April 10, 2016

Chicken quinoa mac and cheese

I don't know where my cookbook collection came from. It was one of those things that I started collecting and then without thinking, I had amassed almost an entire IKEA Billy bookcase worth of cookbooks. The first cookbooks I owned were some of the books that originally got me into cooking like Delia Smith's "How to Cook" and Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." With any cookbook collection, you need some examples of the masters of cooking. They are the ones who inspire you to jump right into the beautiful pages and try the recipes yourself.

cookbook shelf

When I think of Canadian cookbook authors, one of the first names that comes to mind is Rose Reisman. Rose has published 18 books over the last 20 years with recipes focusing on healthy living. She is now a columnist, speaker and owner of Rose Reisman Catering and Personal Gourmet. I have two Rose Reisman cookbooks in my collection: "Rose Reisman Brings Home Light Cooking" one of her classic books, a bestseller published in 1993; and one of her newer books "Weekday Wonders". They are my go-to cookbooks when I need a healthy recipe for a busy weeknight or something light on the weekend. The recipes also follow the recommendations of Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating and trust me, they are still tasty dishes.

Rose Reisman cookbooks

Finding comfort food recipes that are also good for you is a challenge. Mazola Corn Oil has partnered with Rose Reisman and the Make Good campaign to create five delicious recipes that are comforting and healthy. The recipes all use Mazola Corn oil, which has a high smoke point and neutral flavour profile. It is perfect for cooking, grilling and baking, and has lower cholesterol than olive oil.

Over the last year I have seen family members struggle with heart issues. With recovery and rehabilitation, a concerning factor is how to eat right. With so much nutrition information out there, it is difficult for anyone to know the "right" foods to keep your heart healthy, as well as the right balance of foods. That is another reason why Rose Reisman's books and message of these recipes is so important to me. Healthy food doesn't have to be boring. You can still have fun with healthy food and get the whole family involved in living a healthy lifestyle.

Ingredients

This recipe (full recipe) is creamy, comfort food with protein rich ingredients like quinoa and chicken. I used leftover cooked chicken and substituted the feta cheese for Boursin cheese because that was what I had in the fridge at the time. All you need to balance the dish is a crumbly cheese and a soft cheese. The recipe seems like a lot of steps at first. It is worth it for this take on a classic comfort food that masks that sometimes bitter taste of plain quinoa. 

chicken and quinoa

Chicken and Quinoa Mac and Cheese

Quinoa Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water
6 ounces/200 g diced chicken breast
1 tbsp Mazola Corn Oil
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped re-hydrated sundried tomatoes
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

Sauce Ingredients:

1-1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
3/4 cup shredded cheese
2 tbsp parmesan cheese
Dash salt and pepper

Topping:

1/3 cup panko or unseasoned breadcrumbs
2 tbsp cheddar cheese
2 tbsp parmesan cheese
2 tsp Mazola Corn Oil

Chicken and quinoa mac and cheese by Rose Reisman

Directions:

1. Heat quinoa and water/broth in a saucepan. Simmer for 15 minutes.
2. Toss chicken with flour in a medium bowl. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook 5 minutes until well browned.
3. Place quinoa, chicken, tomatoes and feta cheese in a large bowl.
4. For the sauce, heat milk, chicken broth, flour and mustard in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Bring to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes until slightly thickened. Stir in cheese and salt and pepper.
5. For the topping, combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl.
6. Pour the sauce over the quinoa mixture and stir until combined. Spoon the mixture into a greased 9-inch square baking dish. Sprinkle topping over the top.
7. Bake in a 375F pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes until the topping is slightly browned.

Chicken and quinoa mac and cheese by Rose Reisman

I have teamed up with Mazola Corn Oil to GIVEAWAY some fun stuff so you can get your family in on the healthy cooking action. Enter below to win a Mazola Oil Gift basket that includes 1 bottle of pure Mazola Corn Oil, a recipe card box including all five of Rose Reisman's custom recipes and kitchen goodies, including 2 green tea towels, a wooden spoon and wire whisk (approximate value $50). 

This giveaway is open to Canadian residents only. The winner will be contacted by email to confirm a mailing address for shipping the prize. No purchase necessary. Ends April 18, 2016. 

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