Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Ultimate Blog Swap - Baked Buffalo Chicken Pasta

Today I’m participating in the Ultimate Blog Swap. You’ll find me posting over at Bake Break! about Blackberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake, and I’m excited to welcome Liz from The Fresh Plate to From the Mind of Laura:

Hello everyone! I am Liz, and I blog over at The Fresh Plate . I am so excited to be guest posting for you here today. Laura has a great blog, and I  am honored to be a part of it ion any little way I can. 

First off, I racked my brain trying to figure out what recipe I was going to make for Laura.  I wanted to make something that was budget - friendly, kid- friendly and easy to put together. I finally ended up choosing Baked Buffalo Chicken Pasta. I have four sons, ranging in ages from 18 to 6, and they all love buffalo flavored dishes. And pasta. And cheese. You get the picture. This dish is chock full of buffalo flavor and easy enough to put together in the morning and pop in the oven at dinnertime.  You could even add shredded carrots or chopped celery to give it a nice crunch. I would add those if I made it for adults, my my texture-phobic kids would pick them out and set them to the side, so I wouldn't waste my time or energy if I was making it just for us. And as you can see in the recipe, it calls for scallions and cilantro, which I did add to mine and two of the four kids. Two picky eaters and the hubs do not care for either, so I added hem when I plated them. Serve with a side salad and slices of garlic bread and you have a great meal. 

Baked Buffalo Chicken Pasta

1 box pasta of your choice
1 1/2 lbs chicken tenderloins, cooked and cut into cubes
1 T butter
1 T all purpose flour
1 1/2 cup whole milk
1/3 cup grated monterey jack cheese , plus more for sprinkling on top
1/3 cup sharp cheddar cheese, plus more for sprinkling on top
1/3 cup buffalo sauce ( I use Frank's Red Hot)
1/2 cup Ritz cracker crumbs 
1/2 cup scallions, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped 

1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
2.Cook pasta according to  directions and set aside.
3.While the pasta is cooking, heat a medium saucepan over medium heat.Add the butter.
4.When the butter is melted and beginning to bubble slightly, add the flour. Whisk the butter and the flour constantly to create a thick sauce  for about a minute, until the sauce becomes  golden in color.
5.Add the milk to the sauce, turn down the heat to low and whisk until the milk thickens into a creamy sauce.
6.Add in the monterey jack and the cheddar cheeses and stir until the cheese melts into the sauce.Add the buffalo sauce. Taste to see if you need to add more sauce to your liking. I tend to stay at 1/3 cup.
7.Spray a 9x13" baking dish with non stick cooking spray. Mix the pasta and the cubed chicken together in the baking dish and pour the sauce over it.
Stir and combine the ingredients well. (you can add more cheese at this point if you are a cheese lover) 
8.Sprinkle the casserole with cracker crumb and a bit of salt and pepper. 
9.Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the cheese is golden and bubbly.
10.Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving.
* Add scallions and cilantro if desired.

So there you have it! Baked Buffalo Chicken Pasta. Thank you again, wonderful readers, for allowing me to share a recipe with you. And thank you again to Laura, who was so gracious and accommodating throughout this whole process . I hope to see you guys over at Fresh Plate in the very near future. Leave a comment and let me know you saw me here! 


Visit Life Your Way to see all of the Ultimate Blog Swap participants!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Upside Down German Chocolate Cake

My sweet friend Tina's son came to me one day and told me about a cake that he loves to get from a little bakery he goes to.  He aked me if I would be able to made something like it.  After hearing about it I knew I had to do it.  Chocolate cake with gooey coconut pecans and globs of cream cheese frosting, definitely a winner!
There are many versions of this cake out there so I decided to go with what I like best.  I love a caramalized topping and a moist, so good you just want to want to lick your plate, cake.  I invited him over for a BBQ and had this cake ready for him to try.  He said it was a little different than what the bakery does but declared it a winner.  And as usual my family and friends also acted as guinea pigs and loved it, except for Nathan, he hates coconut so he scrapped off the topping and then agreed it was perfect.
This cake is is good when you may not have the time to put together a layer cake or need to travel with it and worry about it falling over.  I have to say, sitting here typing this makes me want to go to the kitchen and make it now.

