Quinoa Mac and Cheese


What’s the first thing you think of when you see this picture?


Besides, Incoming!!! I thought…



I’ll have what she’s having!

And so on and so forth.

Today I stumbled onto BodyRock.tv, an at-home video workout paradise, where I learned about a 30 Day Fitness Challenge the seriously ripped woman above, Lisa Marie, is running.

Inspired by this picture, and always looking to spice things up in the exercise department, I decided to join in on the fun and kicked off Day 1 with a test to measure my current fitness level.

All I had to do was see how many of the following exercises I could do in 50 seconds, take a 10 second break, then see how many of the next exercise I could do in 50 seconds, etc, etc, – for a 7 minute total workout.

  1. Squat Jump
  2. Push Ups
  3. Burpees
  4. High Knees
  5. Switch Lunges
  6. Tuck Jumps
  7. Straight Abs

7 minutes? Totally doable. Right?!

Ummm, my lungs have not burned this bad since racing up an ancient stone staircase in Praiano in .5, to get to the local pizza joint before they closed. #FatKidConfessions

I literally thought I was going to keel over and DIE. And this was just the fitness test day. AHHH! 8O

Have you ever tried any of BodyRock.tv’s workouts? What did you think?

Prior to torching my lungs, I went to the gym to knock out this 42 minute, 4.75 mile treadmill routine.

Time Speed
0-1 4.0
1-4 6.5
4-6 7.5
6-7 8.5
7-31 Repeat minutes 1-7, four more times
31-36 6.5
36-41 6.0
41-42 4.0
Total: 4.75 Miles

I think the two combined definitely earned me seconds of the incredibly – insanelymouthwatering Quinoa Macaroni & Cheese I made for dinner!


This macaroni and cheese recipe is off the chain. It’s made with quinoa instead of pasta, and includes a modest amount of sharp cheddar cheese.


It smells like cheese popcorn as it’s baking, and tastes even better!


Plus it takes very little time and effort to make. Start by sauteing shallots and tomatoes in a little olive oil.


Add garlic and rinsed quinoa, then toast the quinoa until it’s golden brown.



Add water, drop the lid on top, and let the quinoa cook until all the water has been absorbed – about 15 minutes.


Meanwhile, mix up the mac & cheese binder – eggs + milk.


Stir the cooked quinoa, eggs and milk together, melt in a little cheddar cheese, and bake in a casserole dish for 30 minutes.


Ohhhmylanta – this is SO delish!


The recipe made a 9×13 pan, which I cut into 8 servings. Each serving came out to be around 285 calories – way healthier than your traditional mac and cheese!


Plus, since quinoa is a complete protein, it’s sure to keep me full all night.


Which hopefully means I won’t feel the need to devour the entire batch of sugar-free peanut butter cookie dough dip I’m about to go make….muwahahaha! I’ll keep you posted!

Click here for the Quinoa Mac & Cheese recipe!

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  1. I have not tried those workouts before but have thought about it. Although IDK if I could ever give up my Spin class. As for this mac and cheese I have to say I am skeptical a little but if you say it’s good I should probably try it!

  2. Trish 01.18.2012

    I have never had quinoa before, I think because I’ve never seen a recipe that made it feel…accessible to me. But this one looks easy and awesome. I’m going to give it a try!

  3. Tracy 01.18.2012

    I am a body rocker!!! Have been doing the workouts for about 9months….I love them!! It really does work, especially if you eat relatively healthy. I am actually getting rid of my gym membership, since I haven’t gone in two months. They are crazy hard workouts in a short time, but give u energy and build muscle. What’s great is that u can modify them to fit you and your fitness level so you are always pushing yourself.

  4. Lauren 01.18.2012

    Okay you are a genius my friend! Never in my life would I think to use quinoa for mac and cheese but I am loving this idea!

