September is Breakfast Month

BREAKFAST!

We all know how important breakfast is…but more than half of American adults do not eat breakfast everyday and it’s estimated that 12 to 34 percent of children and adolescents regularly miss this morning meal. There are many benefits of eating breakfast that you won’t want to miss…here are the highlights:

Breakfast fuels your brain after the overnight fast.  That is why it’s called break-fast.  Your brain needs the energy and you benefit!  Kids benefit, too.  Studies have shown that children do better in school (improved memory, alertness, concentration, and test scores) compared to kids who skip breakfast.

Breakfast eaters tend to weigh less than breakfast skippers.  Unfortunately, many people skip breakfast just to save calories.  The fact is that breakfast skippers are at a greater risk for weight gain and obesity.

Eating breakfast helps you meet nutritional goals, especially for whole grains, dairy and fruits.  Let’s face it, it’s hard to get all of the recommended servings of whole grains (3), dairy (3) and fruits and vegetables (5) in your diet even spread across three meals and one or two snacks.  If a meal is skipped, it is even harder to meet the requirements.  Breakfast is a natural opportunity to include whole grain (with ready-to-eat breakfast cereals, hot cereals, and whole grain toast and waffles), fruit (100% juice, fresh, canned, frozen or dried fruit) and fat-free or low-fat dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese).

Emerging research suggests that eating breakfast may improve your overall health, helping your heart, digestion, and bones.  All of these benefits may be due to the nutritional boost from breakfast- fiber from fruit and whole grains for heart health; fiber for digestive health; and calcium from dairy foods for bone health.

This weekend, I hope you’ll make breakfast a priority.  You can even try some easy, favorite Myplate2yours breakfast recipes like baked oatmealsmoothiesgranola, andoatmeal muffins. Or, for the busy school/work weeks ahead, try one of these make-and-go breakfast options (remember that fat-free and low fat milk are also available in aseptic packaging to-go):

#1 Toasted whole grain waffle with natural peanut butter, banana, and fat-free milk

#2 Individual fat-free or low-fat vanilla/plain yogurt, granola cereal, fresh berries (or raisins) – mix before eating

#3 Trail mix: whole grain breakfast cereal (LifeWheat Chex, Oatmeal SquaresCracklin Oat Bran), dried cranberries, almonds, and fat-free milk

#4 Single serving fat-free or low-fat cottage cheese, single serving canned peaches (packed in juice), toasted whole wheat English muffin with 100% fruit spread

#5 Cubed cheddar cheese, apple slices,  whole grain toast lightly ‘buttered’ and sprinkled with cinnamon/sugar, and fat-free milk

My hope is that Myplate2yours followers eat their breakfast!  Please share YOUR favorite weekend or to-go breakfast!

Homemade Zucchini Bread

Zucchini Bread

This week, my friend Mary Ann found a large zucchini hiding under a big leaf in her garden.  Have you found one too?

image Whether its from your garden or a farmers’ market this weekend, I have two ideas for you!  First, a delicious quick bread adapted from a Whole Foods’ recipe.

And, if you’re looking for a main dish, my Stuffed Zucchini Italian Style is a favorite.

Either way, please use that zucchini, it needs to be enjoyed!

 

 

Zucchini Bread (makes 3 mini loaves or 1 large loaf)

1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 egg

1/3 cup canola oil

1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt

3/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup grated zucchini

1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray mini loaf pans with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, oil, applesauce, yogurt, sugar and vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the whisked mixture and stir until well combined. Next, fold in zucchini and walnuts.

Transfer the batter to the sprayed pan and bake for 30 minutes (for mini loaves) or 50 to 60 minutes (for large loaf). The bread should have risen and will be deep golden brown.

Cool in pan on rack for 30 minutes then remove bread from pan and continue cooling on rack.

 

Cooking Classes!

Calendar

It’s a new season and its a pleasure to share my new classes at Marcel’s in Glen Ellyn, IL.  I hope you can cook with me soon!!

