Tag Archives: spinach

Spinach with Feta and Craisins

The weather is beautiful at my house. We spend all day outside, or at least it feels like it. It’s the perfect weather to start grilling. My biggest menu planning failure is planning side dishes. I think as far as “grilled chicken” and MAYBE a starch, like potatoes or rice. But vegetables? I often just wing it with what is in my fridge/pantry.

For me, this spinach is perfect because it uses ingredients I usually have around. And it is really quick and easy, a must for this time of year. It is full of flavor and different textures which makes it a winner all around. Enjoy!

Spinach with Feta and Craisins (serves 4)

Spinach with Feta and Craisins

18 ounces fresh spinach
¼ cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
⅓ cup pine nuts
½ cup craisins
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese

1. Place spinach and water in a large bowl. Cover bowl. Microwave until spinach has decreased in volume by half, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from microwave and keep covered for 1 minute.
2. Transfer spinach to colander and press out excess water.
3. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, nuts, and craisins. Cook, stirring constantly until garlic and nuts are beginning to LIGHTLY brown (watch carefully to not burn).
4. Add spinach. Toss to coat. Keep stirring until combined, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with vinegar and feta. Serve immediately.

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook

Nutritional Information (amount per serving):

Calories: 225
Protein: 7 g
Fat: 14 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 8 mg
Carbohydrates: 24 g
Fiber: 4 g
Sodium: 209 mg

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Beef and Spinach Enchiladas

Do you have recipe pet peeves? If you do, I’d love to hear them in the comments. I have a few. I don’t love when something is listed in a smaller unit of measurement than necessary (don’t say 4 tablespoons, say ¼ cup, for example). I prefer when something says the whole amount need in the ingredients list rather than list it 3 times (say 1 teaspoon of salt, divided). But those are mostly my preferences.

I do have conflicting pet peeves, actually. I hate when recipes call for an amount of cooked meat, like chicken. I rarely have precooked chicken just sitting around. And without the steps in the recipe, sometimes I find myself half way in and realize I need to cook the darn chicken. BUT another pet peeve is to have a million steps to make something that is just one part of a larger whole that also has a million steps.

Unfortunately, this recipe hits those pet peeves. There is no way around it. Enchiladas need cooked meat. BUT, the good news is this recipe for meat is super easy and delicious AND makes more than you need for the enchiladas (or easily does) so you could have sandwiches, meat on salad, etc for awhile afterwards. So forgive me for doing what I actually hate myself. The end result of these is pretty darn delicious! And please pardon the photo. I tried several times and couldn’t get an appealing shot of enchiladas. While tasty, they aren’t photogenic.

Beef and Spinach Enchiladas (Serves 6-8)

Beef and Spinach Enchiladas

3-4 lb boneless chuck roast
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons chile powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 large onion, sliced
1 cup low sodium beef broth
1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 teaspoon canola oil
½ onion, chopped
9 ounces fresh spinach
2 tablespoons water
½ cup low fat sour cream
16 corn tortillas or 8 large flour tortillas
1 cup shredded cheddar or monterey jack cheese

1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.
2. Combine salt through cumin. Rub on all sides of chuck roast. Place in a shallow baking pan. Cover with onions, broth, and tomatoes. Cover pan with a lid or with foil.
3. Bake for 3-4 hours, or until meat is tender enough to pull apart with a fork.
4. Remove meat and shred. Pour juice/tomato mixture from pan into a saucepan. Heat over medium heat to a boil. Simmer for about 10 minutes, until thickened. Puree. Add ½ cup sour cream. Set aside.
5. Heat a large nonstick skillet with oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, saute for 2-3 minutes. Add spinach and water. Cover with a lid. Cook 2-3 minutes, until spinach is wilted, stirring as needed. Remove from heat. Add shredded beef to spinach mixture.
6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
7. Spoon a small amount of tomato sauce into the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Fill tortillas with beef mixture and cheese, placing in pan seamside down. Reserve ¼ cup cheese for topping. Pour remaining sauce over the top and sprinkle with cheese.
8. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until sauce is bubbly and cheese melted.

