Eggs Nestled In Vegetables

Eggs are, quite possibly, one of my favorite foods. Full of protein, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats — all for 70 calories a pop (for a large egg).

Enough about nutrition, though. Let’s focus on the best part of an egg: the yolk. That perfectly runny, unctuous, food porn-worthy (I’ll admit I enjoy egg yolk porn from time to time), delicious yolk.

While frying, poaching and baking (see my recipes for Eggs Baked in Spaghetti Squash Nests and Eggs Baked in Tomato Sauce) are great and all, my latest creation, which I call “nestled eggs”, definitely takes the yolk cake.

nestled_eggs_beet_greens

It’s a super-easy and versatile recipe, first off. Just saute fresh, frozen or leftover vegetables, plop some eggs in and top with olives, hummus, sweet potatoes, whatever! 

It’s also a leave-it-alone kind of recipe. Once you plop the eggs in and cover it, you can go get ready for the day. I generally do my makeup and get dressed while this is cooking.

Now that’s just good time management.

Nestled eggs make for a satisfying, low carb, paleo-friendly, gluten-free breakfast, lunch or dinner. It’s also a great way to get some extra vegetables into your day.

Eggs Nestled in Vegetables

This is a very flexible recipe. Try it with a vegetable of choice, or even use leftover vegetables. Finish it off with toppings of choice. Some of my favorites include Kalamata olives, hummus or pesto for dipping and balsamic vinegar.

Yields: 1 serving

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups greens or other vegetable of choice (I used locally-grown beet greens — the stems from my beets — above)
  • 1 tsp olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
  • 2-3 eggs, depending on how hungry you are
  • Toppings/sauces of choice (I used 2 Tbsp. hummus, leftover sweet potatoes and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar above).
  • Pinch of pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tsp. olive or coconut oil and heat for 1 minute. Add greens, or vegetable of choice, and optional garlic to the pan and saute for 2-4 minutes. 
  2. Spread the vegetable mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan.
  3. Crack eggs right into the vegetable mixture.
  4. Sprinkle with pepper and any other spices you like.
  5. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook eggs for 5-7 minutes, or until the egg whites are set.
  6. Plate the nestled eggs and serve with toppings of choice.

 

For dinner, I like to pair the nestled eggs with protein pancakes — perfection!

nestled_eggs_yellow_squash_olives

Another take on nestled eggs, made with locally-grown golden squash and garlic, topped with sliced Kalamata olives.

Chai-Chia Seed Coconut Pudding {Recipe ReDux}

There are certainly a lot of chia seed recipes out there, especially for pudding. I have always been a fan of chia seeds — sprinkling them on salads, on top of my oatmeal, in my yogurt and smoothies — but had yet to get on the chia seed pudding bandwagon…

…Until this month’s Recipe ReDux theme was announced: “Tea cups around the world are bubbling up with bold new flavors: From cardamom chai and sencha green to bubble teas and veggie teas. We wish we could attend the World Tea Expo the end of this month – but in lieu of a plane ticket, we’ll be cooking and baking and stirring up tea-inspired healthy dishes.

chai_chia_pudding

Since I constantly type “chia” instead of “chai” or vice versa [seriously, does anyone else have this problem?? #foodbloggerproblems] and since I always have both chai tea and chia seeds on hand, I thought, “wouldn’t it be cute to make a chia-chai recipe?”

chai_chia_puddin

Besides being vegan, gluten-free and full o’ great nutrition, this recipe also whips up in 20 minutes (15 of that is the refrigeration time needed to thicken up the pudding).

Recipe: Chai-Chia Seed Coconut Pudding

This recipe makes a great breakfast, snack or dessert! While the mixture seems watery at first, it will thicken — a LOT! Chia seeds provide omega-3’s, protein and fiber, among other nutrients. Plus, they work as a binder and can be used in place of eggs in many recipes.

