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Monday, April 2, 2012

Cheesy Quinoa + Broccoli Bake




A new twist on a classic. That's what I love to do! Take something traditional like mac + cheese for instance, and make it something totally new--but based on the same principle. In this case I swapped the elbow macaroni for tri-colored quinoa [yum!], added bacon + broccoli, and made my own spicy cheese sauce from scratch. No easy-mac, mystery powdered cheese here. Nope, no-siree! Don't get me wrong, back in the day ['which was a Wednesday'-DC] I ate my fair share of easy-mac. Usually in college, after coming home from the bars easy-mac was just that...easy! A little water, a little powder [hmmm] and ding- it's ready! It did its job...now easy-mac has gone and grow'd up! It's time for a healthier, fresher take on a yummy classic. Let's go!


Cheesy Quinoa + Broccoli Bake 
  • Cheese Sauce
    • 1 tbsp flour 
    • 1 1/2 tbsp butter 
    • 2/3 cup milk [Almond Milk works great!]
    • 2 tbsp plain cream cheese
    • 1 tbsp chili garlic sauce
    • 1 tsp nutmeg
    • 1 cup shredded mozzarella [skim] cheese 
  • 2 cups quinoa, cooked
  • 2 cups broccoli florets, cooked + chopped
  • 3-4 strips of bacon, cooked + chopped 
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella
  1. start by rinsing  your quinoa [2-3 times] and cooking it by following the directions on the box. 
  2. meanwhile pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. start making your cheese sauce by starting with the classic "roux" [butter, flour, milk].
  3. begin in a small sauce pan by melting the butter over med-high heat. once butter is melted, slowly start whisking in flour. once flour and butter have created a thick paste, slowly whisk in milk. bring to a low-boil and continue whisking occasionally. once mixture has thickened, start adding mozzarella cheese. continue stirring and add nutmeg, chili garlic sauce, and cream cheese. continue stirring until blended well, smooth + dreamy! [it's slightly pink...I know!]
  4. in a large bowl combine, broccoli, bacon, quinoa, and cheese sauce. add salt + pepper to taste. 
  5. spoon quinoa mixture into a large casserole dish that has been greased with olive oil spray. sprinkle remaining mozzarella cheese on top. bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is melty and quinoa is bubbling. 
roux [rue] is that you?

oh hey dreamy cheese sauce. 

vegetarian? peskatarian? skip the bacon. more for me!

cheesy, melty, healthy[er] twist on a classic. 

be easy. 

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