Artichoke Blue Cheese Baked Eggs for Holiday Brunch

The holiday season is imminent and busy shoppers are filling their baskets with hams, birds and beef roasts to deck out dinner table.  But, let’s not talk turkey, let’s talk eggs! With Thanksgiving, Christmas and all the other equally celebratory winter holidays that people hold near and dear, many of us will find ourselves hosting guests. And, in my experience, guests are always ready to eat from sun up to sun down.  I’m happy to  all my ravenous revelers, in fact I love cooking for company — I just don”t like to feel rushed in the morning.

Artichoke Blue Cheese EggsMy easy Artichoke and Blue Cheese Egg Bake comes to the rescue on so many levels – it’s simple to make, can be prepped the night before and kept in the fridge until next morning, can be make in individual servings or in one big family-style pan, and . . .most, it just tastes delicious!

Artichoke and Blue Cheese Egg Bake

Artichoke and Blue Cheese Egg Bake makes is a beautiful recipe for brunch or breakfast. Lovely for holiday entertaining.

Who wants a bland, boring breakfast when the flavors of blue cheese and artichokes are ready to add extra AMAZING to the day?! Also, there are tomatoes and a ton of spinach in this recipe, so it’s also kinda like eating a salad for breafast or brunch. This statement makes even more sense when I tell you that blue cheese dressing is one of the secret ingredients!  artichoke blue cheese egg bake prep

I actually posted this egg recipe in January 2104 after developing for Litehouse Foods using their award-wining Simply Artisan Reserve Blue Cheese Crumbles and OPA Blue Cheese Dressing (made with Greek yogurt). Because it has been so popular, I decided to refresh the photos — oh, and also it will be featured in an upcoming 2017 food calendar!   Ooh, I wonder if it will be the centerfold — keep you posted!

This is the perfect breakfast to power up for all that upcoming Black Friday shopping or as a simple, light dinner when you come home from the shop-a-thon and need quality protein and healthy veggies for recovery.

What do you like to serve holiday house guests for breakfast? Are you running in a Turkey Trot this week? What has your best shopping deal been so far (I know it’s early) — please share in the comments, XOXO – Jennifer 

Artichoke Blue Cheese Baked Eggs
Print Recipe
Wake up to bold and beautiful baked eggs featuring artichokes, blue cheese, spinach and tomatoes. Easy to prep night before and then just stick in the oven.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Artichoke Blue Cheese Baked Eggs
Print Recipe
Wake up to bold and beautiful baked eggs featuring artichokes, blue cheese, spinach and tomatoes. Easy to prep night before and then just stick in the oven.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Lightly spray 4 ramekins or small gratin dishes with baking spray. Coarsely chop spinach and divide evenly among dishes.
  3. Drizzle even portions of blue cheese salad dressing over spinach and sprinkle with red onion.
  4. Slice grape tomatoes in half and drain liquid from jar of artichoke hearts. Place tomatoes and artichokes around perimeter of dishes.
  5. Gently crack 2 eggs over top of spinach mixture, taking care not to break yolk. Repeat for remaining 3 personal-sized baking dishes. Sprinkle tops with chives. This may also be made in a 8” to 9” round baking dish with all the ingredients for “family style.”
  6. Place dishes on a rimmed baking sheet and place on center rack of oven. Back for approximately 20 minutes or until egg whites have set and yolk has achieved desired level of doneness.
  7. Remove from oven and sprinkle tops with an even portion of blue cheese crumbles. Let cool for 2 to 3 minutes before serving.
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Fig Cardamom Protein Mug Cake (Stevia-Honey Blend) #UseNectar

I make no excuses, I have a sweet tooth. Almost daily I eat chocolate, coated on almond for balance. Ha ha! I love fruit just as much as chocolate, and in my dream life would have a personal chef at my beckoned call to serve me sliced watermelon and pineapple drizzled with passion fruit. Oh, and figs. Give me all the figs, especially figs with honey. Fresh Figs with Truvia Nectar - a stevia-honey blend that is a great replacement for whole honey, sugar and agave.

Truvia NectarHowever, even too much of Mother Nature’s “candy” can start to rack up the calorie and carb count and that’s why I have fallen in love with a new product from a brand we all know, Truvia® .  Truvia® Nectar is a blend of stevia and honey that makes a great substitute agave, sugar, and honey – and it only has 10 calories and 2g carbs per serving.

