Add me to the list of one of the last people to try quinoa and now I can’t help but look for many other recipes to use up the bag in my pantry. Don’t worry I already have some in mind to share with you! I wanted to ease Blair and myself into trying this unfamiliar grain that I have read so much about so I chose this casserole. Of course anything coated in a cheese sauce is going to get rave reviews in my book.
Growing up the word casserole was somewhat tainted for me. I am not entirely sure why this was the case, but as a grown-up I very much appreciate a good casserole. I bet I will appreciate them even more when we have kids and I can prep it ahead of time while the wee one is sleeping and pop it in the oven for dinner time. I did some prep work for this particular casserole over the weekend by roasting a chicken so all I had to do the night of was cook the quinoa, steam the broccoli, and whip up the cheese sauce. The cheese sauce came together very quickly and it was nice to know that I wasn’t using some scary cheese block from the grocery store.
Broccoli is one of my least favorite vegetables, I think the reason stems from a repeating incident in college, I will spare you the details. I am trying to embrace it more this year and find other ways to make it. It works perfectly in this casserole and dare I say I actually enjoyed eating it. This casserole is sure to win over lots of people in your family, we ate it for several days straight just the two of us, and I am very much looking forward to making it again soon!
Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa Casserole
1½ cups quinoa
1 head broccoli, cut into small florets
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 shallots, diced
2 cups milk (low-fat is fine)
¼ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. dry mustard
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (you will get the best results with cheese you shred yourself)
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
What you’ll do:
Cook the quinoa according to the package directions. Meanwhile, place broccoli in a saucepan with a little bit of water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Once it comes to a boil, let it boil for 1-2 minutes more, you want the broccoli to be just tender. Drain immediately and blanch to stop the cooking. Add to a mixing bowl and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400˚ F. While the oven preheats, make the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to medium and whisk in the flour, shallots, garlic powder, dry mustard and cayenne. Continue whisking the mixture for 1-2 minutes. It will appear light golden in color. Slowly whisk in the milk. Allow the sauce to come to a simmer, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheddar until melted and smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
To the bowl with the broccoli, combine the cooked quinoa, and shredded cooked chicken. Stir together and pour the cheese sauce on top. Fold together gently until evenly combined. Pour the mixture into a lightly greased casserole dish. Bake until the top is lightly browned, about 20-25 minutes. Serve warm.Source: Annie’s Eats