Spinach Artichoke Quinoa Casserole

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It goes without saying that the last (almost) six weeks have been chaotic for our family. I’m not sure anything can prepare you for the sleep deprivation and fatigue that comes along with the blessing of a new baby.

Even having done it twice before.

It’s kinda like child birth. The memory of how hard it was fades and all that is left is how beautiful it was.  I knew I was going to be tired, but I’d forgotten just how tired.

For the record, I’m not complaining. I know that someday in the future I will again be able to form a coherent sentence, and that the dark circles under my eyes will fade. I’ll stop putting the ice cream in the pantry and trash bags in the freezer. (True story.) When my youngest son asks me what 23 + 9 is, his question won’t always be met with a blank stare followed by his brother answering before I can even digest what it is that he is asking me.

It’s temporary and the flame is most definitely worth the candle.

I am still enjoying every single precious second. Even when those seconds happen to take place at 3 am. And 4 am. And 5 am.  (Baby girl did not get the good-sleep-at-an-early-age-gene.)

The boys have adapted well too, though one thing I hadn’t fully considered is how the demands of a baby were going to impact them. I think when Christian came along it wasn’t such a big deal because Alex was still a baby himself.  I vaguely remember Alex pouting with me for a couple of months.  (Now Christian pouts with Alex because Alex is obsessed with his sister and C wants his favorite playmate back!)

It’s not all bad and in fact in some ways I think its good for them. They are learning to take care of themselves in ways that they should have years ago. I’ve established a “snack cabinet” in the house filled with things they don’t have to ask if it is OK to eat so that they never have to wait for me to finish nursing to get them something.  (I’d done this before and for some idiotic unknown reason didn’t keep up with it.)  Their daily around the house “to do lists” have been re-instituted and (strangely) met with great enthusiasm.

Seeing the impact of a chronically exhausted mom & dad had on the boys has also led to some new decisions.

Our family is location independent and we had planned to spend the first few months in the Colorado mountains, but after a couple of weeks it was clear that it wasn’t the best decision for right now. Skye’s been battling a little congestion and the weather was crazy cold.  Who takes their newborn out in this?

from-the-deck

So, in a move that left me more than a little exhausted, we decided to ditch the cold weather and head to a warmer climate where Skye and I wouldn’t feel so housebound and the boys could enjoy letting off a little steam via the pool without having to wait for Mom and Dad to have the energy to actually take them somewhere.

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So far it’s working out great, though we had a bit of a scare after we got here. More on that later – I’ve rambled enough for one day and it is time to talk food.

Today’s offering is another casserole.  This one is so yummy and is so easy to put together that I managed to make it and get the kitchen clean all in a single cat-nap. Score!

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Spinach Artichoke Quinoa Casserole

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 13 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 28 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Serving Size: 254g

Calories per serving: 279

Fat per serving: 6.9g

Spinach Artichoke Quinoa Casserole

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs (optional)
  • 1 ¼ cup cottage cheese OR silken tofu
  • ¾ cup (vegan) sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 – ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped fine
  • 6 ounces chopped baby spinach
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 14.5 ounces water packed artichokes, chopped
  • 4 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/3 cup Gruyere cheese or Daiya Harvarti

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13 x 9 baking dish with olive oil.
  2. In a blender, mix together eggs, cottage cheese, sour cream, mustard, cayenne, salt and pepper.
  3. Spray a skillet with olive oil. Add onion and cook for 8 minutes. Add garlic and spinach and cook until spinach is wilted. Add artichokes and quinoa and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add to the cottage cheese/tofu mixture. Stir well and transfer to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese and cover with foil.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 30 minutes longer. Serve warm.

Notes

Servings 6, Calories 279, Fat 6.9g, Carbohydrates 32.8g, Protein 20.3g, Cholesterol 74mg, Sodium 456mg, Fiber 5g, Sugars 2.2g

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  • Kenda

    Wendy I love hearing your story about the baby and the boys. Love your sense of humor also! Being a vegan and cancer survivor ( cancer was estrogen positive) I have to avoid all soy products because of the hormone effect they have. At present I am on the generic form of Arimidex to block the estrogen in my body. I know I could use fax eggsmifmi wanted the eggs but what can I substitute for the tofu or vegan cream cheese. All vegan cream cheese I've found has soy in it. I have found that So Delicious yogurt made with coconut milk has a Greek version. I appreciate any suggestions. I love spinach and artichoke and casseroles and would love to make this if it's possible to do so without any soy. Tanks for your help and keep those stories coming!!

