Posts Tagged ‘spinach’
Last week, Stephanie (another student in the lab who is planning to graduate this spring) and I attended an electronic dissertation formatting workshop. It was 3 hours long and we both wanted to strangle someone by the time it was over. Actually, we had that impulse before we even got to the workshop because we had an assignment to complete prior to the workshop which consisted of going through a 35 page mock dissertation and editing the formatting errors! Thankfully I did learn something from all of that, but think it could’ve been acquired less painfully. At the same time, neither of us now have very high hopes of finishing the write up of our dissertations in time to start the formatting review process the first of April. Especially since we both have lab work we’re still trying to finish up. It’s a good thing one can just finish whenever you’re done in grad school instead of only two days a year.
Anywho, pardon my rant. I will make it up to you with yet another recipe involving Meyer lemons. It’s cheese tortellini, mixed up with bacon and spinach then covered in a Meyer lemon cream sauce. Feast your eyes upon that plate of glory. (And watch as my frustration magically dissipates a little.)
One year ago: Lighter Pizza Dip
TORTELLINI SPINACH BAKE IN CREAMY MEYER LEMON SAUCE
12 oz. cheese tortelini (I used frozen)
4 oz. (4 strips) bacon
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
3/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1-1/2 tsp dry basil
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 Meyer lemon, zested and juiced
2 cups loosely packed fresh spinach, roughly chopped
3/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese, divided
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill a large stock pot with water and bring to a boil. Add tortellini and cook according to package instructions.
- Meanwhile, place bacon in a medium sized skillet on the stove-top at medium-high heat. Cook until crisp. Remove bacon from pan with slotted spoon and set on paper towels to drain. Reserve two tablespoons bacon drippings in pan and discard the rest. Add garlic to pan and cook until fragrant and tender, about 30 seconds. Add flour to pan and stir with a whisk until browned, about 1 minute. Slowly add milk and continue to stir with whisk until smooth. Add salt, pepper, basil, and red pepper flakes and bring sauce to a simmer.
- Add Meyer lemon zest and juice to sauce. Continue to stir until thickened, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Drain tortellini and place back in stock pot. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the cooked bacon and add the rest to the pasta mixture. Add spinach, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Add sauce and gently stir to combine. Place pasta mixture in an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish and top with remaining 1/4 cup mozarella and 1/4 cup Parmesan and also crumbled bacon.
- Cover pan with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, until cheese on top is melted and pasta is bubbly throughout. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Source: Adapted slightly from Our Best Bites.
Other than pumpkin, I think butternut squash may be my favorite type of squash. But for some reason I only think to cook with it during the winter and the same with pumpkin during the fall. To solve this problem, I decided to buy more butternut squash than I needed for this recipe, and saved the remaining peeled and cubed pieces in my freezer. Muwahaha! Now to just remember it is there to use later. That may be the bigger problem because if you saw how stuffed my freezer was year-round, you’d understand. “How long has that homemade ice cream been in here?? And what flavor is it? ::sniff::” Seriously happened. Also discovered frozen boxes of Girl Scout cookies the other day. How do you forget about those? Oh yea, they were blocked by the 10 packages of butter I stocked up on when it went on sale. Serious food blogger problems in my fridge.
But I digress, let’s focus on unfrozen food such as this pasta. The butternut squash is pureed to function as the sauce itself, and what a fantastic idea! It’s complimented very nicely with the spicy sausage and the winter-ific sage. And don’t forget the spinach to finish off this healthy meal. But I decided to curb that a little by serving it with pull apart garlic bread. Mmm garlicky carbs.
And a Happy Birthday shout-out to my big brother!! Happy 33rd!
One year ago: Blizzard Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Cookies
Two years ago: Buttermilk Pancakes
PASTA WITH BUTTERNUT SAUCE, SPICY SAUSAGE AND BABY SPINACH
1 lb. butternut squash, peeled and diced
10 oz. pasta of your choice
11 oz. (4 links) spicy chicken Italian sausage
1 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup shallots, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp fresh shaved Parmesan cheese
4 sage leaves, sliced thin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add butternut squash and cook until soft. Remove squash with a slotted spoon and place in a blender or food processor, blend until smooth.
- Add pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package directions for al dente, reserving at least 1 cup of the pasta water before draining.
