Spaghetti Squash Breakfast Hash

Vegetables are one of my favorite things to eat for breakfast, but I had never thought about combining spaghetti squash with eggs until I had a similar dish for brunch at Posana in Asheville, NC. Their garden vegetable hash was superb and I enjoyed it on their dog-friendly patio where they even have a menu for fur babies. Back at home in my kitchen with my four-legged-boy, Rocco, beside me, I crafted my version with a light and creamy Dijon sauce in place of their leek vinaigrette.

This recipe is also a great one to make when serving breakfast for dinner. Looking for a grab-and-go breakfast option? Serve the hash in small containers and add boiled egg slices on top in place of the poached or fried eggs. Hope you enjoy this unique take on spaghetti squash and comment below to let me know about your favorite breakfast veggies.

Ingredients:
1 medium spaghetti squash
16 ounces small potatoes, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 leek
1 bunch or 6 ounce bag of spinach
salt and pepper
½ cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons whole grain Dijon mustard
2 cloves minced garlic
4 eggs, poached or fried

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Trim the ends of the squash and slice in half. Remove the seeds and discard. Place squash cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in the center of the oven until tender and squash flakes with a fork into noodles, about 40 to 45 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, place potatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle with ½ tablespoon olive oil. Roast until tender, for 25 to 30 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Remove vegetables from the oven and cover potatoes with aluminum foil to keep warm. Let spaghetti squash sit until cool enough to touch.
  4. Meanwhile, remove the dark green stalk from the leek, keeping the light green and white section. Wash the leek well to remove dirt in between the layers and thinly slice. Heat remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add leek to the skillet and sauté until tender and fragrant, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add spinach and sauté until wilted, for a couple more minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and set aside on low heat to keep warm.
  5. In a small bowl, add yogurt, mustard and garlic and stir to combine, creating creamy garlic sauce.
  6. Use a fork to remove the strands of spaghetti squash by lightly raking across the inside surface. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add ¼ of squash, spinach and potatoes to each plate and serve with an egg on top and a dollop of creamy garlic sauce.

Servings: 4

Sweet Potato and Kohlrabi “Fries” with Creamy Garlic Sauce

Oh, how American’s love French fries, myself included included. The crispy, greasy, fried potato is the perfect burger companion. For a healthy alternative that is just as satisfying, I’ve created an oven-baked version with sweet potato and kohlrabi and a creamy garlic sauce for dipping. The sweetness of the potato is a perfect balance for kohlrabi, which has a slight bitter taste. Enjoy as an appetizer or pair with a hamburger or your favorite sandwich for healthy pub grub at home.

Ingredients:
1 large sweet potato
1 large kohlrabi bulb
1½ tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons whole grain Dijon mustard
2 cloves minced garlic

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Peel sweet potato and kohlrabi and cut into fry shaped strips.
  2. Place sweet potato and kohlrabi strips in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with paprika, salt and pepper and toss to evenly coat.
  3. Arrange vegetables in a single layer on a large baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and flip with a spatula. Continue baking for 15 to 25 minutes, until golden brown.
  4. Meanwhile, add yogurt, mustard and garlic in a small bowl and stir to combine, creating a creamy garlic sauce for serving.

Servings: 4

Green Eggs Benedict with Hoecakes

Served over hoecakes, made from fresh ground cornmeal, this is a southern vegetarian version of Dr. Suess’ breakfast. Sautéed kale and a light avocado sauce give this traditional egg dish two shades of green and a healthy makeover. Create a make-your-own Eggs Benedict station for brunch guests by adding ham or smoked salmon as additional options. Pair with a fresh glass of orange juice, mimosa or Bloody Mary to finish out the meal.

Hoecake Ingredients:
¾ cup cornmeal
¼ cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
canola oil, for greasing the griddle

Green Eggs Benedict Ingredients:
1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled
Juice of 1 small lemon
4 teaspoons canola oil, divided
¾ cup water
a couple pinches of salt and pepper
1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves chopped, or 5 ounces baby kale
8 eggs, fried or poached

Directions:

  1. Prepare a griddle over medium heat. In a large bowl, make the hoecake batter by stirring together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt. Add the egg and buttermilk and whisk to combine.
  2. Lightly brush griddle with canola oil. Ladle the batter onto the griddle, working in batches to create 8 hoecakes. Cook until bubbles start to form on the top and the bottom is golden brown. Flip and cook until the other side is golden brown and the center is cooked through. Place cooked hoecakes on a serving platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Repeat with the rest of the batter, adding remaining oil to the griddle as needed.
  3. Place avocado in a blender or food processor. Add lemon juice, 2 teaspoons canola oil, water and a pinch of salt and pepper. Puree until smooth, adding more water as needed to reach desired consistency.
  4. Heat remaining oil in a medium skillet and add kale leaves. Sauté until wilted, for about 3 to 4 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  5. Top each hoecake with sautéed kale and an egg. Drizzle with avocado sauce and serve.