Since I love having my “sweet” protein things for breakfast – protein shakes, mug cakes, fruit-speckled oatmeal and such, decided to make a protein mug cake using Truvia® Nectar – I’m calling it ‘Stevia-Honey Blend’ Fig Cardamom Protein Mug Cake and it works equally well for a healthy dessert as it does a protein-packed, lower-carb breakfast.

(Stevia Honey Blend) Fig Cardamom Protein Mug Cake makes a great breakfast or healthy dessert.

This recipe is as simple as lining a 16-ounce coffee mug with sliced fresh figs, adding a drizzle of the stevia-honey blend and then topping with my go-to recipe for a vanilla protein mug muffin (that has been sweetened with Truvia® Nectar and spiked with cardamom, cloves and cinnamon). You can use the protein powder of your choice and a regular flour or gluten free mix. The, just pop in the microwave for about 90 seconds and get your figgy jig on! Figs in Mug

Fig Protein Mug Muffin using Truvia NectarAfter “baking” in the microwave, you can enjoy this sweet treat right out of the mug with a spoon, but I prefer to serve it upside-down cake style and invert it only a dessert plate so that I can see the beautiful figs on top.  A dollop of Greek yogurt, extra slice of fig and drizzle of Truvia® Nectar make this mug cake recipe extra special.  Truvia Nectar on Fig Cake

Truvia® Nectar reasonably priced at about $6 per 300 gram bottle (120 servings!), I found mine at Target. You’ll also find all of the other stevia-based sugar alternatives that Truvia sells.

Honey and Lemongrass Broiled Grapefruit - TheFitFork.comI thought the taste was fantastic and have also used it to sweeten my coffee,  stirred into plain Greek yogurt topped with nuts, and in other recipes like this Salted “Honey” and Ginger Broiled Grapefruit. Truvia® Nectar is truly a sensible way to replace honey’s calorie content without sacrificing sweetness. Truvia Nectar

So, sweeeeeeeeeet! Truvia is offering a free sample of Truvia® Nectar, make sure to get your free sample today!

Are you a sweet or savory person in the morning? Are you getting your 25 to 30 grams of protein for breakfast? How would you use Truvia Nectar? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

(Stevia-Honey Blend) Fig Cardamom Protein Mug Cake
Print Recipe
Keep breakfast or dessert lower carb & higher protein with my sweet, succulent & super quick recipe for Fig Cardamom Mug Cake that uses stevia-honey blend.
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 3 mintues
Cook Time
2 mintues
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 3 mintues
Cook Time
2 mintues
(Stevia-Honey Blend) Fig Cardamom Protein Mug Cake
Print Recipe
Keep breakfast or dessert lower carb & higher protein with my sweet, succulent & super quick recipe for Fig Cardamom Mug Cake that uses stevia-honey blend.
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 3 mintues
Cook Time
2 mintues
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 3 mintues
Cook Time
2 mintues
Ingredients
Servings: serving
Instructions
  1. Spray a large microwave-safe 16-ounce coffee mug with cooking spray. Line figs in bottom of mug and halfway up sides, drizzle figs with 1 teaspoon of Truvia Nectar. Set aside.
  2. In small bowl, combine protein powder, gluten-free baking mix, baking soda, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon. Stir together until combined well.
  3. Whisk in egg, almond milk and remaining Truvia Nectar until combined.
  4. Pour into sprayed coffee mug, over figs, and microwave 1 minute 30 seconds, or until cooked through. Microwave times may vary depending on your appliance. Cake will rise above rim and then “fall” once removed from microwave.
  5. Remove mug and invert onto plate, gently slide out cake. Let cool for 2 minutes. Top with Greek yogurt, additional figs and Truvia Nectar drizzle, if desired.
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BBQ Beef Bean & Sweet ‘Tater Taquitos #TexMexAndFlex

BBQ Beef, Black Bean and Sweet Potato Taquitos are baked and filled with wholesome ingredients. We are up to our chin guards in football season, so I’ve kicked up my family-friendly, meal-prepping madness into overtime. With just a little “overtime” work on Sunday, I can prepare a couple batches of my BBQ Beef, Black Bean and Sweet ‘Tater Taquitos and have enough for a couple quick-fix, weeknight dinners and leftovers for snacking on the big game day. By the way and sorry for the questionable rhyming (haha), I originally developed these onfleek-o taquitos for BeefLovingTexans.com, so check it out!

