Spinach Artichoke Quinoa Egg Bake

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Try the traditional pairing of spinach and artichokes with the ancient grain quinoa baked together with eggs and cheese.  The result?  Deliciousness!!

This is a great brunch recipe.  To prep this ahead of time, simply follow the recipe through until the step”Preheat the oven”.  The contents of the 9 x 13 pan can be covered and placed in the refrigerator.  When ready to cook, remove the dish from the refrigerator, uncover and finish the recipe.  Enjoy!

Spinach, Artichoke, Quinoa Egg Bake (serves 8-10)

1-1/2 cups quinoa, uncooked

1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cups milk

4 eggs

1-14 ounce can artichokes, drained and chopped and drained again

10 ounce package of spinach

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1-1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

1/2 teaspoon each:  salt and freshly ground pepper

In a medium pot, heat 3 cups water until boiling. Add quinoa, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 12 minutes until water absorbed and quinoa unravels. Prepare 9 x 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Pour cooked quinoa into baking dish.

Preheat large skillet on medium heat and add olive oil. Sauté onion and garlic until onion is translucent. Add artichoke and spinach. Add contents of skillet to quinoa in baking dish. Season with salt and pepper. Mix to combine.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together milk and eggs. Mix in Parmesan and 1 cup mozzarella. Pour into baking dish and gently mix into contents. Sprinkle casserole with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella. Bake for 30 minutes and serve hot.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Tortilla Soup with Chips, fresh lime and spoon on Rustic Wood Ba

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

I first posted a recipe with the same name five years ago.  This new version boasts bigger flavor with a few additional ingredients and new sauté procedure.  Slow cooking is perfect for this busy spring season. Simply start this in the morning to cook on low for 7-8 hours or at lunchtime, to cook on high for 5-6 hours.  If your slow cooker does not have a sauté function, simply prepare the first part of this recipe in  a skillet on the stove top and transfer to the slow cooker when ready.

If you are not familiar with Chihuahua cheese, please try it.  It is wonderfully creamy and is often used in quesadillas, too.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup (serves 6)

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoon chili powder

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced

1 onion, cut into eighths

1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)

1-1/2 cups corn from cob (or 1 can sweet corn)

1 can fire roasted (15 ounce) canned tomatoes

4 cups chicken broth

1 teaspoon oregano

2 corn tortillas, torn into 1-inch pieces

1 can (15 ounce) black beans, drained and rinsed

Salt to taste

Garnishes: non fat plain Greek yogurt (or light sour cream), shredded Chihuahua cheese, sliced avocado, fresh lime.

Heat oil in slow cooker set at 400 degrees on ‘Sauté’. Add pepper, onions, garlic and corn, sauté for a few minutes. Add chili powder and stir to coat vegetables and heat until chili powder is fragrant. Place chicken on top of veggie. Add tomatoes, broth, oregano and tortillas. Adjust slow cooker setting to low,  cover and cook for 7-8 hours. (Or set on high for 5-6 hours). At the end of cooking, remove chicken breast to a plate. Add black beans to the slow cooker to heat while shredding the chicken with two forks. Add shredded chicken back to pan. Serve soup in bowls topped with garnishes. Enjoy!

 

Pork Medallions with Mushrooms

IMG_3189Today’s recipe is simple enough for any weeknight dinner but it’s presentation and wine glaze is fancy enough for a dinner party.  And, I’ve paired this deliciousness with Parsnip Mash.

Parsnips are root vegetables resembling cream colored carrots.  They are available year round but their growing season is fall to spring.  When cooked and ‘mashed’, they develop a creamy, sweet flavor and deliver a good source of fiber, vitamin C and some B-vitamins.  Savor the flavor of eating right!  Enjoy!

Pork Medallions with Mushrooms and Madeira Glaze (serves 6)

1-1/2 pounds pork tenderloin

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 shallots, finely diced

1 pound white mushrooms, sliced

1 tablespoon flour

1/2 cup Madeira wine (dry port, sherry or Marsala wines can be substituted)

1 cup chicken stock

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Parsley, for garnish

Cut tenderloin into generous1 inch medallions. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large sauce pan over high heat. Sear meat until browned, about 2 minutes. Flip and repeat browning on other side. Transfer pork to a plate.

Add remaining oil to pan and heat. Add shallots and sauté until golden while scraping any browned bits from pan. Add the mushrooms and sauté until most of liquid evaporates. Sprinkle with flour and add the Madeira. Once the wine has reduced by half, add the stock and bring to a simmer. Add pork and any accumulated juices to the pan. Cook in simmering sauce for 5-8 minutes, flipping once, until internal temperature is 145 degrees. Serve medallions on top of parsnip mash* and garnish with parsley.

*Parsnip Mash

3 pounds* parsnips, peeled, cored and cut into 1 inch pieces

Salt and ground white pepper

2 teaspoons butter or Earth Balance

2 tablespoons milk (more, if needed, for desired consistency)

Place parsnips in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Turn down heat to a gentle boil until parsnips are easily pierced with a fork, about 8-10 minutes. Drain well.

