Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Best Mac and Cheese You'll Ever Have: Quinoa and Cheese

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Now what the heck is Quinoa (Keen-wa) you ask?

It's got a funky name, but it's hailed as one of the most nutritious foods in the World.  Yes THE WORLD!

In fact the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations declared 2013 as the year of Quinoa!

Quinoa is a plant and is often considered a grain, but it is really a pseudo grain and differs in many ways.  In fact, Quinoa is more closely related to spinach and beetroot than grains.

Let's take a look at the amazing benefits of Quinoa...

First and foremost Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids. Most other grains are incomplete protein sources, meaning they DO NOT contain all of the essential amino acids that our body needs.

Just one cup of Quinoa contains about 10g of Protein, almost twice as much as both rice and wheat proteins. 
Not just protein, but also about 28% of quinoa's fatty acids come in the form of oleic acid, a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, and about 5% come in the form of alpha-linolenic acid or ALA—the omega-3 fatty acid most commonly found in plants and associated with decreased risk of inflammation-related disease.

In addition, maybe the most striking health benefit provided by quinoa is its overall nutrient richness. It packs a big punch of protein, healthy fats, but it is also full of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory's, fiber (over 6g in 1 Cup), and phytonutrients (Natural nutrients in plant sources that offer huge health benefits).

It's also gluten free, supports energy levels by providing Riboflavin, Magnesium, Iron, and Manganese, and may also benefit by fighting obesity, diabetes, and certain cancers. 

Overall Quinoa is a food that should be in your kitchen cupboard at all times.  

Now if you've never eaten Quinoa before, the best way to explain it is it's very similar to rice. You cook it the same and it can be used in many of the same ways.  It's absorbs flavors well and is a good substitution for rice in many recipes. 

It can also substitute for grains, cereals, or pasta's in many cases as well, and today that's what it's replacing.  We're taking the great classic Mac and Cheese and using Quinoa instead of Macaroni.  

We promise you this recipe won't disappoint and will give you a great taste of what Quinoa is all about!

Without further ado, here you go

Compliments of Leanne from Around the Table

The Culprits
  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 2 Cups of Chopped Broccoli
  • 1 Cup of Chopped Carrots
  • 2 Gloves of Garlic - Minced 
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup Slim Milk or Almond Milk
  • 2 cups Grated Mozzarella Cheese (or Any Cheese of Your Choice)
  • Optional- Crushed Red Pepper, Black Pepper, Seasoned Salt

1. Lightly saute the Broccoli, Carrots, Garlic for about 3-Minutes

2. Bring a pot of water to a boil, and cook the quinoa for about 10-Minutes or until done.

3. Combine the eggs and milk in large bowl and beat until smooth.

4. Combine the quinoa, veggies, and 3/4's of the cheese. (Now is the time to add in optional spices, herbs.

5. Throw mixture into a pan, and top with the remaining cheese

6. Cook at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until cheese is brown

7. Grab a fork and Enjoy! If you're feeling adventurous try adding salsa, hot sauce, ketchup, or sour cream for some extra flavor!

Just One More Look At This Delicousness!

Go Get 'Em!

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