Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Quinoa Casserole

Ah, weekends and holidays...the days when I can spend a little more time cooking.

A few weeks ago, a walking friend named Amira decided to treat her fellow walkers to a delicious brunch. She is heading off to travel for awhile and wanted to say goodbye.

Amira is vegan, and the luncheon was a delicious vegan feast. I didn't stop talking about it for a week. All fresh and homemade, plenty of fresh herbs...her blog/website is listed to the left...Vegetarian Organic Life.

One of the items she served was a delicious quinoa casserole. I decided to make my own version from items on hand. Mine wasn't vegan, or even vegetarian, as I used leftover chicken stock to cook the quinoa. As my husband took my toddler to the hardware store, I did the prep work.

Here's an approximation of the recipe and pricing:
Quinoa casserole

1 cup dry quinoa (1.00)
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock (1.00)
1 cup dry black beans (0.35)
1 can creamed corn (0.50) - I didn't have regular or frozen
1 small can El Pato (0.69), in honor of my friend Maryanne, who loves the stuff
1 8-oz package tempeh (I finally found it in the store!) (1.99)
1 onion, diced (0.17)
2 cloves garlic (0.05)
1 T canola oil (0.03)
seasoning: bragg's liquid aminos or soy sauce. Cayenne, cumin, garlic powder...just roll with it.
4 oz shredded cheddar (0.50)
1 package cornbread stuffing mix (1.00) - had this lying around

1. Rinse quinoa. Cook in stock - bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and cook until liquid is absorbed.
2. Saute onion in canola oil until soft. Add crumbed tempeh and 2 cloves chopped garlic. Saute until it begins to brown. Add seasonings here and mix well.
3. Soak black beans 4-8 hours. Cook in pressure cooker for 3 min, allow pressure to reduce naturally. Drain black beans.
4. Spray baking dish with cooking spray. Layer:
black beans
tempeh/onion mix
El Pato
Stuffing mix

Bake in 400F oven for 30 min. You'll probably have to put a lid on half way in to prevent stuffing from burning.

This made a lot. Dinner and probably at least two days of lunch, maybe three. Not bad for about $7.38 (or 0.90 to 1.20 per serving). Added bonus was that our toddler really liked it too. We served this with sauteed mixed vegetables, guacamole, sour cream, and tortilla chips. All told, about $1.75 per person for dinner, including veggies and add-ons.

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