My dear friends.
I am a huge sucker for comforting food that remains healthy and this one holds up to that task. Layered with heart healthy quinoa, pulled chicken, a light tomato sauce and of course, a little cheese, this is one you can feel good about eating on a chillier night to warm up with zero worries about slipping into your skinny jeans the next day. Or your yoga pants. Whatever works.
The best part about this one is that it tasted SO GOOD that no one really realized it was healthy. Score. I’m actually quite certain M had zero clue he consumed quinoa which, I have no problem with. Whoever said you’re supposed to share everything? Let’s be honest, sometimes, what they don’t know serves them better.
Get this one going in your kitchen soon and better yet, double it up and bring one to a friend you love. It’s just that kind of dish that should be shared.
- 3 cups diced rotisserie chicken (or any other cooked chicken)
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups crushed tomatoes (I used San Marzano)
- 2 TBS tomato paste
- 1 TBSbalsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup half and half
- ¼ to ½ tsp. crushed red pepper (your call)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup freshly shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved (I used multi colored ones for fun!)
- Handful fresh basil, chopped
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- To make quinoa, rinse and soak for about 10 minutes in warm water. Bring 2 cups of chicken stock to a boil in a small saucepan, drain quinoa and add to boiling broth. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer, cooking for about 12-14 minutes. Turn heat off and allow quinoa to sit for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork and set aside.
- To make the sauce, combine crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and balsamic vinegar in a saucepan on medium heat and bring to a simmer. Add half and half, crushed red pepper and salt/pepper and continue cooking until heated through.
- In a large bowl, mix together chopped chicken, quinoa, Parmesan cheese and a ½ cup mozzarella cheese, then add sauce to quinoa mixture - mixing well.
- Pour quinoa mixture into a 9x13 baking dish and top with the remaining mozzarella cheese and tomatoes. I threw on some extra parmesan as well for flavor.
- Bake in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and casserole is heated through. Top with fresh basil, serve and enjoy!