Spinach with Bacon and Gorgonzola

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We have a number of delicious spinach salad recipes, but the Gorgonzola dressing for this one is addictive.  It is easy to prepare, and an attractive side dish for company meals, but I make it for just Joe and me and we wind up saying “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing!”  Try it with sliced red onion and olives or chopped apple and pecans added!

Spinach with Bacon and Gorgonzola

2 tablespoons champagne vinegar

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 1/2 tablespoons agave nectar

24 ounce carton of washed baby spinach

5 slices lean bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled

1 3/4 cups crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

1/4 cup half and half or whole milk

Put first 3 ingredients in small jar with screw on lid and shake vigorously to blend.  Place spinach in large bowl. Cook bacon in heavy skillet over medium heat until crisp. Drain on paper towel and crumble. Pour off all but 1 or 2  tablespoons of drippings. Reduce heat, add cheese, then stir in mixed dressing.  Stir until melted and smooth  and pour warm dressing over salad. Scatter bacon pieces on top.  

Mary Ann’s Eggs Benedict

Most of the recipes I have posted since beginning this blog have been healthy foods although I have given little recognition of calories and carbohydrates. Since I need to pay stricter attention to both after coming up with prediabetic numbers in recent testing, I am going to share some of that adventure with you! It wouldn’t be fair to leave that part of our family’s food story out. I will confess, my first reaction was grief. As an R.N., I have certainly been aware of creeping weight gain associated with aging and the high levels of stress we have had during my husband’s numerous hospitalizations and surgeries. In other words, I knew the wake up call was coming. Of course, I should have been on top of it long before lab results defined what I had to do, but I kept putting it off. So now, I need to face the issue head on. I decided I would focus on my goals (healthier, longer life, weight loss, and a return to normal blood sugars) and the things I could eat as opposed to what I could not.

The short version of planned change is that I am increasing my exercise and avoiding white sugar, white flour, and white rice. I have engaged some tools to help me track food and activity. I am determined to find healthier, creative, delicious foods and continue my delight in cooking for my family. I am aware that I am modeling a healthier lifestyle for my children and grandchildren.

Being a food blogger, I read numerous other similar blogs. While reading one this morning I saw that today is National Eggs Benedict Day! Eggs Benedict is my all time favorite breakfast, so I decided to make myself a Monday treat. It is certain that my breakfast most days is much simpler, but I had to try this. My version drops the English muffin and substitutes sautéed spinach. With a small piece of leftover Easter ham, a poached egg and measured Hollandaise, my mission was accomplished. Delicious enough to serve anytime.

Mary Ann’s Eggs Benedict 1 serving

1 large handful raw baby spinach, washed

1.5 ounces honey baked ham (about the size of your palm)

1 egg

2 Tablespoons prepared Hollandaise sauce (I used Chef All Natural brand from HEB)

Spray small skillet with cooking spray, add ham on one side of the pan. When ham begins to brown, crack one egg on the other side of the skillet. Put 1 teaspoon water in (I do this with the skillet lid) and cover. Reduce heat and cook until egg is desired firmness. Remove egg and ham with spatula and place on serving plate. Put spinach into skillet and toss until wilted. Slide spinach onto plate under egg and ham. Hollandaise will be thick, so put it into the same skillet and stir briefly until it warms, then drizzle on top. One pan does it all!

Note: The brand of prepared sauce I used only comes in a 32 ounce box which should be used within a week once opened. It can be poured into an ice-cube tray and frozen in individual portions. Making your own Hollandaise would be even better.
Calories – 241, carbohydrates – 5 grams, Fat – 16 grams, Fiber – 1 gram, Calcium – 4 gram
(calculation done with www.myfitnesspal.com )

Skillet-Baked Eggs with Spinach, Yogurt, and Chili Oil

Yesterday I made this for our breakfast.  It is so good that the recipe will go straight to our favorites for any meal.  It could be a terrific addition to brunch, a satisfying and nutritious lunch or supper.  I adapted this from a recipe featured in Bon Appetit which can be found at www.bonappetit.com.   My version substitutes 1/2 small onion for leeks and cayenne pepper for the Turkish chili powder. 

Skillet Baked Eggs with Yogurt and Chili Butter

2/3 cup plain Greek style yogurt

2 garlic clove, halved

Sea salt

2 Tbsp. butter, divided

2 Tbsp olive oil

1/2  small onion, chopped

4 chopped green onions

10 cups fresh spinach, about 10 oz.  Do not use baby spinach

1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

4 large eggs

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (or to taste)

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano

Mix yogurt, garlic and a pinch of salt and set aside.  Set oven to 300 degrees.  Melt 1 Tablespoon butter with oil in large iron skillet, add onions and cook until soft.  Add spinach and lemon juice, sprinkle with salt.  Cook, turning frequently until spinach is wilted.  Spoon off any liquid that has cooked out of spinach.  Make 4 nests in the spinach and break one egg into each.  Bake until egg whites are set, around 15 minutes.

Melt remaining 1 Tablespoon butter in small pan over low heat, add cayenne and a pinch of salt and cook until butter starts to foam and brown at bottom of pan.  Add oregano, stir. Remove garlic from yogurt, and spoon yogurt over eggs and spinach.  Drizzle each serving with the spicy butter.