July 17, 2017

Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa Casserole

I have food nostalgia. I often crave foods from my childhood...freshly-picked green beans cooked to death with ham and potatoes; icebox dessert made with layers of graham crackers, chocolate pudding, and whipped cream; canned potatoes fried in butter; bologna sandwiches with American cheese and yellow mustard; kielbasa and sauerkraut; macaroni with hamburger and tomato sauce aka goulash; salisbury steak TV dinners with the brownie that was so hot it would destroy your mouth; an all green St. Patrick's Day supper (see above)...not because they are delicious dishes, mind you, but because they remind me of good times...of family meals around the dining room table or special occasions when we got to eat off of tray tables in the living room. I'm such a sappy sucker.

Disclaimer: I still buy individually-wrapped Kraft singles. AND I AM NOT ASHAMED.

One of the dishes I think about often is a broccoli rice casserole that my mom used to make a lot. She'd thaw a frozen brick of chopped broccoli in the microwave, then mix it with a can of cream of mushroom soup, a jar of Cheez Whiz, and a couple cups of Minute Rice...which was all nuked until bubbly.

I loved this stuff. It is what passed for "healthy" at our house. Broccoli and rice, yo.

But, alas, I haven't eaten anything made with Cheez Whiz in like 25 years...because now I know better.

Anyway, when I came across a "blast from the past recipe" on Pinterest that reinvents this classic casserole with quinoa instead of rice and shredded cheddar instead of Whiz, I knew I had to try it.

Y'ALL. I was not disappointed. This is so reminiscent of Mom's casserole, yet without so many crappy ingredients.

I was hesitant about all the reduced-fat shit, but it works here. And the leftovers heat up well without the oily separation that usually occurs with such cheesy baked things.

Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa Casserole
recipe adapted from Eating Well...Living Thin

No pics of the finished dish, as we were having family dinner in the living room while we watched Game of Thrones. 

1 can condensed reduced-fat cream of mushroom soup
1/3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons milk or water
2 cups reduced-fat sharp shredded cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups steamed broccoli, chopped
1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa *

* I cooked 3/4 cup in 1 1/2 cups of water. Next time, I'll cook the entire 12 oz package according to the directions on the bag and add all of the cooked quinoa to the casserole as there was enough liquid to do so and there was only about 1/2 cup of grains left in the bag.

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees and coat a shallow casserole dish or pie plate with cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl combine the soup, mayonnaise, milk, 1 1/2 cups cheese, salt & pepper until well mixed. Stir in the quinoa and broccoli.
  • Spoon mixture into prepared dish.  Top with remaining cheese and bake for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly on the edges and golden. 

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