Spinach Eggs Benedict

Spinach Eggs Benedict what can I say. Sometimes I want to be bad and have something that is sinfully rich. I never made Hollandaise sauce before so this was a new experience for me. I do not know what I was so afraid of before but after making the sauce, it was a huge WOW! factor for me. The homemade version is just exquisite. I saw this recipe on one of the food blogs I follow called Simply Recipes and modified the recipe to have some healthier ingredients such as spinach, tomatoes, and avocado. I used Canadian bacon instead of bacon or ham for a lower fat version of the dish and only used 1 tablespoon of the sauce instead of dousing the whole dish with it. Enjoy!

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Spinach Eggs Benedict:
8 eggs
1 tablespoon of vinegar
8 slices of Canadian bacon (optional)
4 Multi-Grain English Muffins
1 tablespoons freshly chopped basil
1 cup of Baby Spinach

Hollandaise Sauce:
10 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon of salt
3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Avocado Grape Tomato Salsa:
1 pint of grape tomatoes
1 large ripe avocado
Fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil

The hollandaise sauce: separate the egg white from the yolk and reserve egg white if preferred for an omelet for a later time. Put egg yolks in a blender with lemon juice and salt. Blend for 30 seconds or until the yolks become a light yellow color and add the hot melted butter to the egg mixture and blend until combined. Pour sauce into a bowl and set aside.

Fill a 10” non-stick frying pan with water about ¾’s full. Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to the water mixture. While the water is heating up in one frying pan, in another frying pan, cook the Canadian bacon till crispy around the edges in another frying pan with about 1 teaspoon of olive oil or butter and remove when edges are crispy. Set aside.

In the simmering hot water, crack an egg in a small bowl, and then use the bowl to transfer the egg to the simmering water. It is easier to use the bowl, so you do not burn your fingers while adding the egg to the water. Put all eight eggs in the water and simmer for approximately 4 minutes.

Clean grape tomatoes and halve. Remove the seed from the avocado and cut up avocado in cubes and spoon out of the skin. Put halved tomatoes and cubed avocado into a bowl. Squeeze fresh lemon juice approximately 1 to 2 tablespoons over the mixture. Add freshly chopped basil and olive oil. Toss well. Season the tomato and avocado salsa with salt and pepper.

While the eggs are cooking, toast the English muffins and put on plate. Take 2 English muffins, line English muffins with about 7 to 8 leaves of baby spinach each halve. Lay the cooked Canadian bacon on top, spoon the drained poached egg on top of the Canadian bacon. Drizzle with hollandaise sauce and sprinkle with fresh basil on top.

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Spinach Dumplings

I miss eating pasta and any Italian food sometimes. I do not really eat it because it is high in carbs, fat, and it causes my sugar levels to be high. It takes a while for the levels to come back down to normal. I decided to stop eating pasta and anything made with white ingredients a while ago and have been able to keep my sugars under control. I was in the mood for Italian food so I made the dumplings instead of using pasta. The dumplings came from watching the cooking channel show Ask Aida the other day. I substituted Arugula for spinach. I love this idea, and was pleasantly surprised. Next time, I will try using more natural and healthier approach to the dumplings. This recipe is a great substitution for pasta, still a little high in fat content but was very good. Enjoy!

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Spinach Dumplings with Marinara Sauce, created 01/07/11

1 box of chopped spinach thawed and excess water squeezed out
½ cup of skim milk ricotta cheese
2 eggs
½ cup of Japanese Bread Crumbs
¼ cup skim milk
1/2 cup flour
¾ cups freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
1 to 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
1 cup of freshly grated Mozzarella cheese for sprinkling on top of the dish

For Marinara Sauce: Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat and add 2 gloves of fresh chopped garlic. Add one 16 oz can of your favorite tomato sauce, I happen to like Muir Glenn tomatoes so I use that brand. Add one to two teaspoons of basil fresh or dried, either one. Optional add a pinch of red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for about 15 minutes. The sauce will thicken up. Add caramelized onions if you wish. Adjust your seasonings as needed. Set cooked marinara sauce aside.

For Dumplings: Bring a medium stockpot of water to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Add salt. In a bowl add the eggs and milk together, beat well. Add the breadcrumbs to the milk/egg mixture and let the breadcrumbs soak up all the liquid. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend well.

Shape the dumplings into small balls using a tablespoon to measure out the dumplings. Drop 10 dumplings at a time into the hot simmering water and let them cook for about 5 minutes until the dumplings rise to the top. Spoon the dumplings out with a skimmer and put in a colander to drain the excess water.

