This is what a cat looks like when he’s not thrilled with you…
I know what you’re thinking… did we skip right over Thanksgiving and go straight to Christmas? No, we did not. We just have a case of premature Christmas spirit around these parts and decided to decorate over the weekend. Which also means Hank the Cat got to model a Santa suit (much to his displeasure).
But don’t let the Christmas tree fool you, I’m still eating like someone who’s training for Thanksgiving…
My absolute favorite Thanksgiving side is my mom’s broccoli cheese casserole. It’s not glamorous and — despite the presence of broccoli — it’s not even remotely healthy. I honestly think I polish off at least half of the broccoli casserole on my own each Thanksgiving. And that’s a conservative estimate.
Keeping with my theme so far of non-traditional and somewhat nutritious Thanksgiving sides, I bring you this cheesy broccoli quinoa casserole. As a lightened up version of your standard broccoli casserole, this stars super healthy and versatile quinoa (which I was last eating for breakfast).
You get the same cheesy satisfaction as the typical broccoli casserole, but minus the guilt. If you’re trying to watch your girlish figure this Thanksgiving, this is an excellent stand in for less healthy fare and I even predict your guests will go back for seconds.
I’ve been sick the past week and made this while I was feeling really lousy, but it ended up working surprisingly well as comfort food. Even more proof it’s good: Cassie and I have almost plowed through this entire casserole in 24 hours.
Ok, maybe that’s not so much “proof” but more like standard behavior.
- 1½ cups quinoa
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 cups milk (I used skim)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 lb frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
- 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese (about 2 cups), shredded
- Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.
- Cook the quinoa according to the package directions. Set aside.
- To make the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes, until onion begins to soften.
- Whisk in the flour and mustard. Continue whisking the mixture until it is light golden, about 1-2 minutes.
- Slowly whisk in the milk. Allow the sauce to simmer, stirring frequently, until the mixture bubbles and thickens (about 5 minutes). Remove from the heat.
- Whisk in about ¾ of the cheddar until melted and smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, broccoli, and the cheese sauce. Fold together gently until evenly combined.
- Transfer the mixture to a lightly greased casserole dish. Bake until the top is lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and bake for another 5 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve warm.
Like I said, we’re still on Thanksgiving despite there being a Christmas tree in front of me at the moment. Don’t forget to check out Bri’s blog to see what she’s serving today. Here’s our Thanksgiving menu so far:
- Fresh Creamed Corn with Bacon
- Twice-Baked Goat Cheese Sweet Potatoes
- Boursin Mashed Potatoes
- Sautéed Kale with Pine Nuts and Raisins
- Not Your Grandma’s Green Beans
- Pear, Pomegranate, Walnut and Gorgonzola Salad
Has anyone else already decorated for Christmas? Fess up in the comments…