September

17- Indian Summer Garden Lunch: Refreshing Cucumber & Grape Soup, Vegetable Medley Pancakes with Cilantro Cream, Light Lemon Mini Cheesecakes. Demo, 12:30-2pm, $35 Register here

25- Breakfast Now, Dinner Tonight (come to class for a fresh breakfast and leave with the know-how and key ingredients to make a delicious dinner): DIY Homemade Granola, Yogurt, Berry Parfait / Saucy Pepper Steak on Toasted Farro. Demo, 9:30-11am, $45  Register here

October

7- Buried Treasures- Root Vegetables: Shaved Root Vegetable Salad with Orange Sections and Hazelnuts, Parsnip Mash with Pork Medallions with Mushrooms and Madeira Glaze, and Chocolate Beet Bundt Cake. Demo, 6:30-8p, $45  Register here

16- Breakfast Now, Dinner Tonight (come to class for a fresh, hot breakfast and leave with the know-how and key ingredients to make a delicious dinner): Avocado Egg Breakfast Pita / Black Bean, Corn & Quinoa Stuffed Poblano Peppers. Demo, 9:30-11am, $45  Register here

November

6- Something for Everyone on the Holiday Table (gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian): Holiday Citrus Salad with Fresh Baby Greens and English Cucumber, Savory Ricotta Muffin Cakes, Mushroom Asparagus Tart with Cornmeal Crust, Pesto Broccoli Quinoa Bake, and Flourless Chocolate. Hands On, 6:30-9pm, $65  Register here

11- Indulgent goes Healthy: Creamy Shrimp Dip with Homemade Olive Oil Crackers, Stroganoff Meatballs on Whole Grain Noodles, and Banana Chip Ice Cream. Demo, 6:30-8pm, $45  Register here

December

9- Hors D’oeuvres in 10: Chicken Satay Skewers with Peanut Dipping Sauce, Baby Shrimp Salad Tostada Bites, Goat Cheese Log with Pistachios and Pomegranates, Spicy-Citrus Party Cashews, and Greek Style Dip with Homemade Hummus. Hands On, 6:30-9pm, $65  Register here

Kids Eat Right! Strawberry Stuffed French Toast

KER_MonthAugust is Kids Eat Right month!  It is a great time for families to focus on healthy eating  and active lifestyles as we begin a new school year. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is encouraging families to take the following steps:

Shop Smart. To encourage a healthy lifestyle, get your children involved in selecting the food that will appear at the breakfast, lunch or dinner table.

Cook Healthy. Involve your child in the cutting, mixing and preparation of meals. They will learn about food and may even be enticed to try new foods they helped prepare.

Eat Right. Sit down together as a family to enjoy a wonderful meal and the opportunity to share the day’s experiences with one another. Research indicates that those families who eat together have a stronger bond, and children have higher self-confidence and perform better in school.

Healthy Habits. You can help kids form great, healthy habits by setting a good example. Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables, choose lower-sodium options, and make at least half the grains your family eats whole grains. For beverages, choose water over sugary drinks, and opt for fat-free or low-fat milk.

Get Moving. Aside from being a great way to spend time together, regular physical activity is vital to strengthen muscle and bones, promote a healthy body weight, support learning, develop social skills and build self-esteem. Kids are encouraged to be active for 60 minutes per day.

Getting kids to eat right can sometimes be a challenge, particularly if they are picky eaters. But experts say that a conversation can help. “Talk to your children. Learn the foods they like. Teach them about the foods they need for their growing bodies. Find ways together to make sure they have the knowledge and ability to eat healthy and tasty foods at every meal,” says Angela Lemond, registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson.

Helping families eat healthy is what Myplate2yours is about!  Just this week, I’ve had the opportunity to teach a 2-day little kids cooking camp called ‘Farm to Plate’.  Here is a favorite recipe from a similar class earlier this year.  Enjoy!

Strawberry Stuffed French Toast

Stuffed French Toast with Strawberry Sauce (makes 6 slices)

6 slices whole grain white bread

4 eggs

1 tablespoon skim milk

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

10 fresh strawberries, sliced

1/2 cup strawberry fruit spread

1 tablespoon Earth Balance spread (or butter)

Wisk eggs in a shallow bowl with milk and cinnamon. Combine strawberries and fruit spread in a small microwavable bowl. Heat in microwave for 1 minute. Stir and set aside. Heat large skillet, add 1/2 tablespoon Earth Balance and allow to melt. Dip 3 slices bread in egg mixture and cook on skillet, about 2 minutes per side. Remove slices to a clean and dry cutting board. Repeat with remaining 3 slices of bread. Using a 2 inch biscuit or round cookie cutter, cut a hole in center of toast. On individual plates, place one slice of bread, and fill with 2 tablespoons strawberry mixture. Top with toast round. Repeat with remaining 5 slices. Serve with powdered sugar and maple syrup. Enjoy!

