It was my brother-in-law Steve’s birthday last week. He got out of work early, but my sister had grad school that night and wouldn’t be home until at least 9:00 pm. They had dinner plans, so I decided to have Steve over for some drinks and appetizers beforehand. (No one wants to sit home alone on their birthday!)
I have to say I was very impressed with myself. We got back from Jamaica the night before at 1:00 am (which was wonderful!). I spent the afternoon helping in my sister’s classroom, came home, planned the menu, cleaned the house, and went food shopping. I didn’t get home until 5:30 but had everything prepped and ready to go into the oven by 6:50. I picked up Steve, poured him a glass of red, turned the oven on, and 15-20 minutes later we were already munching on 3 *delicious* appetizers (all of which I found on Pinterest).
This is the first recipe I made. It took the longest the make, but it was yummy for sure. After trying a few quinoa salads this summer, I was excited to use it in another way. I did make a minor error…I forgot the mozzarella cheese when I mixed all the ingredients together. I realized after I filled half the muffin tin and there was no going back! I did sprinkle some on top of each bite, which worked. I think having the cheese throughout each bite would have helped hold them together a bit more, though. Steve loved them. My *very* picky sister even thought they were okay (minus the onion).
Start by preheating your oven to 350 making the quinoa…
- Thoroughly rinse 1/2 cup of quinoa under cold water.
- Place in a small saucepan and add 1 cup water. (The ratio of quinoa to water is 1:2.)
- Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook until the water is absorbed.
- When the quinoa is finished, add it to the bottom of a large bowl and let cool.
Meanwhile, prep the other ingredients…
- Chop up 1 onion, 2 cloves of garlic, some fresh basil, and about 3 ounces of pepperoni.
- Add all of the ingredients to the cooled quinoa.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- Then add 1 teaspoon each of paprika and dried oregano.
- This is where I would add about 4 ounces of shredded mozzarella….key word here is “would”.
- Add 2 eggs.
- Take off your rings and get mixing! Once everything is combined you can stop.
- Coat a mini-muffin tray with nonstick cooking spray.
- Fill each muffin hole with some of the quinoa mixture. Press down with a spoon. (It was the *perfect* amount of quinoa! Nothing leftover!)
- Sprinkle the top of each bite with some more shredded mozzarella.
- Bake for 15-10 minutes, until the cheese on top is melted and the quinoa bites are golden brown.
- While the bites are in the oven, heat up some pizza sauce. (Since I was in a time crunch, I just used canned pizza sauce. Make your own if you have time!)
Serve the bites with the warm pizza sauce for dipping. Yum! Enjoy!