Chicken quinoa & broccoli casserole w/bacon

broccoli bacon casserole

There are just a handful of things we need to do to our house before selling, so we have been working hard on a few projects around the house for the last few days. Sunday we bought a new kitchen sink and faucet and while researching the cost for a plumber to install it for us, Ralph and I thought he could do it himself. After a few hours and a trip to the store for drains (who knew those don’t come with a sink when you buy it? crazy), success! Ralph is very handy around the house but this was impressive! He saved us 300$ and the sink looks beautiful!

The next thing on our list was fixing cracked plaster in our downstairs bathroom and repainting the walls. I was planning on calling someone to do it for us, but I was feeling confident vibes from the successful sink installation– so off to the hardware store I went. It took me about 5 hours and I will spare you my whining about how I can barley move my body because I am so sore, but I did it! The bathroom looks so fresh and new. This may sound like a lame feat to you crazy do-it-yourselfers (you guys seriously rock), but we are not you. We have lists and lists of projects but then with the kids and our schedules we can never seem to find time. We always end up hiring someone to make it easier but I know most of it we could really do ourselves.  So this plumber guy and  plastering lady are high-fiving all day over here!

broccoli bacon casserole (2)

So besides that we are still getting things ready for baby around the house, at least as much as we can until we move. If you’re a frequent reader you know how rough my pregnancy has been, but I am telling you, this third trimester is bliss. I may be sore all the time but I get incredible energy for most of the day, which allows me to cook and clean! I can’t express how amazing this feels after months of my body not allowing me to do these things. Granted by 4pm I am spent from working on things all day, but its worth it! I am back to my weekly meal schedules and this broccoli quinoa recipe made my list this week by the word bacon alone. Besides being incredibly tasty, this casserole is so simple that you don’t even need to cook the quinoa ahead of time. The only part that takes time is frying the bacon and I suppose if you really wanted to you could skip that part. I highly recommend you don’t though…..for obvious delicious reasons. Go make this. If not for it’s ooey gooey-cheesy-ness, do it for the BACON.

Chicken quinoa & broccoli casserole w/bacon
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Ingredients
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • ½ cup flour
  • 2 cups water, divided
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • ½ cup cooked, crumbled bacon
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 teaspoons seasoning (your choice)
  • ¼ cup shredded Gruyere cheese (or your choice)
  • 3 cups fresh broccoli florets
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan on medium heat, bring the chicken broth and ½ cup of milk to a boil. Whisk in the rest of the milk and the poultry seasoning.
  2. Next whisk in flour until creamy sauce forms.
  3. In a mixing bowl, mix the sauce from the stovetop with one cup of water, the quinoa and the bacon.
  4. Pour the mixture into a butter greased 9x13 pan.
  5. Cut chicken into strips and place on top of quinoa mixture.
  6. Season, cover with foil, and bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.
  7. Next put broccoli in boiling water on the stovetop for 1 minute or until it turns bright green.
  8. Run under cold water and set aside.
  9. Remove casserole from oven and make sure quinoa is done. (you will be able to tell if the germ has popped open to form a little spiral)
  10. It may need to go back in for an additional 15 minutes or so depending on your oven.
  11. When casserole is done toss in the broccoli, cover with cheese and bake again just until the cheese is melted.

Thanks to Lindsay from Pinch of Yum for yet another great recipe!

 

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Fresh Waldorf salad

Waldorf salad (2)

Today is Ralph’s 27th birthday. When it’s my birthday I want the royal treatment. I want to be pampered and waited on. Not Ralphy. He woke up just like any other day, made us all eggs and toast, took all the garbages out, did the dishes that I left from the night before, and helped me get the kids off to school. Every morning his selflessness amazes me and his birthday is no exception. Among many other great qualities, one of Ralph’s greatest qualities is putting others before himself. Although his life is incredibly busy and stressful with his work load, he is always thinking of ways to not only help make my life easier ,but for everyone that he cares about. He is one of those people who does really nice things for people who he doesn’t even know and wants no recognition for it. Most times I will find out months later about something generous he did for someone because he doesn’t even tell me. 8 birthdays ago was the first birthday I got to celebrate with Ralph and he still makes my heart flutter just the same. And only people who make my heart flutter get fresh Waldorf salad in the fridge for the week!

