Ham and cheese quinoa “pizza” bites

I’ve heard about these so called quinoa pizza bites here and there and I knew I wanted to make them but didn’t know when. Until we had another couple and their son over to watch the Oscars last night and I knew I wanted to have food that was somewhat “handy” but also hearty (as I didn’t want to have a lot of dishes downstairs with a 3 year old, a 2 year old and an almost 2 year old running around).

I also don’t have a mini-cupcake pan as they recommend. Probably would have helped, but they turned out pretty great anyway, if I do say so myself.

As is my wont, I looked at the recipes/directions I had seen elsewhere, looked at my fridge, and came up with my own version.

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Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups quinoa
  • 3 cups chicken stock (or 2 cups chicken stock and 1 cup water)
  • half of a vidalia onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup of chopped mushrooms
  • two leaves of kale, chopped
  • 1 cup of spinach leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 large eggs (I used three smallish eggs)
  • 1.5 cups shredded cheddar
  • 4 slices of ham, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dry oregano (plus a 1/4 tablespoon in the quinoa)
  • salt/pepper
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • paprika
  • grated parmesan for the top (while cooking)
  • pasta sauce (to dip)

Preheat oven to 375.

On the stovetop, cook the quinoa by putting quinoa and stock into pot, salting and adding a few dashes of the oregano and bringing to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat to simmer, cover and let sit for 15 minutes.

In a saute pan, cook the onion with a bit of olive oil until translucent, add the mushrooms and cook until softening, add the kale and a bit of salt and pepper and stir until all are cooking through and soft. (This time is when I chopped the remaining ingredients)

Add all ingredients into a bowl and mix thoroughly. Spray the cupcake sheet with Pam or the like (I use smart start). Divvy out the quinoa mixture into the cups until just over the edge (next time I may make them a bit more shallow so that they come together more quickly). Put in the oven for 30 minutes. At that time, put a bit of the parmesan on top, turn the oven up to 400 and cook for another 15 or so minutes. Test by running a knife around the sides and seeing if the “muffin” is crusty on the sides. Once they are finished, let them sit for about 10 minutes. This will help them set.

Serve with pasta sauce. Easy peasy!

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Cauliflower Crust Pizza

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This was up there as one of the best things I have ever cooked. M and I had been seriously missing Sunday Night Pizza and were about to cheat and order some in. And then I remembered cauliflower crust. Add our favorite toppings and…VOILA!

The crust:

  • One head of cauliflower
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Handful of shredded mozzarella
  • Tspn of oregano
  • 3 tablespoons of ground flax seed

Preheat oven to 450. Cut florets off of the cauliflower and run through cuisinart until riced. Move to bowl. Add flax, oregano and cheese. Add two beaten eggs and mix well.

Put parchment paper in cookie sheet and fold over edges (make sure there is enough hanging over the edge to lift it later). Spray with cookie spray. Pour mixture onto sheet and distribute evenly. Press down all over. Put into oven and cook for 20 minutes or until browned all over and pulling away from edge. Remove and set aside (still in pan). Keep oven on.

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Topping:

  • Chopped rotisserie chicken
  • Frozen spinach
  • Marinara sauce
  • Rest of mozzarella

While crust is cooking, chop rotisserie chicken into 1x2cm pieces. prepare chopped spinach by adding 1/4 cup water in pot, letting it boil, warming spinach, and drain by squeezing spinach thoroughly.

When crust comes out, spoon some warm marinara sauce onto the crust (I kept my sauce thin but up to you). Add chopped chicken throughout. Then spinach. Then mozz. Put it back in the oven, turn on the oven light and keep an eye on it and cook until mozzarella is golden and bubbly.

Remove from oven and transfer entire pizza using parchment paper. Cut and serve. The crust held up well enough to be held to eat.