Friday, November 12, 2010

Broccoli Quinoa Casserole(just like mom used to make-sort of)

Growing up, we usually had Thanksgiving with my grandparents in Oklahoma or at home with just us. My grandmother was an excellent cook and went all-out for Turkey Day. There was turkey and cornbread dressing(with nuts and green beans in hers-maybe a can of Veg-all even), mashed potatoes, rolls and so forth. These foods are so typical at Thanksgiving that I don't think they qualify as a family tradition but more of a national tradition.

Family traditions, to me at least, are the quirky things that make each family unique. Like playing toss the football in the yard, our annual walk to the back of my in-laws property(quite a trek these days since they don't tend to the land any more), chocolate pie, coconut pie, Millionaire pie, watching football from a pile of pillows in the floor, you know, that kind of stuff. Many of these things still happen in our family's harvest celebration but my very favorite is the Broccoli Rice Casserole. It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without it.

My parents live almost a thousand miles from us so we don't share Thanksgiving any more(they come to us for Christmas). SuperHub's mom cooked much like my grandmother did but she has Alzheimer's Disease and can't now. Since I never had to do the meal myself until recently, I still kind of struggle with it. Several years ago I had not been able to find frozen chopped broccoli ANYwhere so I used spinach as a substitute, which gave the casserole a more earthy flavor. The next year I discovered that I didn't have rice on hand when it was time to do my cooking but I did have a package of quinoa that I didn't quite know what to do with so...

Broccoli-Spinach Quinoa Casserole(makes a full 9x13 pan)

olive oil
1 bag frozen chopped broccoli
1 pkg frozen chopped spinach
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
4 ribs celery, sliced
1 onion, sliced
8 oz cheese whiz(I use the great value brand from Walmart, but you can even make your own healthier version)

1-1.5 cups dry quinoa, rinsed well
about 3 cups water

Bring water and quinoa to boil, reduce heat and simmer til water is absorbed.

Cook onion and celery in olive oil until transluscent. Add greens, soups, and cheese product. Stir til well blended. Add quinoa and mix well. Pour into a buttered 9x13 pan and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes. Serve warm.

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