Recipe notes: I use my Traeger to cook the meat at 275. If you have a meat thermometer, you want the meat at about 195 degrees F. My meat was quite frozen the last time I made this, and it only took 3 hours to get there. So I recommend watching it. I’ve cooked thawed meat for over 3 hours to get it tender as well. Also, it seems like a lot of sauce. I’ve put all of it and not put all of it. More sauce is always better.

Nutritional information: (amount per serving)

Calories: 453
Protein: 44 gm
Fat: 18 gm
Saturated fat: 8 gm
Cholesterol: 131 mg
Carbohydrates: 32 gm
Fiber: 4 gm
Sodium: 623 mg

Source: adapted from Traeger and various sources online

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Eggplant Involtini

I once read on a food blog that casseroles are ugly.  Most of the time, I’d agree.  This casserole breaks that mold.  It is almost as nice to look at as it tastes.  The colors are perfect for this time of year, too.

If you have carnivores in your crowd, don’t be scared of this meat free dish.  The first time my husband ate it, he didn’t even realize there wasn’t meat in it.  The eggplant is very hearty so you don’t miss the meat.

Enjoy!

Eggplant Involtini (Serves 6)

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1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
½ medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped small or grated
2 pounds tomatoes, coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon salt, divided
½ teaspoon garlic powder, divided
12 (¼-inch-thick) lengthwise slices eggplant (about 2 medium)
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Cooking spray
2 tablespoons walnuts
1 slice whole-wheat bread, toasted and torn into pieces
8 ounces low fat cottage cheese
1 (10 ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed to drain well
1 large egg
½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves or about 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
½ cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
¼ cup shredded mozzarella

1. Heat oil in medium saucepan. Add onion and carrot. Saute for 3-5 minutes, until onions begin to soften. Add tomatoes, salt, and ¼ teaspoon garlic powder. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Let cool at least 10 minutes. Process in food processor or with immersion blender until smooth. Set aside.

2. Preheat broiler to high.

3. Arrange eggplant in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet (you may need to work in batches.) Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper, and lightly coat with cooking spray. Broil 4-5 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Let cool about 10 minutes, or cool enough to touch.

4. Preheat oven to 375.

5. Pulse nuts, bread, and remaining ¼ teaspoon garlic powder in food processor until coarse crumbs form. Add cottage cheese, egg, and spinach. Pulse until smooth. Stir in basil and ¼ cup parmesan.

6. Spread 1 ½ cups tomato sauce over the bottom of an 8-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Spread 2 tablespoons cheese mixture onto each eggplant slice; roll up jelly-roll style. Place rolls, seam sides down, over sauce in dish. Spoon remaining sauce over rolls. Sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup parmesan and mozzarella. Bake for 25 minutes or until bubbly.

Nutritional Information (Amount per Serving):

Calories: 222
Protein: 15 g
Fat: 9 g
Saturated Fat: 3 g
Cholesterol: 42 mg
Carbohydrates: 24 g
Fiber: 9 g
Sodium: 607 mg

Recipe Notes: I usually hate ingredients in pounds, but I actually do weigh tomatoes at the store for this recipe. You could easily sub in your own favorite marinara sauce for this recipe. Make sure you squeeze a lot of water out of your spinach. Otherwise the filling will be soggy and gross.

Recipe source: adapted from Cooking Light

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Ham and Spinach Gratin or “It’s Not Quiche”

A few years ago, I received both volumes of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  Honestly, most of my attempts to make recipes from them have not been huge successes.  Even the infamous potage parmentier did not turn out very well.  This gratin recipe – essentially a crustless quiche – is the exception and has become a staple in our house.

This recipe is necessary in your repertoire for several reasons.  First, it is incredibly easy.  This is the first recipe I actually braved cooking after I had a baby.  That easy.  Second, it is very adaptable to whatever you have on hand.  Change up the meat, vegetables, and cheese to your liking.  Third, it looks and tastes fancy, even though it isn’t.  We eat breakfast for dinner one night a week, and this takes it a whole new level compared to my usual pancakes.

Enjoy!

Ham and Spinach Gratin  (Serves 4)

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1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 ounces ham, sausage, or bacon, diced or crumbled
5 large eggs
1/4 cup skim milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup frozen spinach, thawed and drained well
2 cups shredded potatoes (about 2 medium potatoes if fresh)
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375. Place pie pan in oven with butter to melt while preheating.

