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?

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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

Directions:

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 :)).

Quinoa Caprese Salad

Where do I begin?  First of all, I had no idea that quinoa even existed until I stumbled upon Justine’s Pinterest page.  And I only learned how to pronounce it because she mentioned it in the office.

How did I make it this long in my life without it?  It is delicious and super easy to make.

Quinoa Caprese Salad

Here is the recipe.  It made three large servings.

1 cup quinoa, cooked and cooled
1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced
1 English cucumber, sliced
6 oz fresh mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
black pepper

Cook quinoa according to package directions, cool.  Chop and slice veggies and cheese, add to quinoa.  Toss mixture with olive oil, vinegar and black pepper.

My Tweaks:

  • The 5.46 oz package of roasted garlic quinoa that I used made about 1 3/4 cups cooked quinoa — I just used it all.
  • I used 8 oz of fresh mozzarella (hey, that’s how big the package was, and who doesn’t like more cheese?).
  • I drizzled a little more balsamic vinegar on top.

Thoughts:

  • I will probably use a regular cucumber next time.  At $2.50 each, I don’t think an English cucumber is really worth the extra cost (regular cucumbers currently cost 99 cents each, less in the summer, even less at the local Hispanic market).  The dish seemed a little cucumber-heavy, but at the same time, cucumbers are super healthy and very filling.
  • Is there really only one brand of quinoa?  $2.99 (sale price) for 1 3/4 cups cooked seems pretty pricey.  The brand I bought also has a “black bean” flavor.  Does it come in larger packages?  Maybe in health food stores?

Conclusion:  While I already knew that tomato, basil, and mozzarella could do no wrong, the additional of the light and fluffy quinoa makes for an easy, light, healthy, and quite refreshing meal!