Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mexican Quinoa Casserole

A large bag of quinoa called my name at Costco a few weeks ago. Probably because if I put it in my cart it would make me look like I was in Costco for the healthy food, and not for the food court frozen yogurt craving I was experiencing after my last OB appointment.  Plus, bringing it home would force me to make some healthier recipes for my family. There are a ton of interesting, and even delicious looking quinoa recipes on Pinterest lately, and I wanted to give some of them a try.

Yesterday at lunch I through together some chicken wraps with leftover BBQ chicken breasts and decided to incorporate some quinoa instead of rice. I toasted the quinoa, sauteed it with some onion and garlic and then added salsa before steaming it to perfection. The result was so flavorful that it inspired me to give it a try it as a casserole for my dinner tonight. The result was this yummy Mexican inspired concoction complete with bubbly Monterey jack cheese. I'm definitely going to make this again...and next time I'll even try to feed it to my kids.

Mexican Quinoa Casserole

1 1/2 c. quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 cloves garlic
1/2 c. diced onion
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/3 c. of your favorite jarred salsa
2 c. water
2 eggs
1 c. skim milk
1 c. shredded Monterey or pepper jack cheese plus 1/2 c. more for sprinkling on top
1/2 c. crushed tortilla chips
1/4 c. diced green onions
1/4 c. roughly chopped cilantro
1 small lime
*optional toppings: sour cream, additional salsa, avocado, etc.

In a medium saute pan heat olive oil over medium/low heat. Add quinoa, garlic, and onion, lightly sauteing and taking care not to burn. Add salsa and water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook approximately 20 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. Cool slightly. 

Grease a 9x13 casserole dish and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl beat eggs and milk, combine with cheese and stir into quinoa. Spoon into casserole dish. Cook for approximately 30 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed and casserole looks set. Top with crushed tortilla chips and cheese. Place under the broiler for a few minutes until cheese is bubbly and chips are careful not to burn the chips!

Serve warm, topped with scallions, cilantro, a squeeze of fresh lime juice and anything else you dream up.


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