BBQ Beef, Black Bean and Sweet Potato Taquitos make a quick and easy dinner solution. Baked, not fried, and filled with wholesome ingredients to fuel an active lifestyle. Meal prep a couple batches for the freezer for busy weeknight meals or football game day snacks.

While my teenage boys and their always-hungry friends are munching what they assume to be merely crispy, crunchy, cheesy, beefy taquitos (rolled small tacos by any other name!), I snicker in silent satisfaction knowing I’ve snuck in some wholesome nutrition to fuel their busy, active bodies. Lean beef for muscle-making protein and iron, beans for even more protein plus fiber, and sweet potato in a whole grain tortillas for a double-whammy of healthy complex carbs for long-lasting giddy-up-and-go.  As Guy Fieri would say in his own punderful way, “You can’t beato these taquitos!”

These tasty taquitos can be devoured right out of the oven, or freeze a batch and then just toss in the oven (or toaster oven!) on those endless days that have gone into double overtime. This is an easy way to pass the proverbial ball over to the kids and let them do some quarterbacking in the kitchen.

mojo-citrus-guacamole-1Just add a simple side salad and your favorite Texas-style condiments like guacamole, sour cream, pico de gallo and barbeque sauce.My Mojo Citrus Guacamole makes a tasty team up!

 

 

 

 

 

bbq-beef-black-bean-and-sweet-tater-taquitos-preppingOne the taquito innards are made, assemble by adding a spoonful in the middle of a whole grain tortilla, rolling up and baking (no frying here and they are still super crunchy). While corn tortillas are traditional for taquitos, I’ve found that the corn-flour “mix” tortillas are more pliable and less prone to crack. If needed, insert a toothpick to keep tortillas secure, but don’t forget to remove before serving!

beef-black-bean-sweet-tater-taquito-holding-singleEnjoy!

Favorite football team? Any football players on the family roster this year? Favorite thing to roll in a tortilla? Please share in commets! XOXO , Jennifer 

 

BBQ Beef, Black Bean and Sweet Potato Taquitos are baked and filled with wholesome ingredients.
BBQ Beef, Black Bean & Sweet 'Tater Taquitos
Print Recipe
Roll up healthy dinner plans pronto with fit and fresh BBQ Beef, Bean &Sweet Potato Taquitos - a quick dinner or snack solution. Double batch for freezer!
Servings Prep Time
6 - 8 servings (20 taquitos total) 20 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 - 8 servings (20 taquitos total) 20 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
BBQ Beef, Black Bean and Sweet Potato Taquitos are baked and filled with wholesome ingredients.
BBQ Beef, Black Bean & Sweet 'Tater Taquitos
Print Recipe
Roll up healthy dinner plans pronto with fit and fresh BBQ Beef, Bean &Sweet Potato Taquitos - a quick dinner or snack solution. Double batch for freezer!
Servings Prep Time
6 - 8 servings (20 taquitos total) 20 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 - 8 servings (20 taquitos total) 20 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In large skillet, brown ground beef over medium-high heeat, add minced garlic in last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain fat and excess water. Mix in packet of taco seasoning and chili powder and 2 tablespoons of water (do not add amount of water taco season packet calls for). Stir and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Transfer cooked beef mixture to large bowl.
  3. Add olive oil to same skillet (okay if beef residue stays in there). Bring to medium-high heat and saute diced sweet potatoes for 4 to 5 minutes or until softened and browning. Add sweet potatoes to bowl with beef mixture.
  4. Add rinsed and drained beans to beef bow. Make sure beans have drained well to prevent soggy taquitos. Let entire mixture cool down for 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. Gently stir in BBQ sauces and 1 ½ cups of cheese.
  6. Working one at a time, transfer tortilla to a work surface; place scant 1/3 cup beef mixture into center of tortilla. Bring the bottom edge of the tortilla tightly over the filling, rolling from bottom to top until the top of the tortilla is reached. Secure with toothpick. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.
  7. Place taquitos onto rimmed sheet sprayed with baking spray. Spray tops of taquitos with baking spray and bake until crisp and cheese has melted, about 12-15 minutes.
  8. To reheat from frozen, heat oven to 375 F degrees and place taquitos on rimmed sheet sprayed with baking spray. Lightly cover tops of taquitos with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and spray tops of taquitos with baking spray, increase heat to 400 and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes until crisp, cheese has melted and tops are brown.
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Steak and Quinoa Squachos – NachOMG!

