Surviving Sick Days

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April 23, 2014 by caitlinvaclark

So I had a minor medical thing last week and have been pretty much down for the count. Getting back to my usual chipper self took a bit longer than I anticipated. On the bright side, the luxury of knowing you are going to be “sick” means that you can arm yourself with entertainment. While my recovery definitely hasn’t been a cakewalk, there’s something nice about spending a few days in bed with some good books, movies, TV shows, and of course Gertie. A few book recommendations are The Expats (quick thriller, a perfect summer beach read), The Light Between Oceans, and Bridget Jones Mad About the Boy (the newest and very long awaited installment of Helen Fielding’s beloved Brit).

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I’ve also been watching an inappropriate amount of TV and movies. I won’t give you the run down of the embarrassing Lifetime-style movies I’ve indulged in but we did finally get around to seeing Django Unchained and Midnight in Paris. Oh and the new seasons of Nurse Jackie and Veep have started- if you haven’t watched either of these shows, they are totally binge worthy.

I might have missed the Easter holiday – no carrot cake pancakes, lamb roast, or egg hunts in this flat, but at least I had Gertie Cottontail to keep me smiling.

Gertie Cottontail: A Broad Cooking

Knowing I’d be out of commission for a bit, I had the luxury of making up food in advance that would be comforting and easy and not horrible for me. We have been on a bit of a quinoa casserole kick lately which reheats and freezes well. Here is a rundown of my most yummy recipes, including a few from around the web.

First things first, my sure fire way to cook quinoa is to rinse it (don’t skip this step or your whole dish will taste yucky and bitter), then add one part quinoa and two parts water to a pot. Bring to a boil, add a pinch of salt, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 25 minutes. Fluff with a fork and add to one of these delicious dishes.

This first recipe I’m calling this one a Spinach Calzone Quinoa and I realize it is missing a crucial element: the pizza dough. But layering the ricotta in the middle makes it reminiscent of calzone filling.

Spinach Calzone Quinoa

It’s still gooey and cheesy and will satisfy your pizza craving but so much better for you.

Spinach Calzone Quinoa: A Broad Cooking

Also I love this recipe for a Quinoa Enchilada Bake, which you can of course change up to add whatever beans, veg, and even meat you have on hand. I also love this buffalo chicken version of quinoa. And Tracy’s Culinary Adventures makes a killer chicken parm one.

My Sausage Broccoli & Cheddar Quinoa Casserole is a cross between an old school creamy rice casserole and a mac and cheese. Sadly, I have yet to take pictures of this one, but the recipe follows and you can make it for yourself to see how yummy it is!

Sausage Broccoli & Cheddar Quinoa Casserole

Serves 4

1 cup quinoa

1 head broccoli

½ Tbs olive oil

8 oz. herb sausage

1/3 cup white wine

1 ½ Tbs butter

2 Tbs flour

1 ½ cup milk

8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 425˚F.

Add quinoa and 2 cups of water to a saucepan. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.

Cut broccoli into florets and steam until just tender. Chop roughly and reserve.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Remove sausage from casings and add to the pan. Crumbling with a wooden spoon, sautéing until brown and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Remove from pan and reserve. Add wine to the pan to deglaze, scrapping off all the brown bits and reducing the wine by half. Pour over the reserved sausage.

In the same skillet melt butter and whisk in the flour. Toast for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk, ½ cup at a time. Season with salt and pepper and cook until thickened slightly, about 8 minutes. Stir in all but ½ cup of cheese.

In a large bowl, stir together the cooked quinoa, broccoli, sausage, and cheese sauce. Once mixed, spread into a baking dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for 25 minutes.

Spinach Calzone Quinoa

Serves 4

1 ½ cups quinoa, rinsed and drained

4 oz. fresh spinach, chopped

4 oz. ricotta, divided

8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

2 ½ cups tomato sauce

Heat oven to 425˚F.

Add quinoa and 3 cups of water to a saucepan, bring to a  simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.

Mix the cooked quinoa with spinach, half of the ricotta, 2/3 of the mozzarella, and the tomato sauce. Pour half into a baking dish then spread dollops of the remaining ricotta onto the quinoa. Top with the remaining quinoa mixture. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella. Bake for 25 minutes, until the cheese turns bubbly and golden.

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