Put parsnips in a food processor and puree until smooth. Add butter and milk.  Season to taste with salt and white pepper.

*If purchasing young parsnips, only 2 pounds needed since they have tender cores and do not need to be cored.

Savor the Flavor of Eating Right!

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March is National Nutrition Month and this year’s theme is ‘Savor the Flavor of Eating Right’.  I believe that’s what we do everyday at Myplate2yours and it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!

  1. Start with real, whole food.
  2. Create a dish that suits your palate.
  3. Slow down to enjoy your meal and the people you are eating with!

What I love about eating right is the array of colors and the sheer beauty of many of these dishes … and this one is no exception!  This is the salad I made for a family birthday celebration this weekend.  I searched for the recipe on my blog, but I was surprised to find I have never shared it with you.  Well, here it is today….enjoy!!

Citrus Salad with Baby Greens, Cucumber and Avocado (serves 6)

4 cups baby arugula, spinach and/or romaine

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1 cup (about 1 large) English cucumber, diced

3 clementine oranges, sectioned

1 pink grapefruit, sectioned with knife

1 ripe avocado, diced

2 tablespoons roasted, salted sunflower seeds

Dressing: Mix together 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar, 2 teaspoons honey. Whisk in 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil. Season with dash cayenne pepper; salt and pepper to taste.

Spread greens on a serving platter. Top with cucumbers, tomatoes and avocado. Arrange orange and grapefruit sections on top.   When ready to serve, toss salad with dressing and sprinkle with sunflower seeds.

Chicken Fricassée with Fennel and Artichoke

Chicken Fricassee

FRANCE!!!! Ever since my time in Paris and the west of France this past autumn, my cooking has been influenced by the flavors of this luscious cuisine.  I even worked on a chocolate soufflé recipe I’ll have to share with you very soon!

And FENNEL!!!!! This fragrant vegetable has many culinary uses from the seeds to the bulb.  This recipe uses the bulb, sliced thin and sautéed with onions until soft.  Please don’t let the fancy name of this recipe hinder you from trying it!  It is basically a one-pot meal with straightforward prep.  And it’s OH, SO DELICIOUS!  ENJOY!

Chicken Fricassée with Fennel and Artichoke (serves 6)

6-8 pieces from a 2-3 pound chicken

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, halved and sliced thin

1 fennel bulb, trimmed, halved and sliced thin

1 cup dry white wine

1, 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

1-1/2 cups pitted mixed, green and black olives (in the original recipe, Picholine is the recommended green olive as is brine-cured black olives)

1/4 cup capers in vinegar, drained

12 artichoke hearts marinated in olive oil, drained

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Cooked thin pasta or rice, for serving

Generously season chicken on all sides with salt and pepper. In a large skillet (with a lid) or Dutch oven, heat olive oil. Add the chicken pieces skin side down and brown until they are golden in color, about 5 minutes. Flip carefully with tongs and cook another 5 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate.

Reduce heat to low, add the onions and fennel. Cook, covered until softened but not browned, about 10 minutes. Return the chicken to pan. Add the wine, tomatoes, olives, capers and artichokes. Cover and simmer over low heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust, as needed. Serve over hot cooked pasta or rice. Bon Apetit!

Adapted from Patricia Wells, The French Kitchen Cookbook

Overnight Oatmeal with Apples and Maple Syrup

Overnight Oats

A hot breakfast is a welcome start to any day this winter in Chicago!  This recipe is a breeze since it cooks overnight and is ready as soon as you are in the morning.  Simply prep the ingredients in the slow cooker at night and set on low for 7-10 hours.  You’ll be happy to have this hot breakfast waiting for you the next morning!  And any leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator and reheated for breakfast or snack time throughout the week.

Overnight Oatmeal with Apples and Maple Syrup (serves 6)

2 apples, sliced and cut into ½ pieces

1-½ cups low fat milkOvernight oats 3

2 cups water

1 cup uncooked steel-oats

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 tablespoons of maple syrup

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon ground flax seed

Optional toppings: Chopped nuts, maple syrup, additional milk

If needed, coat inside of slow cooker with cooking spray. Add all ingredients (except toppings) to slow cooker. Stir, cover and cook on low for 7-10 hours

Serve oatmeal into bowls. Add optional toppings. Enjoy!

Sweet Orange Chia Seed Pudding

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Chia seeds are a new ingredient in my kitchen.  What first intrigued me was their unique  nutritional profile.  Just 2 tablespoons provide 5 grams of fiber and 4500 mg of alpha-linoileic acid (omega 3’s) along with protein, calcium, vitamins and other minerals.  When these seeds are hydrated in liquid, they form a gel and suspend in that liquid.  They add texture to smoothies and are the gelling agent in this pudding recipe.  If you are a veteran user of chia seeds, please share your favorite way to use them.  If you are new to them, this recipe is a great place to start!

