It’s back-to-school week for us. The kiddos were all smiles and ready to start on Monday, M in the 4-year-old class and J in the “little 2s” class at their preschool. I already knew and loved their teachers this year and I know it’s going to be a lot of fun, a lot of learning, a lot of growth for each of them.
And even though it’s still August, I’m already starting to transition to fall. I’m looking forward to a break in the heat and to settling back into our schedules. I’ve got a few sweaters in my closet that I can’t wait to pull on and snuggle into on the first cool evenings, and I’m excited for crunchy, colorful fall leaves on the ground. And of course the food. All the fun fall dishes. Pumpkins, pumpkins and more pumpkins! We’re year-round pumpkin people, but I do a serious overdose in the fall.
Also, I look forward to more comforting casseroles and warm chili and slow cooker suppers. I’ve got so many things planned for you! Be sure to sign up for my newsletter so you don’t miss any of the yumminess.
Starting with this quinoa Caprese casserole. You didn’t think casseroles had to be heavy, did you? Not at all. This is light and bright and warm and gooey and all the classic Caprese flavors. Mozzarella, tomato and basil are baked in and also sprinkled on top for a double hit of flavor.
It makes for a good transitional casserole, if you will. It’s light enough for spring and summer, but warm enough for fall and winter. You just can’t go wrong.
You can also assemble it ahead and wait to bake it at dinnertime, so it makes a great dish for entertaining. Cause everyone’s gonna love this!
So here’s to the new school year, the lovely, lingering days of summer and the fresh, fall breeze coming our way.
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
- 2 heaping cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1-2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup basil leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- Preheat oven to 400. Spray a 2-3 quart baking dish with cooking spray.
- Cook 1 cup quinoa, according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon of the extra-virgin olive oil in a small saute pan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and saute for 4-5 minutes, until softened. Add the minced garlic and saute for another 30 seconds. Turn off heat and let cool slightly.
- Combine the onion mixture with the eggs, diced tomatoes and 1 heaping cup of shredded mozzarella cheese. Season with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Once ready, add the quinoa and mix well.
- Pour into the prepared baking dish and top with the remaining cup of mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese and drizzle with the remaining 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil.
- Bake at 400 for 25 minutes until browned and bubbly.
- Sprinkle with fresh basil and halved cherry tomatoes (and extra cheese, if desired) and serve!
You can assemble this ahead of time and refrigerate. Either let it sit out for 20 minutes before baking (ie, as you preheat the oven) or add an extra 5 minutes or so to the cooking time.
Leftovers make a killer lunch - it's even good cold!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 335Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 126mgSodium: 1091mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 4gSugar: 6gProtein: 19g