Monthly Archives: March 2014

Polenta with Kale, Balsamic, & Goat Cheese

Stir, stir, stir for a creamy consistency

Stir, stir, stir for a creamy consistency

My friend Teresa is not only a great cook, but she is also my food emergency hotline. If I’m in the kitchen and things are going awry, it is Teresa I get on the line.  She can talk me through any kitchen disaster with her simple tips and tricks.  Teresa has been cooking Italian and teaching Italian for many years.  She is brilliant in the kitchen no matter what the meal, and truly a shining star when it comes to Italian cooking. Teresa wrote a book called Pass the Polenta and so I thought it only appropriate dedicate this post to her.

As Teresa says,Food is not merely about calories and minimum daily requirements and metabolic pathways.  At its very heart food is about people.” 

I love that quote. At Bring It blog, we are also all about people. Who wants to create all this great food and not have people to share it with, right?  So, bring some polenta and enjoy with friends.  I topped this recipe with sautéed kale, goat cheese, with a balsamic drizzle, but you can top with anything such as ratatouille, chicken stew, roasted vegetables, and the list goes on.

Il cibo è molto meglio con gli amici!

Savory Polenta


2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 cup coarse ground cornmeal
3 Tbsp unsalted butter (I use Earth Balance butter substitute)
1 1/2 tsp salt (I cut back on this amount because the Earth Balance butter substitute is salted)Couple grinds of fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In large, oven-safe saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions and salt and sauté until onions are soft and translucent, approximately 4-5 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Be careful not to burn garlic.

Turn up heat to high and add vegetable stock and water. Bring to a boil. Gradually add cornmeal while continually whisking. Once all cornmeal has been added, cover the pan and place in oven for 35-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to prevent lumps from forming.  Once mixture is creamy, remove from the oven and add butter, salt and pepper to taste.  Gradually add Parmesan, mix completely. 

Serve as is or pour into 8″ x 8″ or 9″ x 9″ baking pan coated with cooking spray.  Place in refrigerator to cool completely.  Once set, re-heat in 350 degree oven until warmed through, approximate 30 minutes.

Balsamic Drizzle


1 cup Balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup honey


Bring Balsamic vinegar and honey to a boil in a small saucepan.  Once boiling, turn burner to low and let simmer for approximately 10 minutes.  Sauce should reduce by about half or until desired thickness. 

Sautéed Kale


1 large bunch of kale
3 Tbsp olive oil
Salt & Pepper 


Heat olive oil over medium heat in large saucepan.  Turn down heat to medium-low, add kale, salt and pepper.  Sauté kale until wilted and soft, approximate 7-8 minutes.  Turn off heat.

Final Preparation

Take warm polenta out of oven, place kale over top of polenta and drizzle with Balsamic sauce.  Crumble goat cheese on top, cut and serve.  Yum, yum, yum!

Makes for a warm comforting side dish

Makes for a warm comforting side dish

Bombproof Mac and Cheese

Bombproof mac and cheese

Still chili? A little cranky even? Crunchy-topped mac and cheese to the rescue!

Here it is, the end of March, and we’re still in search of comfort food. Well, I for one will take depressing rain at the end of March over depressing rain in February any day! All well and good, but it leaves us with depressing rain. Which leaves us with a need for mac and cheese. My kids would argue that this need is equally urgent in any season. Their gold standard for homemade mac and cheese involves the crunchy breadcrumbs on top and absolutely no green of any kind. Boys, as long as we hold the parsley your ship has come in.

This recipe comes straight from a fellow ski racer Mom in Colorado who frequently finds herself with a houseful of hungry teenagers. As she says, “The true beauty of this is that two ski race dads dumped the whole casserole in a crock pot at Winter Park and served it for lunch with a ladle into plastic cups—genius!” Dads in a ski lodge dishing out hot food into plastic cups? I am so in! Thank you Tania (who clearly knows that parsley can be a deal killer) and I hope you are seeing some sun out in Colorado.

