Recipe—Quinoa and Cheese

I am a huge fan of macaroni and cheese; I mean come on, who isn’t? It has to be one of my all time favorite comfort foods. Problem for me is that it is not the healthiest item to be consuming on a regular basis. I thought to myself, there has to be a way to enjoy a healthier version of this classic comfort food. So here it is, quinoa and cheese!

Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is a super grain comparable to couscous or rice and has been around since ancient times. The Incas called it “The Mother Grain.” It contains more protein and fewer carbohydrates than any other grain. It’s also an awesome source of calcium, iron, phosphorous, and vitamins B and E. Quinoa is a great ingredient to work with if you are watching carbs or are on a gluten free diet.

This recipe has all the great qualities a person loves about macaroni and cheese, the rich creaminess, the cheesiness, the crunchy topping, except it makes it healthier. (Shhh don’t tell the kids!) You can even spruce it up by adding in some steamed broccoli or fresh chopped jalapeños. While I wouldn’t call this an equal to macaroni and cheese, it certainly is a great alternative.

Note: If you are only feeding a couple of mouths divvy it up into two 8″ x 8″ dishes and freeze one for later. I love the disposable foil containers you can get at the grocery store. 

INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 cups quinoa, uncooked
1/2 c milk
1/2 c sour cream
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper
2 c shredded cheddar cheese
1 c crushed croutons (optional)

STEPS

  • Cook quinoa according to the package instructions.
  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • Grease a 7” x 11” baking dish.
  • Whisk together milk, sour cream, eggs, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  • Stir in cheese and then the cooked quinoa.
  • Transfer the quinoa and cheese mixture to the prepared baking dish.
  • Top with the crushed croutons if you are using them.
  • Bake for 30–35 minutes or until it is a nice golden brown on top.
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