Creamy Tomato Quinoa Mac and Cheese

Oh my gosh. What. A. Week. It started with me being a bridesmaid in the Chicago suburbs, and now, I’m curled up on the couch, battling the cold, rainy April July weather and enjoying the company of three sleeping cats. This week, I’ve experienced an 18 hour power outage, water in my basement, my two kitties trying to kill each other, one of my family’s cats coming to stay with me while they’re on vacation, and got to meet my friend’s 5 week old baby. I’m exhausted. I literally don’t know how I’m even awake right now. But, despite all the crazy, I’ve gotten some time to cook and experiment this week, which has been great! And, I finally got around to this post, which I’ve been promising for…forever. Now, you have to promise me something. You can’t judge this recipe by the picture. Because it’s ugly. Super ugly. But, it tastes fantastic, and that’s really all that matters, right? Right. I’m not a big fan of quinoa, but I could eat this all day long. If you don’t like quinoa, check out the original recipe here. I changed this up a bit from the noodle version, adding more cheese and tomato soup. I was very happy with the results. A big cheesy, creamy bowl of yum!

Creamy Tomato Quinoa Mac and Cheese

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 What I’m Listening to: Coldplay Live

Ingredients (makes 2-3 servings)

-1/2 cup of uncooked quinoa

-1 cup of water

-1/3 cup of low-fat ricotta

-2/3 can of tomato soup

-2/3 cup of milk

-4 oz of aged cheddar, shredded

-1 large clove (or 1/2 tsp) of minced garlic

-1/4 tsp of black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350. In a small saucepan, combine the quinoa and water. I used white quinoa, but feel free to use red or rainbow. Heat until boiling; reduce the heat to med-low and cover. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the water is completely absorbed. Remove from the heat.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the quinoa, ricotta, soup, milk, 3/4 of the cheddar, garlic, and pepper. Stir until combined. Pour the mixture into a greased 8×8 pan. Bake for 22 minutes. Top with the remaining cheddar and bake for 5 more minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes before serving. The sauce will be very soupy when you first remove it from the oven, but it thickens as it stands. Serve alone or with warm, crusty bread.

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