- Meanwhile, in a large deep non-stick skillet, sauté sausage over medium heat until browned, breaking up with a spoon as it cooks. When cooked through, set aside on a plate.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and melt the butter, sauté the shallots and garlic until soft and golden, about 5 – 6 minutes. Add pureed butternut squash, season with with salt and fresh cracked pepper and add a little of the reserved pasta water (I used about 1 cup) to thin out the sauce to your liking. Add baby spinach and stir in Parmesan cheese and sage.
- Toss in cooked pasta and sausage and mix until well coated.
- Serve with additional Parmesan cheese on the side if desired.
Source: Gina’s Skinny Taste
Cooking for one is a challenge. Normally I don’t mind leftovers because they are great for lunches, but I find myself overrun with leftovers these days. Both in meals and desserts. I am convinced at times my fridge looks like I am feeding a family of 4. I have been freezing as much as I can but at the rate I’ve been going, soon my ice maker will be filled with non-ice items.
Every now and then I run across a single-serving meal that is quick and easy to make, and it immediately goes on my to-make list. This simple yet delicious pasta dish is great for a busy weeknight or when the thought of adding another tupperware full of leftovers to your fridge makes you shudder.
Two years ago: Iced & Spiced Applesauce Cookies
CREAMY RICOTTA SPINACH & SHELLS
1/2 cup medium whole wheat pasta shells
4 cups chopped spinach
1/2 cup low fat ricotta cheese
2 Tbsp milk
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Salt, pepper, nutmeg
1/4 cup marinara
2 Tbsp shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat the broiler. Cook pasta according to package directions, about 7-8 minutes. During the last minute of cook time add in the spinach to let it wilt with the pasta. Drain the pasta/spinach and immediately return to the hot pot. Stir in the ricotta cheese and milk until completely mixed. Season with the garlic powder and salt/nutmeg/pepper to taste. Pour into a ramekin and top with marinara and mozzarella. Cook under the broiler until the cheese is golden and bubbly. Serve hot!
Source: Heather’s Dish
Oh fall, how I love you (even though spring is my favorite) and all the heart warming food you bring – football feasts, seasonal flavors, pre-hibernation worthy foods, and of course soups! Whenever it first starts to get cold, especially on a cold rainy day, I always crave tomato basil soup and a gooey grilled cheese. If only I had a fireplace to go with it (instead I have a fireplace scented candle and a fireplace dvd). But thankfully, I have more curiosity into the world of soups than to just stick with tomato all the time.
The first soup of this fall season is this chicken gnocchi soup. It is supposed to be a copy cat recipe of the soup at Olive Garden, although I cannot say how close it resembles because I’ve never had theirs. I haven’t been to an Olive Garden in a long time because of my habit to eat at local restaurants more often than chains. But either way, if this soup is at all like theirs then it might be my favorite on their menu.
I served it with toasted whole wheat pita wedges that had been buttered and sprinkled with garlic powder inside. Mmmm.
One year ago: Apple Butter Granola
CHICKEN GNOCCHI SOUP
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 cup celery, sliced (about 2 stalks)
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 Tbsp butter (I used Melt buttery spread)
4 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 quart half and half (I used evaporated milk)
1 cup chicken breasts, diced and cooked
1 cup carrots, shredded (about 1-1/2 large)
16 oz. package whole wheat gnocchi
14 oz. can reduced sodium chicken broth
1 cup fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large stockpot, saute the onion, celery and garlic in the butter and olive oil. When the onion is clear, add the flour and form a roux. Stir and cook a minute. Add the half and half and bring to a simmer. Add the chicken and carrots to the stockpot and allow to thicken, stirring often.
- Meanwhile in another pan, cook the gnocchi according to package directions. When the soup gets thicker, add the chicken broth, gnocchi, spinach and seasonings. Cover and heat through.
Source: Adapted slightly from Pass the Sushi.
Before I introduce my wonderful guest poster today, I must first tell you about the Swing dance class I attended two nights ago. Even though I did not have the perfect swirly skirt on for the occasion, I was definitely twirled and swirled around! I haven’t done swing dancing since middle school gym class, and it was a lot of fun to learn it when I actually cared. The biggest thing I learned was that being the follower is more difficult than the leader in my opinion. Originally I was glad to not be the leader, but after rotating around partners multiple times I realized how much you must accommodate to the style of your partner, because each had a slightly different way of leading and stepping. Either way, I would totally go back for more – except for the fact that I am leaving Knoxville in a week to return to Memphis. But I did discover a place in Memphis that does Salsa and Swing classes! Come on hips, let’s do this.
