Monday, October 11, 2010

Salsa Quinoa Con Queso

What can you do with leftover quinoa? 

Okay, I'll admit I came up with a rather fancy name for this next day remix. I had several cups of leftover quinoa from last night and I decided to fix a side dish with some of the quinoa the way I often fix refried beans. This is so easy, all you need is your favorite salsa and some cheese.

Salsa Quinoa Con Queso

1 1/2 cups of leftover quinoa
1/3 cup salsa (my personal favorite is ChiChi's medium salsa)
2 slices of American cheese

I mixed the quinoa and the salsa together.

9" x 5" casserole dish
I must say, I tasted this cold and it was good enough to eat just like that. Think about it - if you would dip a chip in salsa, why not try mixing it up with some leftover quinoa instead?

But to get back to my recipe. I was going to put this in a 1 1/2 quart casserole, but at the last minute that dish wasn't available, so I went with a larger one.

I put the casserole in a 400º oven for 5 minutes and then I took it out to add the cheese. If I had a smaller casserole dish, I would have left it in the oven longer, but this was spread pretty thin and I didn't want the quinoa to burn.

I would have preferred a sharp, white cheddar cheese, which is exactly why I don't have any on hand right now. I have been trying to eat healthier so I don't buy the cheeses I prefer and am more likely to snack on. Instead I have these orange American slices that my son prefers. Can you feel me shudder?

As you can see, I tore each slice into strips and arranged them across the casserole. Popped it back in the over for about 3 minutes to melt the cheese and that's it.

I was cooking chicken breasts at the time, so that's why 400º. If you are using your oven at a different temperature you would adjust the cooking time. If you aren't using the oven already, you could microwave the quinoa and salsa and then stir in the cheese at the end to melt it.

This was an easy and delicious side dish you could combine with any Mexican entree. Or serve it alone for a late night snack. I served it with chicken breasts and steamed broccoli. 

I like the way quinoa is making me feel healthier all the time. I have more recipes to share tomorrow.

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