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It’s the new year and everyone is trying to eat a little healthier, maybe fit in some exercise while they’re at it. Could just be because of over indulgences from the holiday or you’ve made a resolution, but this will be your year! Except, it’s cold out. Heck, for most of the country it’s freezing or below out. So, salads and grilled foods just aren’t happening. Give me some comfort food please! I’ve taken my Baked Macaroni and Cheese recipe and tweaked it a bit. Here is a healthier alternative that is protein-rich that’s packed with cheesy flavor.

If you’re new to cooking with quinoa, this may just be the recipe you want to start with. No one can resist baked cheesy goodness. My husband loved it and ate many of my test recipes and my daughter, once she got over not seeing her beloved elbow pasta, liked it as well. Score one for mom! Go ahead, enjoy your warm comfort food and don’t feel the guilt.

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Baked Quinoa & Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups quinoa, uncooked
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 8 oz low-fat sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk (or half and half)
  • 5 Tbsp Smart Balance Original Butter Spread
  • 1/4 cup Italian Seasoned breadcrumbs

Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
Place the quinoa in a mesh strainer and rinse with cold water for about 2 minutes.
Place the quinoa, water, and in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Cover with a lid, reduce the heat, and simmer until cooked, about 20 to 25 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine cooked quinoa, cheese, evaporated milk, and butter spread. Pour into a casserole dish and sprinkle breadcrumbs on top. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and breadcrumbs have turned a golden brown.
Serve warm.
Yields 8 servings, 3/4 cup each

Nutritional Information

Per serving: 257 Calories, 11g Fat, 4g Saturated Fat, 13mg Cholesterol, 356mg Sodium, 26g Carbohydrates, 2g Fiber, 13g Protein

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