Speaking of my hips, let’s get down to the point – good food! Rebekah from PDX Food Love is guesting posting here today and with her she brought a wonderful quiche. I have also spied on some of her other recipes such as Bacon Avocado Chicken Salad Sandwiches, Whole Wheat Cheddar Cheese Crackers, and to prepare you for fall Pumpkin Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting.
One year ago: Baked Mini Bowties
Hello, Spiffy Cookie readers!
My name is Rebekah and I write the blog PDXfoodlove.com. I am really excited to be guest posting today (thank you, Erin ). This is only my second time writing a guest post – I’ve only been blogging for about a year and a half. So far, so good!
My husband and I live in Portland, Oregon, and over the years we’ve been together, we’ve discovered that we love to cook – especially when we cook together. We love to eat simple, seasonal foods, but we also like to try projects now and then. Right now we are building (as in, we are laying the brick ourselves!) a wood-fired pizza oven in our backyard! We also love to entertain – hopefully we can combine those two projects soon and have a massive outdoor pizza party to close out the summer.
One of our favorite ways to entertain is to host a brunch – I mean, what’s not to like? Relaxed conversations over many pots of French-pressed coffee. Licking the final crumbs from soft and sweet baked goods. The pleasure of a bubbly adult beverage in the morning, knowing you don’t have to be anywhere anytime soon. And my very favorite part of breakfast and brunch: eggs, salty, rich and a perfect contrast to that contemplative cup of very black coffee.
This is a quiche recipe that my husband and I made last Sunday when our good friends came to brunch. It turned out beautifully, and we even had a tiny bit of leftovers (which hold up amazingly well!). I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
Spinach and Caramelized Onion Quiche
For the crust:
For the filling:
Cook time: 40-50 minutes. Total time: About 2 hours (mostly inactive).
To make the crust, measure the flour and salt into the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to mix. Next, cut the butter and shortening into cubes and add them to the food processor. Pulse until the mixture appears mealy.
Add ice water to the mixture one or two tablespoons at a time – Add it, then pulse to blend. After pulsing, pinch the dough and if it sticks together, it’s ready to go. If it crumbles, add one or two more tablespoons of water and pulse again. Be careful not to make the pastry too wet – it will be harder to deal with later. When the pastry is ready, form it into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and let chill for one hour.
While the crust is chilling, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Melt the butter in a skillet on medium heat, and then add the onions. Stir only once and a while so they start to caramelize. This will take a while, so I would start pretty early!
When the pastry has chilled, roll it out on a well-floured surface or between two sheets of plastic wrap. Transfer to the inside of a pie dish (without plastic wrap:) )- no need to grease it. I recommend using a larger pie dish than the traditional 9-inch. This recipe makes more crust and more filling than will fit in a 9-inch pie dish. Place in the oven for a 10-minute pre-bake.
While the crust pre-bakes, add the eggs and cream to a bowl, and mix until blended with a whisk. Add the cooked spinach (frozen works fine, but squeeze the crap out of it – too much water will make a yucky quiche), herbs and onions. Salt and pepper VERY liberally.
After the ten-minute prebake, remove the crust from the oven and pop any air bubbles that may have appeared. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees and pour the filling into the crust. You may wish to move the spinach and onion around within the pan, to make sure they are evenly distributed.
Bake for 40-50 minutes, keeping an eye on it after about 35 minutes just to be safe (ovens are all a little different!). Remove when there is just a hint of browning.
Despite waking up at 5:30am every day this past weekend to play with yeast (not the baking kind), I had a pretty nice weekend. It’s amazing how much I accomplished in the little amount of free time that I had, and how relaxed I felt by Sunday night. Even got in a lovely phone chat with my friend Amber back in Columbus. It’s the little things that keep me going . Especially since as I write this, it is 10pm and I am doing that graduate student research thing at lab.
This recipe serves one person and it’s quick and easy to prepare. Perfect match for my mission to not produce any leftovers before I head out of town, in combination with my sparse time. It was also my first time ever using fresh ginger, and smells amazing! I never want to use dried ground ginger again. Which brings me to a question, how do you store ginger root? Is it supposed to be refrigerated or left out on the counter?
