McQ’s M(a)cQuinoa & Cheese!!!

Due to the fact that my car pooped out on me in the QFC parking lot in Seattle, I decided to just get it to my parent’s mechanic ASAP.  He’s a great, honest, nice guy, knows what he’s doing, and I still have yet to actually find a mechanic in Seattle.  Working on it.  Let me know if you have any suggestions.

But I was excited to finally get to do some cooking for people other than myself!  (ie my parents.  Who take me to the store and pay for the ingredients…) 😉

I was licking the nutella spoon, while my dad was munching on post-workout celery sticks, and mom says hi!

But that ALSO means, I get to share with them some new ingredients/recipes that they might not normally check out.  Like quinoa!!!  And kale chips!!!  And Reduced Guilt Brownies!!!

I started the day out with my attempt of the 21 minute run (Week 5, day 3).  Unsuccessful.  But I still totally ran the first 12 minutes (1.2 miles!), which I was excited about, and I only walked a total of about 4 minutes in the 21!!  Something that was nice about Lynden is that it’s FLAT.  No hills.  Absolute suburb.  SO it looks like I will be taking my next burst of 5K training to Greenlake.  A little out of the way, but it’s a flat loop, which I think I mentally need for a while.  Hills are great, and I’ll eventually take it back to that, but they’re killing me and I feel like I’ve hit a wall.  I always have to stop at the top of the hill on my street, and that’s only the first five minutes of my run.  :-\  AND IT’S NOT EVEN THAT STEEP!  But it’s been discouraging and frustrating.

But then it was dinner time!  And we invited Grandma!

I decided I was going to make Quinoa Mac & Cheese (McQ’s M(a)cQuinoa & Cheese!!!  *raises nerd pun-loving hand*), but I’d been wanting to adapt an m&c recipe for a while.  I have this great recipe for a cheddar cream cheese spread that I always thought would make a great m&c base, but I’d been staying away from major pasta dishes for a while, since I’ve been trying to eat healthier.  But today was the day!

I also decided to make Ari’s Nutella Cheesecake Brownie Bars since I had a box of TJ’s RG Brownie Mix.  I couldn’t find the 9×13 pan in my parents pantry (I realized it had been staring me in the face the whole time…*palm to forehead*), so I used the 8×8, figuring it would work out.

Unfortunately, the cheesecake didn’t quite set…and by that I mean, it was like a nutella cheesecake sauce.  It still tasted amazing, just didn’t look as pretty.  SO USE THE 9×13!!!

Gooey tastiness

Take a second and check out the recipe on Ari’s Menu, also because her husband Steve’s pictures are waaaaay better than mine.  It’s a great way to get that Nutella out of the pantry when it’s just sitting there.  Taunting you.

Now on to the M(a)cQUINOA!!!!!

McQ’s M(a)cQuinoa and Cheese!

McQ’s M(a)cQuinoa and Cheese

~8 servings
Serving Size: 1/2 C
Calories: 332
Fat: 14.3 g
Carbs: 27 g
Fiber: 4.8 g
Protein: 21.3 g

1.5 C uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 small onion, finely chopped
Olive Oil
2 eggs
1 C skim milk
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs dijon
3/4 tbs smoked paprika
Salt
Pepper
1.5-2 C Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Opt: Red Pepper Flakes or Sriracha
More cheese for top (I used the last of my TJ’s Unexpected Cheddar!!)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and grease a 9×13 pan.

Cook the quinoa as directed (usually 2:1 ratio, liquid:quinoa…broth adds an extra nice flavor, but water works, and it’s what I always use).

Saute the onions until soft and clear in a little bit of olive oil.  Whisk the eggs and milk together in a separate bowl, and add the onions, garlic, dijon, paprika, salt, and pepper.  Fold in the quinoa and cheese while the quinoa is still hot, letting the cheese melt.  Spoon into the 9×13 pan and bake for 30-35 minutes.

It makes SO MUCH.

I sprinkled my leftover Unexpected Cheddar on top for the last 5 minutes.  It was a great recipe!!!  So delicious!  Even my 89-year-old grandma loved it!!

I served it with the Roasted Romaine Caesar Salad, which was also a hit.  Successful night!!

YUM.

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