Quinoa Chicken Enchilada Casserole

How’s your day been?

Wednesday is writing day, so I spent some quality time at the Love Starbucks.

Coffee3

(Zen tea = my fave! I also love Refresh)

I came home to play with Livi, and while she went off to cook in her play kitchen, I decided to get some dinner together. After I teach Zumba, I’m beyond ready for a hearty dinner -and don’t really have the energy to cook anything- so I knew it would be nice to have it already made and waiting.

The best component:

Homemade enchilada sauce  1 of 1

Homemade enchilada sauce. The canned stuff is totally fine (I love the El Pato brand), but there’s really something special about homemade. Also, it’s much easier to make than I’d originally anticipated. Give it a whirl if you haven’t!

Enchilada sauce  1 of 1

The entire time the sauce was simmering on the stove, Liv was saying, “It smells good! I wanna eat it!!” 

Casserole  1 of 1

Me too, girlfriend. Me too. 

For this meal, I combined all of the necessary dinner components: a lean protein, something green, and a grain/starch.

Brown chicken  1 of 1

Quinoa, the Pilot’s fave πŸ˜‰

Quinoa  1 of 1 3

(Sorry, Pilot)

Along with some zucchini, homemade sauce and a hefty serving of grated Manchego on top.

Quinoa chicken casserole

Out of control.

This would also be a great meal to take over to a family or to heat and enjoy throughout the week.

Hope you love it πŸ™‚

Quinoa Chicken Enchilada Casserole
Serves 4
A hearty dinner option that's easily made in advance! Prep everything to put into the oven before dinner, or make and freeze. High in protein, low fat and insanely delicious.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 1/2 cups enchilada sauce (homemade or store-bought)
  2. 1 pound of chicken, chopped into large cubes
  3. 2 zucchini, diced
  4. 1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed
Instructions
  1. 1. Preheat the oven to 350. Spray a standard baking dish (9x13 works well) or casserole dish with nonstick spray or olive oil.
  2. 2. If you're making the enchilada sauce, begin the sauce and as it's simmering, brown the chicken in a separate pan for about 8 minutes, seasoned well with salt and pepper.
  3. 3. Add the chopped zucchini to the baking dish, along with the browned chicken, quinoa and enchilada sauce.
  4. 4. Cover and bake 45 minutes to one hour, until the quinoa is soft and fluffy.
  5. 5. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving. Top with plain yogurt, shredded cheese, avocado, a squeeze of lime juice, and/or chopped cilantro.
The Fitnessista http://fitnessista.com/
xoxo

Gina

Any favorite healthy casserole recipes? They’re awesome for weeknight dinners, especially since you can easily prep everything in advance and just throw it in the oven πŸ™‚

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Comments

  1. This looks so easy to make! And so good πŸ™‚

  2. Woah – that’s a tiny ramekin! Is that really your dinner serving size? Is that a size/serving that I should consider appropriate for dinner?

  3. Oohh, this looks great!!! I’m not a big chicken fan – is there anything you could sub in for it?

  4. This looks delicious! I started making my own tomato/pasta sauce last year and I don’t know if I could go back to canned. It usually makes enough that I have some leftover to freeze, so it’s a win-win.

  5. Looks amazing! I can’t believe how easy this looks to make…can’t be true.

  6. I’d never thought of anything like this, but I am a huge fan of both quinoa and enchilada sauce…thanks for the recipe inspiration!

  7. I don’t know how this smells, but it definitely looks good! I want to eat it too!

  8. Thx for reminding me that I need some quinoa back in my life! My fav way to use it is in 2-ingredient breakfast cookies (banana and soaked quinoa + mix-ins).

    Workout today was a 45 minute spin class. Hope my check-ins are counting for ZQuick entries!!

  9. Refresh is definitely my Starbucks tea of choice! Soothing and yet gives me a boost.

  10. Ooh, I can’t wait to make this! Two of my favorites – quinoa + anything taco-related.

  11. I love that you can prep this meal ahead of time. My favorite casserole is my morning egg bake. It has great flavor, you prep it the night before, bake off in the morning and it feeds a crowd. Perfect!

  12. I’d love to try this with tofu! Or beans for the protein. Sadly, today has not been a good day. It’s one of those days that started off great with lots of (very missed) sunshine and it was downhill from there. I don’t really have a lot of bad days so I’m just really hoping this one will end soon. Hope you had a great one though!

  13. Holy moly! This sounds goood! I can’t wait to try it!

  14. This looks amazing and only 4 ingredients. Can it get any better? I just started a pin board for easy to cook ahead meals for when the baby arrives. This one is definitely going on there!

  15. Amelia @i_heart_kale says:

    Mmm… I love enchiladas. I really need to try your sauce recipe soon. That and I wish I lived near you so I could try some authentic tamales! I’m sure I can find some here in Charleston, Sc, but I suppose I haven’t looked hard enough yet.
    My husband is not a fan of quinoa, but he likes the creaminess of millet. Have you ever subbed millet for any recipe in which the pilot isn’t crazy about? It’s great in stuffed peppers too. ( Also, it’s not a ‘complete’ protein, but if you are already eating meat, it won’t matter).

