Friday, January 25, 2013

Quinoa Spinach "Macaroni" & Cheese

Happy Friday!

I need some new greetings for my posts. On Fridays, I feel like all I ever say is TGIF or Happy Friday... Hmmmm. Got any bright ideas for me? :)

This quinoa "mac" and cheese dish is a fun new recipe that I tried last weekend when we were home in NY. I made it for the fam, and we all really liked it! As you may guess, there is no actual "mac" in this dish; hence, my putting the mac in quotation marks. So really, it should just be called quinoa spinach and cheese, I guess? Not quite as fun sounding...

This is a great, healthified version of mac and cheese that I believe your whole family will love. No pasta here! Just good ol' quinoa, which I love. It was incredibly easy to put together too. I made quinoa earlier in the week for another dish, and since I was planning on making this recipe later in the week, so I just cooked extra quinoa at the time to have ready when it came time to make this dish. That definitely simplified an already simple dish even more!

I originally found this recipe on Tasty Kitchen; it was a post by Two Peas and Their Pod. However, the original version was created by Bakeaholic Mama, I believe!


-3 Tbsp. butter
-3 Tbsp. flour
-1 and 1/2 cups whole milk
-2 dashes grated fresh nutmeg
-1/4 tsp. salt
-8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
-3 cups cooked quinoa (cooked according to package directions; I cooked
mine with low-sodium chicken broth)
-2 bunches fresh baby spinach

For the topping:
-1/2 cup parmesan cheese
-4 Tbsp. butter, melted
-3/4 cup bread crumbs (recipe calls for panko; I used some
I made myself with bread that was going stale)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium saucepan, add the 3 tablespoons of butter and flour, whisking until a paste forms over medium heat. Add the whole milk, whisking the whole time over medium/high heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Stir in the nutmeg, salt, and cheddar cheese. When this cheese sauce is smooth, remove from heat.

In large bowl, combine the already cooked quinoa, cheese sauce, and spinach. Transfer the mixture into a casserole dish (I used one of my mother's dishes that was roughly 8 x 10" maybe?). I greased my dish, just to be safe. Top with the 1/2 cup parmesan cheese. Combine the melted butter and bread crumbs in a small dish, and then sprinkle over top of the casserole. Bake at 350 until bubbly, about 20 minutes. Enjoy!

We ate this dish along side several other dishes, as my mom had already planned a hearty lunch for the fam. She wasn't expecting me to make this quinoa dish, so it was an extra addition to our plates. :) I could easily see this working as the main dish though for a weeknight, family meal. Maybe serve it with a nice side salad and you're good to go. For anyone who might be missing meat in this dish (I think it's great without meat, but I know there are meat lovers out there!), I bet this would be tasty with either ham or maybe ground sausage mixed in?!

It would also be great with other veggies mixed in too, I bet. Perhaps some mushrooms? Tomatoes? Those are some of my favorites anyway!

For those of you experiencing this extremely chilly winter weather, I hope you stay warm this weekend! Curl up with a good book, a blanket, and a cup of tea... And perhaps a cookie or two? Now we're talking. ;)

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