Fiesta Casserole Wins Healthy Lunchtime Challenge!

We are very excited at the Guylay household!  I am very proud of both of my kids, Elena (11) and Alexander (9).  Both of them had the great honor of having their recipes chosen as finalists (only 3 per state) in the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge through Let’s Move! and Epicurious.  We heard the final news yesterday, that the single winner from our state is Fiesta Casserole.  Alexander is very proud of his sister, and we have all decided to travel to DC as a family in August.  A quote from, The First Lady’s Office, and The U.S. Department of Education: “We were impressed with your creativity, and we hope you feel proud to have made it to the finals of such a tough competition.”  Here are links to more press/information about the event:

Both Elena and Alexander were mentioned on the local radio this morning.  To listen, click:

 Elena has been quite productive this summer!  She created this video to commemorate the year I spent with her 5th grade class teaching them monthly lessons called “Food and Fun”.  You’ll have to see this short (1.5 minute) video as it is so fun!

Finally, we wanted to share with you our ACTUAL submission to the recipe contest.  Note that we did a mix of quinoa/brown rice instead of just plain brown rice.  Very yummy and something to try!

Our submission
We came up with this recipe together as a great, easy dish we could share with moms and kids on playdates.  It is a neighborhood hit! We recently made it for the entire 5th grade class at Community School of Sun Valley, Idaho, and the kids all gave it the thumbs up!  Even though it contains all food groups (if you consider the tomatoes in the salsa as the fruit, which we think is pushing it), we always serve it with crunchy raw carrots/celery/jicama and some avocado slices.  Including shredded chicken boosts the protein, as an option.  Apple slices on the side is nice too.  There is calcium in the cheese, but this meal goes great with a glass of milk, too!  It is gluten free and nut free. Easy, delicious and very economical.


 -1 cup (dry) brown rice plus 1.5 (dry) cups quinoa, rinsed
-2 16 oz jars of salsa, your favorite brand
-4 cans (15 oz) of beans- rinsed;  we used various types to make it colorful:  kidney, pinto, and black
-2 16oz containers of cottage cheese
-Juice of 1-2 limes, or add lime or lemon juice from a jar
-2 teaspoons chili powder
-2 teaspoons cumin
-One bunch of washed, rinsed and chopped fresh cilantro
-2 bags (8oz) of shredded cheese (we like the mexican blend)


-Cook the rice/quinoa (we use a rice cooker, but you could also do this on the stovetop).
-Combine rice/quinoa with remaining ingredients, except shredded cheese
-Place in pyrex dishes (you’ll need atleast 2 9 X 12 dishes) and cover with foil
-Bake in the oven at 350 for 40 minutes
-Remove from oven, remove foil and sprinkle cheese on top
-Return to over for about 5 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly
-Serve with avocado slices, carrots/celery/jicama, extra salsa and lime


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