 And now, we bring you…

Bombproof No-Boil Mac and Cheese   

From Bon Appetit, by way of our Rocky Mtn correspondent Tania

Makes 8 servings


1/2 cup butter divided
1/4 flour
3 cup whole milk
3 cups water
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp pepper
1 lb elbow mac (or bigger tubes like rigatoni, medium shells, etc)
2 cups shredded cheddar divided
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 cup panko
2 Tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley (never used it)


Preheat oven to 400.

Melt 1/4 c butter in a large saucepan over med-high heat. Add flour whisking constantly for 1 min. Whisk in milk and 3 c water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cook, whisking often, for 10 min.  It should be a thin glossy sauce. Add salt and pepper. Remove sauce from heat.

Toss pasta and 1 1/2 cups of cheese in a 3 quart baking dish.  Pour sauce over pasta.  It should be submerged.  Don’t stir.  Cover with foil and bake 20 min.

Meanwhile, melt 1/4 c butter in large skillet over med heat.  Add garlic, panko and parsley and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Remove foil from dish.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Cover with panko mixture.
Bake, uncovered, for 10 more minutes or until pasta is tender, edges are bubbling and top is golden brown.

Mint Chocolate Milk

Mint chocolate milk

The first of many satisfied and non-paying customers for mint chocolate milk.

Oh to hell with it. I know Sue just posted the ridiculously decadent Peanut Butter Krispy Fudge Bars, and that we all need something super green and good for us right now. But it’s still snowing outside, and when I made this batch of chocolate milk syrup my son took one sip and said, “MOM! You should sell this!” to which I responded, “Ok, that’ll be one dollar please.” He slurped it down without a flinch.

The next day his friend came over and had at it with much approval. So, I made another batch and the rest of the family got wind of it so that, too, disappeared. By the time I was making my third batch I had the bright idea of doubling it. (Yeah, yeah…I’m not the quickest bunny). But the point is, this stuff is good! And it’s probably way better than a green smoothie for washing down a Peanut Butter Krispy Fudge Bar.

Strangely enough, this too (like the crazy-good bars) comes from Joy the Baker. I guess I am fixated on joy right now. All joys—the person, the state of being, the act of mixing chocolate in milk, which is always pure joy.

I promise—the smoothies will come in due time, as will spring. But for now and until then, let there be plenty of chocolate. Incidentally, I have not received one dime from my children, but I think they love me more than they did before this all started. 

Mint chocolate milk

A nice, cold, swirling glass of mint chocolate milk–the antidote for a late spring.

Mint Chocolate Milk

Makes about 1 1/2 cups chocolate sauce


3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I have used natural, Dutch process and a combo of both)Pinch of salt
1 cup water
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract (real,real,real!)
1/2 tsp pure peppermint extract (did I mention real?)
Whole or reduced fat cow’s milk, soy milk, or almond milk


In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugars, cocoa powder, and salt.  Place saucepan over low heat and add water.  Whisk until thoroughly combined and no lumps remain.

Bring the chocolate mixture to a low boil, whisking frequently. Whisk for 8 to 10 minutes, until mixture is thickened.

Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla and peppermint extracts.  Allow to cool to room temperature.

Transfer to an airtight jar and refrigerate until ready to use.

To make chocolate milk, stir together 2 tablespoons of chocolate syrup per one cup of cold milk.  Stir and enjoy!

chocolate milk vs green smoothie

Chocolate milk vs green smoothie. Two yummy earth tones, two forms of therapy. Which would you choose?

Peanut Butter Krispy Fudge Bars

Sugar high about to ensue!

Sugar high about to ensue!

This dessert is insanely good.  I am not kidding! It is a three-tiered bar starting with a Rice Krispy treat on the bottom.  Then a peanut butter fudge layer in the middle.  Lastly a chocolate fudge layer on top.  You will be addicted in no time.

