Thursday, March 1, 2012

Spinach Zucchini Quinoa Bake

When thinking about what to make for dinner tonight, I wanted to make something that didn't need a lot of babysitting...I was tired and not feeling great so I decided to make some type of casserole. Usually this means something in the vein of Campbell's chicken and rice casserole. You know the one where you mix rice and cream of something soup, sometimes some cheese in a pan and put chicken breasts of the top and bake. Yeah, I know the cream of something soup is awful but the dish is so easy to make when you don't have a lot of time for prep. Well, it got me thinking, could I somehow replicate the dish and make it PINK friendly?

I thought about the Alfredo sauce that I posted about here, and knew that I could use that as the creamy base to cook the rice in. Then I thought about the rice, did I want to use brown rice? I could but brown rice takes so long to cook I wasn't sure it would fully soften in the oven, so I decided to use quinoa because it cooks quickly like the instant rice you would use in the traditional casserole. I knew I was on to something so I decided to give it a try. I however didn't add the chicken on top, you could  with some seasoning and have an easy meal...I didn't because I was really just experimenting this afternoon when I made this and I didn't want to hassle with the chicken part. I simply baked some chicken in the oven at dinner to go along with the dish.

Spinach Zucchini Quinoa Bake
1 cup quinoa
1/4 onion chopped
1 zucchini shredded or use your saladacco if you have one
1 1/2 cups fresh spinach chopped
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1 cup plain almond milk
1 cup water
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp Bragg's Aminos
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp chopped garlic

Chop your onions, mushrooms, spinach and shred your zucchini
(on a side note, as I made zucchini noodles using my saladacco tonight, my kids thought it was so funny that I was getting such long noodles  6+ feet, they said, "Let's pretend we are Lady and the Tramp" so I they stole some of my noodles and spread across the room and proceeded to eat them, until they got closer and closer, you know how it goes. I love that my kids are eating raw zucchini now, before PINK the only way I could get them to eat it was in zucchini bread which is not healthy at all. Okay thanks for humoring me, I just thought the picture was funny and wanted to share.)
Saute your onions, mushrooms, spinach and zucchini in a saute pan with a mist of olive oil.
In a separate bowl, mix your almond milk, water, Dijon, Bragg's, yeast, lemon juice and garlic.
Add your almond milk mixture to the pan along with your quinoa and stir to combine.
When the liquid begins to boil, pour into a casserole dish, mine was about 6 x 9 but an 8x 8 would work or a pie pan. I just wouldn't use a big pan like a 9 x 12, I think the quinoa would be spread to thin and might not cook correctly. At this point you could add your chicken to the top to make it an easy meal.
Cover your dish with foil or a lid if your casserole dish has a lid and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. You could also skip putting it into a pan and baking and just finish it on the stove top letting it simmer until the quinoa has softened, that is fine. I just wanted to be able to forget about it and not have to watch it like you do on the stove top.
Like I said I didn't add chicken to mine, next time I will. I simply sprinkled some almond meal with a little Mrs. Dash to the top of my chicken and baked in the oven. Serve the casserole along with a salad and dinner is done.


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