Zucchini Squash and Quinoa Mac and Cheese Bites

Zucchini squash and quinoa make a healthier macaroni and cheese appetizer.

Things I’d like to say to people…but can’t because it’s socially awkward…so I’m writing them down on the internet instead. I dunno.

Dear underwriting loan peeps, I’ve spent more than my fair share amount of time researching Pinterest home projects. It’s best that I have the chance to just start working on some already. For everyone involved.

Dear Monday crossword puzzle writer, Ease up. You’re a self-esteem crusher, I think.

Dear Olympic athlete, You’re crazy good at what you do. I kind of want to swim that fast…but also not get off my couch for hours because you’re on tv. This is especially troubling around dinner time.

Dear reading friends, If my dinners look like appetizers, made kind of healthy out of remorse for sitting on my butt all day, I think you know why. I also think you need something like this in your life. And…you’re pretty.

Quinoa is basically my go-to health food these days. I’ve been eating it in place of rice a lot, and decided it was about time it imitated pasta…in mac and cheese form.

This is sensible. Trust.

Zucchini squash and onion and garlic are sauteed. This is a good place to start. We’ll toast quinoa in the same pot…it’s for simplicity and to keep the flavor from sneaking away. Obviously.

Once the quinoa is cooked with the veggies, a simple egg and milk and cheese combination is folded into it. This is mac and cheese, pre-bake, quinoa style.

Baking it in muffin tins rather than a 9×13″ pan makes quinoa mac and cheese bites that look impressive and can be called an appetizer or a side dish. You should know…I’m particularly fond of these with sour cream dolloped on top. And once, I smashed the heck out of the pretty shape and mixed it in a bowl with fresh corn cut off the cob. I like when foods are versatile like this.

What I’m probably trying to say is, dear quinoa mac and cheese bites, thanks for saving dinner. And distracting me from life hiccups. Like crossword disasters. And the end product of half of my home design Pinterest projects (I’m sure).

Zucchini Squash and Quinoa Mac and Cheese Bites
recipe adapted from Monica Nelson Fitness

1/2 cup zucchini squash, chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
3 cups chicken stock
2 eggs
1 cup milk
2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese (or cheese of your preference)
panko bread crumbs, for topping (about 1/4 cup)

Chop vegetables and sautee in olive oil until soft. Add quinoa and stir to toast, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and add stock. Cover and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until water has absorbed. Meanwhile, combine eggs, milk and cheese in a separate mixing bowl. When quinoa has cooked, remove from heat and stir in eggs/milk/cheese. Spoon mixture into greased muffin tins, filling about 3/4 of the way full. (This will make 18-20 bites.) Sprinkle panko bread crumbs atop each bite and bake in a preheated 350° oven for 15 minutes.

For more recipes like this one, visit Sarah at www.bakingserendipity.com

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