Saturday, September 7, 2013

Creamy Caprese Quinoa Bake

I STILL have tomatoes and mozzarella left over from when my parents were in town. To me, that's a blessing, not a problem! ;) I found this yummy recipe on Pinterest and new I would love it! ...and I was right! Brad and I ate off this for a few days and never complained a bit.

2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup of your favorite pasta sauce
2 tbsps tomato paste
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup parmesan
1 cup mozzarella, divided
1/2-1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 large bunch fresh basil, cut into ribbons
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2) Heat tomato sauce and tomato paste over low heat in a large saucepan. Once warm, stir in heavy cream, parmesan, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and stir in the quinoa.
3) Fold in half of the mozzarella and half of the tomatoes, then chop 6 fresh basil leaves and add them in too. Once combined, spray an 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish with non-stick spray and pour the entire quinoa mixture into the dish. Top with fresh mozzarella rounds or shredded mozzarella and the remaining tomatoes.
4) Bake for 10 to 15 minutes and then turn the broiler on and broil for 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbly.
5) Remove from the oven and top with fresh basil ribbons. Give it a few minutes to cool then serve.

This is the dish just before topping with the mozzarella. I could eat this just as is, but who doesn't love more mozzarella!?

You should know: I did not have any heavy cream at home. At first, I was angry. Then I realized I could make my own heavy cream with butter and milk. Perfect! (so I thought...) To make heavy cream you have to combine 3/4 cup of milk with 1/3 cup butter. I microwaved my butter to ensure proper measurement then poured it into cold milk. All of you scientists out there know that if you add a hot ingredient into a cold ingredient it will separate. I basically had little butter caviar floating in my milk. OOPS! Thankfully, I knew that once warm again all would be right in the world. I popped my cup of milk and butter into the microwave for a few seconds and TADA... I had heavy cream.

Caviar butter! lol

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