chicken from pan.

To pan add broth, garlic, lemon juice and butter. Cook 2 minutes. Pour over chicken.

Lemon Chicken

Super easy and super delicious.  I paired this with a side of quinoa drizzled in balsamic vinegar for a quick and tasty weeknight dinner (with leftovers for the weekend :)).

Lemon Balsamic Salad

This is a fun little salad that I threw together with some leftovers, including my last piece of Chicken Piccata.

1/2 head of romaine lettuce
1/2 avocado
piece of chicken breast
1 cup green beans
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese

I topped it with a lemon balsamic vinaigrette dressing:

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine lemon juice, vinegar, salt, pepper, and garlic in a medium bowl. Whisking constantly, add the oil in a thin stream.


Of course, the ingredient amounts can be altered, this is just what was leftover in my fridge.  It was quite tasty and healthy!

Chicken Piccata

I recently enjoyed Chicken Piccata in a restaurant, and decided to learn how to make it myself.

I first came across this recipe from Giada, and thought, yikes, that’s a lot of butter.  There must be a healthier version.  And there is!

6 ounces whole-wheat angel hair pasta
1/3 cup all-purpose flour, divided
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 chicken cutlets, (3/4-1 pound total), trimmed
3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 10-ounce package mushrooms, sliced
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup white wine
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
2 teaspoons butter

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until just tender, 4 to 6 minutes or according to package directions. Drain and rinse.

Meanwhile, whisk 5 teaspoons flour and broth in a small bowl until smooth. Place the remaining flour in a shallow dish. Season chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper and dredge both sides in the flour. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned and no longer pink in the middle, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate; cover and keep warm.

Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon oil in the pan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, until they release their juices and begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add garlic and wine to the pan and cook until reduced by half, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the reserved broth-flour mixture, lemon juice and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring, until the sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes.

Stir in parsley, capers, butter and the reserved mushrooms. Measure out 1/2 cup of the mushroom sauce. Toss the pasta in the pan with the remaining sauce. Serve the pasta topped with the chicken and the reserved sauce.

Chicken Piccata

I used two chicken breasts, cut up into small pieces.  As the leftovers marinated in the fridge over the next few days, they actually ended up tasting better and better.

This recipe was not difficult, but all of the steps made it take longer than it should have.  Also, I learned what “dredging” means (why does cooking require a whole new language?  Why can’t they just say “coat”?).  I also added lemon pepper to the dredging mixture.

Overall, the meal was pretty good, but the sauce wasn’t as thick as I would have liked.  Maybe next time I will add a smidge more butter…

Chicken Piccata with Penne

Mashed Potatoes

So I have been failing miserably in keeping up with this blog, but at least I have still been cooking!  I’m going to post a bunch of things that I’ve made over the last few weeks.

After the success of the potato soup, I had three leftover potatoes that needed to be used.

Believe it or not, I’d never made mashed potatoes before.  I was always under the impression that they were difficult to make because my mother uses a ricer (which I only recently learned the name of) to mash them.  By the way, why is it called a ricer?  You don’t use it to make rice…

But I learned that boiling and mashing them yourself was much, much easier.  And I like them a little chunky.  Here is the basic recipe I used:

2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.  Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes; drain.

In a small saucepan heat butter and milk over low heat until butter is melted.  Using a potato masher or electric beater, slowly blend milk mixture into potatoes until smooth and creamy.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Mashed Potatoes

I seasoned them with garlic salt, parsley, and fresh ground black pepper.

Three potatoes made about three servings worth.  Super easy!  Why did I ever make instant mashed potatoes in college?  Yuck!