Homemade Chicago-style Pizza

Honduras Cooking Class

This week marked my seventh trip to a country I consider a home away from home, Honduras.  My family and I have returned to Honduras annually since 2008.  During this last visit, I had the privilege of teaching a cooking class to a group of girls I absolutely love!  They asked for me to make something unique to my hometown.  So, as a life long Chicagoan, I opted to make homemade, Chicago-style Pizza for one of my recipes.  They enjoyed it!  I loved sharing this with them and now I can share it with you!

This recipe is provided in both English and Spanish.  Enjoy!

Homemade Chicago-style Pizza (makes 2 pizzas, serving 6-8)

1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

1-1/4 cups warm water (110-115 degrees)

1/4 cup oil

1 teaspoon salt

3-1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 pound lean ground beef

1 small onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 can (15 ounces) pizza sauce

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

 

In large bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in water; let stand for 5

minutes. Add oil and salt. Stir in flour, a cup at a time, until a

soft dough forms.

 

Turn onto floured surface; knead until smooth, about 2-3

minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top.

Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.

 

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook beef and onion over medium heat until no longer pink; drain.

 

Punch down dough; divide in half. Press each into each of two greased 9×12-in.

pans. Spread the pizza sauce equally over each crust (you might not use all the sauce). Top with beef mixture Top with cheese.

Bake at 400° for 25-30 minutes or until crust is lightly browned.

 

Pizza Al Estilo De Chicago

1 paquete (1/4 onza) de levadura seca

1 cucharadita de azucar

1-1/4 tazas de agua caliente (110-115 grados F)

1/4 taza aceite de vegétale

1 cucharadita de sal

3-1/2 tazas de harina

8 onzas carne molida

1 cebolla, cortada en cubitos

1-1/2 tazas de salsa de pasta

1 pimento verde, cortado en cubitos (opcional)

3 cucharaditas de orégano seca

2 tazas (8 onzas) de queso rallado

En un tazón grande, disuelva la levadura y el azúcar in el agua. Deje reposar durante cinco minutos. Agregar el aceite y la sal. Agregar la harina, una taza a la vez, hasta que se forme una masa suave.

Mover la masa en una superficie enharinada. Amasar hasta que quede suave y elástica, unos 2-3 minutos. Colocar en un recipiente engrasado, Cubrir y dejar crecer en un lugar calido hasta que doble de unos 45 minutos.

Mientras tanto, cocinar la carne y la cebolla hasta que pierda el color rosado. Escurrir.

Golpee la masa; dividir por la mitad. Presionar cada uno en un molde engrasado bandeja para pizza de 12 pulgadas. Combinar la salsa de tomate y el orégano. Poner la salsa en cada corteza. Cubrir con la mezcla de carne y pimiento verde (si se utiliza). Cubrir con el queso.

Hornear a 400° para 25-30 minutos o hasta que la masa este dorada.

Esta receta es para 2 pizzas. Disfrute!

Adapted from Taste of Home 2014

Summer Fruit Dessert

Summer Fruit Dessert

There is such sweetness this time of year!  Ripe fruit and lots of it!!  Here is a great way to enjoy some of this season’s bounty.  Even if you don’t have kiwi or bananas, try strawberries, pitted cherries, cantaloupe, sliced peaches, plums…so many fruits to dip!  Have fun and enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Covered Fruit with Chopped Hazelnuts (makes 16 pieces)

3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

8 slices fresh kiwi

8 chunks fresh banana

1/3 cup finely chopped hazelnuts (or almonds, peanuts, pecans)

Slice fruit and place on parchment lined pan. Put in freezer for 15 minutes to firm the fruit. Melt chocolate in double boiler or in microwave. Dip fruit into melted chocolate, sprinkle with nuts and place on parchment-lined pan. Refrigerate about 30 minutes, until chocolate and nuts are set and fruit remains chilled.

Meatless Monday: Vegetable Pancakes with Cilantro Cream

 

Vegetable Pancakes

This week, with the introduction of Summer Vegetable Pancakes,  I am formally introducing ‘Meatless Monday’ to my blog.  I will regularly post meatless main dishes on select Mondays to help encourage all of us to eat at least one meatless meal each week.

Meatless MondaysGoing meatless once a week can protect our health.  It may reduce our risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. Meatless meals can also help our environment by reducing our carbon footprint and saving precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel.  For both of these reasons and for great taste, check out Meatless Mondays and look to Myplate2yours for delicious meatless recipes!

