Back to your regularly scheduled programming. I fell off the wagon yesterday, had a personal day, and never posted. Ground me. Send me to my room. Seriously...can someone please send me to my room so I can get a nap up in here??! Fist pump that it's Friday, double fist pump that the rents are coming this weekend for some wedding planning fun, and triple de dipple (you know what I mean even when I speak my own language, right?) fist pump that Brudder Ben is coming back into the country from being gone for a whole YEAR tomorrow night!!!!
My younger bro, Benny Boo, has been a private contracter for the US for the last 4 years since he got out of the Air Guard. He was most recently stationed in Abu Dhabi ("luckyyyyyyy" --said in my best Napolean Dynamite voice) but was in Afghanistan previous to that and has been in Iraq for the other deployments. I am so stinking proud of that kid for the position he's put himself in at such a young age, he has worked so hard for the last few years and now has the financial freedom to decide what he wants to do with his life. The kid is waaaay smarter than me, and the only reason I'm allowing myself to that is because he doesn't read this blog...but it's true. I can't wait to see his face and I only hope that he shaved his wretched beard off so I can avoid the prickly hug...
Anyway...this dish has nothing to do with him. Helluva segue, huh!? It is delish though. And Main Man loved it, so that's a plus for any healthy dish. I've sort of been addicted to quinoa since purchasing a 5 lb bag of it from Costco. I've tried all sorts of quinoa dishes, so don't get mad when I start posting quinoa every day...Im thinking I might have to change the name of the blog or something if I don't spread them out. My favorite so far is the Mediterranean quinoa and chicken skillet, which happens to be a recipe I adapted from Iowa Girl Eats, which is where I got this recipe for the mac and cheese version.
I'm gonna be honest...if you're looking for a substitute for mac and cheese, this just isn't going to cut it. It's very obviously different, it's kinda like a grown up mac and cheese. I loved the stuff and Main Man devoured it, as I mentioned, but I am not sure how a kid would do with this stuff since it's such a different texture than your standard box of Kraft. But we don't have kids (yet) so the only picky palatte I have to worry about is my own (Main Man will scarf on most anything).
1.5 cups quinoa
3 cups chicken broth
2 cloves garlic (I used 4, I always double the garlic)
2 large egg yolks
1 cup skim milk
1.5 cups grated cheddar cheese, plus a little more for sprinkling on top
1/2 cup diced cherry tomatoes
2 diced cajun red peppers
1 t seasoning salt (like Lawry's)
The veggies are optional, I liked the color and the depth of flava flav they gave, but you could also add crushed red pepper, green/yellow/red bell pepper, green onions, leeks, chives, or whatever floats your metaphorical boat. You could also top this with salsa, hot sauce, sour cream, panko bread crumbs, etc. Heck, you could even add some chicken and some buffalo sauce to make it buffalo chicken mac and cheese. You get the picture.
Spray your non-stick skillet with cooking spray, and saute the veggies (garlic, cherry tomatoes, and cajun red peppers if you're me) for a couple minutes. Add the quinoa, chicken broth, and seasoning salt to the skillet. Cover and reduce heat to med-low and simmer for 15-20 minutes or more (depending on when most of the liquid has been absorbed.
Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Preaheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 13x9 inch dish with cooking spray. Whisk together eggs and milk in a large bowl. Fold in quinoa mixture and cheese. Stir very well and let some of the cheese melt. It's going to seem perdy dern soupy, but don't worry...the baking works it's magic for that problemo. Transfer to the baking dish and if using panko, add to the top now. Sprinkle on the extra cheese and throw it in the oven for 25-35 minutes (until browned around the edges and no excess liquid left). Scoop up into a bowl and serve to your cheese loving fiance so he can gobble it down audibly while praising your cooking skills. Boom.
This size dish is supposed to serve 6 people and contains 339 calories per serving. Not bad atall. Quinoa is my new BFF.
On with your Friday. Let's get through this work day and enjoy the weekend!