QUINOA, CHICKEN, AND VEGGIE CASSEROLE

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This casserole is incredible!  I found the recipe for this guy from the following pin on Pinterest:

Clean Eating Chicken Quinoa Vegetable Casserole_thumb[1]

Yum yum and yum!  I followed the recipe fairly closely, but I used water instead of chicken stock, because I didn’t have any chicken stock that I had made recently, so water it was!  I also didn’t use mozzarella cheese.  I used goat cheese instead.  I would have used goat’s milk mozzarella, but they didn’t have any at Whole Foods when I went grocery shopping, so I decided to make it with plain old goat cheese.

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I do eat goat cheeses, but I don’t eat cow’s milk cheeses.  There are a number of reasons for this.  Although all mammal milks (sheep, goat, cow, etc.) and their related products (cheese, sour cream, etc.) are classified as dairy, the milks from different mammals have slightly different compositions.  Therefore, people that may be sensitive to milk products from one mammal, may not be sensitive to milk products from another mammal.  Human milk produces the least allergies for humans (obviously), and goat’s milk is slightly closer in composition to human milk than cow’s milk is.  While I don’t have an allergy to cow’s milk, I have found that goat’s milk has all the health benefits that cow’s milk does, and it has much much more!

  • Lower in fat, cholesterol, and calories – goat cheese has 80 calories, no cholesterol, and 6 grams of fat per ounce, whereas cow’s milk cheese has 100 calories, 25mg of cholesterol, and 10 grams of fat per ounce.
  • Higher in protein and calcium – In one cup of goat cheese, you get 8.7 grams of protein.  Cow’s milk cheese has 8.1 grams of protein in one cup.  Calcium in goat cheese ranges from 40 – 240 grams depending on if it’s soft or hard.  This is slightly higher than the calcium content of cow’s milk cheese which has 200 grams in the hard cheeses.  Also, the calcium that is in goat cheese is easier for your body to use than the calcium in cow’s milk cheese.
  • Goat cheese contains more vitamin A, potassium, B6, niacin, copper, selenium, and a bit more vitamin C than cow’s milk cheese.  It also contains many other important nutrients such as tryptophan, phosphorus, and vitamin B2.
  • Cheese made from goat’s milk is easier to digest than cheese made from cow’s milk.  This is because the fat molecules in goat’s milk are shorter. Because of this, some people that are lactose intolerant can still eat goat cheese with no problems, and even people who aren’t lactose intolerant will find goat cheese easier to digest than cheese made from cow’s milk.
  • A really big benefit of goat cheese is that it contains probiotics (the “good” bacteria that aid gastrointestinal health).  The probiotics found in goat cheese are similar to the probiotics found in yogurt, and they are extremely beneficial to our health.

All of these benefits along with the fact that it tastes AMAZING, makes goat cheese one of the best and healthiest forms of cheese in my book.  Using goat cheese in this casserole resulted in a delicious and creamy casserole that both me and my husband LOVED!

QUINOA CHICKEN AND VEGGIE CASSEROLE

Ingredients: makes about 6 large servings

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • water
  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 4 cups chopped broccoli
  • 4 cups Spinach
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic
  • Sea Salt
  • Pepper
  • 4 oz. goat cheese

Directions:

1.) Heat the oven to 375 degrees, and bake the chicken for 40 minutes.

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2.) While the chicken is baking, prepare the quinoa as directed on the packet.

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3.) In a large pot, heat the olive oil and 1 cup of water.  When the water starts to simmer, add the carrots and broccoli, cover and lightly steam for about 5 minutes.  Drain excess water.

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4.) In a bowl, combine the quinoa, garlic powder, broccoli and carrots, and 2-3 oz. of the goat cheese together.

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5.) Add the spinach and mix thoroughly.

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6.) When the chicken has baked for 40 minutes, take out of the oven, and change the oven temperature to 400 degrees.  Cut the chicken into bite size pieces.

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7.) Lightly oil a glass pan with olive oil.  Mix the chicken in with the quinoa and veggie mixture and spread evenly in the pan.  Sprinkle with the rest of the goat cheese.

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8.) Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.  When done, season with sea salt and pepper and serve.

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Enjoy! 🙂

Sources

 

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