Quinoa Mac & Cheese

Long time, no post! The changing of the seasons seems to affect me more than most people I know; when it gets colder, and darker, I don’t want to do anything, or eat anything other than pizza and Chinese takeout. But having felt physically icky for a few weeks now, I’m determined to get back on the “cooking for yourself! and eating vegetables!” boat. So, expect more frequent posts – honestly!

A few things I’ve made and liked in the interim:

  • Crock Pot Mac & Cheese – A really good base recipe, on its own it doesn’t have a ton of flavor, though. Next time I would season it quite a bit.
  • Strawberry Greek Yogurt Banana Bread – I took this to work and it went over really well. A great breakfast bread! The only thing I noticed is that the bread turns out a little moister than I usually like.
  • Slow Cooker Cinnamon Almonds – Amazing!! The perfect snack, and very easy (although you do have to be around the slow cooker, as you have to stir them pretty often). These would make a great food gift!
  • Crock Pot Cranberry Sauce – This was my lone addition to our Thanksgiving table, as I had to travel halfway across the country, and I failed (twice!!) at making buttermilk rolls to take. This is a really nice cranberry sauce – hearty and flavorful. The apples are a great addition. I did add more honey than the recipe called for, however, as I like my cranberries a little sweeter. I also woke up too late on Thanksgiving to put this in the slow cooker, so I cooked it on medium-high heat for about 20-25 minutes, and the berries burst and everything melded together nicely.

For dinner tonight, I wanted something easy, filling, and (relatively) healthy. I went with a Quinoa Mac & Cheese recipe I had bookmarked, as I figured it would be at least two out of three. This mac & cheese ends up much more like a cheesy rice casserole than your standard mac & cheese, but it’s really hearty and warming, and as healthy as you want it to be with the addition of vegetables!

(Our milk is in a pitcher because its jug had a crack in it, and now I’m kind of in love with how it looks)

This is a real fridge-cleaner of a meal: any vegetables you want to use up, any cheese you have on hand, and the rest are (for me, at least) pantry staples! Cook the quinoa, and while that’s cooking, take whatever veggies you want in your mac & cheese – I had frozen broccoli and baby spinach on hand – and sauté them with any seasonings you want. I went simple, with just garlic and crushed red pepper.

When both those parts are cooked, add them to a custard base of 2 eggs and 1 cup milk, whisked together – I tempered the eggs with the quinoa slowly, so I didn’t get scrambled eggs – and then stir in the cheese. Pour it all into a prepared pan, top with breadcrumbs (I added Parmesan, as well) and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. The easiest!

Apparently, I’m in a real mac & cheese mood lately, as on Sunday, I’m going to a Mac & Cheese Cookoff. I mean, when am I not in a mac & cheese mood, really. This quinoa version, which I originally found at Around the Table, is going into my standards file, for sure!


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