Cook the rest of the dumplings you should have about 20 to 25 depends on how big the dumplings are. After all the dumplings are finished cooking, lay them single file in a stone or baking dish.

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Spoon the marinara sauce over on top of the dumplings, and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and a little bit of Parmesan cheese.

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Put in the oven set on broiler for about 5 to 7 minutes until all the cheese is melted and bubbly.

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Sundried Tomato Spinach Mushroom Frittata

Happy New Year, it is 2011, a year full of promise, hope and positive goals. Today I made a new recipe, which will be my first recipe in my Frittata cookbook. Keep looking at my blog for the latest updates of how the book is coming along. The book will be unique.

Sun-dried Tomato Mushroom Spinach Frittata, created on 01/03/2011

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¼-cup sun-dried tomatoes chopped
½ lb of baby Bella mushrooms cleaned and sliced
1 cup baby spinach washed and coarsely chopped
6 eggs
2 egg whites
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
Salt / Pepper to taste
1-cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon of freshly minced flat leaf parsley

Heat up a 10” non-stick sauté pan with olive oil over medium high heat. Add sliced mushrooms and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the chopped sun dried tomatoes and sauté until tomatoes are partially re-hydrated (a little bit plump), about 2 minutes. Add the chopped baby spinach and sauté for about a minute, the spinach will wilt from the heat.

Break six eggs into a bowl. Add the 2 egg whites and discard or save the yolk for another use. Whisk the eggs well. Add half the grated Parmesan cheese, whisk well, and add to the sautéed vegetables. The egg mixture should cook until almost gel-like in the center. Sprinkle the rest of the Parmesan cheese and parsley on top of the eggs. Place pan in the broiler for about 3 to 5 minutes until the cheese is golden brown and the eggs are set in the center.

Remove from the pan using a spatula and cut into wedges. Serve with whole grain toast and butter. Enjoy!

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Sweet Potato Baby Spinach Chicken Stir Fry

I think this recipe was an unusual twist for me. I wanted rice that day but settled for Quinoa, which is a much healthier grain for me. It was so late in the day and I just threw some things together that I already had on hand. Sometimes I find that putting the simplest things together for a dish can create some amazing results. I sautéed the onions until they were caramelized a deep brown and then added the sweet potatoes to the mixture and created this sweet, warm, satisfying dish that just hit the spot.

Sweet Potato Baby Spinach Chicken Quinoa Stir-Fry

Sweet Potato, Spinach, Chicken Stir-Fry, created on 10/21/2010

1 package of organic chicken tenderloins, cut into chunks
1 large sweet potato cut into 1-1/2” cubes
1 large red onion, halved and cut into half-moon slices
½ package of organic baby spinach
2 cups of vegetable broth
3 cloves of garlic, minced
Salt / Pepper to taste
4 tablespoons of olive oil

Sauté the chicken in 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat until cooked thoroughly and is no longer pink. Remove the chicken from the pan and place in a bowl – set aside.

Heat the rest of the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the same pan, and add the onions. Cook until the onions are a deep brown color. This will take about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the cubed sweet potatoes and minced garlic. Sauté for about 3 to 4 minutes and then add the vegetable broth. Simmer over medium low heat until 3/4 ‘s of the vegetable broth is absorbed and the sweet potatoes are soft but not mushy. Stir constantly and gently not to break the sweet potatoes so that they turn into a mash. This will take about another 7 to 10 minutes. Add the chicken back to the pan and stir well. Cook for an additional 3 to 4 minutes until the chicken is thoroughly heated and meshed well with the ingredients. Remove from the heat, add the baby spinach, and cover for about 2 minutes. The spinach will wilt. Stir once or twice to blend the spinach with the rest of the ingredients. Serve over cooked Quinoa.

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Sweet Potato Navy Bean Soup

The weather is turning colder and the leaves have turned into soft vibrant shades of gold, red and oranges. Frost has appeared on my car window this morning and I thought this is the perfect day for soup. I put a pot of navy beans on the stove to cook in the middle of the week and had the rest of the ingredients on hand. I thought how do I make a healthy and satisfying soup that is not loaded in calories. I hope you enjoy the soup as much as my company and I did. The soup was a hit and I plan to make it often.

Sweet Potato Navy Bean Soup

Sweet Potato Navy Bean Soup, created on October 16, 2010

Preparation for the Navy Beans – this can be done earlier or on the same day.