Upside Down German Chocolate Cake

1/2 stick butter + 1/2 stick butter, softened
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup coconut
1 German chocolate cake mix
1/2 cup sour cream, optional (makes cake even moister)
3 eggs (as directed on cake mix box)
Oil (as directed on cake mix box)
Water (as directed on cake mix box)
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2-4 cups powdered sugar, to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray a 9 x 13 baking pan with non stick oil spray.  Melt 1/2 stick of butter and pour into the bottom of the bakign pan.  Sprinkle melted butter with pecans and coconut. 
Mix the cake as directed on the box adding sour cream if you desire.  In a medium mixing bowl combine the softened cream cheese, softened butter and 2 cups of powdered sugar.  Mix on medium speed until smooth, taste add vanilla and more powdered sugar to desired sweetness.  Pour cake batter into baking pan, spread evenly.  Drop small dallops of the cream cheese mixture all over the cake batter.

Bake 45- 50 minutes until cake springs back when lightly touched.

Allow to cool and serve by cutting out a piee and flipping it over on the place so that coconut pecan layer is on the top.
Note:  If you would like to be able to flip the whole cake out of the pan onto a platter to serve I recommend lining the pan with parchment paper before spraying with oil and pouring in the melted butter.  Allow to cool about 15 minutes before flipping it onto a platter.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Sweet and Spicy Chicken

I was sitting in my office one afternoon wondering what I was going to make for dinner.  I remembered I had purchased a fresh pineapple a few days before and decided I really wanted to have something with chicken and pineapple.  I remembered that a certain Chinese fast food restaurant has a sweet hot chicken with pineapple and knew I would be trying to recreate that.  I love the combination of sweet and spicy with the crunch of the vegetables and the tang of the pineapple.  

As I was making dinner that night my daughter and her boyfriend came in and tried the sweet chili sauce I had made and declared it better than that certain restaurant.  I liked that the flavors are fresh, the chicken isn't battered and deep fried and I can add as many vegetables and as much pineapple as I desire.  

When making the sauce I used fish sauce which can be found in the Asian section of your grocery store or at most Asian markets.  It is usually only a few dollars for a 750 milliliter bottle.  If you can't find it locally you can order it here on Amazon.  It can also be used to make curry and many other Asian sauce and soups.

I chose to use a blend of juices because that is what I had on hand but mixing these juices in any combination or using only one or two of them will work fine also.  This recipe makes about 2 1/2 cups worth of sauce so there is plenty to use as a dip for chicken fingers or spring rolls, coating chicken wings,  sauce for pork and shrimp or what ever else you would like.

Sweet and spicy chicken stir fry
Serves 4-6

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 Tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1 1/ 2 - 2 bell peppers (red, yellow and/or red - your choice), cut into 1 inch pieces
1 medium onion,chopped into 1 inch pieces
2 cups pineapple chunks or 20 ounce pineapple chunks, drained (may reserve the juice to use in sauce)
Sweet Chili Sauce (recipe below)

Place chicken in a gallon size Ziploc bag with the cornstarch.  Seal bag and shake to coat chicken with the cornstarch.  Heat oil in in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add 1/2 the chicken to the skillet and cook until lightly browned and until juices run clear.  Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.  Add another tablespoon of oil to the skillet and repeat with remaining chicken. 

Raise heat to high and add onions to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes.  Add peppers and pineapple, cook until peppers soften slightly but are still crisp, about 2 - 3 minutes.  

Add chicken back into the skillet, stir to combine with onions, peppers and pineapple.  

Add 3/4 cup to 1 cup sweet chili sauce to taste. Stir quickly to coat. Remove from heat immediately and serve.