I haven’t eaten or made Rice Krispy treats in ages, so it was fun to get my hands sticky with that part of the recipe.  I took few bites as I worked and yum, it was good.  Then I moved onto the peanut butter fudge layer which was dangerous for me give my love of peanut butter.  And last but not least, the chocolate topping was a great way to finish off the recipe and finish my sampling as I worked.

Despite the 3 layers, it is really easy.  You just stack it up, let it sit, and in no time, you are on a sugar high to beat the band.  Bring these to a friend’s house, a school event, or anywhere you need to bring a dessert.  I got this recipe from Joy the Baker.  As she says in her blog, “Give to your friends, they will thank you, sort of”.

Rice Krispy Treat


3 Tbsp butter
1 10 oz package marshmallows (approximately 40)
6 cups Rice Krispy cereal (or any puffy rice cereal)


1) Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat.  Add marshmallows and stir constantly until marshmallows are melted.  Remove from heat.
2) Add Rice Krispy cereal and stir to mix completely.
3) Use spatula coated with cooking spray or butter to press into 9” x 13” baking pan.
4) Let cool while making peanut butter fudge.

Peanut Butter Fudge


1 cup butter
1 cup peanut butter (I used Teddies Natural Smooth but any kind of peanut butter will work)
1 tsp vanilla
1 pound powdered sugar 


1) Microwave butter and peanut butter for 2 minutes on high.  Remove from microwave, stir, and microwave for 1 more minute on high (you might need to microwave for longer depending on the strength of your microwave – you want the butter to be melted and for it to stir into a smooth sauce when done).
2) Add vanilla and powdered sugar and stir to mix completely. Pour over Rice Krispy treats and spread evenly.  Put in refrigerator to cool while you make the chocolate fudge. 

Easy Chocolate Fudge


2 Tbsp butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups mini marshmallows
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla


1) Combine butter, milk, sugar, and salt in small saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a boil and cook 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat. 
2) Stir in marshmallows, chocolate, and vanilla.  Beat by hand for about 1 minute until marshmallows and chocolate are melted and mixture is thoroughly combined.
3) Pour over peanut butter mixture and spread evenly.
4) Place in refrigerator to cool completely and set.
5) When ready to serve, remove from refrigerator and bring to room temperature.  Cut into small pieces and enjoy!   


Melted Mellows

Melted Mellows

Smooth and creamy!

Smooth and creamy!

Chocolate fudge

Rich blobs of chocolate fudge as a topper

Clean Livin’ Edamame Citrus Avocado Salad


Bring on the sun, the citrus, the color. Hello Spring, goodbye scurvy!

I was going to riff about the psychically curative powers of the Shamrock Shake yesterday, but if you know anything about McDondald’s supply chains, that ship has sailed. After St. Patty’s Day the shakes are only available on a hit and miss basis until each outlet runs out. But keep asking through the month–you may get lucky!

The intended post was actually going to be about grown up shamrock shakes, aka green smoothies. So that’s coming at you soon, in a version that is entirely drinkable thanks to some trial and error and the eventual abandonment of expensive hard to clean juicers. Yeah baby, something to live for.

In the meantime let’s stick with the green theme. In fact, we need color all the way around right about now…big time…which makes this salad from Joy the Baker the perfect candidate. Fresh, colorful, crunchy, juicy, healthy, easy to make and easy to bring. It’s got it all. Except for bacon, which probably would taste darned good in it too. But let’s give the Vegans a shout out and run with it as is.

Note: This says it serves two, but it serves more as a side salad, and if you double up on ingredients there will still be plenty of dressing.

Note Part Deux: If you want to be pro about segmenting citrus check out the Kitchn’s  How to Segment Citrus. If not just peel, cut and be happy.

Clean Livin’ Edamame Citrus Salad

serves 2


About 2 cups leafy greens (I used arugula. Remember–just love the one you’re with)
1 grapefruit, segmented
1 blood orange, segmented (Cara Cara oranges rock as well)
1 cup shelled edamame
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 small (or half of a large) ripe avocado, peeled and sliced

For the Dressing

3 tablespoons finely diced shallots
1 tablespoon honey (for vegans substitute a bit of agave)
1 tablespoon dijon or whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper


In a medium bowl, combine all of the salad ingredients:  greens, citrus segments, edamame, celery, and avocado.

