The Ultimate Comfort Food To Get You Through Winter

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Just because the holidays are over doesn’t mean you’ve lost your craving for comfort food. Fewer daylight hours and  seasonal change can disrupt hormones that can cause anxiety and depression. High carb and fat comfort foods tend to increase serotonin production, so you’re apt to have a temporary feeling of well-being and happiness. The tricky part is that once that feeling wears off, you could be left feeling bloated and heavy, two side effects that won’t help your mental of physical health. But there’s no reason to eat celery sticks all winter. Shake up your salad and smoothie routine with this satisfying yet healthy casserole. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, simply adapt the recipe by using vegetable stock, opting for a soy protein meat (or no meat at all), and vegan cheese.

Quinoa and Kale Taco Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 green onions (white and greens only), chopped
  • 1 cup cooked frozen corn
  • 1 cup cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 cups chopped and stemmed kale
  • 1 cup hand-grated cheddar cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon chili flakes (optional)

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Heat a large pan over medium heat with olive oil.
  • Top with ground beef and cook until browned (about 5 minutes). Remove.
  • In a large casserole dish (9 x 13) add quinoa and chicken stock. Stir to combine.
  • In a large bowl combine combine diced tomatoes and spices.
  • Top quinoa-stock mixture with half of diced tomato mixture.
  • Top with ground beef, bell pepper, green onions, corn, black beans and kale.
  • Top with remaining half of diced tomatoes.
  • Sprinkle cheese and chili flakes on top.
  • Cover casserole dish with top or with tin foil and bake for 45 minutes.
  • Remove top or foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
  • Serve warm topped with avocado if desired.

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