I found this recipe from Chelsae’s Messy Apron on Pinterest the other day and it inspired me for dinner that night. It is made with basic pantry ingredients that most of us have on hand. I love the creative use of quinoa for a nice change of pace from pasta. A healthy twist on a classic and family friendly. As I generally do with most recipes, I tweak them along the way to fit my style of cooking and personal tastes.
Keep reading for the recipe and instructions for my adaptation of this recipe.
Combine 1 package of Italian tomato puree, 2-3 teaspoons of Italian seasoning or Wildtree’s Hearty Spaghetti Blend, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper, 1 tablespoon of Wildtree’s Garlic Galore or your favorite garlic seasoning blend with 2 cups of water. Stir to combine. Stir in 1 cup of quinoa and a pinch of red pepper flakes.
The original recipe did not have enough flavor for my personal tastes. I like making my own pasta sauce as well so that I can control the level of spice, salt and sugar and eliminate any excess fillers than might be in purchased sauce. To that, I layered a package of boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders, about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds on top or even whole chicken breasts as pictured below. Seasoning them first with salt and pepper.
The original recipe calls to dredge the chicken and then place them on top. I opted to skip this step as I felt the breading on the underside would have been soggy. Instead, I used all the Parmesan mixture at the end once the quinoa was cooked. This allows you to get a nice crust on top like traditional chicken parm.
Combine the following in a small bowl:
Remove casserole from oven and sprinkle with the Parmesan topping.Return uncovered to the oven for another 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Broil for 5 minutes, if necessary, to brown the cheese on top.
PS I served this dish to company the night I made it and, well, totally forgot to take the picture of the finished product. There was none leftover…..sorry….you have to trust me this time that this dish both looked and tasted delicious!