Vegetable Pancakes with Cilantro Cream (serves 3)

1 medium zucchini, grated (about 2 cups)

1 cup shredded carrots

1/2 sweet onion, fine dice (1/2 cup)

1/2 small yellow bell pepper (1/4 cup)

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 large eggs

1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

1/4 teaspoon celery seed

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

1/8 teaspoon cumin

1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped

For Cilantro Cream, mix to combine yogurt, garlic salt, cumin and cilantro in a small bowl.  Cover and chill until ready to use.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Sauté zucchini, carrots, onion, and bell pepper until tender, about 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, use a whisk to beat eggs.  Add breadcrumbs and celery seed, combine well.  Add vegetable mixture, stir to combine.  Heat 1 tablespoon oil in skillet.  Measure 1/4 cup batter for each of 6 pancake (cooking 3 at a time). Press down to make 1/4 inch thick pancake.  Cook for 2-3 minutes until pancake sets and golden when flipped.  Cook for another 2-3 minutes on other side.  Repeat with remaining batter.  Serve pancakes with a dollop of Cilantro Cream.  Enjoy!

The recipe was inspired by Fine Cooking’s Fresh & Quick 2013

Summer Salads

Summer Salads!

This fun salad was enjoyed this week at ‘Summertime Fun‘ Kid’s Culinary Camp at Marcel’s.  

Are you looking for a new & easy salad recipe for a summer BBQ or backyard party?  Myplate2yours to the rescue! Here are some of my summer favorites:

Arugula Salad with Roasted Beets and Goat Cheese (GF*)

Festive Barley Salad

Edamame Salad with Corn and Quinoa (GF)

Lentil Artichoke Salad (GF)

Caribbean Chicken Salad

Please let me know if you do make one of these.  I’d love to hear how these nutritious and delicious recipes are being shared!  Enjoy!!

*designates gluten-free 

 

 

Dreamsicle Smoothie

dreamsicle

School’s out!  My kids are so happy!!  I remember that excitement when I was a kid.  Summer meant lots of time playing outside and listening for the bell of the ice cream truck coming through the neighborhood.  Do you remember Dreamsicles?  The orange sherbet coating on vanilla ice cream bar?  Well, try this healthy smoothie recipe and please let me know if I’ve named it appropriately!

 

 

Dreamsicle Smoothie (makes 12 ounces)

1 cup vanilla low- or non-fat yogurt

1/2 cup orange juice

1/2 cup diced peaches

1/2 cup ice cubes

1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds

Blend on high for 1 minute until smooth.  Enjoy!

Potato au Gratin with Sun Dried Tomato

Potatoes au Gratin

There were two pounds of leftover cooked potatoes in my fridge.  Every few months, I set aside a day to develop new recipes and yesterday’s work on a potato salad left me with extra.  What to do with 2 pounds of leftover cooked potatoes in June?  Think ‘dairy’ and use fat-free milk and cheese to make potato au gratin!

June is dairy month.  Most of us only get 2 of the 3 servings of dairy that are recommended daily.  Unfortunately, this causes us to miss out on milk’s powerful nutrient package of calcium and eight other essential nutrients which nourishes our body and promotes bone health.  Check out ‘30 days of dairy‘, a tip sheet developed by the National Dairy Council with great ideas for adding that extra serving in your family’s diet.  You can also try some Myplate2yours dairy favorites like Chocolate Monkey Smoothies, Barley & Apple Breakfast Bake, and Cheddar Chicken and Potato Packets.  Here’s the new favorite- Potato au Gratin with Sun Dried Tomato- adapted from Cooking Light 2000.  Happy Dairy Month!

Potato au Gratin with Sun Dried Tomato (serves 6)

2 pounds cooked* red or Yukon gold potatoes, unpeeled and cut into slices

2 ounces sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, chop coarsely

1 tablespoon Earth Balance spread or butter

1 medium onion, diced

1/4 teaspoon each- salt and pepper

3 tablespoons flour (easy to make gluten free, just use brown rice flour instead)

2 cups skim milk

1-1/2 cups shredded parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a 8×8 baking dish with cooking spray.  Layer potatoes on bottom of dish.  Set aside.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan.  Add onion and cook until tender (about 3 minutes).  Add sun-dried tomatoes, salt and pepper and cook 3 minutes. Sprinkle flour over pan and while stirring continuously, cook for one minute. Slowly add milk and stir or whisk until blended and mixture thickens.  Remove from heat and add cheese, stir to combine melted cheese.  Pour sauce over potatoes.  Bake uncovered for 20 minutes until golden.  Enjoy!

*To cook potatoes, place in pot with boiling water and cook until tender 20-30 minutes.