Servings: 8

Berry Breakfast Quinoa

Hearty quinoa with its nutty flavor compliments sweet berries and crunchy almonds in this breakfast bowl that will keep you satisfied all morning. Substitute the strawberries and blackberries for any seasonal berry in your region of the world. Quinoa is a complete protein, offering all of the essential amino acids, making it a great choice for vegetarians. It’s also an excellent whole grain option for those with celiac or gluten sensitivities since it’s naturally gluten-free.

I love to make a big batch of Berry Breakfast Quinoa on the weekend for a fast breakfast to just reheat on busy weekday mornings. A nutritious and delicious breakfast doesn’t have to be time-consuming.

Ingredients:
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water, plus more for rinsing
⅓ cup dried cranberries
6 ounces strawberries
6 ounces blueberries
⅓ cup sliced blackberries
2 tablespoons sorghum or honey

Directions:

  1. Using a fine-mesh sieve, rinse quinoa with water.
  2. Combine quinoa, water and cranberries in a rice cooker and cook for 30 to 40 minutes.
  3. Add berries, almonds and sorghum. Stir to combine and serve warm or chill and enjoy cold.

Servings: 4

Mushroom and Goat Cheese Toast

If you know a local mushroom farmer or grow your own mushrooms, you are so lucky and I am a little jealous. I created this recipe when I had access to weekly fresh mushrooms at a Farmers’ Market when we lived in Wisconsin. Most Saturdays I would make this recipe as soon as I got home from the market and serve it with a fried egg for breakfast or side salad for lunch. I couldn’t wait to eat these mushrooms and this simple and quick dish made it possible to get them on my plate in about 15 minutes. The recipe quantities below make this a great appetizer for a small group, but just trim the amount back if you want to enjoy this as a meal for one or two.

Ingredients:
14 inch baguette
8 ounces shiitake or white button mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
4 ounces goat cheese

Directions:

  1. Turn oven broil setting to low heat. Slice bread into about 16 pieces and place on a baking sheet. Set aside while preparing mushrooms.
  2. Remove stems from the mushrooms and gently wash the tops before thinly slicing. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and sauté for about four minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of water and continue cooking for another 4 to 6 minutes, until tender and golden brown. Add thyme, salt and pepper to the mushrooms and stir to evenly coat.
  3. Broil baguette slides on each side for 1 to 2 minutes. Top with equal amounts of mushrooms and goat cheese and continue broiling for another 2 minutes until cheese is warm. Serve immediately.

Servings: 8 (2 slices as appetizer)

Pantry Pasta

We all have those busy nights when the fridge is sparse and we don’t have time to pick up fresh ingredients for dinner. My Pantry Pasta dish is the perfect meal to make during those moments. It takes less than 15 minutes to prepare, giving you more time to relax at the end of the day.

For a fresh version of this recipe during summer months, replace the canned tomatoes with vine-ripened tomatoes fresh from the farm or your backyard. Cheers to making meals that are both healthy and convenient.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15.5 ounce) can Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced and no-salt-added tomatoes
¼ cup red or white wine
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
½ pound whole wheat spaghetti noodles

Optional Ingredients for Serving:
Fresh basil, cut into ribbons
Parmesan cheese, grated

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about one minute. Add beans, tomatoes with juices, wine, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for about five minutes.
  3. Serve over spaghetti noodles. Top with basil and Parmesan cheese if desired.

Servings: 4

Mushroom and Black Bean Omelet

When I make my Sweet and Spicy Veggie Quesadilla, I don’t always make six servings, which means I have extra black beans and sautéed mushrooms on hand. That’s where the inspiration came from for this Mushroom and Black Bean Omelet. Treasure those leftovers and use a little creativity to transform them into a new delicious meal.

Breakfast is one of my favorite meals and I think weekday meals should be just as delicious as slowly savored weekend brunches. This recipe is fast and easy to make any day of the week. Create your own version by substituting the mushrooms and beans for last nights’ leftover vegetables, such as steamed broccoli and roasted potatoes.

