Talk about awkward. The other day my husband and I had dentist appointments, so I made sure to get up bright and early and go all out with my morning oral hygiene routine, because how nerve-wracking is it to have a stranger probing around in your mouth? Brush, floss, baking soda and peroxide combo, mouthwash several times–I did it all.
So this sweet little gal started the cleaning process and she took one look in my mouth and asked “Did you eat pizza recently?” And I felt my stomach do a backflip thinking there is a obviously a HUGE piece of pepperoni stuck between my molars and JUST HOW DID I MISS THAT with all that flossing because the last time I ate pizza was like, three weeks ago. But I played it cool, and said “No, why?”
She told me that I had a sore that looked like a burn on the inside of the roof of my mouth which is common when people eat hot cheese.
I explained to her that “the nerves in the roof of my mouth were shot a long time ago and are completely numb to very hot food, so, yes, it probably is a burn and I had no idea it was there because I just tear right into hot food like it’s nothing.” And she gave a little smile and moved on, but I know she was probably thinking “BEAST.”
And FYI, I have some crowns coming in my future and not the princess kind either. :/
So I know that the roof of my mouth was singed because of this cheesy casserole I had eaten the day before, but I’m not sorry, because it was too good. This is the perfect weeknight meal for busy moms, plus it’s pretty darn healthy to boot because it’s full of all kinds of protein.
My five year old grandson dove into it like a ravenous little animal and then asked for seconds. I warned him to slow down, that it might be a little hot with all that cheese, but he was like “I can’t help it, Lolli, it’s so good.”
Bless him and the future of the roof of his mouth.
–There are not a whole lot of notes because this recipe is pretty easy. I like to use organic tomatoes if at all possible, because regular tomatoes are on the naughty GMO list. I like the fire-roasted kind and Muir Glen makes some. I have to buy them out of town, though. Boo.
–You could swap cheeses out and use cheddar, colby jack, or whatever you want that’s melty and good.
–You could make this spicy by adding cayenne. I don’t like spicy, but you might.
–Make sure to adjust for salt and pepper before you pour it into the casserole dish.
–This makes quite a bit, so it would be good for feeding a crowd.
- 3 cups water
- 1½ cups quinoa (I like to use organic)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 medium onion , chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 (15-ounce) cans fire roasted diced tomatoes (I like to use organic)
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 (14-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 4 heaping cups Monterey Jack Cheese, divided
- 1 (4-ounce) can sliced olives
- Chopped green onions for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Bring water and quinoa to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and let cook for 15 minutes (or according to package directions). Turn off heat and set aside.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, then add the turkey and cook until done, breaking up into tiny bits. Add the onion and garlic and cook until onions are soft. Stir in the tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir in the beans and quinoa.
- Place half of the quinoa mixture into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Top with half of the cheese. Spread the remaining quinoa mixture over the cheese, then top with remaining cheese and the olives. Bake for about 30 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted. Remove from oven and let cool for about 15 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with green onions for color.