In a small jar with a tight-fitting lid combine shallots, honey, mustard, vinegar, olive oil, a pinch of salt, and a few pinches of pepper.  Place the lid on the jar and shake it up until the mixture is emulsified. Taste the dressing and season to taste, adding more salt, pepper, or acid as necessary.  Pour the dressing (as much as you’d life) over the salad.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Enjoy immediately!

Bonus recipe

Shamrock Shake

Shamrock Shake. Therapy in a cup.

Homemade Shamrock Shake

thanks to Epicurious and Paul B


1 1/2 cups vanilla ice cream
1/2 cup whole milk
10 drops green food coloring
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
Whipped cream (optional)
1 maraschino cherry


In a blender, combine the vanilla ice cream, milk, green food coloring, and peppermint extract, and process until smooth, about 30 seconds. Pour the shake into a glass and top with the whipped cream and maraschino cherry.

Full Moon Frolics

Full moon frolic gear

Full moon frolic gear. Just add adventurous people, and take away daylight.

We have the confluence of two great things coming up: a full moon and St. Patricks Day. You know what that means? Night frolicking! With yet another wallop of fresh snow on the ground this is prime time to break out snowshoes, cross country skis or crampons and gather some friends for a soiree.

Now, with St. Pattys Day in the mix, you’re going to want some adult refreshments on hand. The key is to find hot base beverages and bring flasks of the hard stuff to add. This takes out the guesswork of how much to make, and avoids the potentially disastrous circumstance of a young’n swigging Irish coffee instead of hot cocoa.

And by the way, kids have to be involved. There is no way you’re leaving them home with a sitter for this fun. Oh, and “It’s too cold!” is so not an option. If you hear any of that, take control and lead. Be the one to start a tradition of getting out on full moon nights, no matter how cold it is. Trust me–you’ll warm right up. Being out in a winter full moon is transformative, so grab the headlamps and Thermoses and get out there!

Base mixers:

Keep it simple: Hot cider, hot cocoa, hot tea with honey (because its the right thing to do) and a can or two of whipped cream.

Firewater of choice:

Dark Rum, Maple liqueur (like sugar maple or sapling), tequila, peppermint schnapps (for rookies), Kahlua, Aquavit, that scary bottle of clear stuff that simply says “2002” on the cap.

 Mixing it up:

Cocoa and coffee will happily accommodate whatever you toss in there. Try hibiscus tea with tequila; earthy or spicy tea with dark rum; mint and citrusy tea with anything.  These are not even guidelines. As ever, be creative and go with what you’ve got. Here are a few combos you might want to try, if only because we went to the trouble of naming them. All can be enjoyed without whipped cream, but c’mon–it’s a full moon, you’re with friends, and doggone it you deserve every bit of this!

Sappy Cocoa: Cocoa with maple liqueur

Tipsy Tree Tea: Tea and maple liqueur

Vermontish Coffee: Coffee and maple liqueur with whipped cream

Hot Amigo: Cider and tequila with whipped cream

Hot Johnny: Cider and dark rum

Oaxaca Hot Chocolate: Cocoa, tequila cinnamon, whipped cream

Arlberg Heisse Schokolade:  Cocoa, dark rum,whipped cream

Arlberg  Tee mit Rum: (for when they run out of cocoa): Tea and dark rum

Cafe Ole: Coffee, Tequila, Kahlua, whipped cream

 And then, because you need something straight up and green…

Puck o the Irish: Equal parts apple pucker liqueur and vodka (potato vodka for traditionalists). Pour it over fresh snow and make it a Frozen Pucker.

Puck of the Irish and Frozen Pucker

Puck of the Irish and its evil twin, the Frozen Pucker. Shot glass acquired from one of Austria’s finest apres ski establishments.

Pain Perdu…ooh la la!

pain perdu

Pain perdu with warm maple syrup. Perfect for after Round 1 of shoveling.

