Mexican Quinoa Casserole


I was totally lost for dinner ideas last week. I had an abundance of quinoa but that was about it. A trip to the store and a few canned goods later, I had an idea. I was going to make some kind of Mexican quinoa casserole. It was great! You’ll have to forgive the loose measurements below, as I was wingin’ it.

The Food: Quinoa, Black Beans, Corn

Ingredients:

3/4 C. dry Quinoa

1 can black beans, rinsed

1 can corn, drained

1 can diced green chiles

1/2 jar salsa (I used medium)

1/2 C-ish grated cheese (I used colby jack)

Heaping spoonful fiesta ranch yogurt dip (My roommate’s concoction. Mix dry packet fiesta ranch dip w/ non-fat Greek yogurt)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

In saucepan, combine 3/4 cup dry quinoa, 1/4 t salt and 1.5 C. water. Bring to a boil then cover and reduce to a simmer for 18-20 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Stir well to make sure everything is incorporated. Pour into greased casserole dish.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown on top. I kicked the oven up to 375 for the last 5 minutes because I was getting impatient. *Optional, top with crumbled tortilla chips. Enjoy!

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The Food: Mexican Quinoa Casserole

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Lightened up Veggie Pasta Bake

What should I make for dinner? It’s probably one of the tougher questions I face on a daily basis. When last facing this decision, I stumbled upon this recipe from Better Homes and Gardens on Pinterest and knew I had a solution (at least for this week.)

The recipe doesn’t specify whole wheat tortellini, but that’s what I opted for. I also lightened it up by using almond milk and Greek yogurt instead of cow’s milk and cream cheese.

The Food: Veggies on veggies, tortellini

Ingredients:

2 9 oz packages refrigerated cheese tortellini (I found a whole wheat kind)

2 1/2 C fresh sugar snap peas, trimmed and halved crosswise

1/2 C thinly sliced carrot

1 T butter

1 C sliced fresh mushrooms

1/3 C vegetable broth

2 t  flour

1 1/2 t dried oregano, crushed

1/2 t garlic salt (I used 1/4 t garlic powder and 1/4 t salt)

1/2 t ground black pepper

1 C milk (I used almond)

8 oz package cream cheese, cubed and softened (I used plain Greek yogurt)

1 T lemon juice

1 C quartered cherry tomatoes

1/2 C coarsely chopped red or green sweet pepper

2  T grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Cook tortellini according to package directions and add peas and carrot for the last minute of cooking; drain.

While the tortellini is cooking, in a 12-inch skillet melt butter over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook until tender – about 5 minutes – then remove from skillet.

In a screw-top jar combine veggie broth, flour, oregano, garlic salt and black pepper. Cover and shake until smooth. Pour into the same skillet and add milk. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Add cream cheese (yogurt) then cook and stir until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.

Finally, stir tortellini mixture, mushrooms, tomatoes and sweet pepper into skillet mixture. Spoon it all into an ungreased 3-quart baking dish. Bake, covered, about 30 minutes or until heated through. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.

The Fare: Veggie Pasta Bake

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This was so tasty and made enough for a few meals. I topped mine with sea salt, garlic powder and crushed red pepper. You could use any number of vegetables in this recipe – spinach, zucchini, asparagus.  Next time I would also consider sautéing some minced garlic with the mushrooms for added flavor.

Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa Casserole

There’s just something comforting about devouring a warm, cheesy casserole from the oven. What’s even better is when you know it’s a slightly healthier alternative to the original.

I first spotted this recipe for a broccoli quinoa casserole on Pinterest and knew I wanted to try it. Swapping out rice for protein-packed quinoa? Genius. I made it as is the first time around and it was delicious. When I  decided to add some embellishments the second time, it was still just as delicious.

The original recipe called for 1/3 cup of mayonnaise, but I used plain Greek yogurt instead. Can’t taste a difference. I also used almond milk instead of cow’s milk because that’s all I had in the fridge. Again, no difference. The recipe calls for a can of condensed cream of broccoli or cream of mushroom soup, but I found a roasted garlic cream of mushroom soup that I prefer. (I might even toss in some minced garlic to the casserole next time for added flavor.) The original called for 2 cups cooked broccoli, but I just bought a large head of broccoli and chopped it up and cooked it. Surely a little extra broccoli can’t hurt. 🙂 Finally, I added a can of sliced water chestnuts and about 2 cups of fresh spinach.

The Food: Broccoli, Quinoa

Ingredients:

One 10 oz can condensed cream of mushroom/broccoli/roasted garlic & mushroom soup

1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons milk (I used almond milk)

1 1/4 cups shredded cheese (I used colby jack, but you could use whatever you prefer)

1/2 teaspoon sugar (or sugar substitue)

1/4 teaspoon(ish) black pepper

Dash nutmeg

2 cups (approximately) cooked broccoli

1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained

2 cups fresh spinach

1 1/2 cups  cooked quinoa

Grated Parmesan cheese

Breadcrumbs (optional)

Directions:
To cook quinoa, combine  3/4 cup quinoa with 1 1/2 cups water and a dash of salt in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover for about 20 minutes or until quinoa tails show. Fluff with a fork.

Meanwhile, place chopped broccoli in a steamer and cook 8-10 minutes until tender.

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine soup, yogurt, cheese and milk. Add sugar, pepper and nutmeg. Then add spinach and water chestnuts, broccoli and quinoa. Mix well.

Pour mixture into a casserole dish coated with cooking spray. Grate a little Parmesan cheese on top, and if you want, add some breadcrumbs for a little crunch. Bake for 35-40 minutes and enjoy!

The Fare: Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa Casserole

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