  5. Emily 01.18.2012

    I just might have to try this. I work from home and don’t get out and active nearly enough! I love the pic of you at the top of the stairs – a lady determined to get some good grub! :)

  6. Emily 01.18.2012

    Haha noo Freddy is the guy that films the workouts, the girl in the picture is Lisa-Marie :)

  7. Dee 01.18.2012

    My first thought seeing that picture is holy god I want that body! And yum I am going to make this quinoa and cheese STAT it looks fabulous. Have you tried Quinoa pasta? it’s very good and they have both the spaghetti and elbow version. I tend to eat that instead of regular pasta as I try to keep gluten out of my diet.

    • Iowa Girl Eats 01.18.2012

      No I haven’t! I would definitely snatch that up if I found it though!!

      • ahealthymom 01.19.2012

        They sell the quinoa pasta at Hy-Vee in the Health Market section on the gluten free aisle. At least they do in Cedar Rapids, I would guess they do in Des Moines as well. :)

  8. this is INSANE. i LOVE quinoa… and when it’s part of a healthy mac n cheese… sign me up!

  9. Love Bodyrock, but the old ones are better. The newer ones are really disjointed and use too many ‘toys’. Ugh. Annoying.

    I just started New Rules of Weighlifting for Women. I’m doing that + 1-2 BR per week + 3 days of cardio. I hope it kicks my ass!

  10. I’m so excited about that workout site! I’ve been needing something to get me motivated to work out from home… I’m going to give this a try! Thanks!

  11. I want to look like her…holy cow!

    And I’m loving the quinoa in this mac and cheese! Genius!

  12. C. 01.18.2012

    You are such a motivator! I’ll have to check out that site. Your quinoa looks amazing; there is a new place that opened near my work in Chicago called Protein Bar that has quinoa in everything – I think you would love it.

  13. I hate to say it, but I think that woman looks gross. I think it’s amazing when women can tone their body but for me it goes from fit to gross really quickly. Women shouldn’t be shared of the weight room but women that look like this scare me. Side note: I will never be able to look like her.

  14. Holy moly macaroni! I NEED THIS STAT!

  15. Sarah S. 01.18.2012

    I’ve been bodyrocking for over a year now and I love it. I’m doin this same 30 Day Challenge. It’s the first time they’ve put up something like this, and I’m finding it really motivational. Before it was run by a woman named Zuzana Light and her husband, Freddy. She did the workouts, he filmed. A few months back they were having personal issues and decided to separate for a bit. They were looking for new hostesses and have finally seemed to settle on Lisa (and sometimes Sean, Freddy’s brother). Personally, I love her energy, but some people, like one of my former bodyrocker friends (still a friend…no longer a br’er) are sticklers and only did the workouts for Zuzana, therefore, a few have dropped off the bandwagon. :(

    I started the Challenge Jan 3, took the fit test, and now, on my 3rd week, re-took it. Every single one of my scores improved! :D Butttt be warned: Your butt will hurt, it will hurt to go up stairs, a gallon of milk will feel like 100 lbs. haha But it’s so worth it. Hope this helps :) GO BODYROCKERS!!

    • Heather 01.19.2012

      I’d been wondering what happened to Zusanna! Thanks for filling in the blanks! I just did the fitness test yesterday, as my interval timer finally arrived. I felt like dying afterward and today my calves hurt like crazy. I’m not going to do 30 days straight but intend to body rock every other day. Glad to hear you liked it do much!

      • JennyV 01.19.2012

        I was also sorry to see Zusana is no longer on BR. They do have some great workouts whoever the ‘host’ is though.

        IGE — have you ever heard of Max Life Fitness & Nutrition? They have gyms in Waukee/Urbandale and focus on high intensity interval training — kettlebells, body-weight exercises, kickboxing, etc. — I’ve gone there since November and I love it! http://www.maxlifefitness.com

    • Alayna 02.13.2012

      Aw, I’m one of the ones that deserted BR because there’s no Zuzana anymore. haha She’s so charming and seems genuine.. and her workouts are great! Good news is she has a youtube channel now, and is posting her own weekly workouts. youtube.com/zuzkalight :)

  16. what a fabulous idea to use quinoa to make mac n’ cheese, i love this!