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces unsweetened coconut milk (the kind that comes in soymilk-like containers AKA tetra paks, NOT the canned variety)
  • 1 chai tea bag
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Nuts, such as pecans, for garnishing (optional)

Directions:

  1. Heat coconut milk in the microwave in a large bowl for 2-3 minutes, until milk is steaming.
  2. Add remaining ingredients (except for nuts) and give a good stir.
  3. Transfer the mixture to the fridge and let sit for at least 15 minutes to allow the pudding to thicken up.
  4. Top with optional nuts. Enjoy cold.

chia_seed_pudding

Check out the fantastically creative and delicious recipes from other Recipe ReDuxers by following the link below!

 

Eggs Baked in Spaghetti Squash “Nests”

Spring is here! It’s been a loooonnngg winter here in Chicago, so today — the first day of spring — is extremely exciting. It signals warmer weather, new life and hope. Yes, that is slightly dramatic, but hot damn, multiple days of -30 degree (sometimes colder) days over the last few months? Seriously?! Ain’t nobody got time for that!

It’s spring and that calls for a spring-inspired dish!

And what’s more spring-like than birds? Here’s my play on eggs in a birds’ nest — with a nest made ‘o spaghetti squash with eggs baked in. Spice up the spaghetti squash as you wish, but I’ve taken a Southwestern spin with lemon and lime zest, paprika, cumin and a salsa topper. And of course, it’s served on a bed of organic lettuce, because you’ve got to have your greens!

Did I mention this recipe is gluten-free, vegetarian, provides protein (thanks to the eggs), fiber (from the bed of greens and squash) plus loads of other vitamins and minerals? Well, it is, which means you can feel good about this tasty breakfast.

Image

Recipe: Eggs Baked in Southwestern Spaghetti Squash Nests

Change up your morning routine with baked eggs, nestled in roasted spaghetti squash. Spice up the dish with your favorite seasonings. Here, I used Southwest spices but this would be delicious with Italian, Mediterranean or Indian seasonings.

Makes: 1 serving (2 eggs)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 small, cooked spaghetti squash (approximately 1 cup “spaghetti”)
  • 1 tsp salt-free taco seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp cumin (if it’s not in your taco seasoning)
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil, split
  • 2 eggs, preferably free range, organic

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Use a fork to “string” the spaghetti squash into a medium bowl. Add taco seasoning, cumin, salt and pepper and stir to coat the squash in seasoning.

Coat two custard/souffle cups with 1/2 tsp each olive oil (or use olive oil spray). Add spaghetti squash mixture, forming it around the bottom and sides of the souffle cups. Crack one egg into each cup. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until white of the egg is set.

Image

Use a small spatula, spoon or fork to “unmold” the nests. Serve over greens and top with salsa.

Image

Image

Once you cut in, the yolk will run over the whole dish creating a creamy, unctuous breakfast dish!

Intrigued by this whole baked eggs phenomenon? Check out this recipe for Eggs Baked in Tomato Sauce.

 

Wild Blueberry, Mint and Feta Farro Salad {Recipe ReDux Sponsored Post}

As you may know, I’ve gone wild blueberry crazy this week (not much different than most weeks).

Wild_Blueberries

But they are just so delicious and packed with nutrients. Do you know the difference between wild blueberries and regular, cultivated berries?

First off, wild blueberries have never been modified or messed with, meaning they are the same berry that existed 10,000 years ago. Which is pretty awesome.

Besides that, they have a more intense flavor and color, are smaller and thus you get more berries per pound and they have a higher concentration of beneficial phytochemicals — twice the antioxidants as compared to regular blueberries! Which means major health benefits (see laundry list below).

Wild_Blueberry_Farro_Salad

Wild Blueberries are the subject of hundreds of research studies looking at potential benefits to humans including:

  • Brain health
  • Anti-aging
  • Heart health
  • Diabetes prevention
  • Cancer prevention
  • Reducing oxidative stress
  • Preventing UTIs
  • Eye health
  • Most Wild Blueberries are frozen at harvest, locking in their intense blueberry flavor and antioxidant power
  • Frozen Fresh Wild Blueberries are just as nutritious as fresh and may even retain their nutritional value longer
  • Frozen Fresh Wild Blueberries are available year-round; they can be used right out of the freezer – no thawing required
  • Frozen Fresh Wild Blueberries offer consumers the most convenient way to have the Antioxidant Superfruit at hand at all times.
  • Frozen Fresh Wild Blueberries make it easy to get your “Daily Dose of Wild Blue”
  • Frozen Wild Blueberries are an excellent value, they offer consistent quality, ease of use, high antioxidant content, health benefits, less spoilage, affordability.

