Although cooking is one of my favorite pastimes, I prefer not to cook from scratch three meals a day, seven days a week. Sometimes, the day gets away from me and I’d rather spend my time enjoying eating a meal with my family rather than scrambling to prepare it before bedtime.

So, I’ve been making meals in bulk and am happy to report I’ve created some recipes that meet all my criteria: healthy, satisfying, and full of flavor.  One such dish is inspired by Ashley at Edible Perspective, who put whole grain casseroles on my radar. This winter version is pumped up with warming spices, laced with Swiss chard, and topped with sweet potato.

Besides great taste, this casserole has a lot going for it. It makes enough to feed a crowd in one sitting or provide lunches for our family for the week. It can be cut into strips or broken off into chunks to become finger food. It’s full of protein, fiber, and greens. It’s vegetarian. It’s inexpensive to make.

So give it a try and let me know what you think! Do you make food in large batches?

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Quinoa and Sweet Potato Casserole

2 c dry quinoa, rinsed (and soaked if you like)
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ¼-in thick slices
1 bunch Swiss chard, washed and chopped (leaves and stems)
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 c (or 1 15-oz can) cooked black beans
4 eggs
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp cumin
Salt and olive oil

1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and add the quinoa. Cook until tender and germ begins to separate, about 10 minutes. Strain out the cooking liquid and set aside in a large bowl.

2. Preheat oven to 350˚F. In a large baking dish, toss the sweet potatoes with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Roast until tender, about 40 minutes, flipping the slices at about the halfway point, then move the sweet potato to a plate.

3. Meanwhile, coat the bottom of a large sauté pan over medium-high heat with olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the chard and a pinch of salt and cook until soft and bright green, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and remove from heat.

4. Stir the chard and black beans into the quinoa. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with the cinnamon and cumin. Add a big pinch of salt and pour the egg mixture over the quinoa and stir until about evenly distributed.

5. Press the quinoa mixture into the baking dish used to roast the sweet potatoes. Layer the sweet potatoes on top and bake casserole until firm, 20-30 minutes.