Quinoa Chicken Parm

20140819-142811-52091907.jpgI was at my mom’s house and we needed to make something semi-traditional American to bring to friends for dinner. I found this recipe from Elly Says Opa which is essentially a chicken parm casserole with quinoa instead of the breading, which makes it good for groups and easy to transport! Here’s how it went down:

(First a note: It’s so fun cooking with my mom because, first, my mom is fun [hi mom!], but second, her kitchen has everything! And third, because she is a rules follower – or at least a rules consulter – which helps me realize just how far I’ve strayed. For instance, we were buying mozzarella cheese for this recipe, and she asked questions that I hadn’t even considered, like: “How much does the recipe call for?” And “Is that before or after it’s shredded?” And then later when it was time to shred and add the cheese, I forgot all of that and just shredded a bunch, and she took out a measuring cup to check – so weird!! Ha, kidding. But I was thinking about it, and the amount of cheese called for in this recipe is probably based on how much cheese Elly likes, and maybe I like more or less! Ok, moving on)

Cooking and prep time: ~1.5 hrs (just so you know…)

Make the tomato sauce:
– Sauté a chopped onion in olive oil (or another oil) until soft over medium heat
– Add in chopped garlic
– Add in balsamic vinegar (~2tbsp) and let that sort of evaporate
– Add a can of tomato sauce and a can of diced tomatoes (we used fire roasted) and spices, including:
— Red pepper flakes
— Oregano
— Basil
— Salt and pepper
– Let this all simmer while you get the other parts together

Make the quinoa:
– Cook 1c of quinoa in broth or salted water

Make the chicken:
– Sauté chicken breasts (a pound+) in olive oil and spices. We used:
— Basil
— Oregano
— Thyme
— Paprika
— When just cooked through, cut up into ~bite-sized pieces

Shred the cheese:
– Mozzarella (~2/3c or to your taste, as previously waxed about)
– Parmesan (~2tbsp)

– Mix the chicken and quinoa in with the tomato
– Layer is a greased casserole dish: chicken – mozzarella – chicken – mozzarella – parmesan
– Bake at 375*f for 15min covered and 10min uncovered
– Sprinkle with chopped parsley