These days, cooking is the last thing I want to do on beautiful evenings when the boys are playing outside in the woods. Watching (and hearing) boys be boys is just so…amazing.
Sticks become weapons or forts, (invisible) enemies are everywhere and imaginations run wild!
I must confess that it is bittersweet to see that my babies have turned into full fledged boys.
Unfortunately – or perhaps fortunately – watching them can’t be accomplished from the kitchen. So unless I want to miss out on these precious moments, I have to plan ahead so I can be outside too.
For us, this has meant lots of make ahead meals like today’s Zucchini and Quinoa Casserole or the Enchilada Quinoa Casserole that I shared recently. Luckily, no one seems to mind.
This casserole is extremely flexible and can be adapted to suit your tastes. If you’d like to make it a little more filling try adding in cooked tempeh or sausage (I like Tofurkey) right before mixing in the cheese sauce. Also, you could skip the red and green pepper and just use all one! Even a frozen onion/pepper mixture would work just fine.
If you do make it ahead of time and the casserole is completely chilled, plan on cooking it for at least 20 minutes.
I just love dishes like this that free me up to enjoy the important things.
What do you enjoy this time of year?
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- ½ Green pepper, chopped
- ½ Red pepper, chopped
- 3 zucchini, shredded
- 4 ounces chopped green chilies
- 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
- 3 cups cooked quinoa
- 3 tablespoons quinoa flour (or flour of choice)
- 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil (I used Earth Balance)
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)
- 8 ounces havarti cheese, shredded (any white cheese will work - I used Daiya Havarti)
- 4 ounces cream cheese (I used toffuti)
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast (optional)
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ cup mozzarella cheese (I used Daiya)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Spray a medium skillet with olive oil and heat to medium. Add chopped onion and cook for five minutes. Add peppers and zucchini and cook for eight more minutes. Stir in green chilies, corn and cooked quinoa.
- Meanwhile, melt butter in a saucepan and whisk in flour. Cook for 3 minutes, until brown. Whisk in milk. Cook over medium heat until thickened, about 4 or 5 minutes. Add cheese, cream cheese, nutritional yeast, smoked paprika and salt and cook until cheese is melted.
- Combine quinoa mixture with cheese sauce and top with additional cheese. Bake for 15 minutes and allow to cool for 10 minutes prior to serving.
Note: If you are following Weight Watchers (or any diet) and want to reduce the points/calories stretch the dish to provide 10 servings and serve with a steamed vegetable. This will reduce the points plus to 8 and the calories to 308 per serving