Broccoli Chicken Quinoa Casserole

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Are you a cheesy casserole person? Would you be if the calories, fat, and sodium usually associated with said cheesy casseroles were not an issue?

Count me in on the latter scenario.

Usually when a recipe involves little more than combining a few ingredients and then baking, I would rather just eat all of the ingredients separately – who needs to dirty another dish? But here, the synergy works, and it is worth the extra step on a cold autumn night. Casseroles like this are also great to bring to work for lunch. I mean, if you are not a furloughed federal employee this week.

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Ingredients:
– 2 c cooked quinoa
– 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1″ cubes
– 1 pound broccoli {crown chopped in to florets; stem peeled with a vegetable peeler and sliced in to small discs}
– 1 1/2 c low-fat or fat-free cottage cheese {p.s. I don’t like cottage cheese on its own, but it was great in this dish – if you want to switch it up, try ricotta cheese instead}
– 3/4 c grated cheddar cheese
– 1/4 c panko breadcrumbs
– 2 T grated Parmesan
– 1 t extra virgin olive oil

How do I make it?

  • Preheat the oven to 375.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add a small amount of extra virgin olive oil. When the oil is hot, it thins out – swirl it around the pan to coat the bottom, and add the cubed chicken in one layer in the skillet, making sure to not crowd the pan, so the chicken can brown {you want to avoid adding too much chicken, which would cause the chicken to steam instead of brown – it will still be cooked if it doesn’t brown – it just tastes better when it is a little crispy on the outside!}.
  • Saute until the chicken is browned on the bottom, about 3-4 minutes. Flip the chicken cubes and repeat on the other side of the chicken, another 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove the chicken from the pan and repeat as necessary with the rest of the chicken – you probably will not have to add more oil though.
  • With all of the chicken removed from the pan, add the chopped broccoli and cook until the broccoli is lightly softened and bright green, about 2 minutes. Add just a little water (1-2 t) if there is not enough liquid left over from the chicken. DO NOT over-cook, because the broccoli will cook again when you bake the casserole, and you don’t want it to get mushy!
  • While you are working on the chicken and broccoli, in a small bowl, combine the panko, grated Parmesan, and one teaspoon of olive oil, and stir until the ingredients are evenly distributed.
  • Remove from heat, and in a large bowl, combine the chicken, broccoli, cooked quinoa, cottage cheese, and 1/2 c grated cheddar. Stir until the ingredients are evenly distributed. Season with freshly-ground pepper.
  • Transfer the mixture to a casserole dish and press it down, and spread the remaining grated cheddar over the top. Top with the panko mixture.
  • Bake until breadcrumbs are lightly browned and cheese is melted through, about 15 minutes.

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Adapted from: http://thescrumptiouspumpkin.com/2013/03/28/easy-quinoa-cheddar-bake-with-chicken-and-broccoli/

Comments

  1. Candus says

    Best casserole EVER!! I (loosely) followed the recipe and added(organic) cream of chicken soup- TERRIFIC!

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