Sweet Orange Chia Seed Pudding (serves 4)

1 cup of low fat milk

1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

Zest of 1/2 orange

3 tablespoons maple syrup

1/4 cup non fat plain Greek yogurt

1/4 cup Chia seeds

Toppings: orange sections and shredded coconut

In a small bowl, mix together milk and maple syrup. Add Chia seeds and mix well. Let sit for 5 minutes and stir again. Refrigerate for 2 hours (or overnight), stirring again after first hour. When ready to serve, stir in orange juice, zest and yogurt, and thoroughly combine.

Pour into individual serving bowls and top with orange sections and shredded coconut. Enjoy!

Savvy Slow Cooking Class

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Savvy Slow Cooking with Dina Bair on WGN Midday News!

The quickest cooking class I’ve ever taught was this past Friday on WGN Midday News.  In less than 5 minutes I demonstrated two of my favorite slow cooker recipes.  That’s funny, isn’t it?  A quick class of slow cooker recipes?  Anyway, if you want to watch Friday’s segment, here’s the link.  And here are the links to my featured recipes: White Chicken Chili and Jalapeño and Portobello Braised Beef.

The real purpose of the WGN segment was to promote my upcoming Savvy Slow Cooking classes.  The first one scheduled on Thursday, February 4th is sold out but a second one has been added on Friday, February 5th at Marcel’s in Glen Ellyn.  In this class scheduled from 9:30-11am, I will demo three different recipes:  Maple Brown Sugar Steel Cut Oatmeal with Apples, Fiesta Chicken Tortilla Soup, and Asian Moo Shu Pork.

Slow cooking answers the 5pm question, ‘What’s for Dinner?’.  My own slow cooker stays on my counter most of the winter and I use it weekly to make flavorful and healthy family meals.  With these upcoming classes, I hope to encourage you to dust off your own slow cooker so that you will have an answer to the ‘Whats for Dinner’ question at your house!

Will you join me for a morning in the kitchen tasting, learning, and sharing?  I hope so!  To register and for more information, click here!

Italian Chicken and Orzo Soup

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It’s soup season!  Think of this one as a spin on traditional chicken noodle, loaded with veggies and some orzo pasta. Start to finish, it will be ready in just under an hour.  I do hope this recipe helps you stay warm and healthy this winter!

Italian Chicken and Orzo Soup (serves 6)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound skinless chicken breast

1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped

1 small onion, diced

2 stalks celery, sliced

4 cloves garlic, minced

8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced

1 quart chicken stock

2 cups water

1/2 teaspoon salt and freshly ground pepper

1 (15 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

1 cup orzo pasta

3 cups baby spinach

parmesan cheese, shredded

In a large pot, heat oil. Sauté onion and celery until onion is translucent. Add oregano, garlic and mushrooms and cook for a few minutes, until fragrant. Sprinkle in salt and several grinds of fresh pepper. Add chicken, stock, water, and tomatoes. When brought to a boil, reduce heat and simmer (partially covered) for 30 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate and shred with fork. In the meantime, add the orzo and simmer aggressively for 10 minutes. When pasta is done, return chicken to pot and add parsley and spinach. Cook until spinach is wilted. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve into bowls and top with shredded parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Ancho Pork and Hominy Stew

Ancho Pork and Hominy Stew

When the weather gets cold, I love to make soups and stews. Typically, stew takes a few hours to cook because moist heat is needed to tenderize the meat traditionally used in stew.  But start to finish, Ancho Pork and Hominy Stew from Cooking Light, cooks in less than one hour.  This is because this stew starts with an already tender cut of meat, a pork tenderloin.  The pork is seasoned with spices resembling Mexican pork stew, Posole, with ancho chile powder at center stage.

Ancho chile powder can be found in many grocery stores but can also be made at home.  For DIY ancho chile powder, purchase dried whole ancho chiles (2 ounce package yields 1/4 cup powder). Slit peppers with a paring knife, and shake out seeds. Remove stem. Tear skin into 1 inch pieces. Using a coffee grinder, place pieces into a coffee grinder and process until finely ground (you may have to process in batches). Store in airtight container until ready to use.

Ancho Pork and Hominy Stew (serves 4-6)

2 tablespoons ancho chile powder

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1-1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

1-1/2 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 large onion, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2-1/2 cups chicken stock

1-28 ounce can hominy, drained

1-15 ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes

Chopped cilantro, for garnish

Shredded Mexican cheese, as desired

Combine chile powder, oregano, paprika, cumin and salt in a bowl. Set 1-1/2 teaspoons aside. Toss pork pieces into spice mix. Coat evenly.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add pork and cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the meat is browned and fragrant. Remove pork from pan. Add remaining olive oil. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Sauté 5 minutes until tender. Return pork to pan. Add broth, hominy, tomatoes and reserved spices. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and partially cover to simmer for 25 minutes. Serve with cheese, if desired, and garnish with cilantro. Enjoy!

Adapted from www.CookingLight.com