Learn more about the benefits of wild blueberries here.

And with that, let’s talk recipes. Healthy food is only good for you if you actually eat it, and while wild blueberries are delicious on their own, they also lend themselves well to both sweet and savory applications. Check out my recipes for Wild Blueberry Truffles and Wild Blueberry, Avocado and Corn Salsa for more inspiration.

And if you are looking for more ways to use wild blueberries (clearly you should), they pair well with honey, mint, cilantro, basil and lemon, to name a few.

Recipe: Wild Blueberry, Mint and Feta Farro Salad

Farro is one of the oldest cultivated grains — enjoyed for roughly 5,000 years. It has a texture similar to barley with a nice, nutty taste. Like wild blueberries, farro is delicious in sweet and savory applications. Plus, it’s packed with fiber, protein and a wealth of other nutrients.

Makes: about 4 cups (serving size 1 cup)

*By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the Wild Blueberry Association of North America and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Farro_Wild_Blueberry_Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup semi-pearled farro
  • 1 cup wild blueberries
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese
  • 1/3 cup chopped mint
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (about 1/4 large lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Prepare farro according to package directions (generally requires about 25-35 minutes of cooking).

Gently mix prepared farro with remaining ingredients, being careful not to smash the wild blueberries.

This salad is delicious hot or cold. Serve with vegetables (cauliflower “rice” below) and fish or chicken (BBQ chicken was especially yummy).

Wild_Blueberry_Farro_Salad_with_BBQ_Chicken

Nutrition information (for 1 cup farro salad): Calories 229; Fat 4 g; Carbohydrates 40 g; Fiber 7 g; Protein 8 g; Sodium 330 mg

More delicious wild blueberry recipes — follow the link below!

Quinoa Power Breakfast: Gluten, Dairy and Egg-Free

Quinoa is often praised by dietitians and other health professionals as a super-food. While I find the term “super-food” a little gimmicky, it is mostly true in the case of quinoa. A grain, quinoa (pronounced KENN-wah) is a good source of both fiber (with more than 5 grams/cup) AND protein (more than 8 grams/cup). While we know that whole grains, like quinoa, generally contain fiber, we don’t always get that one-two punch of fiber and protein.

The best part? Quinoa’s amino acid profile is considered complete, meaning it doesn’t lack an amino acid like many other grain products do. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins for our body. Our body can make ten of the 20 amino acids we need to make proteins in our bodies, but the other ten — considered essential amino acids — must be supplied by the foods we eat. Most plant sources of protein don’t provide all of the essential amino acids, so it’s even more impressive that quinoa does.

I find that most people view quinoa as a savory food, often mixed with veggies and beans (and meat/poultry too) to create a quinoa salad. Think about it, though, quinoa is really just a bland-tasting grain when you get down to it. Thus, you can use it in sweeter preparations as well. Alas, Breakfast Quinoa! It’s a terrific option for when you have leftover quinoa from the night before (assuming you didn’t use broth or savory herbs to make it). Just mix with whatever fruit and nuts you have on hand, plus some cinnamon or other sweeter spices. It’s more filling than oatmeal, because it contains more protein and fiber (the satiety dynamic duo, if you will). Check out my delicious Banana Coconut Quinoa below!

Banana Coconut Power Breakfast Quinoa:

Breakfast_Quinoa

Ingredients:

  • One cup quinoa, cooked (1/2 cup dry)
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1 tsp organic virgin coconut oil
  • sprinkle of cinnamon (about 1/4 tsp)

Directions:

Cook quinoa according to package directions or heat up leftover quinoa. Stir in coconut oil when hot, then top with sliced banana, sunflower seeds and cinnamon.

 

 

Eggs Baked in Tomato Sauce

If you’re like me, you can’t get enough eggs. Fried or poached eggs, when placed over any food, create the most unctuous, delicious, satisfying meal (in my opinion at least). Seriously, what is better than a perfectly runny yolk? They’re just so creamy and wonderful and smooth and they really complete any meal….