 OK, some kids out there have been making a lot of snow ghost pies, because this winter thing is not slowing down! As we head into snow day #2 of the week, I feel it necessary to post one more cozy breakfast food, just because. Yes, this has been a very carb-heavy spell on Bring It, and I promise, the green is coming. But for now we still need some comfort food to get us over the snowbank and into spring.

So, voila! Here is another episode of overnight breakfast brilliance (with a fancy French name at no extra charge.) This came from Gourmet circa 2003. Imagine yourself at a friend’s house for a weekend. Big dinner Saturday night. As you are cleaning up afterwards, finishing a glass of wine, take one of the dishes you have just washed and instead of putting it away, butter it (with the nice soft butter that’s lying around), lay the uneaten baguette slices in it, and whip up the super easy custard to pour over it. Then stash the whole thing in the fridge. Nobody even noticed what you were doing and the next morning, Ta da! Pain perdu. AKA baked French toast for those of us on this side of the pond.

If you are not at a friend’s house having a big dinner party you can still whip this up and be a hero in your own home. Use whatever bread you have (you know, love the one you’re with), and don’t be afraid to use the rest of that Maple Oat Breakfast Bread for a double shot of maple.

Pain Perdu


1 – 13 to 14 inch long loaf of soft-crust supermarket Italian bread (without seeds)
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) softened unsalted butter
2 large eggs
1 2/3 cups whole milk
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp sugar
Handful of chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)


Cut 12 1-inch thick diagonal slices from bread (don’t use ends).

Butter 1 side of each slice and arrange slices, buttered sides up, in 1 layer in a buttered 13 by 9 inch glass baking dish, squeezing them in slightly to fit.

Whisk together eggs, milk and 1/4 tsp. salt until combined well, then pour evenly over bread.

Chill, covered until bread has absorbed all of custard – at least one hour and up to 1 day, depending on bread.

In the morning:  Take pan out of the refrigerator to bring  to room temperature and preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Sprinkle bread with 3 tablespoons of sugar. Sprinkle on chopped nuts, if using.

Bake, uncovered in middle of oven until bread is puffed, and top is golden – about 20 to 25 minutes. Serve immediately with topping and syrup of choice (as long as it involves real maple).

Pain Perdu

A breakfast puzzle? Main non! C’est pain perdu. This batch was made with maple oat breakfast bread.


Mexican Lasagna

Crowd pleasing for sure!

Crowd pleasing for sure!

I love Mexican food!  Well, everything except for the Chimichanga – why you’d fry all that wonderful food is a mystery to me. But other than that, Mexican is way at the top of my list.  This recipe for Mexican lasagna is great and super easy.  Tortillas replace the normal lasagna noodle, salsa replaces the normal red sauce, and jack cheese replaces the normal mozzarella.  You can add anything from ground beef to lots of veggies (that’s me!) to many different kind of Tex Mex sides….think black beans, corn, chili peppers, and lots of cilantro.  Plus you can make this to bring anywhere.   Don’t forget to bring a small bottle of hot sauce for those that want to ramp up the spice.  I eat this lasagna with a bottle of chipotle Cholula hot sauce in one hand and a fork in the other.  Bueno!


1 cup fresh cilantro
4 scalllions, coarsely chopped
10 oz fresh baby spinach
 8 corn tortillas (6 inch)
1 can (15.5 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cup of your favorite salsa (Green Mountain Gringo Medium is the only kind I buy!)
2 cups pepper jack cheese 


1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees.   

2) Coat bottom of baking pan with oil or cooking spray.

3) Spread 1/2 cup of salsa on the bottom of the pan and cover with tortillas (they will overlap).

4) Layer with cilantro, scallions, spinach, beans, cheese, salsa.  Try to divide the fillings so that you have enough for 2 layers plus some cheese to sprinkle on top. Once you’ve put down one layer, start your second layer with tortillas and then add the fillings. End with cheese on top.

