Monday, April 15, 2013

Quinoa & Cheese

I made the mistake of calling this "Quinoa Mac-N-Cheese" when my son asked what was for dinner.  He was very quick to point out that there is no "mac" in this dish when we started eating.  But it was still yummy and a great Meatless Monday meal for our family. 

3 Tablespoons Butter
3 Tablespoons Flour
1-½ cup Whole Milk
2 dashes Freshly Grated Nutmeg
¼ teaspoons Salt
8 ounces, weight Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
3 cups Cooked Quinoa (cooked According To Package Instructions)
2 bunches Fresh Baby Spinach

½ cups Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
4 Tablespoons Butter, Melted
¾ cups Panko Bread Crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a medium saucepan add 3 tablespoons of butter and flour and heat over medium heat. Whisk continuously until a paste forms. Whisk in milk. Increase heat to medium/high and bring to a boil whisking the whole time. Stir in the nutmeg, salt and cheddar cheese. When cheese sauce is smooth remove from heat.
In a large bowl mix together the cooked quinoa, cheese sauce and spinach.
Transfer the mixture into a casserole dish (I used an 8 inch cast iron skillet). Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
In a small bowl mix together the butter and bread crumbs. Sprinkle over the top of the casserole.
Bake on 350 F until bubbly, about 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and enjoy!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Butternut Squash Mac-N-Cheese

Here's one of our recent meatless Monday meals that went over pretty well.  I broke a pretty basic rule and didn't read through the entire recipe before starting to cook. . . This makes two 8x8 pans, so I ended up freezing one and it thawed well later on.  I pureed the entire butternut squash and didn't need that much.  

500 g egg noodles
½ sweet onion, such as Vidalia, diced
¼ cup butter, softened
3 Tablespoons flour
3 cups whole milk
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 1/3 cups butternut squash puree (method below)
2 cups grated cheese (I used a combination of cheddar, Parmesan, and Emmental)
Salt and pepper to taste

1/3 cup Panko or plain breadcrumbs
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, not powdered
2 Tablespoons unsweetened coconut, shredded
For the egg noodles:
  1. Bring a large, heavy-bottomed pot of water to a boil; salt generously.
  2. Add pasta, stir well, and cook one minute less than indicated on the package.
  3. Drain into a colander.
For the sauce:
  1. In the same pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, stir to coat and cook gently for about five minutes.
  2. Sprinkle flour over the onions and stir well. Slowly add milk, whisking well. Cook for a few minutes, stirring often until mixture thickens slightly and floury taste is gone.
  3. Add squash puree and mix well. Add cheese, a few handfuls at a time, stirring continually.
  4. Once all the cheese has been added and melted, stir in Dijon, and season sauce with salt and pepper.
For the topping:
  1. Combine Panko, Parmesan and breadcrumbs in a bowl.
To assemble:
  1. Combine cheese sauce and cooked egg noodles together until noodles are well coated.
  2. Divide between two buttered 8-inch square pans or casseroles.
  3. Top with Panko topping.
  4. Bake at 375F for about 20 minutes or until bubbly around the edges. Serve at once.

To Freeze:

  • Prepare the butternut squash gratin recipe in full, but stopping just before baking.
  • Wrap entire pans tightly in plastic wrap, mark with the date, and flash freeze.
  • To reheat, remove wrapping and place in a 350F oven. Bake until heated through and bubbly around the edges.

Squash puree

  • 1 medium butternut squash (about 2 pounds)
  1. Wash and peel squash; trim ends. With a sharp chef’s knife, cut bottom third off of the squash, then halve that and scrape out the seeds with a spoon. Chop the entire squash into roughly 1-½ inch pieces.
  2. Place squash in a medium pot and fill with cold water. Add a ½ teaspoon of salt and place over high heat. Cover pot, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until squash is tender; about 10 minutes.
  3. Drain, return the squash to the pot and mash with a potato masher or whirl with an immersion blender.
Puree can be made up to one day in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container.
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