VEGETABLE FRIED RICE FOR ONE
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sugar
4 tsp vegetable oil, divided
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 small carrot, thinly sliced
1/2 medium zucchini, quartered and thinly sliced
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup cooked brown rice, cold
1 cup baby spinach
- In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
- In a large nonstick skillet or wok, heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium-high. Add egg and cook until set. Transfer to a cutting board.
- Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to skillet. Add carrot, and zucchini and cook, stirring until softened, about 3 minutes. Add scallion, ginger, and garlic and cook until scallion is soft, about 2 minutes. Add spinach and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes.
- Add soy sauce mixture and cook, stirring, until liquid is absorbed, about 1 to 2 minutes. Coarsely chop egg and stir into rice, serve.
Source: Adapted slightly from Everyday Food June 2012.
Warning: These meatballs require 2.5 hours of baking time. And having the oven on at all, let alone that long, during these hot summer days seems like borderline insanity. Which is why I baked these in the morning over the weekend and had them for lunch, before the temperatures rose up too high for my A/C to successfully ward off from entering my apartment. However, any spike my A/C bill was worth it to produce these tender, flavorful meatballs. And yes, I am still the very broke grad student who just paid a $500 deductible for car repairs. Sometimes I fail at being frugal when I comes to delicious food.
But I am getting a break from the heat this week. The highest high predicted for the next 7 days is 88 which is almost twenty degrees less than what I’ve been plagued by for the past month. Hooray!
In other hot-weather-related news, I bought a slip ‘n slide at Target for $4.91. Best $5 purchase ever?! I thought so too. Now to convince a friend with a yard and hose to let me frolick around…
BAKED TURKEY RICOTTA MEATBALLS
Makes 20 meatballs
2 lbs ground turkey
1 small red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
1/2 cup bread crumbs
8 oz. part skim ricotta cheese
4 cups fresh spinach, chopped
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 Tbsp prepared pesto
- Preheat oven to 350 and spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray; set aside.
- Heat a skillet over medium low heat; add the oil and onion and saute until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and saute another 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the spinach; it will wilt with the carry-over cooking from the onions and garlic. Let the mixture cool for about 4-5 minutes off the heat.
- In a large bowl mix together the eggs, Parmesan, bread crumbs, ricotta and Italian seasoning. When the onion mixture has cooled fold that in. Add the turkey and, using your hands, mix until everything is well combined. Form into 20 meatballs (about 2 inches in diameter). Wash your hands. In another bowl mix together the tomatoes and pesto.
- Pour about 1/4 cup of the tomato mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan, then evenly place the meatballs on top – you may have to squish them together some, but they’ll shrink a bit during the cooking. Top the meatballs with the remaining tomato mixture. Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake for 2.5 hours. Let sit for a few minutes when done baking to let them cool and to allow the juices to stay in the meatballs. Serve hot over whole wheat pasta topped with Parmesan cheese.
Source: Heather’s Dish
There is a juicy, flavorful burger recipe in this post today. It involves homemade pesto using basil, spinach and walnuts, which is mixed into a chicken burger and is then topped off with a blob of fresh Mozzarella that becomes perfectly melted over the hot burger. Oh and I almost forgot to mention the grilled tomatoes that are assembled into the burger. You should probably spread some of the pesto on your bun too.
And of course since I am always thinking about you, I have shared this in time to plan you Independence Day menu around it. You’re welcome .
In other news, here in Memphis we are experiencing yet another grossly hot summer full of sun, humidity and a lack of clouds and rain. This is most upsetting to me because I love being outdoors, but I can barely stand being outside for more than five minutes. And the pool doesn’t fix the problem either. Have you ever gotten out of the pool and then lied down to wait for the sun to dry you off? Yea that doesn’t work because as the water evaporates, you begin to sweat, a lot. I think homemade popsicles are in order soon.
One year ago: Bubble Up Pizza
PESTO CHICKEN BURGER
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 cup baby spinach
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup walnuts
4 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for grilling
1 Tbsp water
Salt and pepper
1 lb. ground chicken breast
2 large tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch slices
3 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced
4 whole wheat buns, halved
- In a food processor, puree basil, spinach, garlic, walnuts, oil, and water. Season with salt and pepper.
- Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high. In a large bowl, combine 1 tablespoon pesto, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and chicken. Form into 4 patties. Lightly oil hot grill. Grill patties, covered, or 4 minutes. Flip patties and top with cheese.
- Brush tomatoes with oil and season with salt and pepper. Add tomatoes to grill and cook, flipping once, until tomatoes and lightly charred and burgers are cooked, approximately 4 minutes.
- To serve, spread remaining pesto onto burger buns and assemble burger with a tomato slice.
Source: Adapted slightly from Everyday Food July/August 2012.
Ask and you shall receive. On my last pizza post, many of you left comments to keep the pizzas rolling so here’s this week’s installment! This time I’ve made a recipe I found on Bev Cooks awhile back. You make a pesto using spinach leaves for the sauce, and top it off with red pepper, Italian sausage and of course Mozzarella cheese. It’s a pretty fantastic little dance of ingredients. And they certainly look good together too!
Of course as with all of my pizza recipes, you do not need a stone and peel to make pizza at home. Just cook it on a pizza pan or cookie sheet as you prefer, but I am convinced that the crust comes out as pure perfection when using a stone. So you really should get your hands on one sooner rather than later. Probably my favorite kitchen item ever. And I am sure you can tell how well-loved it is by it’s stained appearance in pictures.
By the way, is anyone shocked that I rate every pizza I make as 2-3 servings? Maybe I am just a fat kid but there’s hardly a pizza made in my kitchen that ends up producing more than 3 servings. Maybe I cut my slices too big, but I don’t care O:-).
One year ago: Review: Just Tell Me What to Eat!
SAUSAGE, RED BELL PEPPER AND SPINACH PESTO PIZZA
2 cups baby spinach
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 pine nuts, toasted
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 Tbsp
1 Italian sausage, casing removed
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into thin sticks
1 recipe thin-crust pizza dough
1 cup shredded mozzarella
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees, with pizza stone on bottom rack.
- In a food processor add the spinach, garlic, Parmesan, pine nuts, and a pinch of salt and pepper. With the motor running, add the oil in a thin stream until pesto-y. Set aside.
- Heat the remaining tablespoon oil in a medium skillet and add the sausage. Break up with a wooden spoon and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Drain on a paper-towel lined plate. Set aside.
- To the same pan, add the red pepper. Add a little more oil if needed. Add a dash of salt.
- Transfer pizza dough to the preheated pizza stone using a cornmeal dusted pizza peel. Bake for 10 minutes or until slightly golden.
- Remove pizza and stone and evenly spoon the pesto over the crust. Sprinkle a little cheese on top. Then add the sausage and peppers. Then more cheese.
- Return pizza and stone to the oven and bake 10 minutes, or until golden brown and cheesy is bubbly. Slice and eat.
Source: Bev Cooks
Sometimes my pizza toppings are composed of a random array of things found while digging through the junkyard that is my refrigerator. Those pizzas don’t regularly manage to find their way onto this screen, but once in awhile I create something worth repeating beyond the realm of simply using up leftovers. With the amount of pizza eaten in my kitchen, one is bound to squeak out every once in awhile.
This is another one of my pasta-dish-gone-pizza recipes. The first was the Cajun Chicken Alfredo Pizza, inspired by none other than my Guiltless Cajun Chicken Alfredo. But instead of cajun seasoning and broccoli, you have spinach and pesto with your chicken alfredo pizza. Isn’t coming up with new pizzas fun? I remember when choosing between pepperoni or just cheese seemed like a difficult choice. Now the topping options are endless and I must try them all!!
One year ago: Cake batter Fruit Dip
CHICKEN & SPINACH ALFREDO PIZZA
1 recipe thin-crust pizza dough
2 Tbsp basil pesto
1/2 cup Alfredo sauce
1/2 cup cooked shredded chicken
1 cup fresh spinach
1/2 cup Mozzarella, shredded
1/4 cup Parmesan, shredded
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees with a pizza stone placed on the center rack for 15 minutes.
- On a cornmeal dusted pizza peel, roll out the pizza dough. Spread the pesto and Alfredo sauce over the dough within 1/2 inch of the edge. Top with chicken pieces, spinach and sprinkle cheeses over top.
- Shimmy off the pizza peel onto the preheated pizza stone and bake for 12-15 minutes or until crust is golden and cheese is bubbly.
Source: The Spiffy Cookie original