I’m feeling a little bah-humbug.
Its not that I hate Christmas. Its just that I’m an all or nothing kind of gal. If I can’t do something to the best of my ability I’d rather not do it at all. That being said, life is crazy right now with a new house and a new baby. Nothing looks the way we want it to and things are lost daily because they have no permanent home. Its hard enough staying on top of the cooking, cleaning, and general life-sustainment of the five of us, but add Christmas in there? Forget about it.
There is no Christmas tree. The only decoration around the house is a string of icicle lights twist tied to the banister. My Christmas shopping is far from over. Fear not, I’ve put plenty of thought into the food we’ll be serving at various get togethers because that is a fun once a year treat. Also, there will eventually be a Christmas tree. There might be decorations (I’m not a knick knack kind of gal either). I know Christmas is about more than this, but I don’t even feel like I can give all the world peace Jesus in the manger stuff my best either. This year we survive, and maybe next year there will be fresh baked cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning and our house will be decorated like something out of a magazine.
So today I don’t bring you Christmas food. I bring you comfort food. Healthy comfort food. FIll you up, warm you up, and still feel good after eating it food. There are loads of vegetables and just a hint of spice in this crispy quinoa bake. The quinoa gets delightfully crispy around the edges of the pan and anywhere cheese has been browned on top of it. This started as a stuffed pepper recipe. When my husband asked me if he was supposed to eat the “bucket” it came in, I decided I would be better off hiding the peppers in the savory stuffing. If you really want to spice things up I’d recommend throwing in some chopped jalapeno and swapping the cheese out for a shredded pepper jack. Its also really good with 1/2 cup chopped cilantro in it. Real life cooking – I didn’t have cilantro the day I made this. You should add cilantro.
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- 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup onion, diced (about 1 medium)
- 1//2 green pepper, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 cup zucchini, cubed (about 2 small)
- 1 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 4 ounce can diced green chiles
- 1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 cup frozen corn
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ lime, juiced
- 2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Place the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse throughly with cool water for at least two minutes. Drain. In a medium saucepan, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the quinoa and cook, stirring, for about one minute. The quinoa should begin to dry out and pop a bit. Add the chicken stock. Stir and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and cook, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and peppers and cook, stirring occasionally until soft, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and zucchini and cook 3 more minutes.
- Fluff the quinoa with a fork and place it in a large bowl. Add onion mixture, beans, green chiles, tomatoes, corn, cumin, oregano, chili powder, lime juice, and salt to taste. Mix thoroughly and transfer to prepared baking dish. Bake 30 minutes, top with cheese, and bake 10 minutes more or until melted and just beginning to brown.