Kickin' Quinoa Mac n' Cheese w/ Chipotle Chicken Sausage
Yes, the following recipe is quite a mouthful. A mouthful of deliciousness, that is. With ingredients like quinoa, and better for you chicken sausage, you won't have to deviate from your New Years resolution of losing weight....or simply just eating better.
So you might be asking how this is healthy if it involves cheese. Well, you can't have mac n' cheese without cheese!!! That's just wrong. The star ingredient here is quinoa (prounced keen-wah). Don't worry if you thought it was prounced KIN-OAH--that's how my dad thought it was pronounced.
Why quinoa? Well, where to begin.
1. Quinoa is rich in fiber, and keeps you full.
2. Quinoa is chalk full of iron
3. It's a complete protein. Do you know that it has all 9 essential amino acids? Well now you do.
4. Quinoa has riboflavin. (Yeah, I don't really know what that is either, but it improves enegery within brain & muscle cells.)
Need further convincing? Check out this article: 7 Benefits of Quinoa
Bottom line: Make this dish--it's fantastic! This dish is a great way to introduce quinoa to your family, or for yourself if you're not the sharing kind.
1 tsp olive OR canola oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 can of diced green chiles, a little fluid drained off the top.
3/4 cup dry quinoa
2 links of chipotle & cheese chicken sausage (I used Johnsonville brand), sliced
1 glove of garlic, minced (or just a good T or two of the jarred stuff)
1 1/2 cups fat free, low sodium chicken stock
1 large egg
1/2 cup fat free milk
1 cup low-fat cheddar cheese, shredded
3 T of parmesan cheese
salt & pepper, to taste
pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)
Garnish (optional): extra cheese, scallions, salsa, sour cream, etc!
1. Heat oil in a thick bottomed medium-ish sauce pot over medium heat. When oil is hot, add in onions & green chiles. Cook for 3 minutes. Add in the chicken sausage, and cook for another 3 minutes--or until onion is tender.
2. Stir in quinoa, garlic, salt & pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes (if using). Cook, uncovered, until quinoa starts to turn opaque (about 5 minutes).
3. Add in chicken stock. Cover and reduce heat to medium low (should be simmering). Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously coat a 8x8 or 9x9 inch dish with cooking spray.
5. In a small dish, whisk together milk & the egg. Next, gently fold the egg mixture into the quinoa mixture. Add in the cheddar cheese, mixing well so that some of the cheese starts to melt. Don't worry if it's a little "soupy." It will thicken/stand up in the oven. Pour into baking dish, sprinkling parmesan cheese over the top. Add more salt & pepper, if desired.
6. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the edges turn a pretty golden color.
Makes 4 generous servings. Pairs nicely with a green salad.
8 WWpts+ per serving
Points calculated using the WW Recipe Builder on weightwatchers.com). Points may vary based on the different products used.