JoAnn’s Famous Artichoke Squares

This recipe definitely stands the test of time. We’ve been making it for holiday dinners since at least 1985, although if you had asked me whether I thought it would sustain the test of time back then I probably would have told you that “sustainability” wasn’t a word that was in my vocabulary at that particular point in time. You could call it a quiche, except there is no crust; you could call it a frittata, although it’s not made in the same pot that it’s started in on the stovetop. It’s not vegan because I do use eggs and cheese, but it is a delicious vegetarian compliment to just about brunch or dinner. In fact we eat this hot or cold, and it often tastes even better the second day. The best part about this recipe is that it’s a truly unique way to serve a rather unusual vegetable. Most children would tend to shy away from eating an artichoke, but when provided the opportunity to try it in this recipe, they often smell it in the oven and ask for a taste of it before I even have to make the offer.

Education about food is a critical area of study that has been sadly neglected in most educational environments. It would be truly amazing if as much thought went into educating our children about healthy nutritional choices as it does to educate them about algebra and dissecting worms, but unfortunately this is still not the case. As a society, it’s getting better, and while reading, writing and arithmetic are of course very important skills, in order to feel well and flourish, we need to place more value on the role of educating children about their overall health and disease prevention. We need to recognize that a child’s well-being is influenced first and foremost by how they feel; it’s really quite simple, if they don’t feel well, they won’t thrive in the classroom. With just a little thought about how educators (and by educators, I mean parents, grandparents, and any adult who teaches a child about food choices) if we really think about how we present food choices to our children, it’s really all about exposure. Instead of writing a prescription for increased risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease, lets stop putting out the chips and encourage kids to eat more vegetables by putting out diverse and unique choices which will help promote a lifetime of good health. Give this easy side dish a try the next time you’re looking for a new way to introduce a different vegetable to your family. You just might find it’s a keeper!

2 jars (6 oz each) of marinated artichoke hearts – drain and pat dry
1 medium onion, chopped and sautéed
2 cloves of garlic, minced and sautéed during the last 2 minutes
4 large eggs
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon oregano
2 tbsp. minced fresh parsley
1/2 lb (grated cheddar cheese) to save time, I use a bag of grated cheddar jack
1/8 tsp. tobacco sauce (use more if you like spice)

Combine in food processor until just chunky. Bake in a 10x7x2 pan (line with parchment paper). It is imperative that you use this size. It is an unusual size, but to get the best result, make the extra effort to find this proper size pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing.

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