Steak and Quinoa Squachos are a healthy take on nachos and gluten-free, low-carb appetizer optionlYou may be thinking, “Ummmm, excuse me . . . but what the heck on God’s green Earth are SQUACHOS”? This quick and easy appetizer is a healthy swap for traditional nachos made with tortilla chips which are typically fried, overly salted and plentiful in carbs (if you’re counting).  Made on slices of summer’s finest squash, my Steak & Quinoa Squachos are, in two simple words, “life changing!”

Steak & Quinoa Squachos - gluten-free and low carb appetizer!

Zucchini and Summer SquashThe farmer’s markets (and personal gardens of you green-thumbers) are exploding with green zucchini and yellow summer squash this time of year — and this fun and fit finger food is a tasty way to take advantage of a bumper crop and squeeze a few extra veggies into the day.

 

Recipes similar to this use panko bread crumbs to create that familiar nacho crunch — but that defeats to purpose of my low-carb, higher protein mission. So, instead, I tossed together almond meal and cooked quinoa with a bit of cheese to create a tasty texture on top of each squash disc.

Steak and Quinoa Squachos -- a low carb, gluten free appetizer!

I used two of my go-to non-GMO, gluten-free and certified organic pantry staples from NowFoods.com Tri-Colored Quinoa  and Raw Almond Flour. This tri-color quinoa a blend of white, red and black seeds and is a great source of protein and iron — I typically serve it as a side dish or salad, but freeze leftovers for speedy recipes like this! Raw Almond Flour (or Almond Meal, as some people call it) is simply finely ground almonds and it makes a great low-carb swap for flour in many recipes. If you can’t find these products in your market, I’ve dropped the Amazon links below.
 

More Protein, More PowerNow, if you’ve been following along on the blog or social media, you know I’ve been sharing my (numerous time) journey on the Protein Challenge and encouraging others to join. This free 30-day challenge sponsored by BeefLovingTexans.com (who I also originally developed the Squacho recipe for) shows you how to tweak your daily protein intake for optimal heath — to be very succinct, you should be getting about 25 – 30 grams of protein at each of your three meals — and also protein rich snacks throughout the day and possibly at bedtime, depending on your activity level. You can register for the Protein Challenge and get tips, support and recipes HERE.

Join the 30 day Protein Challenge

Steak & Quinoa SquachosSo, are you making these Squachos this weekend, or what?!

What are your other plans – a race, a vacation, just catching up on the to-do list? Let’s chat in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

 

 

Steak and Quinoa Squachos are a healthy take on nachos and gluten-free, low-carb appetizer optionl
Steak & Quinoa Squachos
Print Recipe
You'll exclaim "squash-OMG" when you taste these unique beef nachos that swap tortilla chips for discs of zucchini -- almond meal and quinoa create a crunch texture while keeping the appetizer gluten-free and low carb.
Servings
8 as appetizer
Servings
8 as appetizer
Steak and Quinoa Squachos are a healthy take on nachos and gluten-free, low-carb appetizer optionl
Steak & Quinoa Squachos
Print Recipe
You'll exclaim "squash-OMG" when you taste these unique beef nachos that swap tortilla chips for discs of zucchini -- almond meal and quinoa create a crunch texture while keeping the appetizer gluten-free and low carb.
Servings
8 as appetizer
Servings
8 as appetizer
Ingredients
Servings: as appetizer
Instructions
  1. Preheat broiler on high. 2. Line two rimmed baking sheets with foil, coat with baking spray.
  2. lice squash into ¼” slices. Place squash, with edges touching each other, onto baking sheets.
  3. In bowl, toss together almond meal with dry fajita seasoning. Stir in cheese, cooked quinoa and almond meal until combined.
  4. Use a tablespoon to pile a big dollop of this cheese mixture on top of each squash slice. If leftover topping in bowl at end of dolloping, sprinkle evenly across tops.
  5. Cut leftover steak or fajita meat into bite-sized pieces. Place a piece of two of beef on top of each Squacho.
  6. Place oven rack on second to top position. Broil Squachos for 2 to 4 minutes, or until cheese mixture bubbling and turning golden brown on edges Watch carefully to prevent burning.
  7. Remove from oven and sprinkle with drained Pico de Gallo. Serve with other desired accompaniments such as guacamole, sour cream or salsa.
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Sweet & Salty Four-Seed Popcorn Bars

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of JOLLY TIME Pop Corn.  The opinions and text are all mine.