1/2 cup rice vinegar  
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
6 Tbsp. fish sauce
1 cup pineapple/orange/apple juice (I used a combination - “Lagers” brand)
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried crushed chili  (may adjust to your own preference in heat)
3 Tbsp. cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup cool water

1.    In a small saucepan combine both vinegars, sugar, water, fish sauce, juice, garlic and dried chili.  Bring to a rolling boil over medium high heat
2.    Reduce heat to medium and allow sauce to boil until reduced by half (about 10-15 minutes).  Just before it is done boiling combine the water and cornstarch in a jar and shake it up to combine and dissolve the cornstarch.
3.    Reduce heat to low and slowly add the cornstarch-water mixture. Stir to combine.  Cook until the sauce has thickened, stirring often (2-3 minutes).
4.    Remove from heat and adjust taste if needed.  You may add more chili if you like it spicier, more sugar if you want sweeter.  If adding more chili or sugar allow the sauce to set for a few minutes to allow the flavors to combine. Typically you will initially taste sweet with a touch of sour following finishing with the spiciness.
5.    Use this sauce for spicy and sweet chicken stir fry or use to coat chicken wings for a “spicy Asian” wings.  It can also be used as a dip for chicken, pork chops, shrimp and spring rolls.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Shepherds Pie

There are some people in my family won't eat certain foods as left overs.  It makes me a bit crazy sometimes.  Whether it is because it changes the taste or consistency they are very picky about what they will eat a second time around.  This dish is definitely NOT one of those. Ground meat and vegetables in it's own gravy all topped by mashed potatoes and a touch of Parmesan cheese and pepper.  This only gets better the next day.

The mashed potatoes used in this dish can be freshly mashed or from a box, the choice is yours.  I like to make an extra large amount of mashed potatoes for dinner on the weekend and then have plenty of left overs to use for this dish a few days later.  

Making these in individual ramekins just makes this fun for my family but it is also easily done in a 9 x 13 casserole dish.

Shepherds Pie

6 cups prepared mashed potatoes
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pound lean ground beef
1 pound lean ground pork
1 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 clove garlic, minced
3 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1 3/4 cups beef broth
1 1/2 teaspoon Worcester sauce
3 Tablespoons all purpose flour
Salt and Pepper to taste
Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large skillet heat the oil and saute the onion until it is soft.  Add the beef and pork to the skillet and season with salt and pepper.  Cook the until the meats are cooked through and the juices run clear, breaking up the meats and stirring often. Add the broth, Worcester sauce and flour to the meat mixture and cook over medium heat until broth thickens slightly.  Stir in the thawed vegetables.  Season with additional salt and pepper to taste if needed.  

Pour meat and vegetable mixture into the bottom of a casserole dish or divide evenly between ramekins (I use a dozen 10 ounce ramekins). Top with mashed potatoes, pushing potatoes to the edge of your baking dish or ramekins, sealing in the meat and vegetable mixture beneath it.  Top with a sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a dash or two of freshly ground pepper if desired.  Bake for 30 minutes until lightly golden.  If baking in ramekins I find it best to place them on a cookie sheet and bakeg them on the cookie sheet.  Doing this makes it easier to move them in and out of the oven and avoids having to clean the bottom of the oven should some of them bubble over a little.   

Allow to cool 5 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Kit Kat Cake and a Birthday

I have five adorable nephews one of which celebrated his 10th birthday last month.  And one thing he knows is that his auntie will make the cake he desires.  The one thing I can count on when it comes to his birthday cake is that it will include chocolate.  This year he decided he wanted a cake that would reflect his favorite candy bar, Kit Kat.  This was not a surprise as last year he wanted cupcakes, you guessed it, Kit Kat.  I decided that the cake would look like a normal chocolate cake on the outside but I would try to make the cake look like the layers of a Kit Kat when it was cut into. My nephew agreed to this but he had one stipulation, there MUST be Kit Kat pieces on top.  I think he was happy with the results.

