Spring is officially here, though the temperatures outside indicate otherwise. The yard and ditches are turning a brighter shade of green, the trees outside our office window are starting to bud and the sing song chirp of birds is in the air. There’s a cardinal that keeps popping in and out of one of our trees. I’ve heard that’s the sign that a loved one is near so he may be my favorite.We’ve been prepping planting equipment, getting in seed for the planting season and today, Mr. R is picking trash up from ditches. Sidetone – why do people throw out cans, bags, bottles and God knows what else in random places? It’s called a trash can people!
Anyhow, even our two year old has been helping her Daddy get ready for planting season! The plan is for me to eventually be more hands on with these sort of tasks but for right now, the household is my helm. I manage four kiddos and their schedules which really means:
I also serve as Farm Chef, a grandiose title I bestowed upon myself. I cook meals for our family of six plus Mr. R’s parents at lunch during planting. I also assist with the occasional errand or odd job that needs to be handled.
Acting as resident Farm Chef may sound trivial, but it’s a job I take quite seriously. I consider myself a cheerleader of sorts. If it’s a damp or cold day, I make something hearty that warms the soul – think soups, a casserole, chili. If it’s been a frustrating or challenging day in the field, I like to have something in my repertoire that can soothe the frustrations and act as a pick me up. Things going well? Let’s celebrate with our meal! Some days, if things are not going as planned, if the two littles are really struggling, or if we have a doctor’s appointment, if the dog is throwing up in the living room, sometimes it’s fast food. Yes, I try to be healthy but I will never claim to be perfect! But truly, my goal is to feed my farmers foods that will keep us healthy, nourish our bodies, and sustain us through long days of planting. For that reason, I’m always testing out recipes. I cater to a variety of tastes, like, and dislikes (no peppers, brussels sprouts (WHAT??!) or spice from one. No dairy or gluten for another. One hates everything except Babybel cheese and grapes (that would be the toddler). It keeps things….interesting.
This week I’m operating my test kitchen. Today’s experiment was inspired by 5-ingredient Broccoli + Quinoa Mac and Cheese from Simply Quinoa. Remember the broccoli, cheese and rice casserole your Great Aunt brought as her dish to pass every single to Thanksgiving? At least ours did, I’m not sure if that’s just a Midwestern thing? At any rate, every holiday there seemed to be one of these casseroles at the buffet table. This kinda looked kind of like that but tasted waaaaayy better and was light, fresh, and cheesy. Our nine month old is the real foodie in the kid’s contingency here and he gobbled it up.
A few notes about my modifications to this recipe. I rinsed the quinoa first, I used water instead of broth and added a little salt to the cooking liquid. I also didn’t have fresh broccoli so I used frozen broccoli right out of the bag. At first I was concerned the broccoli florets were too large but they broke up as the quinoa cooked. I added parmesan and cheddar cheese (no measurements, just eye balled it). When I cook this for use in the field, I’ll sub in nutritional yeast to keep it dairy free. I think my peeps will thank me for this one!
5-Ingredient Broccoli + Quinoa Mac and Cheese
- 1 cup white quinoa, rinsed
- 1½ cups broccoli florets
- 2 cups vegetable broth (or water)
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup nutritional yeast (or parmesan)
- Salt + pepper if desired
- Add quinoa, broccoli, broth and water to a large sauce pan. Bring the mixture to a boil, stir and then cover and reduce to simmer for 15 – 20 minutes. You want the quinoa to be fluffy and the water to be absorbed.
- Remove from the heat and stir in nutritional yeast (or cheese). Taste and add salt and pepper if desired.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!