Ingredients:
2 eggs
⅛ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon chipotle Chile powder
½ teaspoon butter
¼ cup black beans
¼ cup mushrooms, sautéed
¼ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
light sour cream and salsa for serving

Directions:

  1. Crack eggs in a small bowl. Season with salt, pepper and chipotle Chile powder and blend with a fork.
  2. Melt butter in a small non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Pour eggs into skillet and lightly stir with a spatula, until the eggs start to come together. Use the spatula to start to loosen the edges of the omelet by gently peeling it away from the pan.
  3. When the eggs are almost set, add black beans, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese to one side. Fold omelet in half to cover ingredients. Cook for about a minute longer. Flip omelet and cook an additional minute, until outside is lightly browned and cheese has melted. Top with light sour cream and salsa before serving.

Servings: 1

Sweet and Spicy Veggie Quesadilla

Sweet potatoes may not be a common quesadilla ingredient, but this puree — combined with black beans, mushrooms and jalapeño pepper slices — results in a delicious medley that gives your taste buds a little heat and sweet.

I love a reason to have a glass of wine with dinner. The mushrooms need some cooking wine, so there is my rational for opening a bottle and enjoying a glass with my meal. Cheers to good food, good wine and a different take on veggie quesadillas.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (8 ounce) container white button mushrooms, sliced
¼ cup red wine (any varietal)
2 cups (1 recipe) Spicy Sweet Potato Puree
6 whole wheat tortillas
1 (15 ounce can) no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
1½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
hot and sweet jalapeño pepper slices
light sour cream for serving

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes, until browned. Add red wine and cooking 4 to 5 minutes, until liquid is absorbed.
  2. Spread ⅓ cup of sweet potato puree evenly on one side of tortilla. Top with ¼ cup black beans, ¼ cup mozzarella cheese, 2 tablespoons mushrooms and desired amount of jalapeño slices. Fold tortilla over, completely covering ingredients. Repeat to create 5 more quesadillas.
  3. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Place two quesadillas in the skillet and cook for 3 minutes on one side, until golden brown. Flip quesadillas and cook for an 3 additional minutes. Continue cooking remaining quesadillas two at a time. Cut each into 4 wedges and serve with sour cream.

Servings: 6

Spicy Sweet Potato Puree

Chipotle chile pepper adds smokey heat, while the maple syrup amps up the sweetness in my Spicy Sweet Potato Puree. Add a pork chop and sautéed kale to turn this side into a meal.

I like to make a double or triple batch of this Spicy Sweet Potato Puree to freeze and have on hand for fast weeknight dinners. To avoid taking up too much storage space in your freezer, store the potatoes in zip-top bags and lay them flat. When you’re ready to serve them again, just defrost the bag in your refrigerator before heating.

Ingredients:
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon chipotle chile pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons skim milk

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, add sweet potatoes and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for about 10 minutes, until tender.
  2. Drain potatoes in a colander and return to saucepan. Reduce heat to low and mash sweet potatoes with a potato masher (for a more rustic version) or use a mixer (for a smooth, no-lump version). Add maple syrup, chipotle chile pepper, salt and milk. Stir to combine and cook for a minute or two, allowing flavors to meld.

Servings: 4

SLOW COOKER PINTO BEANS AND GREENS


Pinto beans and sautéed greens are two of my favorite southern sides, and they also make a great combination in this easy, no-fuss meal. This is a bowl of comfort food that will provide warmth on a cold winter night. Add a hot skillet of cornbread, just like your grandmother made, and you have a delicious meal that’s worth writing home about.

I used dried beans in this vegetarian meal that’s sure to please even the meat lovers in your life. Dried beans are a great bargain and you can control how much salt is added. Beans are an excellent source of plant protein, and also provide other nutrients such as iron and zinc. Kale is packed with vitamin A and C, and also a good source of calcium and potassium. Enjoy this nutritious bowl of goodness.

Ingredients:
1 cup dried pinto beans, sorted and rinsed
9 cups water, divided
1 small onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small jalapeño, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 bunch kale
hot sauce or hot and sweet jalapeño slices


Directions:

  1. Soak dried beans in 5 cups of water overnight.
  2. Drain beans and place in a slow cooker. Add onion, jalapeño, garlic, salt and pepper. Add 4 cups water, turn to high heat and cook for 3 to 4 hours.
  3. Wash and chop kale, removing tough stems. Add kale to pinto beans, stirring to combine, and cook for an additional hour.
  4. Serve with cornbread and hot sauce or sweet jalapeño slices.