    • Laurie

      Hi Kenda,
      My Mom had a partial mastectomy in 1992 and was on Tamoxifen for years and then Arimidex for a few years. Although she saw her oncologist each year, they never gave her a scan because they only do it if they have a reason to. Two years ago, we found a small cyst on her back, she went to the dermatologist to have it removed and it came back as breast cancer. She had no other symptoms otherwise. She then had scans which found spots on her bones and liver. The doctor switched her to Faslodex injections, which ultimately failed. Now she is on Xeloda and it seems to be working. He is monitoring her cancer with scans and tumor marker blood tests. My advice to you is that if your oncologist won't give you a scan periodically to check for cancer (because they think overuse of scans does more harm than good), ask her/him to do a tumor marker test, which is just a simple blood test. I wish we would have known about that sooner. Who knows how long these spots have been developing. Thankfully she has no symptoms from the cancer and no side effects from the medicine. Best wishes to you, and congrats on being vegan, that will go a long way. Food is medicine. Take care, Laurie

    • Wendy Polisi

      Thanks so much Kenda! You could use the Coconut Milk Greek Yogurt – I haven't tried it b/c my boys for some reason won't eat coconut milk yogurt. Another great option would be cashew sour cream like this one: http://www.food.com/recipe/cashew-sour-cream-non-… I used to make variations of cashew cream all the time until my blender died and actually prefer it to purchased vegan sour cream.

  • Ricki

    Wendy, you are amazing. I can barely manage two dogs and a husband–and here you are whipping up casseroles with a newborn! But it's so nice to hear that you are able to enjoy the time with her. And kudos on moving to warmer climes. . . wish I could do the same. :) Have a great weekend!
    My recent post Wellness Weekend May 16-20

    • Wendy Polisi

      Aw, thanks Ricki! Vincent helps with meal prep these days, but I do need to contribute every now and then. :) I got lucky on this one and she slept the whole time I was in the kitchen.

  • Jen @TheFitHousewife

    Yum, this looks great! I love the addition of cheese :) Hope you get some sleep!
    My recent post Quinoa Caprese Salad

    • Wendy Polisi

      Thanks Jen! It's actually getting better. :)

  • Kenda

    Laurie thanks for your information. I will keep your mom in prayer. I'm doing all I can do to keep the cancer from returning: being a vegan, quit dying my hair and let my solor nails grow off. I only use natural nail things and really read labels for ingredients such as parabens, etx. I have 3 more years on the generic of arimidex (if I can stand it that long). Some of the side effects are pretty bad. My oncologist hasn't run a scan but she does do the tumor marker blood tests every 6 months and they have always been in the normal range!

  • Kenda

    Wendy thinks for the information. I just discovered the greek version of the coconut milk yogert and it is really good.I will make a copy of the recipe for the cashew cream sour cream. Thanks for all your wonderful recipes.

  • Julie Bradley

    Hi Wendy. I love all yiur recipes and am going to try this one this weekend. I've been dieing to ask you something. I hope you dont mind. What is location dependent?
    Julie

    • Wendy Polisi

      It means that both hubby and I work from home, the kids are homeschooled and so we aren't tied to one location. Last year we were in Florida, North Carolina (Asheville & Sugar Mountain), Texas (with family), Arizona and Colorado. I'm not sure how long we will continue traveling. A baby adds a whole new dimension – though she has already been in Colorado, Arizona & Texas and thus far is an amazing traveler.

  • Kenda

    Wendy what could I substitute for the cottage cheese or silken tofu in this recipe. I can't use either one of these.

    Thanks

    • Wendy Polisi

      I would try it with all cashew cream or yogurt. I think it would work just fine.

  • Diane Ross

    This sounds amazing!!! Want to make it for a beach party dinner…is it good served at room temp. since I won't be able to see warm?

  • Jean Cummins

    Wendy,
    are the 2 cups of quina measured brfore cooking, or after?

  • Karin

    I made this last night and it was amazing! I used frozen spinach because I didn't have enough fresh, but it was great!