Monday, April 23, 2012

Mini cheddar, spinach & broccoli quinoa cups

I've been known to make things that are so darn cute that I literally giggle as I'm plating them.  But I make it a point to never let a food's good looks get in the way of my appetite.

Have you ever heard someone say, "Ohmygosh, that's too cute to eat!"  Just typing that out makes me twitch.  Food is meant to look at, briefly, and then eat.  Get it right.

I'm reminded of my mom who never ate two truffles I bought her one random day; they were decorated to look like a milk chocolate dog and a white chocolate cat.  Sure, they were cute.  My sweet mom was so taken with the adorable confections that she kept them in the box and never got around to eating them before it was too late.  I love ya, Mom, but I learned a valuable lesson from that experience -- I should only buy my mom ugly chocolates.

(I bet she's really excited for Mother's Day this year.  What a prize daughter I am.)

...where was I?

Cute food!  The opposite of ugly food.  Tiny little cups flecked with green vegetables and orange sharp cheddar cheese, laced with fluffy eggs and chewy quinoa.

Mean green mini quinoa cups!

While they are small, these cups pack a mean protein and flavor punch.  Matt and I both had eyes much bigger than our stomachs when we sat down to eat these at dinner.  Nervous that he might gawk at the idea what was on that single plate would feed both of us (he did gawk, by the way), I added that I could easily make a salad or some garlic bread or even a peanut butter and jelly sandwich if he were still hungry.

Ladies and gentlemen of the interwebs, he wasn't hungry!

And neither was I.  We were s-t-u-f-f-e-d to the gills!  I loved the slight crunch from the broccoli and the pop of the quinoa with lots of melted cheese and an extra kick of spicy pepper.  All of that good stuff was quite filling.

And we had a blast getting there, too.  There's something so fun about eating finger foods for dinner in your own home.  In sweatpants.  No fancy cocktail party and pricey caterer necessary.

We I openly gushed about how cute said these quinoa cups and then dove headfirst into a plate of them without worrying about the judging eyes of other party guests.

Party for two, please.

No need for utensils.  Apparently this is a party for two regressing adults.  A darn fun one at that!

Mini Cheddar Quinoa Cups
(inspired by Iowa Girl Eats and So Very Blessed)
-makes 11, serves 2 as a main dish

1 cup cooked quinoa (about 3/8 uncooked)
2 large eggs
1 large egg white
1 large handful baby spinach, chopped
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped broccoli florets
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix to combine.  Generously coat mini muffin pan with nonstick spray.  Divide mixture among muffin cups, filling each cup to the top.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the edges of the cup are golden.  Let cool for at least 5 minutes before removing from the mini muffin tin.


  1. Replies
    1. Luckily, quinoa is rather popular these days so you can find it in your neighborhood grocery store (including the Market District on Centre Ave, ahem). You can purchase boxes of it, found in the pasta aisle, but those are super pricey for how little you're getting. Instead, I buy quinoa from the bulk foods section -- a way better value!