2 cups of dried beans, picked, cleaned, and rinsed from any dirt or any other object in the beans
Enough cold water to cover the top of the beans in the pot, plus 3 inches over the layer of beans
Cook for 2-1/2 hours on med-low heat and add water as needed to keep the beans covered
Cook until the beans have the right consistency and are of a soft consistency
Drain the beans and store in container in refrigerator until ready to use for a recipe

Most recipes explain the beans should be soaked overnight. I did not do that this time and the beans were fine.

2 cups of cooked Navy beans
2 large sweet potato peeled and cut into chunks
½ bag of organic baby spinach
1 package of Turkey Kielbasa preferably organic, cut in cubes
6 cups water
1 teaspoon of “Better than Bouillon” vegetable base
1 teaspoon of “Better than Bouillon” mushroom base
1 large red onion, chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt / Pepper to taste

In a large stockpot, heat up the olive oil, add the red onion, and cook for about 5 minutes or until the onions are semi-soft and lightly browned. Add the water, sweet potatoes, turkey kielbasa, bouillon, and cooked navy beans and bring to boil and then reduce the heat and simmer over medium low heat for about 40 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are soft but not falling apart. Remove from the heat and add the baby spinach wait a minute or two and the spinach will wilt and mesh in with the soup.

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Mixed Green Salad with Fresh Herbs

I am always looking for fresh salad recipes and this one caught my eye. The salad came from a cookbook that I had called Perfect Recipes for Having People Over. The flavors of fresh greens were refreshing and appealed to me. The lemony flavored dressing really enhances the herb and salad greens. I used romaine lettuce and baby spinach with different herbs I had on hand. I served this today at brunch and the salad was a hit.

Mixed Green Salad with Fresh Herbs
Created recipe on 03/13/2010

Mixed Green Salad with Fresh Herbs

Salad with fresh herbs
1 head of Romaine lettuce chopped into bite size pieces
3 cups of baby spinach
½ cup of green onions / scallions chopped
1 cup of freshly chopped parsley, dill, cilantro, basil
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
–    Put all ingredients in a salad bowl and prepare the vinaigrette dressing

Vinaigrette
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Whisk all the ingredients for the vinaigrette together and add the olive oil slowly whisking the ingredients briskly. The dressing will thicken, pour over salad with herbs and toss well.

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Chicken, Spinach, Mushroom Pasta Bake

This dish just sounded so appealing to me. I love casseroles but the fat content is always high in these types of dishes because the main ingredient is often a creamy sauce that is made from scratch or from a soup. I think I would take the Parmesan cheese over a creamy sauce any day. But, I learned something new for myself today. Parmesan cheese has a higher fat content than mozzarella cheese. I always thought it was the other way around. The house smelled like an Italian restaurant with the amount of garlic I put in the dish. Full of flavor and there were also some benefits of fiber from the whole wheat pasta, mushroom and spinach.

Chicken, Spinach, Mushroom Pasta Bake
Created recipe on 02/25/2010

Chicken, Spinach, Mushroom Pasta Bake 11 lb or one box of whole wheat pasta (use any shape you like)
4 oz of chicken tenderloin strips chopped in 1” cubes
1 box of frozen spinach thawed and all excess liquid squeezed
½ pint of mushrooms thickly sliced (I used button mushrooms)
8 -10 cloves of garlic minced fine
3 tablespoons of olive oil
½ cup of wine (I had a red wine available and used that)
1-1/2 cups of freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

Prepare the whole wheat pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain liquid and set aside.

Sauté the cubed chicken tenderloins for about 10 minutes until browned in olive oil over medium heat in a 10” skillet. Add the garlic and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes. The garlic will brown with the chicken. Stir constantly so the garlic does not burn. Note: If the garlic burns in the dish, it gives a bitter flavor to the whole thing and does not taste great. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook for an additional 5 minutes stirring constantly.  Add the spinach, wine and cook until the spinach is heated thoroughly and the wine is cooked off. Add 1 cup of grated Parmesan Cheese to the mixture, mix well. I used about 3/4 of the 1 lb pasta that I cooked. I felt that adding the whole 1 pound of pasta was too much. Mix the pasta in the filling.

In a casserole dish, even out the filling and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan Cheese. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 15 to 20 minutes until dish is thoroughly heated and the cheese is melted.

Chicken, Spinach, Mushroom Pasta Bake 2I wasn’t satisfied with the color so I flash broiled the dish in the broiler for about 5 minutes to give the cheese the golden color I wanted.

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