  17. Leslie 01.18.2012

    I love BodyRock! They are great but very intense. I typically try to do my runs in the morning and BodyRock at night but that is only if it’s an easy run. If I do an interval or tempo run I tend to push BR until the next day. I did their 12 days of Christmas and lost 3 lbs OVER THE HOLIDAYS. Unheard of. It works and it’s great!

  18. Jennie M 01.18.2012

    Whoa, I totally made this recipe over the weekend! Weird! Definitely don’t skip the garlic and I think using smoked cheddar would be awesome.

  19. Amanda 01.18.2012

    Sugar free peanut butter cookie dough dip??? Please share recipe!! YUM!

  20. Chelsea 01.18.2012

    I’m currently doing the 30 day challenge as well :)! But I started it when they started the challenge so I’m on week three haha. Bodyrock has truly changed my life and I hope that it changes yours as well!

    & mmm that food looks so delicious!

  21. BodyRock is SO intense! I came upon it last year and tried one of their workouts…and then never did one again haha! I wish you better luck than I had!

  22. I wish you would’ve posted this like an hour earlier – I am not feeling well today, and the ONLY thing that sounds good is Mac & Cheese. Today, Star Bar catfish tacos sufficed, but this recipe will be making my dinner list sometime in the VERY near future!

  23. M. 01.18.2012

    PERFECT. I love quinoa and try to sub it for rice as often as possible. I love homemade mac and cheese but the guilt is so terrible, so I’ll def be making this recipe this weekend.

  24. Karla 01.18.2012

    You are hardcore with those workouts, Kristin! Thanks so much for sharing this awesome recipe—can’t wait to try it. And that is quite a teaser…Do share the peanut butter cookie dough dip recipe if it’s tasty (how can it not be?)! :)

  25. Lauren Kiser 01.18.2012

    First, this quinoa mac and cheese sounds heavenly! Second, I’ve seen this website too and all I can ever say is “Wow”. I’m totally going to have to actually try one of the 30 workouts I’ve saved in my Bookmarks toolbar! Haha! Thank you as always for your posts!

  26. Emily 01.18.2012

    Ohhhhhmagoodness. Yes please.

  27. Allison 01.18.2012

    Quinoa gets such a creamy texture without adding anything, I can only imagine how creamy and delic it is with lots of cheese :D BTW, that’s an awesome pic but that girl is ripped [a little much for me] but holy moly!

  28. Laura 01.19.2012

    My sister turned me onto BodyRock about a year ago. Those workouts are intense!

    The quinoa mac & cheese looks heavenly! I have celiac disease so this is an awesome gluten-free option. I’ve missed macaroni and cheese!

  29. those abs!!:O
    i need to eat healthier and exercise more!

  30. Holy hell I am making this asap!

  31. Amanda 01.19.2012

    I LOVE BodyRock – Gina at Fitnessista referred readers to the site last summer, and I’ve been hooked ever since!! I agree with some of the previous comments that it isn’t the same without Zuzana, but it’s an awesome HIIT workout regardless. I usually rotate some BodyRock in between days of normal cardio and strength (hello, Lithe Method!) and running, since HIIT workouts don’t confer the same cardiovascular and bone density benefits of a 30-60 minute cardio workout. (Medical student nerd status, achieved.)

    That mac and cheese looks DELICIOUS!! I would have never thought to use my beloved quinoa this way, but will definitely be trying this!

  32. Her body, yes please.

    That mac and cheese, YES PLEASE!

  33. I’m obsessed with this recipe! I love quinoa and mac and cheese so really, can it get any better?! Now, if only I could get motivated to work out and look like that girl in the picture…

  34. Stacy 01.19.2012

    I love BodyRock, but was a Zuzana fan so have drifted away. It just wasn’t the same without her. The 30 day challenge sounds fun though, I may have to give Lisa Marie a chance!

