Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Native to the Mediterranean region, the artichoke is the edible flower bud of a thistle-like plant in the sunflower family. It is eaten as a vegetable. 

Although mankind has been eating artichokes for more than 3000 years, the fall of Rome plunged the artichoke into obscurity until its revival in Italy the mid-15th century. 

Catherine de Medici, who was married to King Henry II of France at the tender young age of 14, is credited with bringing the artichoke from her native Italy to France, where its success was instant. 

The artichoke quickly made its way to Britain and as a result, the term artichoke first appeared in written English records in the 15th century. It made its way to America via French and Italian explorers. 

Now California produces 100 percent of the U.S. commercial artichoke crop, rivaled in popularity only in France and Italy.

Artichokes are low in calories, with only 60 calories for one medium cooked globe. They are naturally fat-free. Despite the fact that Marinated Artichoke Hearts are prepared in oil, there are just 25 calories in every 28g (2 pieces) serving and there is no saturated fat. The sodium content is 105mg or 4% of a person's daily allowance and there is no sugar added to enhance the flavour.

The artichoke is a natural diuretic, a digestive aid, and provides nutrition to health-promoting bacteria in the intestinal tract. 

Soups, salads, dips, main dishes and more; there's a world of ways to use this versatile vegetable. 

Artichoke Turkey Casserole

Cook's notes: This recipe was adapted from a  BHG Best  Comfort Foods  Special Interest Publication 2011.  A time saver is advance cooking of the meat and rice. 
This recipe was previously published but its a great casserole to use left over turkey meat and is a company worthy dish. 
A dry white wine such as sauvignon blanc or a rose would pair nicely with this meal.  
  • 1 TB. butter
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup red pepper finely chopped
  • 1 can of cream of chicken soup (light)
  • 1/2 onion finely chopped
  • 1 small jar of artichokes drained, patted dry with a paper towel
  • 2-3 cups chopped cooked turkey or chicken
  • 1-1/2 cups cooked wild rice
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme and 1 TB. parsley flakes or 1 tsp. herbes de Provence and 1 TB. parsley flakes 
  • 2 cups dried wide egg noodles
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  • Cook measured out dried egg noodles and bring to boil  and cook 3 minutes, drain
  • Saute in 1 TB. butter onions, peppers and carrots
  • Drain artichokes, pat dry and chop
  • In a 2 qt. baking dish,add soup and milk whisk together and then add saute mixture, chopped turkey or chicken, rice, chopped artichokes, noodles and cheese 
  • Grate Parmesan cheese over the top of this and cover with foil
  • Bake for 20 minutes, uncover and bake another 20 minutes
  • Let set 10 minutes before serving  

Turkey-Artichoke Panini
Cook's notes: This healthy recipe comes from  The Love Better America Kitchens. Using whole wheat bread, reduced fat garlic and herbs spreadable cheese and olive oil to lightly spread on outside of bread reduces the calories.  This recipes makes two sandwiches.
A fry pan works fine as a substitute for a panini maker.
  • 1/4 cup marinated artichoke hearts(from a 6 oz. jar), drained
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat garlic-herb spreadable cheese ) from a 6.5 ox container
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh spinach leaves, chopped
  • 4 slices of whole wheat bread
  • 1/4 cup roasted red bell peppers (from a jar), drained and sliced
  • 4 oz. turkey or chicken breast
  • 2 TB. reduced fat shredded Italian cheese blend
  • Heat panini maker for 5 minutes
  • Place artichoke hearts on paper towels;pat dry and coarsely chop 
  • In a small bowl mix artichoke hearts, spreadable cheese and spinach
  • Spread mixture on 2 bread slices
  • Top with bell peppers, turkey or chicken and shredded cheese
  • Top with remaining bread and brush both sides of bread with a little olive oil
  • Cook 3-5 minutes

Florentine Artichoke Dip
Cook's notes: This is an original recipe I have developed. Spinach, artichoke hearts and two cheeses blend beautifully in this hot appetizer. Roasted garlic chips or pita bread are some suggested dippers.  A glass pie plate can also be used to cook the appetizer.
  • 1/2 package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1- 6.5 oz jar marinated artichoke heatrts, drained, patted dry on paper towels and chopped
  • 1-8 oz. package softened cream cheese
  • 1 cup freshly grated (shredded) Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup provolone cheese
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
  • 1 tsp garlic from a jar
  • 1-1/2 TB. lemon juice
  • grated Provolone cheese
  • 1-1/2 cups bread crumbs made from French bread
  • 1 TB. parsley flakes
  • 2 TB. butter
  • Drain spinach and squeeze dry
  • Combine spinach, artichoke hearts, cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, provolone cheese, mayo, garlic and lemon juice 
  • Spoon into a lightly greased baking dish or pie pan
  • In a blender or food processor mix parsley flakes, softened butter and bread crumbs, pulse
  • Sprinkle evenly over spinach/artichoke mixture
  • Bake uncovered @375 for 20-25 minutes-serve warm 


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