Friends came over, pizza and cake were eaten and presents were opened.  We had a wonderful time socializing and celebrating this very important mile stone, the first decade of life.

Kit Kat Cake

Vanilla Buttermilk cake (make a double batch)

2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1-1/4 cups sugar
4  large whole eggs, room temperature
1 cups buttermilk, room temperature
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 baking pan.  I used a deep roasting pan in order to insure it would not spill over while baking. REMEMBER - YOU NEED TO DOUBLE ALL INGREDIENTS.  Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a small mixing bowl.
With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium. Add eggs, beating until each is incorporated, scrape down sides of bowl as needed and continue to beat on medium heat until pale yellow. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and beating until combined after each. Beat in vanilla, continue beating for 1 minute.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until cake springs back when lightly touched and a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 50-55 minutes. Transfer pan to wire racks to cool 20 minutes; turn  cake onto cooling rack and cool completely.
Chocolate Frosting (make a double batch if using for Kit Kat cake)
Very slightly adapted from Our Best Bites

2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup (2 sticks) real butter, softened
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

REMEMBER TO DOUBLE ALL INGREDIENTS.  Melt your chocolate chips and set aside to cool to room temperature.  chocolate shoud not harden but should still be stir-able and soft.

In a small saucepan, whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa, and milk. Bring it all to a low boil, whisking frequently. Boil 1-3 minutes or until thickened like a thinned pudding.  Do not allow to get too thick or the next step will be difficult.  Remove pan from heat and strain mixture through a mesh strainer, stirring and pushing it through and into a small bowl to remove any lumps. Cool completely in the refrigerator or freezer stirring occasionally.

When chocolate flour mixture is completely cooled, beat the butter until creamy, about 1 minute.  Beat in the cooled chocolate mixture until well combined fluffy, about 1 minute.  Finally add in cooled  melted chocolate and beat again until well combined and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Spread frosting on  cake and use to decorate.


Cut the cake into three even layers.  You may use a long serrated knife or a long piece of floss by wrapping it around the cake at the level you want to separate the layers, cross the ends of the floss and pull it through the cake.  Remove the layers.  

Place bottom layer of tray.  Spread a thin layer of chocolate frosting over the top of the bottom layer and top it with the second layer.  Spread another thin layer of frosting over the second layer and top it with the top layer.  Frost and decorate the cake as you like.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Roasted Califlower

Cauliflower has always been one of those vegetables that my kids will eat but would rather forget about if I let them.  They say it doesn't have much taste and since I typically won't let them cover it in cheese it's just boring.   Until Now!  Who knew that simply roasting this unassuming vegetable with some spices would make it a vegetable they would actually request?!  It's like magic!  Ta da!

I originally made one large head of cauliflower and have learned that just isn't enough.  They WANT leftovers of this stuff.  Consider yourself warned.  

Roasted Cauliflower

3 Tablespoons of good quality olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 head of cauliflower 
3/4 to 1 teaspoon curry power 
Sea salt

Mince the garlic into a small bowl and pour in the olive oil.  Using the back of a spoon press the garlic against the bottom and sides of the bowl to help the garlic flavor the oil. Set aside.

Cut the cauliflower into florets and clean them well.  Drain and dry each floret completely.  

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a Baking sheet with parchment paper (makes for much easier clean up) and lay the florets in the pan on top of the parchment paper.  Stir the garlic and olive oil and drizzle all of it over the cauliflower florets.  Toss the florets to coat them evenly with the oil mixture and spread them out evenly in the baking sheet.  I used my hands, it was easiest.  Sprinkle the florets with curry powder and season with sea salt to taste.

Roast in the oven for 30 minutes.  Remove and serve.  While this good nice and hot I have been told that it is also very good cold....yes.....someone loved it so much they ate it cold. 

