So Zach just told me that there is a chance of snow towards the end of the week (he’s an atmospheric scientist … so he finds this sort of thing exciting … ugh, I know)! Imagine my dismay when I found out this terrible, terrible news. I was just getting into the spring groove, and bam, mother nature decides to play a cruel trick on us. I love snow. I truly, truly do, but I like consistency, and this is NOT consistent. Ugh. Oh well. To prepare for the doom that awaits us, I started getting myself in a casserole state-of-mind. Don’t get me wrong. I love casseroles, bakes, and skillets all year long, but there is something seriously comforting about a warm casserole baking in the oven on a chilly night. The only thing this recipe is missing is fresh peas, which I just thought of at this very moment, would have been an INCREDIBLE addition. Next time. In the mean time, this creamy chicken and mushroom quinoa casserole is one of our favorite dinner recipes. It’s so simple, comforting and hearty.
I’m going to be real with you guys for a second. I don’t LOVE rice in casseroles. Actually, let me take that back. I don’t like when I put rice in casseroles. Anytime anyone has made me a casserole with rice in it, it has been amazing. Every time I put rice in a casserole, it turns out mushy. It doesn’t get that yummy crusty bottom. It’s just a big old pile of mush, and I hate it.
As a result, I never put rice in casseroles, but I was getting sick of noodles and potatoes gracing every casserole I make. Enter quinoa. Quinoa is another thing I’m very hit or miss with. I do not find it satisfying on it’s own. Let’s be honest. It’s boring. I do however like it in salads and in breakfast bowls. I love it the most in casseroles, bakes and skillet bakes. I don’t know how it does it, but quinoa comes out perfectly each and every time I bake it in a casserole.
The quinoa in this creamy chicken and mushroom quinoa casserole is definitely the star. It adds some texture to an otherwise one note dish, and mingles with the creamy sauce so well. It’s the dish you need on a cold wint…I mean spring night.
Pair this creamy chicken and mushroom quinoa casserole with a brown ale. I love, love, love brown ales with mushrooms. They are often nutty in flavor and aroma, and this stye of beer really highlights the flavorful mushrooms. I hope everyone is surviving this Monday! See you all tomorrow! xo
- 1/4 cup unsalted buter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon everyday seasoning blend (I used Trader Joe's brand)
- salt and black pepper
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced small
- 1 pound mixed sliced mushrooms (I used a blend of white button and baby bella)
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- salt and black pepper
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 - 2 1/2 cups creamy sauce from above
- 1 cup water
- 2-3 (1 pound) boneless and skinless chicken breasts, sliced into strips
- Garnish: chopped parsley, crumbled bacon, grated gruyere cheese
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and grease a 9x13inch casserole dish with a non-stick spray. Set aside.
- For the sauce, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes, whisking constantly, until golden and bubbly. Whisk in the chicken broth. Bring the sauce to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until thick. Stir in the heavy cream, everyday seasoning and a dash of salt and black pepper to taste. Continue to simmer for 10 more minutes until creamy. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions and mushrooms and cook until tender, about 6-7 minutes. Add the garlic, season with salt and black pepper and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
- In a large bowl, mix quinoa, 1 cup of the sauce, and water. Pour it into the prepared dish. Place the strips of chicken on top and pour on the mushroom mixture. Spoon the rest of the sauce on top. Place the dish in the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes or until bubble and brown on top.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheese, parsley and crumbled bacon. Enjoy immediately!