Comfort foods are a warm blanket fresh out of the dryer. They are hot and hearty and often remind you of your childhood. With the ability to transport you back through the years, comfort foods are the perfect way to relax and unwind. But are they the perfect way to eat healthy? Maybe not always. A great way to pack in the nutrition is to incorporate quinoa into your old classics. Quinoa will not only add nutrition, but also new flavors and textures. Let's look at three of the most common comfort foods and how you can add quinoa to them to get a new take on a tried and true recipe. Macaroni and Cheese This is a classic go-to comfort food, especially for hungry youngsters. They eat it up and hold their plates out for seconds (and even thirds.) Handing your kids piles of white flour noodles and packaged cheese is probably not what you want when it comes to nutrition. Even if you boost the nutrition with whole wheat and natural cheeses, you could do better, right? The texture of gold quinoa is perfect to hide in a batch of macaroni and cheese. The cheese sticks to and covers up the quinoa, engulfing the tiny protein-packed seeds in a mass of melted, stringy cheesy goodness. Most kids won't even notice the difference! If you bake your mac and cheese, remember to under-cook your quinoa just slightly, like you would your noodles. This helps to keep them from over cooking when you put them in the oven for thirty minutes or so. When you take your first bite, you will be amazed at the levels of crunchy texture and nutty taste that quinoa adds to your mac and cheese recipe. Add a topping of buttery bread crumbs or toasted almond meal mixed with cooked red quinoa for even more crunch, and even more ways to hide nutrition in this popular comfort food. Classic Casseroles We know you have a few favorite casseroles that you turn to over and over again. Casseroles such as the popular Green Bean Casserole, Chicken And Rice, Chicken Divan, or Scalloped Ham And Potatoes. These are perfect dishes to add a bit of nutritious quinoa. Since casseroles, by definition, are thick and blended, casseroles are the perfect place to add quinoa to help bind everything together. The reason quinoa works so well with casseroles is because of the slight double duty that it does. When you take a casserole out of the oven, the first pieces to get eaten are generally the corner pieces where the crunchy crispy edges are found. By adding quinoa, you get the crunchy all throughout the casserole instead of just at the edges. This also works for pot pies, which are pretty much casseroles, just think smaller. Imagine taking a bite and having a crispy texture and nutty flavor at the same time. Pot pies are the perfect place to try out a bit of quinoa and discover its unique and surprising qualities. Meatloaf Meatloaf is a combination of protein and binders. I'm not sure what you remember about meatloaf when you were a kid, but they didn't always have much taste, other than the ketchup that was spread on top of it. By adding quinoa, not only do you bring in some flavor other than meat, but you are guaranteed to help bind your meatloaf together - so no more crumbly meatloaf. For so many gluten free folks, making meat loaf is the perfect solution, but ONLY if you find a substitute for flour, crackers, and bread crumbs. Throwing in a handful of quinoa is the perfect solution. Quinoa offers the binding qualities with the added nutrition that make this food 'additive' incredible. Imagine if you could take a simple frugal family dinner and turn it into a nutrition powerhouse? That's exactly what you're doing by adding quinoa! Comfort foods are a great way to give your family nutrition and a hearty stick-to-your-ribs kind of meal. By adding quinoa to your comfort foods, not only do you build your taste profile, but you get to add a huge nutritional boost and a delightfully different texture to your favorite foods. Next time you decide to take a trip back to your childhood and enjoy those warm, fuzzy comfort foods, throw in some quinoa and give your nutrition a kick!
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