Whoa, just had a little egg moment…I’m back now. One of the many reasons I love eggs is because of their versatility. Sweet and savory applications plus so many cooking preparations! Even with all the cooking options, I tend to rely on fried and poached eggs, along with omelets. So I felt that I should explore another egg cooking method: baked eggs. You can bake them in different sauces or even bake them in potatoes, tomatoes, avocados – really anything! I decided to try mine baked in a marinara sauce, because I also can’t get enough marinara.

Eggs Baked in Tomato Sauce:

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs per person (I made this for myself only, so I capped it at 2)
  • 1 cup marinara sauce, or if you don’t have any, mix 1 cup canned tomatoes with 1/2 tsp each garlic powder, oregano, basil and black pepper
  • cooking spray
  • For serving: 2 cups arugula (preferably organic)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 2 ramekins with cooking spray and fill each with 1/2 cup marinara sauce. Crack an egg on top of both. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until yolk is set.

baked_eggs

Serve over arugula (spinach or kale would also be good).

baked_eggs_over_arugula

Did I mention how wonderful eggs are for you? Only 70 calories/egg with 6 grams protein. Yes, there is saturated fat and cholesterol in the yolk (though there is nothing wrong with 1-2 eggs a day…anything more than that and I recommend supplementing with some egg whites), but the yolk is also high in lutein and xeazanthin, two compounds that may reduce your risk for macular degeneration. The yolk also contains vitamin A, choline (may help improve brain functioning and reduce inflammation) and even some protein (it’s not all in the white!).

As far as choosing eggs at the store, I recommend Organic, Free Range eggs from chickens that have been fed a vegetarian diet. While these are the most expensive, you are getting what you pay for: higher quality eggs from more ethically-treated chickens, sans the pesticides and antibiotics.

Inside_baked_eggs

Breakfast Dilemma Solved

Banana Pumpkin Omelet

Hello and welcome to my new website, danaartinyan.com! I’m excited for a new look and simpler name. And please email me at dana.artinyan.rd@gmail.com with any questions, comments, or post ideas. Thanks!

The Sweet or Savory Breakfast Dilemma

I’m sure you’ve had this happen. You’re at a restaurant or at home trying to decide: do you want the sweet pancakes, waffles or French toast? Or are you in the mood for a delicious omelet (e.g. the savory breakfast option).

I believe I solved this issue today when I made a Banana-Pumpkin-Cinnamon Flourless “Crepe.” This is basically a sweet omelet. I was inspired by the egg mixture that you dip bread into whilst making French toast. Why couldn’t I make an omelet like this? And before you get grossed out thinking about an omelet with fruit in it, let’s review all of the sweet applications for eggs: the aforementioned French toast, soufflé, meringues, any baked good…

Is it making sense now? Trust me, this was absolutely delicious with just the right amount of natural sweetness from the bananas and cinnamon, yet not overly sweet, which is usually what you find with a waffle, French toast and the like.

Protein Breakfast

Banana-Pumpkin-Cinnamon Flourless “Crepe”

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole egg + 1/3 cup egg white
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon (or about 2 “shakes”)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree

Directions:

Beat egg and egg white with vanilla and cinnamon until fluffy. Heat 1 tsp coconut oil in a small omelet pan. When oil is melted, add egg mixture to pan. Distribute slices of banana evenly in egg/omelet mixture. Put a lid on it and cook until omelet sets. When omelet is fully cooked, fill it with half of the pumpkin puree. Fold the omelet in half and drizzle remaining pumpkin puree over the top. Sprikle with cinnamon if desired. You can also add a drizzle of honey on top, though I didn’t feel it was necessary.

Pictured with a piece of Manna Cinnamon Date Bread (this stuff is amazing!).

This protein-rich breakfast will keep you full and also satisfy your sweet tooth. Plus it also contains potassium (banana, pumpkin), vitamin A, vitamin C and even a little iron – all from that delicious, fall-like pumpkin.

Banana Pumpkin Omelet