5) Cover with foil and bake 25-30 minutes; remove foil and continue baking until golden 15-20 minutes more. Cool 5 minutes before serving if your crowd can wait!

Maple oat breakfast bread

Maple Oat Breakfast Bread

This recipe had me at maple. I’m a simple person really. But maple syrup, oats and melted butter all cozied up into a crusty loaf of bread (that requires minimal effort and even less skill to make) would win over even the most complex of characters. There is no more appropriate time to celebrate maple syrup than on Vermont Town Meeting Day, the traditional time to tap one’s maple trees. It also happens to be when everyone needs a little comfort food to push through the final sub-zero throes of winter.

This comes from the “no knead” family of bread recipes, which, as you can imagine, is the only bread family in my recipe box. The no knead process is very easy but does require a few things, namely time (not work time, just hang time for the dough), a heavy duty cooking crock and a really hot oven. The perfect scenario is to take 5 minutes and mix all the ingredients at night then bake up a fresh loaf in the morning. Second to that is mixing the dough in the morning and baking it up for dinner. Either way, you’ll have plenty of time to get out there to the town hall and vote on wind farms, beaver dams and moose quotas.

Recipe tweaked from King Arthur Flour via Food52

Makes 1 large loaf


5 cups all-purpose flour (you can replace a couple cups with whole wheat if you wish)
11/2 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup maple syrup (preferably grade B)
1/4 cup melted butter or olive oil
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp instant yeast
2 1/4 cups room temperature water


1. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and stir well until it becomes a tacky, messy dough. (You can also use your hands to work everything together.)

2. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature) until poofed and bubbly, 8 hours or overnight.

3. Gently scrape the dough out onto a well floured surface and shape into a round loaf. Place the loaf on a well floured towel and allow to sit for an hour.

4. In the meantime preheat your oven to 450F with a 10-inch (about 8-quart) Dutch oven or baking crock with lid in it. When the dough is ready and the oven is hot, turn the dough off of the towel into the hot Dutch oven and cover with the lid. Bake covered for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and continue to bake until the crust is deep brown, another 15-30 minutes.

5. Remove the bread from the oven, turn it out of the pot and allow to cool completely before slicing.

Maple oat breakfast bread

A fine lunch on a sunny late winter day.

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed and ready to eat!

Stuffed and ready to eat!

I’ve never made stuffed peppers.  It seemed like something my family would have no interest in. Then we went to a friend’s house for dinner recently and he made stuffed peppers. Well, you would have thought I was holding out on my family for all these years! When they tasted the stuffed peppers, they turned to me and said, “Why don’t you ever make these”?  And so, this recipe immediately went on the list of things to make and bring anywhere!   I now make stuffed peppers, stuffed zucchini, stuffed acorn squash and anything else I can stuff on a regular basis. I use brown rice, cous cous, quinoa (as in this recipe) and I mix it up with meat and veggie so everyone is happy.  My family and friends love them and what a great way to add another vegetable to the meal.  Plus, how easy is this recipe?


4 large red bell peppers, halved lengthwise
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped (2 cups)
2 large carrots, diced (1 cup)
4 tsp curry powder
1 Tbsp garam masala
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 15 oz can chick peas
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
1/2 cup unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped (optional)
Grated sharp cheese (optional)


1) Cut peppers in half lengthwise by cutting right through the top of the pepper and the stem.  Scoop out seeds and inner membrane from pepper but leave the stem (this will help hold the pepper together when you stuff it).
2) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place halved peppers cut side down on a large baking sheet. Cover with foil, and bake 25 minutes, or until peppers begin to soften.
3) Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat.  Sauté onions and carrots for 5-7 minutes.  Add curry powder, garam masala, and ginger and cook 1 minute.  Stir in chick peas and cooked quinoa until they are warm.  Mix in raisins and peanuts if using.
4) Fill each pepper half with 3/4 cup quinoa mixture. Top with cheese if using. Re-cover and bake 15 minutes. Uncover and bake 5-10 minutes until cheese or top starts to brown.