I have been bringing you all lots of yummy, delectable football snacks (spinach dip, potato skins, peanut butter pretzel bites) but they have been belly busters to say the least so I thought today I would bring you something lighter for this week’s game. The original recipe was simply for quinoa mac-n-cheese but I thought it would be way more fun, portable and snackable in bite size form. Plus, I always love the crispy edges of baked mac-n-cheese so this way there is more crispy surface area. They are filling, cheesy and packed with protein. I made up a big batch of these then layered them in a crockpot kept on the warm setting. And what’s best is you don’t have to feel guilty for enjoying a couple of these babies!
Quinoa Mac-n-Cheese Bites
recipe from Moni Meals
2 tsp olive oil
1 med. leek white and pale green parts halved and sliced (1 cup)-OR chives are fine too
1/2 cup diced tomato or red/green pepper (or any veggie really, I used finely chopped broccoli)
1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained (OR you can just use pre-cooked and cut back on the water and cooking time)
good pinch of salt
a few grinds of seasoning salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups of water (or stock)
2 large eggs
1 cup skim milk, or milk of choice
1 1/2 cups grated Cheddar cheese, more for sprinkling NOTE: (You may find you need more cheese, BUT I use this amount to still keep the dish ‘lighter’ yet very flavorful.)
1. Heat oil in med. saucepan over med. heat. Add leek and tomatoes (or bell peppers-or any veggies you want really); cover and cook 5 mins or until tender. Stir in quinoa and garlic, and cook, uncovered, 3-4 mins, or until grains start to turn opaque (they will not fully be cooked yet).
2. Add 3 cups water (or stock) and season with salt and the seasoning salt. Cover and reduce heat to med-low and simmer 15-20 mins or more, (depends and also what kind of quinoa you use) or until most liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand 5 mins.
3. Preheat oven to 350 F. Liberally coat two 12 cup muffin pans with cooking spray. Whisk together eggs and milk in large bowl. Fold in quinoa mixture and cheese (if you feel you need more cheese, add here.) Stir very well and let some of the cheese melt. (Will seem a little “soupy,” do not worry, it will all mold together.)
4. Transfer to prepared muffin cups and if using Panko crumbs or Bread crumbs, add now. You can also sprinkle a bit more cheese on now if you prefer for topping. Bake 25-35 mins, (or until browned around edges).