Waldorf salad (4)

You know those salads with apples, whipped cream, and snickers that someone always brings to a baby shower or get together? Those are my favorite. This recipe reminds me of those salads but a little bit healthier? Maybe, maybe not. When I came across this recipe I had written down ages ago, it sounded so refreshing and I thought it would be perfect to keep in in the fridge all week for a snack. Oh and it didn’t disappoint! It turned out beautiful and so yummy. The kids thought it was ice cream with fruit in it. Jokes on you kids. This salad isn’t totally bad for you if you use the right ingredients; it’s just bad-ish for you. The sugar is the only thing really, but as long as it’s real organic cane sugar we will all live to see another day I think. So whip this up for your next get-together and everyone will want your recipe! I am curious to see how it keeps in the fridge this week, I will get back to you on that.

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Ingredients
  • 5 apples, your choice, diced (unpeeled)
  • 1 8-ounce can pineapple tidbits (drained)
  • 1 cup seedless red and/or green grapes, cut in half
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup pineapple juice
  • ½ cup cream
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • 1 8-ounce carton whipped topping or favorite whipped cream
Instructions
  1. In a small pot, whisk together sugar, flour, cream, butter and juice.
  2. Heat on medium until boiling.
  3. Remove from stove and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Fold in whipped topping.
  5. Mix with fruit and nuts just before serving.

 

Here is my favorite post I wrote last year about Ralph in case you want to know more about my Mr. Wonderful. The birthday boy requested a chocolate chip cheese cake (his favorite), my Merlot meatballs, lobster bisque (courtesy of Costco!), and loaded baked potato crisps. Works for me. Happy Monday playas.

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Crunchy Thai quinoa salad

red cabbage quiona (1)

Heres the thing guys. I sat down to work on this post and all I wanted to do was complain about my pregnancy and being overwhelmed and the weather and everything else there is to complain about. But then I thought nobody wants to read that garbage. Everyone has things to complain about but I think we all have a whole lot more to celebrate and be happy about. I know life has its rough patches (believe me) ,but that’s what my girlfriends and my journals are for. I can fill their ears with all my baggage anytime I want! I want my blog to be a happy place, about happy things. I normally don’t like to share a whole lot of our personal life on here but can I share one thing that we are ecstatic about over here? Do you mind? It’s a really happy thing I promise.

red cabbage quiona (2)

A couple of weeks ago our offer was accepted on the house of our dreams! We have had our eye on it for about 2 years and the way it all worked out had to be God’s plan for us. We are all pretty excited about it but it still seems a bit surreal. We are saying goodbye to our first home of 4 years and we love our home to pieces. Right now we live in a tiny, cozy , cape cod that we never want to leave. Our growing family however has caused us to search for more space and land. So although this will be an emotional move for us, it will also be a beautiful change of setting for our family (of almost 6!).

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And now this beautiful salad right!? When I saw a picture of this recipe in my Pinterest feed I knew I needed it, now. That is 20% my impulsive personality, 10% my impatience to wait another day to make it, and 70% my pregnancy cravings crying to be fed. I already had supper planned, a roast thawing and all that jazz, but that pork roast was going to have to wait. As soon as I saw this gorgeous, colorful, crunchy salad I had to have it right away. I ran to the market and gathered the ingredients and crossed my fingers that it would turn out because $$$. Buying good produce this time of the year is pricy as we all know, and decent cashews! Plus I doubled the salad for leftovers so it ended up being quite the expensive salad to throw together. But it was totally worth it, I promise! And if you’re going to be frugal about something, don’t let it be your health/food, that’s what I say.

red cabbage quiona

The crunch of red cabbage is the greatest crunch don’t you agree? Comparable to a good crunchy slab of iceberg lettuce but packed with the strong flavor of an onion. It’s safe to say I am passionate about a good crunch. I also love a good salad, in fact I will often order a salad when we go out to dinner. But during this pregnancy especially salads have been a major craving of mine. Even though a big salad does fill me up, of course I always eat a whole second, not so healthy course afterwards. Something like a burger or chicken sandwich. Lot’s of mayo. Yum. Oh losing this baby weight is going to be fun! Worth it times a million!

