I have had this blog on my to-do list for about a week. I’ve actually had a lot of tasks on my to-do list for about a week. It is that time of year: summer is ending and a new school year approaches. I am excited to meet my new students in exactly two weeks, but I still have to accomplish quite a bit before I’ll feel ready for my 11th year of teaching. Wow. Now I feel old. Here is a look at some of the task to-be-accomplished in the coming weeks:
- I need to lesson plan/create my calendars for September for my 5 different classes.
- I need to set up my 3 classrooms.
- I need to finish our One Book, One School text (Brothers Forever) and finalize my class discussions and assignments for it.
- I need to meet with my new co-teacher (probably my favorite list item!) to lesson plan and brainstorm a great year.
- I need to coordinate drop-offs, picks-ups, and childcare for all three children who, for the first time, will be attending three different schools/facilities.
- I need to continue meal prep.
You read that right: meal prep. I have been doing two or three simple meal prepping tasks a week to help me find success and ease this coming school year–especially during those chaotic mornings when five people and 2 dogs need to be settled for the day.
I’ve made batches of clean pancakes and muffins that are now sorted and in my freezer. I’ve made an assortment of meatballs–traditional turkey, Kung Pao chicken, etc–that are portioned and frozen as well. And I’ve started experimenting with meals that can be made ahead or that yield abundant leftovers.
One such winner is this BBQ Chicken & Quinoa Bake. It is a simple casserole filled with fresh, nutrient-rich ingredients. It is clean comfort food, so to speak, that will be perfect on a fall night when you long for a taste of summer but crave the warmth of a wholesome dinner.
What is quinoa? Quinoa is a grain discovered thousands of years ago by the Incas. It has gained popularity recently because it is a complete protein, is higher in fiber than most other grains, and is naturally fortified with vitamins and minerals. You can use it like you would rice or even oatmeal. My son and I even like it cooked and turned cold with milk–a deliciously filling cereal! It adds bulk to this casserole without adding empty calories. You won’t need a large portion of this meal to not only feel full, but to reach your nutritional goals for the day.
I used a rotisserie chicken for this recipe. I’ve become slightly obsessed with rotisserie chicken because it is so easily shredded and turned into awesome, easy meals. You could easily throw chicken breasts in the crock pot and shred those if time allows! Whatever you choose, this dish will not disappoint!
BBQ Chicken & Quinoa Bake
A hearty, healthy one-dish dinner!
- 1 cup dry quinoa, cooked to package directions (makes about 3 cups)
- 6 cups shredded chicken
- 1 cup baby bella mushrooms, diced
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 cup black beans
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1 cup low sodium chicken broth, plus more for baking if you prep ahead of time
- 3/4 cup your favorite BBQ sauce
- Mexican cheese blend, as much as your little heart desires
- Preheat oven to 400°. Spray an 9×13 in casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- Prepare quinoa per package directions. While it boils, shred your chicken and dice your veggies.
- Once quinoa has cooked, spread it evenly throughout the baking dish. Top with shredded chicken, then all of the veggies and beans.
- Pour the chicken broth evenly over the entire casserole. Give everything a gentle toss, then top with BBQ sauce and cheese.
- Bake for approx. 25 minutes. Serve immediately!
Tell me what you think of the recipe and if you change it up in any way. I may make it another time Hawaiian style, with pineapple! This can easily be prepped on Sunday and baked a day or two later, just add more chicken broth to make sure the quinoa and chicken do not dry out. Quinoa absorbs so much water!
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