There are just certain jokes I know that will forever be a staple in my life. Remember the football commercial where the guy is eating a KEEN-O burger because it was a superstition? My husband still isn’t over using that pronunciation because I am forever trying to feed him quinoa and he isn’t a fan. So Keen-o is what he named it for our household. When I was playing around with this recipe I couldn’t help but think this wasn’t going to be one of Ryan’s favorites but surprisingly he loved it and actually asked for me to make it again. He usually loves everything I cook but he tries to stay far away from keen-o. It makes me feel pretty confident that if Ryan will eat this casserole and love it then everyone will love it! The other thing I love about this recipe is you could easily add extra vegetables or different types of vegetables to really make this recipe your own. Some others I would add are mushrooms, spinach, roasted red bell peppers, peas or even corn. You could also throw in scallions or more garlic and different types of cheese to really jazz it up! Now on to that recipe!
Quinoa, Broccoli & Cheese Casserole
1 pound of lean chicken breast
1 cup of quinoa, rushed and uncooked
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 head of broccoli, raw or frozen (about 1-2 cups), chopped finely
1 cup of cheddar cheese, divided evenly
1/2 tablespoon of garlic powder, or 1 clove of garlic
Optional: 1/2 tablespoon of paprika
*Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking pan with foil. Add in the raw chicken breast and bake in the oven for 18-25 minutes (until done). While the chicken is in the oven start making the quinoa (according to the package instructions) usually it is 1 cup of quinoa and 2 cups of water (or chicken broth). Bring to a boil then cover and simmer for 15 minutes until it has absorbed all the water. While the quinoa and the chicken are cooking, sauté the chopped broccoli and the onions on the stove. Throw in the garlic, a touch of olive oil and the onions to sauté first, when the onions are getting nice and soft add in the broccoli and finish the cooking process. Once the chicken is done it is time to shred it! I like to put it in my kitchen aid and mix it until it is nice and shredded but you can also use your fork. Then add all ingredients into a bowl and mix well! Spread into greased casserole dish and top with the extra 1/2 cup of cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes, uncover and bake for an extra 5 minutes. Then enjoy!
* if you are buying a rotisserie chicken, skip this step. If you use chicken tenders they cook much faster!
**I know this recipe sounds like it has a lot of steps but once you start it won't be as time intensive as it sounds!
By The Blonde Pantry
In to the bowl everything goes! The most time consuming part of this recipe is cooking the chicken and the quinoa but if you pre-bake the chicken or use a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store (just remove the skin first) then that will save you time in the kitchen! This is what everything looked like in the pan before I added the layer of cheese. If you are trying to decrease your dairy intake then I would recommend increasing the seasonings and adding two beaten eggs into the mixing bowl before you spread it out so the casserole will stay together. And this is what it looked like coming out of the oven.... heaven! I also love this if you have picky eaters who are going to be guests in your home. You could always substitute the quinoa for brown rice or whatever your family members like! But how awesome would it be to have this in your freezer and when people come over dinner it's ready to go?!!? My casserole dish is rather long and deep so if you wanted a thicker casserole just use a 9x9inch baking dish and there you have it! What do you think? Are you going to give this recipe a try?