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.

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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.

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

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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.

 

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Savory Greek Yogurt Series: Rosemary-Roasted Beets with Balsamic and Olive Oil

In case you’re unaware, I have an obsession with tzatziki sauce. And the main ingredient of tzatziki sauce? Greek yogurt. Yup, also obsessed. It’s super-versatile and I find that I can use it in both sweet and savory dishes, mix it into soups and sauces, turn it into a dip and use it in place of many higher-calorie, higher-fat ingredients (e.g. mayo, sour cream, cream cheese).

I’m especially fascinated with the idea of using Greek yogurt in a more savory way. So, after bringing home a mammoth container of plain, nonfat Greek yogurt from Costco, I decided it was time to make a series of savory Greek yogurt dishes (parfaits, if you will).

Recipe: Greek Yogurt with Rosemary-Roasted Beets and Balsamic

Beets with balsamic and rosemary lend an earthy flavor to this Greek yogurt “parfait.” If you have pistachios or pepitas on hand, they would also be excellent sprinkled on top. To save time, roast the beets ahead of time and enjoy throughout the week.

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Ingredients:

For roasted beets:

  • 1 beet, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp each, cracked black pepper and sea salt

For parfait:

  • 1 beet, roasted (ingredients above, roasting instructions below)
  • 1 cup plain, non-fat or low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp aged balsamic vinegar (Trader Joe’s Balsamic Glaze would also work nicely)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375. Peel and cut beet into wedges. (You can also make a batch of roasted beets ahead of time). Toss with olive oil and place on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle with rosemary, salt and pepper and roast for about 45 minutes, or until beets are soft. Remove from oven and let cool.

For parfait, top Greek yogurt with roasted beets then drizzle with balsamic and olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and optional rosemary.

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Do you have any other suggestions for savory Greek yogurt dishes? Please share in the comments below!

 

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.

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

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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.

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