2. Heat olive oil in medium skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until beginning to become tender. Add meat; cook until heated (ham) or cooked through (sausage or bacon). Set aside.

3. Whisk eggs with milk and seasonings in a medium bowl.

4. Drain thawed spinach well, squeezing in paper towels to remove excess water. Squeeze freshly shredded potatoes or thawed frozen potatoes also.

5. Add onion/meat mixture, spinach, potatoes, and cheese to eggs, stirring just to combine. Remove pie pan from oven. Pour in egg mixture. Return to oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, until eggs are cooked through. Let cool slightly before serving.

Nutritional Information (Amount per Serving):

Calories: 308
Protein: 17 g
Fat: 16 g
Saturated Fat: 6 g
Cholesterol: 254 mg
Carbohydrates: 25 g
Fiber: 2 g
Sodium: 486 mg

Recipe notes: I cut down on the butter A LOT from the original recipe. I also added the spinach. Any seasoning combination of herbs and spices works. I’ve mainly used white cheeses, such as mozzarella and Swiss, but you could use one that matches your flavors of the other mix-ins. It is very important to drain the spinach and potatoes well. Also, sweet potatoes do not work well in place of the white potatoes. Your potatoes may turn a little brown/red after grating. That’s ok.  I have mixed all of the ingredients in a bowl and then refrigerated it for a couple hours before pouring in a hot pan and baking.  It worked well, although I don’t know if it would work well overnight.

Source: Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I

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Antipasto Pasta

My eating mood goes in phases.  Lately, I’m in a carb mood.  Especially carbs that don’t require me to turn on my oven.  I’m also in the mood for dinners that are quick and easy, since my daughter has recently decided she needs to be held constantly about the time to cook dinner.

This pasta fit those criteria PLUS is what I would order at a restaurant – pesto sauce, tangy veggies, and cheese.  Even better though, because it cost me so much less to just make it at home. I usually order this type of dish because it is full of ingredients my husband isn’t a fan of eating. But even he enjoyed this pasta.

While we enjoyed this warm as a main course, it would also be delicious chilled as a side dish.  Enjoy!

Antipasto Pasta (Serves 4-6 as a main course)

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2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 medium red bell pepper
8 ounces whole wheat rotini pasta (or any short pasta)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 medium yellow onion, sliced thin
1 cup frozen spinach, thawed
1/3 cup pesto
4 ounces provolone cheese, cubed
1/2 (7 ounce) jar sun-dried tomatoes, drained
1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided

1. Rub 1 teaspoon of oil around the outside of bell pepper. Broil or grill until outside is charred, turning occasionally. Remove from heat and place in a paper bag for 5 minutes. Remove from bag. Remove skin, seeds, and membranes. Chop remaining pepper and place in a large bowl.

2. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook pasta according to package directions.

3. Meanwhile, toast walnuts in a dry skillet over medium-low heat (use a large skillet). When warmed and beginning to be fragrant, remove from heat. Add to bowl with pepper.

4. In same skillet, heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil over medium-high heat. Add sliced onion. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until beginning to brown slightly. Lower heat to medium-low, and cook for 10-15 minutes more, until well caramelized and soft. Add to bowl.

5. Squeeze thawed spinach between paper towels to remove moisture. Cook briefly in skillet to evaporate any remaining moisture, if needed. Add to bowl, along with pesto, provolone, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese.

6. Drain cooked pasta. Add warm pasta to bowl of ingredients, and toss to combine. Serve with remaining parmesan cheese.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving with 6 servings)

Calories: 423
Protein: 19 g
Fat: 23 g
Saturated Fat: 6 g
Cholesterol: 23 mg
Carbohydrates: 41 g
Fiber: 8.5 g
Sodium: 520 mg

Recipe Notes: The original recipe included kalamata olives. I think that would be a delicious addition, but I excluded them due to family preferences. You could substitute canned roasted red peppers to skip roasting your own.  Make sure you really get the water out of the frozen spinach. If you wanted to use fresh spinach, you could quickly wilt that in the warm skillet instead. I cheated and used a jarred pesto sauce. Making a homemade sauce would be great, but isn’t necessary. I used deli slices of provolone that I then “cubed”. I really liked this, since it made the pieces small enough to distribute more throughout the pasta.

Source: Adapted from Cooking Light

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