I have a very picky mother, who I take care of and lives with my husband and I so for me to find a way to sneak in something… heaven forbid… healthy, is pretty astounding! I adapted this recipe from Eating Well…Living Thin(er), She has a ton of really great recipes over there! But I knew for my family I would have to hide the Quinoa a litttttle bit better then the original recipe. So here is my take on it… and I have yet to tell anyone they ate something healthy and full of quinoa! If you have never tried quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) this would be a perfect starter recipe! Quinoa is a really great grain packed with a ton of protein and a lot less carbs then rice. It can be used in place of rice or couscous and takes on any flavor you give it! It’s also really great in cold salads too!
1 Pan Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Quinoa Casserole
3 good sized boneless skinless chicken breast cut into small cubes
2 garlic cloves
Salt and Pepper
2 cups frozen or fresh broccoli
One 10 oz can condensed Cream of Broccoli soup preferably low sodium
1/3 cup miracle whip
1/3 cup of light sour cream
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/4 cups of cheese… I used a blend of parmesan, Colby jack and low fat mozzarella
1/2 teaspoon Splenda/Sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Dash freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 cups COOKED quinoa (see note)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
To cook quinoa:
1 cup quinoa
1 3/4 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt
Rinse quinoa in a fine sieve until water runs clear, this step is very very important because if it is skipped or not rinsed well enough the quinoa will be bitter! In a medium sized sauce pan combine the rinsed quinoa, water and salt, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook for about 20-25 minutes or until you see a white ring around each grain and it’s light and fluffy.
While quinoa is cooking, heat a large deep skillet with some olive oil, a tablespoon or two of butter if you choose and garlic, salt and pepper, and herbs (season to your family’s taste), simmer for a minute or two, add chicken and cook for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally, add frozen broccoli, simmer over medium high heat until chicken and broccoli are cooked, about 15 minutes. If you are using fresh broccoli, only throw it in the pan for about 7 minutes at the end or it will get super mushy.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees- I like one pan meals and chose to use my deep large skillet that can go right into the oven, so if you have one of these that would be easiest, but a greased 9X13 will work just as well!
In a large bowl combine the soup, mayonnaise, sour cream, milk, shredded cheeses, sugar, a few grinds of sea salt and pepper, and nutmeg and mix well.
Drain your chicken and broccoli skillet of any excess liquid and add soup and cheese mixture, coat all of the chicken and broccoli and then add in your cooked quinoa, smooth out and top with extra Parmesan and Mozzarella cheese.
Bake for 30-35 minutes uncovered and bubbly on the edges, golden on top!