If you need help with cutting up the head of cauliflower, check out this page, it is short and to the point but does a good job of making it easy to do and understand.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

(Green) Kettle Corn

Popcorn.  Some love it, some hate it, some can't help but inhale it.  Most people have a favorite....movie popcorn, caramel corn, white chocolate popcorn and the often sought after kettle corn. I have been know to give popcorn in goodie bags at Christmas (need I say white chocolate popcorn again?) and it is great as a favor for showers when put in a cute container or cello bag tied with a pretty bow.

Kettle corn is quick and easy to make and is easily colored to match the decorations at any event or just to make it fun for the family. St. Patrick's day anyone?

I use a Whirley-pop popper but have also done it in a large pot.  I you are using a pot you want to make sure it is at least 6 quarts and should be about as wide as it is tall to allow the popcorn to bounce around enough.  If possible, when using a large pot place the lid just slightly off center to allow a bit of steam to escape.  This allows the kettle corn's crisp coating to stay ....well crisp and not get as sticky from the steam.  It is important to have everything ready.  Lay out the parchment paper have the rubber spatula ready, measure out the ingredients and have them within reach at all times.

Kettle Corn (Colored Kettle Corn)

1/2 cup oil (canola, peanut, coconut all work well)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
10 drops of liquid food color of your choice (optional)

Whirley-pop pot or 6 quart pot with a lid
parchment paper
rubber spatula

Pull off about 2 feet of parchment paper and lay it on the counter.  Measure out all your ingredients.

Add oil and food coloring if you are using it, to the pot. Stir.  Heat oil over medium heat for about one minute.  Add the sugar and popcorn kernels, stir and cover with lid, or close the top of the Whirley-pop pot.  Heat popcorn until it begins to pop, turning the crank of the Whirley-pop occasionally.  If using a large pot shake the whole pot occasionally.  When the kernels begin to pop begin cranking (or shaking) continually until there are about 2 seconds between pops.  Remove from heat immediately and pour out onto the waiting parchment paper.  Using your rubber spatula, spread the popped kernels out as quickly as possible.  Sprinkle with salt to taste immediately.  Allow to cool for about 10 minutes.  

Break up any large chunks of popcorn that have stuck together.  Serve.

My step mother Amy taught me how to make this and my family has been enjoying it for years since.  Got to love it!

Note:  Adding the popcorn kernels to heated oil instead of cold oil allows them to be fluffier when it pops.  When adding the kernels to cold oil they absorb more of the oil softening it.  The harder the kernels the more force it takes to explode therefore giving you a fluffier piece of popcorn.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Alexia Yukon Gold Julienne Fries with Sea Salt

There are nights that I am just not in the mood to put much effort into dinner.  You know those nights.  Whether it is because the kids have been especially "active" or the washer flooded or your work day seemed to be nonstop or you didn't sleep well the night before...or it has just been one of those days....you know what I mean......crazy! On nights like this I want something really easy but mostly healthy for my family.  Whether it is turkey burgers or panini full of left over chicken and veggies fries are always a welcome addition. Heck!  French fries and apple slices works for me. Fries make me happy!

I like my fries crispy on the outside and tender on the outside.  I don't want fillers or preservatives and love when I can get this in frozen fries.

Alexia has several types of fries including sweet potato (very good!), fries with rosemary and garlic and the ones I choose to tried, the Yukon gold with sea salt.  

I baked them in my Breville counter top toaster/convection oven to make it even easier and they turned out perfectly.  I left them in for about 3 minutes longer than recommended (I usually do, like I said I like them crispy) and they were perfect.  Fresh taste, lightly salted (I added a little more salt) quick and easy.  What else could I ask for.  

Head over to the Alexia Foods Facebook Page and vote to help them "reinvent a classic" (4th link below the picture on the left side of the page).  After you vote you will be able to choose to receive a $1 off coupon on an Alexia food product.

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received a coupon for a free Alexia food product

Friday, March 9, 2012

Szechuan Green Beans and Tofu

My family loves tofu and we are always looking for ways to use it.  I usually buy it at Costco and put it in the freezer and pull it out as needed.  Doing this changes the consistency a little, making it a bit spongier, but it works for what I usually use it for. 

