Baked Quinoa and Chicken Parmesan

We love this casserole. I put it together Sunday night after dinner. The chicken was from the Roasted Chicken. I used a marinara sauce that I had made Sunday morning. And I even made the quinoa earlier on Sunday. All Chris had to do was pop it in the oven. Not only was it a delicious meal, it was a super easy clean up.

The recipe comes from Elly Says Opa! The only change I made was to use homemade Marinara Sauce instead of the canned tomato sauce.

Baked Quinoa and Chicken Parmesan, From Elly Says Opa! (with my variations)

Ingredients -
1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced (Did not add this)

2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce (Used Marinara Sauce)

1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes (I used Fire Roasted Tomatoes, love these)

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

basil and oregano, to taste

1 cup quinoa

2 cups water or broth
 (I used water)
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken, cooked* and cut into bite sized pieces

2/3 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided

2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

2 Tbsp. breadcrumbs (optional)

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Method -
Preheat the oven to 375 and spray a 2 qt. baking dish with cooking oil.

Make the sauce:

Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and add the oil. Stir in the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30-60 seconds.  Add the balsamic vinegar, scraping anything off the bottom of the pan, and cook until it’s almost fully absorbed.
Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, red pepper flakes, basil, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a low boil, and then simmer while you prepare the rest of the meal.

Make the quinoa:
Place the quinoa in a mesh strainer, and rinse with cold water for about 2 minutes.
Place the quinoa and water or broth in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil (if using water, you may want to add a little salt). Cover with a lid, reduce the heat, and simmer until cooked, about 20-25 minutes.

Assembly:
In a large bowl, combine the quinoa and chicken with the sauce and mix thoroughly.
Place half the mixture in the baking dish, and sprinkle with 1/3 cup of the mozzarella cheese.
Top with the remaining quinoa mixture. Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella cheese, and the Parmesan. Add the breadcrumbs, if using.
Cover with foil and bake for about 15 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake until cheese is lightly browned and bubbly, about 10 more minutes.
Sprinkle with parsley (and additional Parmesan) before serving, if desired.

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