Quinoa Mac N' Cheese - My Go-To Meal

Do you have foods that are just like your go-to? When you're busy or stressed or want something that's healthy, easy, and won't break the bank? This is mine!

Quinoa Mac N' Cheese!!

I'm sure I found the inspiration for this somewhere on pinterest, but I have literally been making this for so long now that I don't remember!  

I'm a huge fan of recipes that include all of my main food groups all wrapped up in one, and this one does that in spades! 

You've got your veggies a mixture of yellow squash, zucchini, and red pepper.

You've got your protein - roasted chicken, chunked and shredded.  

You've got your fats/oils - shredded cheddar cheese.

And you've got your grain - Quinoa! The freaking superman of grains!

Quinoa is probably one of the best grains you can incorporate into your diets! It's so nutrient rich!! Just to provide you with a snap shot...

Here is the nutrient breakdown for 1 C of cooked quinoa...

  • 8 grams of protein
  • 5 grams of fiber
  • 58% of the RDA for Manganese (on of your essential nutrients)
  • 30% of the RDA for Magnesium (essential nutrient)
  • 28% of the RDA for Phosphorus (essential nutrient)
  • 19% of the RDA for Folate (you get the idea...E.N.)
  • 18% of the RDA for Copper
  • 15 for Iron
  • 13% for Zinc
  • 9% for Potassium
  • Over 10% for Vitamins B1, B2, and B6
  • Small amounts of Calcium, B3 (Niacin), and Vitamin E

Also, Quinoa contains molecules that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-cancer, and anti-depressant effects.

Quinoa is super high in fiber, way more than other grains.

It's gluten-free.

It's high in protein, and BONUS, contains all of the essential amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) that we need to survive!

And that's just some of the awesome benefits! Check out more on Authority Nutrition!

So, now that I've blabbed about all the awesome reasons you should love quinoa, let's get to the recipe, shall we?

Grocery List:

  • Quinoa - $5 (approximately - I bought a bit in bulk bag a while ago)
  • 2 medium zucchini - $3.20
  • 1 yellow squash - $1.59
  • 1 red pepper - $1.29
  • 3 cups of roasted chicken - I just bought one of those pre-roasted chickens and shredded the chicken off of the bone $8.99

Things I already had:

  • PAM!

Total = $20.07 total for recipe...And you'll have leftover chicken and quinoa for other dishes!

Directions...
Basically, this is probably the easiest thing I've yet to post about! So, let's get started.

  • Grease a pan with PAM, and cut up your zucchini, yellow squash, and red peppers.
  • Sautee the vegetables in the pan over medium to medium-high heat until soft...about 5-8 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cook your quinoa per package instructions. I made enough for 2 cups of cooked quinoa.
  • Combine veggies and quinoa together in a bowl, and then add your cooked, shredded, chicken.  
  • When you're ready to eat, portion about 1/4 or so of the mixture into a bowl.
  • Top with shredded cheese and mix in. If fresh, let the cheese get all melty and blended into the veggies and quinoa. If not, zap it in the microwave for a minute or so!
  • Then, ENJOY!

This recipe is seriously a fave of mine! I hope you enjoy it!