I wanted something with a fresh sauce and a little kick.  Fresh minced ginger, garlic and crushed red pepper sounded perfect.  What we ended up with was perfect.  If you like a lighter coating of sauce cut the recipe in half.  My family likes it a bit saucy especially when served with rice.

Szechuan Green Beans and Tofu

1 pound extra firm tofu
1 pound fresh green beans
1/2 cup water, divided
1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons soy sauce
1-1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
6 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
2tablespoons rice vinegar
5-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
1 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced

Place the tofu on on a layer of paper towels.  Cover with another layer of paper towels and place a large book on top to press out as much of the liquid in the tofu as possible.  This can be done layered as follows from bottom to top:  paper towels, tofu, paper towels, piece of plastic wrap (to protect the book if this is what you use) and topped with a heavy book.  I have also placed the bottom layer of paper towels on a plate, then the tofu, topped with more paper towels, another plate and then a heavy book.  By pressing out as much of the fluid as possible you allow the tofu to absorb more of the flavors you will be cooking with.  Press the tofu for about 15 to 20 minutes.

In a small mixing bowl combine 1/4 cup of the water, soy sauce, tomato paste, sugar, 2 tablespoons sesame oil, rice vinegar, red pepper and 1-1/2 tablespoons of corn starch.  Whisk until well combined.

Prepare green beans by snapping off the ends and breaking into the size you prefer.  Cut tofu into bite size cubes, place it in a medium mixing bowl and toss with remaining 4 tablespoons of corn starch.  Coating the tofu with corn starch will give it a crisp coating when you cook it. 

In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons of sesame oil.  Add the tofu and cook over medium high heat until lightly brown and crispy, stirring occasionally.  Remove tofu from skillet and set aside.

Reduce heat to medium, add last 2 tablespoons of sesame oil, mince ginger, garlic and green beans.  Cook, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes.  Add the remaining 1/4 cup of water, place a tight fitting lid on the skillet and about 4 minutes until the green beans are tender but still crisp.  Add the soy sauce mixture to the green beans and cook about 2 minutes until the sauce thickens.  

Add the cooked reserved tofu, stir and cook about 1 minute until heated through.  Serve with rice.

Serves 6

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Broccoli Chicken and Quinoa Casserole

You may have noticed I love comfort food.  Food that makes you think of home, childhood and security.  Casseroles are considered comfort food by many people and this one definitely fits the bill for my family.  

This casserole began with my sweet friend Carol bringing her overflow of fresh broccoli to the office and telling me to "take a lot."  I thought about a few things I could do with it for dinner that night but when I got home I decided that a twist on a classic was in order.  Lightening it up using fat free soup, just a touch of mayo and a good amount of spices to liven up the flavor.  In the end my family inhaled it and I was lucky to have a small amount to take for lunch the next day. 

Although this casserole is easy to throw together if you are looking for something quicker try using broccoli that has already been cut into florets and a rotisserie chicken.  You could even use frozen cooked chicken breast if you like.

Broccoli Chicken and Quinoa Casserole

1 can fat free cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup low fat mayonnaise
1/4 cup skin milk
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
a few dashes of pepper
1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1-1/4 pounds fresh broccoli florets
2 cups diced or shredded cooked chicken breast
1-1/2 cups dry quinoa, rinsed
3 cups chicken broth

In a small sauce pan bring the chicken broth to a low boil.  Stir in the quinoa, cover and cook on low heat about 15 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is tender.  Pour quinoa into a bowl and place in the freezer for about 15 minutes to cool, stirring a few times, until it reaches room temperature.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non stick spray.

In a bowl combine the soup, mayonnaise, milk, curry powder, cumin, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.  Set bowl with sauce mixture aside.  Add the broccoli florets and chicken to the bowl with the cooled quinoa.

Pour sauce mixture over the broccoli mix and stir in 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese.  Mix until well combined.  Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle the top with the remaining 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.