Sweet & Salty Four-Seed Popcorn Bars make a nutritious snack!

Jolly Time Popcorn healthy snackPopcorn makes a super on-the-go snack swap, especially as a replacement for common convenience options like granola bars, chips, and cookies that can be higher sugar and fat. Naturally gluten-free and considered a whole grain, popcorn is high in dietary fiber and low in calories – plus for the visual eater, a serving of popped corn looks like a whole LOT of food!  I’m especially fond of JOLLY TIME Pop Corn, their Healthy Pop line gets the thumbs up from Weight Watchers and most products are 94% fat-free and have just around 100 calories per serving (give or take) – that’s about 20 calories per cup!

Seeds may be tiny, but they pack a super-sized nutritional punch!

So, y’all know I’m big on getting protein into my snack too! A bag (5 cups) of JOLLY TIME Pop Corn has about 4 grams of protein, which actually surprised me – I thought it would have zip, nada, none! I was wrong, popcorn does have protein! But, I like to pump it up with additional whole food add-ins – especially seeds! Tiny little seeds are powerhouses of nutrition – they are an excellent source of heart-healthy fats, protein and essential vitamins and minerals. For example, hulled hemp seeds are one of the most nutritionally complete sources of plant-protein – containing every essential amino acid an fatty acid the body needs for optimal health.Sweet & Salty Four Seed Popcorn Bars make a nutritious snack that is nut-free and gluten-free.

Check out my recipe for Sweet & Salty Four-Seed Pop Corn Balls made with Healthy Pop Kettle Corn hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds and chia seeds. Instead of a caramel to hold it together like you’d find in a traditional popcorn ball, I’ve whipped up a nutritious binder made from sunflower butter and agave syrup, a low-glycemic index, natural sweetener.  This great snack or healthy dessert recipe is gluten-free, nut-free and has no added refined sugar – so enjoy and #haveaJOLLYTIME !

Trail Mix Pop Corn is also a family-approved winner at my house!

Trail Mix Popcorn

Also, please check out the Healthy Pop Challenge – get a free workout band, enter to win a FitBit Altra and grab coupons for JOLLY TIME Pop Corn. I love the idea that they have to workout while waiting for popcorn to pop – even little bursts of exercise add up. Depending on the length of your popping session and microwave settings (plan on an average of 4 minutes), you can get quite a few exercises done. Try these simple exercises in the kitchen while you wait:

Perform each exercise for 1 minute, as many times as you can safely, while you wait for  JOLLY TIME Pop Corn to cook:

jolly time exercise

  • Overhead band pulls (or pushup against wall, if no band)
  • Air Squats
  • Alternating Leg Lunges (in place)
  • Jumping Jacks

 

 

Sweet and Salty Four-Seed Popcorn BarsAre you a regular popcorn snacker, or only at the movies? Favorite popcorn mix-ins? Butter or no butter?

Please share in the comments below, XOXO, Jennifer 

 

 

Sweet and Salty Four-Seed Popcorn Bars
Sweet & Salty Four-Seed Popcorn Bars #HPChallenge
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
9 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Servings Prep Time
9 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Sweet and Salty Four-Seed Popcorn Bars
Sweet & Salty Four-Seed Popcorn Bars #HPChallenge
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
9 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Servings Prep Time
9 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Prepare popcorn according to package instructions. Pour in large mixing bowl and let cool.
  2. In small bowl, mix together hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, pepitas and chia seeds. Set aside.
  3. In small sauce pan, add sunflower seed butter and agave syrup, stir to combine. Bring to medium heat, stirring continuously. Once mixture begins to bubble, keep cooking and stirring for an additional 30 seconds.
  4. Drizzle hot sunflower-agave mixture over popcorn and quickly stir to combine as evenly as possible. Sprinkle in seed mixture into popcorn mixture in about 3 batches, stirring quickly each time to distribute.
  5. Spray 8 x 8-inch brownie pan with baking spray and fill with popcorn mixture. Using a piece of wax paper and hands or back of spoon, press down over entire top to compact firmly.
  6. Cut into 9 squares.
Recipe Notes

****Or the nut butter of your choice, I love Power Fuel from Nuttzo.com

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