  16. Yum this looks delicious! i just got some quinoa and this would be a great recipe to try out πŸ™‚

  17. I’ve enchiladas once before and I really didn’t like them but that’s prob because I bought them. I’m thinking I’ll give them another try because these like super awesome! πŸ˜€

  18. I need to make homemade enchilada sauce.

  19. So simple and yummy!

  20. Yum!! This recipe looks so good! πŸ™‚

  21. Holy yum, pinned! I’ll be trying this one for sure. My hubby hates quinoa as well, I’m always looking for ways to get him to eat it so he won’t know it πŸ™‚

  22. Looks delicious! We make enchiladas frequently using a similar formula: protein, veggies, tortilla (or no shell for me if we’re out of GF ones). We make our own enchilada sauce as well and it makes such a difference. We use Emeril’s recipe, but half the stock with water so it’s not as salty. I’ve never thought of making it into a casserole, though! Great idea!

    Are you mocking the Pilot? Because I can’t get my husband to like quinoa either. I think it’s because he’s gotten a piece of sand from it (if you don’t rinse it, which I don’t usually).

  23. It looks yummy! We do that alot… We look in our fridge and try to use up veggies that are on their last leg. Sometimes we layer corn tortillas and cover in salsa and or enchilada sauce and other times we add a grain like quinoa. Such a fast, healthy meal that is great for left overs for the next couple of days πŸ™‚

  24. My husband “loves” quinoa as much as the Pilot, hehe. But he does love chicken enchiladas, so maybe I could sneak this one by him. What did the Pilot think?

  25. Yum yum yum. Making this.

  26. You can’t beat a hearty make-ahead meal! I will definitely be making this one. I teach 2 hrs of boot camp on Tuesday/Thursday and, like you, am often ready to eat my arm and almost too exhausted to speak afterward so cooking when I get home is out of the question. I’ve got a rotisserie chicken headed in the slow cooker with veggies for tonight!

  27. Yum, totally making this next week!!!! I hope my little one is as excited about it as Livi was:) Did she eat it?

  28. Do you put the quinoa in dried or cooked? Looks delicious either way.

  29. I made your enchilada sauce this week when I made Anne’s sweet potato and black bean enchiladas. It was hot stuff. I loved it. I love meal ideas that will last a few days. I love cooking and feeding my family, but everyday three times a day gets tiring.

  30. Random question: have you tried quinoa in desserts? Just wondering about the taste. I saw this recipe http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/quinoa_blondies.html

  31. How you feel after teaching Zumba is how I feel every day after work, so I look for super easy dishes that I can throw together, walk my pup and then come back and enjoy. I will for sure add this into the rotation. So simple and looks absolutely amazing!

  32. I am putting this recipe on the weekends menu. Simple, easy and cost is low!

  33. This looks like a great recipe. I usually go Mexican-inspired when I’m in a time crunch to make dinner and always have these ingredients on hand!

  34. This looks really yummy! I’m with you on not wanting to cook after the gym. Also, could Olivia be any cuter?

  35. Wow! That sounds delish. I bet the homemade enchilada sauce makes it!! I love love love how simple it is to put together, too!

    Spaghetti casserole has always been a favorite in our house.

  36. I love everything about this dish – yum and so easy! I want to re-create tuna casserole and make it healthier because it’s one of my favs!

  37. Hey Gina,

    I emailed you a week back about visting Tucson but I’m sure you get a million emails a day. I’m visiting next week and my friend and I would love to take one of your Zumba classes. Would you be able to share where and what day you teach? I love all your videos and it would be great to take a class in person.

    Thanks!
    Micaela

    • Fitnessista says:

      hey girl! sorry i’m just now getting back to you! how long are you in town? i’m getting a sub next week because we’ll be at the arizona game.

      • Hey!

        Thanks for the response. We’ll be there from tomorrow to Friday. If you wont’ be teaching next week, we’ll be sure to check out your recommendations for other zumba studios.

        Thanks!
        Micaela

  38. Anne’s Mexican Lasagna stands out in my mind.

  39. This looks delicious! I love your nails in the first photo too! What kind of polish are you wearing?

  40. This is a great idea! What a fantastic way to get the Mexican craving taken care of πŸ™‚

  41. Workout today (Thurs. 2/20) was strength training & stadium stairs. I hope my entries are counting towards the ZQuick Reebok giveaway!!!

  42. Workout for Thursday was a Bootcamp class. Group fitnessss!!

  43. Homemade enchilada sauce=awesome!
    Love this recipe. For a vegetarian version you could easily sub in some black beans, and that would be awesome. I make a similar casserole with brown rice, black beans, enchi sauce, but then I add in more veg…lots of peppers, poblanos and red.

  44. Loving the easiness of this! I’m so going to make this for the men in my life. Yay! πŸ™‚ So excited you’re moving here by the way. Weee….

  45. these look awesome! I just recently started eating chicken again, and this looks like a yummy dish to start out with!

  46. Workout for Friday, 2/21: Yoga. I was in the ER last night, so taking it nice and easy….it’s been one of those weeks. Hoping this check-in counts towards a ZQuick entry! The yellow sneakers are really cute.

  47. Wow that looks fantastic AND easy! I recently made a similar dish using chick peas in stead of quinoa πŸ™‚

  48. Mmm, that looks yummy!

  49. I made these & it was a watery mess πŸ™ did you really use 4.5 cups of sauce? I used a little over three & it’s like soup.

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