Tuesday, March 3, 2009

whole-grain Mexican(ish) casserole

I am so proud to post this recipe, because Mike and I created it ourselves this past weekend. True, it is based on the principles and quantities of this yummy recipe for mushroom casserole from 101 Cookbooks, which we have also made twice in the past three weeks - you should try it. But, the Mexican(ish) twist is all ours, and it turned out brag-to-your-friends delicious on the first draft. Both recipes are filthy sucre friendly because of their innate whole-grain goodness.

The reason I am referring to it as "Mexican(ish)" is because we used quinoa in our version in place of the brown rice. Quinoa was the staple grain of the Incas, arguably the key to their empire's success. (No really: read Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond, and I promise you'll have a new appreciation for the role of natural food resources in the course of human history. It's kind of mind blowing.) Anyway, the Incas and their descendants hail from the Andes, not Mexico, and I strive to be accurate in my recipe designations. Quinoa was great for the empire, and is great for hypoglycemics because it is the highest source of protien of any grain. It's easy to find at the grocery store, so you should give it a try if you haven't already. The other ingredients are pretty much inspired by our love for Mexican food.


3 cups cooked quinoa
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
3 stalks green onions, chopped
1 1/2 roasted red peppers, diced (The kind that comes in a jar is fine - or you can roast your own. This would be about 3/4 of a jar.)
1/2 cup corn (I used frozen, but would love to use fresh in the summer.)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 cloves minced garlic
2 large eggs
16 oz. fat free cottage cheese
1/2 cup light sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon epazote (a green herb used in Mexico, omit if you can't obtain it)
1/2 cup grated pepper jack cheese
salsa verde and guacamole to serve as toppings

1. Prepare the quinoa per the instructions on the box. The recipe calls for 3 cups of the grain - I had some left over when I made 1 1/2 cups of dry quinoa and 3 cups of water. Set the quinoa aside.

2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 and oil a 13x9 inch pan.

3. Saute the mushrooms and green onions in a large skillet. Add the roasted red peppers and corn after a few minutes. Add the cumin, chili powder and garlic. Let the mixture cook for a few more minutes so the flavors start to blend, while you begin the next step.

4. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Stir in the cottage cheese, sour cream, salt, pepper, cilantro and epazote. Set aside.

5. Add the quinoa to the skillet with the veggies and stir to combine.

6. Thickly shred the cheese if you haven't already.

7. Add the quinoa/veggie mixture to the egg/cheese/sour cream bowl, and stir well. Pour the mixture evenly into the casserole dish. Sprinkle about 2/3 of the pepper jack cheese on top, cover in aluminum foil, and place in the oven for 30 minutes.

8. Remove foil and bake for another 20-30 minutes, until golden edges are acheived. Garnish with the remaining cheese and some more fresh cilantro, then serve with salsa (preferably green) and guacamole.

Quinoa on Foodista

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