Head on over to Ambitious Kitchen for this great recipe. I didn’t change a thing in the recipe besides doubling it, so I didn’t feel right sharing it on my site. Happy crunching!

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Happy Valentines Day & One Pot Chicken Spaghetti

maternity 28 weeks

Happy Feast of St Valentine from 3 out of 4 of my Valentines to yours! I can’t wait to celebrate with the boys at their Valentines parties at school, we worked so hard on our cards this year. We have some fun things planned for our Friday night at home as well! Love is in the air!

one pot chicken pasta (1)

Keeping it simple for dinner tonight and making this one pot chicken pasta from Yellow Bliss Road. We have made this recipe a lot over the winter season. 1 because it is delicious and 2 because one pot, duh. You won’t believe how simple this is and how flavorful it turns out.

one pot chicken pasta (2)

one pot chicken spaghetti

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Ingredients
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into one inch chunks
  • 2 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 small onion diced
  • olive oil
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 box dry pasta
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce (26-28 oz)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup fresh shredded Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot on medium heat.
  2. Add garlic and onions and sauté for 2 minutes.
  3. Add chicken pieces and season with salt and pepper. Cook until no longer pink.
  4. Add jar of spaghetti sauce, chicken broth, water, bay leaf, diced tomatoes,and seasoning to the pot. Bring to a boil.
  5. Add dry pasta. Reduce heat to low.
  6. Simmer for 20 minutes stirring only a few times.
  7. If all the pasta isn't covered by liquid, add more chicken broth or water.
  8. Stir in cheese and serve warm.

Recipe adapted from:Yellow Bliss Road

 

Happy Weekend and don’t forget to enter the Pink Blush Maternity giveaway before it’s too late!

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Quinoa Tex Mex bake

mexican quinoa bake (1)

No-fuss meals have been a staple for our family so far this year. Pregnancy is wearing me out terribly this time around. I started getting contractions at 24 weeks. No not Braxton-hicks, the lovely kind, real painful. My midwife says that is my body and baby telling me I am doing too much. Just one of the reasons why I am opting for simple recipes for my family. I have been hunting for easy recipes that keep me off my feet as much as possible. This proved challenging because if I am going to spend the time to cook dinner, I really don’t want to compromise nutrition. If I can just go through Taco John’s drive thru and pickup up food in 10 minutes, why would I spend hours in the kitchen preparing something that isn’t any better for you? It just seems hard to find meals that are easy, not super time consuming, tasty, and healthy. quiona tex mex

This casserole meets all my expectations and even has added bonuses. This dish is gluten-free, vegetarian, and uses coconut milk as it’s base. I love using coconut milk in casseroles instead of a condensed soup. You really don’t compromise any flavor by using the coconut milk , plus it just makes me feel better to know I am not putting all that condensed soup junk in my body. My kids love everything about this dish and they were begging for more. They love anything with black beans. We will definitely being having this a few more times before the baby comes, and I am sure many times after! Hopefully eating a few meals like this a week will make up for eating a lot of take-out tacos and Chinese during this pregnancy. Whoops.

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Ingredients
  • 1½ cup quinoa, dry
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 12 oz can of corn, drained
  • 3 medium-large bell peppers, diced (any color)
  • 15 oz can of black beans, rinsed &drained
  • ¾ cup plus ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • ¼ cup plus ¼ cup green onions, chopped
  • 2 cups shredded cheese, cheddar or Mexican
  • ¾ cup coconut milk
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 packet southwest taco seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Instructions
  1. Cook quinoa according to the package.
  2. Put cooked quinoa in a large mixing bowl.
  3. In a large skillet heat coconut oil. Add garlic and cook for a minute.
  4. Add corn, peppers, cayenne pepper, and half of the taco seasoning packet to the skillet and sauté for about 6 minutes, stirring just a couple times.
  5. Transfer skillet mixture to the mixing bowl with quinoa.
  6. Add black beans, ¾ cup cilantro, ¼ cup green onions, the cheese (save a little bit for topping), coconut milk, salt, and the rest of the taco seasoning to the mixing bowl and mix well.
  7. Transfer mixture to a greased 8x11 baking dish and sprinkle with extra cheese.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes and then garnish with extra cilantro and green onions.

Recipe adapted from: ifoodreal

mexican quinoa bake

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