Chicken Parmesan Quinoa Bake

Chicken Parmesan Quinoa Bake

Rich, cheesy and saucy, with hearty chicken and healthy quinoa, this Chicken Parmesan Quinoa Bake takes all the flavors from your favorite Italian dish and bakes them into a hot, comfort food casserole you’ll want to warm up with this Winter.

It’s been pretty chilly here in Buffalo for the past few days. You may have seen a few stories on the news (assuming you aren’t living under a rock) about the record 70”+ snowfalls and the poor folks who got stuck in their buried cars or who opened their front door to a wall of snow. I did get a few messages from readers asking how I was holding up, so thank you to those who expressed concern.

Buffalo’s mayor said the other day that the snowfall in Buffalo is like “a tale of two cities,” and he couldn’t be more right. The Southtowns generally get the brunt of any lake effect snow, and they were slammed by this recent storm. Those of us who live north of the city, however, were mostly spared. Where I live, we had several days of clear, sunny skies with a light dusting of snow on the ground, followed by a couple days of a completely normal, manageable amount of snow (clear roads, life unaffected).

I, along with much of the country, watched the news in shock and saw the pictures my friends posted on Facebook of the crazy snow they were getting. My heart goes out to the families and friends of the few who passed away in storm-related incidents. Have no fear though, unlike the places some of you may live, our area is pretty well-equipped to deal with these types of weather events and get back to normal living. Buffalo will be good to go in no time.

Chicken Parmesan Quinoa Bake

Although I wasn’t stuck inside, with the cold temperatures, the thruway closed, and driving bans in several nearby areas, all I wanted to do was stay inside by the fire with warm slippers and a cozy blanket. What goes perfectly with chilly outdoor temps? Hot, cheesy, comfort food casseroles. Ever since I posted my Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Bake, I wanted to make a similar bake using different flavors, and this was the perfect time.

This casserole is amazing. It’s warm and satisfying and it tastes decadent even though it’s only around 350 calories or 7 Weight Watchers SmartPoints per serving. I easily see this becoming a regular dish in our meal planning because my husband and I were both blown away by it. Don’t forget to check out my Easy Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken post- the perfect way to make shredded chicken for this recipe! How easy is that? Trust me, you’re going to love this one.

Chicken Parmesan Quinoa Bake

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Chicken Parmesan Quinoa Bake

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cup chopped onions
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese, cubed
  • 6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 cup shredded 2% Mozzarella cheese
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa
  • 10 oz cooked, shredded chicken breast
  • 3 tablespoons seasoned bread crumbs

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350. Lightly mist a 2 QT baking dish (such as 7×11 or 9X9) with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet or saute pan (with a cover), bring the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for around 4 minutes, stirring occasionally until they start to become translucent. Add the garlic and stir together. Continue to cook for another 30-60 seconds until garlic is fragrant and starts to turn golden.
  3. Add both cans of tomato sauce and reduce heat to low-medium. Stir in the Italian seasoning, salt, lemon juice, sugar and red pepper flakes. Add the cubes of cream cheese and stir until dissolved into sauce. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of the Parmesan cheese and ½ cup of the shredded Mozzarella. Stir in until cheese is melted and absorbed into sauce.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the quinoa and shredded chicken and stir together. Pour the sauce over the top and stir until well mixed (chicken and quinoa should be fully coated in sauce). Transfer the quinoa mixture to the prepared baking dish and spread it out evenly in the dish. Top with the remaining ½ cup shredded Mozzarella and 2 tablespoons Parmesan.
  5. Place the bread crumbs in a dry skillet over medium heat and brown bread crumbs for a few minutes, stirring frequently until golden. Sprinkle the toasted bread crumbs over top of the casserole and bake in the oven for 35 minutes until hot and bubbly.

Weight Watchers Freestyle SmartPoints:
7 per serving (SP calculated using the recipe builder on weightwatchers.com), a serving was 8 SP on the previous program

Weight Watchers Points Plus:
8 per serving (P+ calculated using the recipe builder on weightwatchers.com)

Nutrition Information:
349 calories, 33 g carbs, 7 g sugars, 11 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 28 g protein, 5 g fiber (from myfitnesspal.com)

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