We've had quite a bit of snow here lately leaving a beautiful blanket of snow covering everything. It's making me want to stay warm and cozy inside the house - and eat warm and cozy comfort foods.
Macaroni and cheese is always one of my favourite comfort foods, but I was out of macaroni noodles and didn't want to defrost the car and run uptown just for that. I did however have quinoa, so I decided to try that instead - wow was I ever impressed! Quinoa makes an awesome "macaroni" and cheese and - comfort food without all the carbs!
To be honest, I wasn't sure what Marc would think of me serving this as the main course - he is a meat and potatoes kind of guy after all! He really liked it though, and even asked me if to make it for dinner again! You could easily add your favourite veggies (broccoli - yum!) to make this dish even heartier.
1 cup quinoa (uncooked)
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
2 cups 1% milk
1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tbsp butter
Cook quinoa as per package directions (I like to use my rice cooker to cook quinoa - I use 2 cups of water for every 1 cup quinoa).
Meanwhile, melt butter in a saucepan set to medium heat. Add flour and cooking until light brown with a nutty aroma. Add milk, 1 cup at a time, whisking frequently to prevent clumps. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 1-2 minutes until thickened. Add shredded cheese, whisking until the cheese has incorporated into the sauce.
Place cooked quinoa in a medium size cassarole dish - add cheese sauce, stirring until combined. Sauce will appear runny, but it will thicken up during the next step.
Add panko crumbs to melted butter and sprikle over quinoa mixture. Bake in pre-heated 350 degree oven until bread crumbs are golden brown.
Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.