    And, that mac and cheese looks amazing. Definitely going to try that! Pinned it!

  35. Encore 01.19.2012

    Bodyrock is the BEST! And, yes, it kicks my #$@ every time I do it, but it’s a good butt kicking and just the kind I need, especially in the dead of winter! Easy way to keep up the workout regimen without actually going to the gym.

  36. WOW….girl this LOOKS AMAZING. Quinoa and me are best friends. I can’t wait to make this asap. Maybe tomorrow. YUM. Thanks.

    xoxo from Trinidad

  37. Such a great idea, I love subbing quinoa in all my favorite pasta dishes, it makes me feel so much better about eating carbs :)

  38. Amy 01.19.2012

    Anything that smells like cheese popcorn while cooking HAS to be good!! I can’t wait to make this!

  39. I do like BodyRock — I’ve been doing a couple short, intense workouts from that site, but I need to mix it up a bit! They are intense.

    I love quinoa, but never thought about mac and cheese! Awesome — I even have two quinoa recipes on my site this week alone. I’m obsessed.

  40. Jessica 01.19.2012

    Wow I was so suprised to see you feature BodyRock on your website. I visit it daily as well as Iowa Girl Eats! You have to check out Zuzana, she was the original BodyRock model/ cofounder. Her body is AMAZING! http://www.facebook.com/ZuzkaLight?sk=wall

  41. Casey 01.19.2012

    I love the bodyrock.tv website…always gets the heart racing! I dream of one day having her abs!

  42. Cara 01.19.2012

    I’ve been bodyrocking for about two months and I LOVE it!!! I’ve never pushed myself so hard before. And I disagree with the comment above — I think Lisa-Marie has a ROCKIN’ body and I don’t think it’s too much at all.

  43. Kristina 01.19.2012

    Good gracious! I’d like to be in better shape but I’d never want to look like that. Women being that muscle-y is not attractive. We’re supposed to be a little soft and curvy!

  44. elizabeths 01.19.2012

    I made this today for lunch today and loved it! Had two bowlfuls. My husband and teen son however did not like it. They said its’not Mac n cheese! I told them its a healthier version…ugh boys! I love all your recipes.

  45. Katie 01.19.2012

    Making this. Done and done. Now, on to bodyrocking. Do you need to have special equipment to do this? Or how does it work? Is it difficult to find everything you need to do it? Please and thank you!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 01.23.2012

      No you don’t need any special equipment. They show modifications in each video if you don’t have what they have!

  46. Oh wow. This looks, just wow. SO good!!!!

  47. Isn’t BodyRock insane? She is so amazing and those abs, oh my! I’ve yet to buy a dip bar though and she seems to use one quite often and a few other random things, but she definitely has the fitness thing down. It’s amazing how sweaty you can get with the right moves in 10 min or less!

  48. There’s been a bodyrock surge lately! I will have to check it out starting with this fit test! I am bookmarking this recipe, mac & cheese is my weakness and I think this is a great healthy substitute. Thank you!

  49. That workout sounds insane!

    I love that you’ve made mac and cheese healthier, and it’s such an inventive twist, I might have to try this :-)

  50. Amanda Stiens 01.19.2012

    Hey Kristin,

    I just wanted you to know that I started the Bodyrocker workout three days ago but realized I don’t like the prices of the equipment that is needed. Well, my hubby has helped with that. He made a version of the dip bar/equalizer out of PVC pipe and for the fraction of the price. Also, reading some comments on the Bodyrocker website they recommend instead of buying the sand bag, to just use a duffle bag with bags of rice inside. Just thought I would share being were both starting this.

    Love your website, being from Iowa myself, I enjoy it.

    • Julie 01.16.2013

      Hello Amanda, i’m thinking of building my own Equalizer, can you send me the directions on how your husband built yours?
      thank you

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