Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Okie Dokie Artichokie!

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Tonight was my first experience cooking with a whole artichoke and I must say it was quite a success!  They kind of intimidated me at first simply because most people don't even know how to eat them, but I conquered my fears and went for it.  I was so excited to start this new cooking adventure I didn't even care if it was already 86 degrees in my house; I turned on the oven anyways. The things I'll go through for a good cooking adventure I tell ya.  I was sweatin' up a storm....Gross. I know.  But anyways back to the good stuff...

This recipe is packed with my two favorite things: PROTEIN and FIBER!  Yes I know my close family and friends are sick and tired of me talking about protein and fiber, but I can't help it.  They are so important to a well balanced diet and yet many Americans do not get enough of either one.  Instead, America's diets are made up of simple sugars and saturated fats none of which are found in this recipe.  The quinoa (most protein packed grain!) and TVP fill this recipe with protein while the artichoke provides the bulk of the fiber.  Such a great combination!  Although this recipe was quite the adventure in both cooking and eating it, it was definitely worth it.  I would do it all over again in a heart beat...except that probably won't happen because I love trying new things too much to repeat recipes.  Haha. :P

ITALIAN STUFFED ARTICHOKE

Ingredients:
2 medium Artichokes
1/4 cup dry Quinoa
1/2 cup TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein)*
15 oz can Diced tomatoes
1/4 tsp Onion powder
1/4 tsp Garlic powder
1/2 tsp Basil
1/4-1/2 tsp Crushed red pepper (optional)
Water
Grated parmesan cheese (optional)
*If you don't want to buy TVP, you can probably sub ground turkey although I have not tried it.  Just make sure it is cooked first!

Directions:
1. Get a large pot of water boiling while you prepare the artichoke.
2. To prepare the artichoke cut off the stem (save this!) and 1/4 inch off the top of the artichoke.
3. Cut off the tip of each leaf to remove the prickly part.  I had to sanitize my normal scissors because I didn't have kitchen shears.
4. Once the water is boiling, add the artichokes and boil for 25-35 minutes with the cover on.  You will know they are done when you can easily pull off the leaves.
5. After you get the artichoke boiling, combine the quinoa, TVP, diced tomatoes, and seasonings in a smaller pot.
6. Fill the empty tomato can about half full with water and add to the pot.
7. Bring quinoa mixture to a gentle boil and cover stirring occasionally for the next 20-25 minutes.  Most of the liquid should be absorbed by the end.
8. With about 10-15 minutes of cook time left, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. 
9. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy clean up.
10.  Once the artichokes are done boiling place them on the baking sheet and gently open the leaves a bit with a fork.
11. Spoon the quinoa mixture into the center of each artichoke and stuff some in the side leaves.  It doesn't have to be perfect, just make sure you spread it out good. 
12. Bake for 10-15 minutes.
13. Sprinkle a little parmesan cheese on the top and enjoy!  If you don't know how to each a artichoke, I suggest you google it. :P Hint: You can't just use a fork! 
Makes 2 servings.

Nutrition Facts:
Note: The parmesan cheese is not included in the nutrition facts.
Calories: 269
Total Fat: 1.5 g
     Sat. Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 507.5 mg
Potassium: 2288 mg
Total Carbs: 44.3 g
     Dietary Fiber: 14.7 g (More than half your daily serving!!!)
     Sugars: 12.8 g
Protein: 18.7 g
Vitamin A: 26.3%
Vitamin C: 39%
Calcium: 19.5%
Iron: 38.5%

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