Chicken Enchilada Quinoa Bake

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It has been 2 months and I have made it to the gym at 6am every Monday and Friday in that time. My track record with morning workouts is grim. I generally make it up once every blue moon, swear I’ll make a habit out of it, and never make it up for another morning workout until a few more months go by and I’ve banked up the motivation to set the alarm for such an obscene hour once again.

But Mr. Prevention needed to be proved wrong. If I joined the gym close to our house, I would go.

“At least twice a week to make it worthwhile,” he said.

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I’ve been going to cardio sculpt classes and quite honestly, they have been kicking my butt (but, yes, I held a plank last night for 43 seconds longer than Mr. P). But I’ve convinced myself to go back for more punishment, without fail. Even when I return home, barely able to lift my hands to my head to shampoo, and rush to work running later than usual.

I think this morning gig is working out because my friend Tiffany has been going to the classes with me. Furthermore, the classes are the same group of people and I now feel accountable to them, too. I’ve been setting out my clothes the night before, and I’ve been getting dressed the second I wake up so that I can’t change my mind. Shoes and everything – on!

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By 7am, I am ever grateful for my 5:30am alarm and feel like I’ve checked off a huge item from to-do from my list. Let’s keep this up, self!

Morning workouts have also freed up a lot of my evenings which seem to be getting shorter by the day. It also makes cooking more time-consuming and labor-intensive meals feasible for a weeknight, such is the case with this dish. The beauty of this dish, however, is that you can use leftover quinoa and chicken, stock pile this amazing enchilada sauce so it’s on hand, and even assemble the bake the night before…and you’ve got yourself a rather quick meal. It can also double as leftovers for the week because it reheats like a gem.

Oh, and as for the taste. Well, it’s my new favorite quinoa meal, for sure!

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4.0 from 1 reviews
Chicken Enchilada Quinoa Bake
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Quinoa meets with everything you love about Mexican food in this hearty, comforting bake. This reheats beautifully and is perfect for leftover quinoa!
Ingredients
Bake:
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed, and diced
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 (15 oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups (about 8 oz) chicken, cooked and shredded
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1½ cups enchilada sauce (recipe follows)
  • 1 cup (4 oz) 2% cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup (4 oz) Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped, for garnish
Enchilada Sauce:
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 (15 oz) can low-sodium tomato sauce
  • ½ cup water
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Mist a 9-inch by 13-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Combine the quinoa and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside (keep covered) and allow quinoa to sit an additional 10-15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, make the enchilada sauce. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until hot. Add the onion and cook until softened, 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and sugar, and cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato sauce and water, and bring to a simmer. Cook until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove sauce from heat and set aside.
  4. In a small skillet, heat the tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and jalapeño, and sauté until softened, about 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl. To the bowl add the cooked quinoa, black beans, corn, tomatoes, chicken, cumin, chili powder, salt, 1½ cups of the enchilada sauce, and ⅓ cup of each cheese. Mix well and pour into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese, and cover the dish with aluminum foil.
  5. Bake 15-20 minutes, then remove foil. Bake an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and edges begin to brown. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with and cilantro, and serve.
Notes
Enchilada Sauce from The America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook, as seen on Pink Parsley, Enchilada Bake recipe from Pink Parsley
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ⅛ of bake Calories: 358 Fat: 12.4 Carbohydrates: 43.1 Sugar: 9.4 Sodium: 682 Fiber: 9.6 Protein: 22.8 Cholesterol: 39

 Exciting day today…a big time endocrinologist is coming to speak at our hospital. 🙂 In diabetes nerd world, this is exciting stuff! Hope I have energy left for my 10:15pm hockey game. Bleck.

Be well,
sig4

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13 Comments

  1. October 2, 2013 / 7:46 am

    Congrats on keeping up the morning workouts! I wish I could but I burn significantly less calories with morning workouts, am sluggish and my lower back lets me know it’s a no go within 5 minutes. 🙁 Evening workouts for me. Wah wahhhh.

    This looks AMAZING! Can’t wait to give it a go and especially to try making my own enchilada sauce!

  2. October 2, 2013 / 1:10 pm

    I need to get back on the morning band wagon! I stopped when it started getting so dark out. I take a body sculpt class as well and damn they are hard! I know what you mean about the shampoo, its such an odd but good feeling after! AND morning workouts are going to be key now because… well… HOCKEY IS BACK ON! 🙂 Go B’s 😉

    I am pretty much in love with this dish… I definitely need to make it! 🙂

  3. October 2, 2013 / 2:57 pm

    Totally pinning this to make next week – Wowza, that is a late hockey game – hope you stay awake! 😀

  4. October 2, 2013 / 8:38 pm

    I want this in my belly now! I’m just eating a quick salad for dinner after my yoga class and it’s definitely not hitting the spot the way some healthy comfort food would!

  5. November 12, 2013 / 10:52 pm

    I don’t even set myself up for that kind of failure i.e. 6am workouts – but kudos to you! This looks delish and I love quinoa so I’m pinning! found you through a post on FB by recipe girl…

    • Nicole, RD
      Author
      November 13, 2013 / 5:44 am

      Thanks, June! 🙂

  6. Caroline
    January 14, 2014 / 11:29 am

    thank you for the great taste & healthy recipe. I’m going to make it tonight since I have all the ingredients. speaking of exercise, I’ve been doing this exercise from home, 12,or 15 or 18 or 40 mins exercise “at home”. here are the two sites: http://www.bodyrock.tv & http://www.dailyhiit.com I love working out from home, because time is flexible and give me no execuse for not exercise. they have a new 30 days challenge starting from Jan 15, 2014. All those are FREE, the best part of it. The exercise they design is very effective to loose weight and stay in shape. I don’t belong to the gym any more.

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