Cheesy Chicken Quinoa Casserole

Six years ago, I was in my senior year of college, and I had big plans for after graduation. My friend, Emily, and I were going to move to Chicago, get an apartment together, and…I don’t think we had much figured out beyond that. Oh! We were going to get a water feature…whatever that means. Well, a few months after that, I was offered my current position, teaching dance, so I accepted. Em decided she was going to stay local too, so we hunted for an apartment in the QC. Before graduation, Em changed her mind and moved back up North, so I continued the apartment hunting solo. I ended up in a one bedroom place, close to work. The apartment itself was cute, but the building was not. I had smokers living on both sides and above me so my entire apartment and clothes smelled TERRIBLE! My landlord was a mega creep. I could hear everything the guy above me was doing. EVERYTHING. I had to listen to him cough for three straight months. I’m not quite sure how I survived the year. But, it was my first place to myself, and so it was special.

I made this casserole a lot during those 12 months. I was pretty broke, and didn’t have a lot to cook with at that point. Fortunately, this recipe doesn’t take much in terms of cookware, and I could make it in less than 45 minutes, so it was a winner. I’ve updated it a bit, to include quinoa instead of rice, but it’s delicious both ways. Yes, it’s a weird combination of ingredients, but it tastes oh so good!

Cheesy Chicken Quinoa Casserole

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What I’m Listening to: “I Knew I Loved You” by Savage Garden (Throwing it back!)

Ingredients (makes 3-4 servings)

-1/4 cup of uncooked quinoa

-1/2 cup water

-2 tbsp butter

-1/4 of a white onion, diced

-1/2 cup cottage cheese

-1/3 cup French Onion Dip

-3 tbsp Greek Yogurt

-Salt and pepper

-1 cup of shredded chicken (or 1 large can of chicken)

-2 cups of cheddar cheese

-1 small can of diced green chilies

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the quinoa and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then cover and turn down the heat to low. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until all the water is absorbed. While the quinoa is cooking, melt the butter in a small skillet. Add the onion and cook for 5-6 minutes, until the onion is soft.

Mix the quinoa, onion, cottage cheese, French Onion Dip, and the Greek Yogurt in a large bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spread half of the mixture in the bottom of a greased 8×8 baking dish. Top with half of the shredded chicken. Spread 1/2 the can of chilies over the chicken, then sprinkle 1 cup of cheese on top. Repeat the layers with the remaining ingredients. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve with bread or fresh fruit.

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This was a hit with everyone at my house…

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