Cooking Classes!


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!!


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


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


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


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


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.






Arugula Walnut Pesto

Did you bring some fresh arugula home from a farmers’s market this past weekend?  It is easy to find this peppery green this time of year.  We all know it’s important to keep leafy greens in our diets, but if you’re getting tired of kale and spinach, it might be time to try arugula!    One of my favorite ways to enjoy arugula is Arugula Salad with Roasted Beets.  And recently, my family and I have found Arugula Walnut Pesto. YUM! It has a depth of flavor that works well with pasta.  I hope you find arugula something to enjoy this season!

Arugula-Walnut Pesto  (adapted from Fresh Cooking 2012)

4 ounces arugula (5 cups, lightly packed)

1/2 cup graded Parmigiano-Reggiano

1/2 cup walnuts, toasted

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 clove garlic

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3-1/2 cup EVOO

In a food processor, pulse arugula briefly until volume is significantly reduced.  Add cheese, lemon juice, garlic and salt.  Blend with arugula. Process until finely ground, about 1 minute. Drizzle oil while processing to incorporate and continue until the mixture is smooth. Season to taste.  Enjoy!

Summer Culinary Camps

summer camp

There are just a few weeks of school remaining. And many college students are home already. This year is certainly flying by!

As the summer calendar begins to take shape, consider a culinary camp for your kids, both big and small. For the younger ones, ages 6-8, I am teaching two camps at Marcels in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. (for big kids, scroll down to the August 7th date!).  The first little kid camp is a 3-day camp, June 25-27, Summer Time Fun, you can sign up for all three or a single day. In August, the 18-19th, I have a two day camp, Farm to Plate. The descriptions and a link to register are below.

June 25-27th, 2:00-3:30pm, Summer Time Fun, Hands on, ages 6-8

Summertime: the sun, the fun, the heat, and the treats! What’s better than a picnic in the park, a day at the zoo, or lunch at the beach? These three days of camp zero in on the best adventures summer has to offer and the food that’s as much fun to make as it is to eat!  $100 for 3 days or $35 per day.  Register here!

Day 1- Picnic in the Park: Mini Turkey Burgers (a.k.a. Sliders) with all the Fixin’s, Picnic Potato Salad, Bite-Size Cherry Cheesecakes

Day 2- A Trip to the Zoo: Crocodile Smoothies with Green Apples, Banana Nut Monkey ‘Crepes’, Party Penguin Snacks

Day 3- A Day at the Beach: Walking Tacos with Fresh Toppings, Afternoon Trail Mix, Raspberry Coolers

August 18-19, Noon-1:30pm, Farm to Plate, Hands on, Ages 6-8

We are exploring where our food comes from, how it makes the journey from the farm to our plate, and make delicious farm fresh treats. Our menus will feature summer’s best peaches, corn, tomatoes, milk, and zucchini. On the menu: Day One: Chocolate Banana Smoothie, Mini Zucchini Bread, Cheese & Grape Skewers Day Two: Minty Peach & Melon Ball Salad, Corn & Bean Cheese Quesadillas with Summer Tomato Salsa, Fruity Yogurt Dippin’ Dots.  $65  Register here!

On August 7th for the big kids (college age), I am teaching a special class to help with the transition from home to cooking on their own. Here is the description and link to register:

Cooking for College Students, Hands on, 6:30-8:30pm

This class is the beginner’s guide no college student should leave home without! Learn to make amazing, budget friendly healthy meals that trump dorm food any night of the week. Whether you are buying groceries, learning to use a knife or even hosting your very first dinner party, this class will walk you through the entire cooking process, one step at a time. Make college cooking life easier and more affordable while learning tips and techniques that you will be able to use for the rest of your life! Participants will get instruction on how to make 10 main dishes with 15 primary ingredients. Four of these dishes will actually be made in the class; the recipe packets will include all 10. On the menu: Bean & Rice Burrito Bowl, Chicken Chipotle Pasta, Easy Egg Tacos, Cheddar Chicken and Potato Packets.  $50  Register here!

There are also classes for moms & dads too!  All of my summer classes are updated here.  I do hope I can cook with you and your kids (big and little) this summer!