Tag Archives: spinach

Spinach Custard Pie

It’s almost Thanksgiving which means it’s appropriate to eat as much pie as you want, right? Well, maybe not. Pies in general are pretty easy to make yet seem so daunting. I admit, I’ll plan on making a pie for dessert next Thursday but this week, I still need to try to eat healthy. But who says you can’t have a healthy pie? Not all pies have to be sweet or have to have crust. So, when I came across this recipe for Spinach Custard Pie, I knew I’d found exactly what I was looking for.

Frozen chopped spinach is the base for this pie which has a little onion, red pepper, eggs and Parmesan cheese. Fat-free (or light) sour cream pulls all of this together, giving the mixture the consistency of spinach dip. Topped with a dash of paprika, this vegetarian pie bakes until golden brown and fragrant. Because it’s easy to portion out, this pie is a perfect option for the quick grab-and-go meal that’s packed with veggies. I’m eating this all week for lunch but one could argue that because of the eggs, this could be a breakfast option too. Pie for breakfast or lunch? Yes, please!

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Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook spinach according to package directions; drain well. Place spinach in a large bowl.

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Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chopped onion and bell pepper; sauté 2 minutes or until tender.

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Add onion mixture, eggs, and egg whites to spinach. Add flour, cheese, butter, salt, pepper and sour cream; stir to combine.

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Spoon mixture into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with paprika.

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Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until set. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

 

Blush Mac and Cheese with Tomatoes

Pasta? What’s pasta? I haven’t had it in so long, I think I’ve almost forgot. How crazy it is to me that I eat so little pasta these days when it was my dinner EVERYDAY when I was a vegetarian ten years ago. When people would ask what my favorite meal was? The answer was easily pasta. Now? I don’t even consider it. How did this happen? I don’t even recognize myself anymore. It’s amazing how when you are careful with what you eat, your tastes can change when you aren’t looking. I’ve dabbled in low-carb diets for years. Initially, they were impossibly hard. But now, I’ve found that I feel better and have fewer cravings so it’s easier. I still eat carbs, clearly, but now I can have pasta once in a while and truly enjoy it. This Blush Mac and Cheese with Tomatoes is a fun way to make an old classic pasta dish new again.

A creamy cheese sauce is made vibrant with additional flavors of tomato, shallot, garlic, thyme and spinach before being mixed with corkscrew pasta and topped with juicy, roasted grape tomatoes. The cheese sauce isn’t as cheesy as typical mac and cheese but the addition of the tomato paste and spinach make this feel more like a grown-up version of our childhood classic. I used quinoa pasta instead of regular pasta (but only because I couldn’t find whole-wheat) so my overall texture was a bit different than expected but still good nonetheless. The roasted grape tomatoes add a burst of sweetness and the spinach provides a nutritional boost. While I wouldn’t necessarily consider this mac and cheese, it didn’t disappoint.

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Preheat broiler to high. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain. While pasta cooks, place tomatoes on a jelly-roll pan lined with foil. Broil 8 minutes or until tomatoes are beginning to blacken.

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While tomatoes cook, heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add canola oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add diced shallots, minced garlic, and thyme; sauté 2 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently.

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Add tomato paste; cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in milk, black pepper, and salt; bring to a boil. Cook 4 minutes or until thick and bubbly, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.

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Add spinach, stirring constantly until spinach starts to wilt.

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Add shredded cheddar cheese, and stir until smooth.

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Stir in cooked pasta.

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Top with the roasted tomatoes.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions:

  • Quinoa pasta

Overall Rating: Like It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Vanilla-Spinach Shamrock Protein Shake

Does anyone else get nostalgic for minty shakes from their childhood around St. Patty’s Day? I hadn’t yet thought about it until I saw this Instagram photo from Food Network last week. And just when I convinced myself that I was going to get ice cream to make the recipe in the photo, I decided that I could probably make a similar tasting shake in a much healthier way. The result was this Vanilla-Spinach Shamrock Protein Shake.

Almond milk, vanilla protein powder, spinach and peppermint extract are all combined in a blender resulting in a healthy, low-calorie, minty shake. The spinach provides a natural bright green color and the vanilla protein powder adds just enough sweetness to keep this shake just under 150 calories. If you prefer a slightly thicker shake, just add some ice. Whether you are watching your weight or not, this is one guilt-free way to celebrate St. Patty’s Day.

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Vanilla-Spinach Shamrock Protein Shake (makes 1 shake)

  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (I love Silk)
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder (I used Tera’s Whey rBGH Free Bourbon Vanilla Whey Protein)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract, to taste
  • 1 cup (or large handful) fresh spinach or baby spinach
  • whipped cream and sprinkles, optional

In the jar of a blender, combine almond milk, protein powder, and peppermint extract. Blend until combined, about 10 seconds. Add spinach to the milk mixture, pressing lightly down into milk if need be. Blend for 30 seconds until spinach is thoroughly combined. (If any spinach is left unblended, use a spoon to push it down into the jar further and blend a few seconds more.) Top with whipped cream and sprinkles, if desired.

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Sriracha BLT Avocado Salad

Well, after a few indulgent dinners last week in Atlanta and those cookies I brought you on Monday, I figured it’s time to pay the piper and eat some salad. Actually, I’ve been doing pretty good eating well and I’m enjoying it. Instead of eating a plate of cookies, I allow myself one a day. When I need another snack, I’m pretty into eating apples and pears lately. But salad? Not so much. Sure, I should probably have a salad loaded with carrots and broccoli and peppers but this Sriracha BLT Avocado Salad not only looks good but is also healthy and has tons of happy flavor.

Chopped tomatoes and avocado are mixed with crunchy bacon (I used turkey bacon) and laid over baby spinach. A spicy dressing of sriracha, a little bit of mayonnaise and lemon juice is drizzled over the top, packing a punch. The creamy coolness of the avocado pairs perfectly with the sriracha dressing, the bacon adds flavorful crunch and the spinach gives a lot more nutritional value than iceberg lettuce which is typically in BLTs. This salad may not be loaded with veggies but it’s still low-calorie while not being low in flavor. Isn’t that the point of a salad? Being healthy and flavorful? Now this is a salad I can get behind!

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Combine onion, mayonnaise, Sriracha, and lemon juice in a small bowl; stir with a whisk.

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Combine tomato, avocado, and bacon in a medium bowl; toss to combine.

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Divide spinach among 4 plates; top evenly with avocado mixture.

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Drizzle with Sriracha mayo; sprinkle with pepper.

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Additions: None

Omissions:

  • Red onion

Substitutions:

  • Turkey bacon

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Smoky, Cheesy Chicken and Spinach Empanadas with Chimichurri Dipping Sauce

I was in Buenos Aires for work last week and was either working, eating, drinking, or sleeping and didn’t have time for blogging or much else. In Argentina, people don’t eat dinner until sometime after 9pm. One night, we didn’t even finish eating until after 12:30am! I was worried about finding something to eat in Buenos Aires since I’d heard that they eat a lot of meat down there, primarily beef and pork, both of which I don’t eat. But luckily, they had plenty of grilled chicken, plenty of fried cheese, and tasty cheese empanadas. The empanada options there were typically either cheese or pork so I decided to come home and make my own with some chicken and spinach. The result were these Smoky, Cheesy Chicken and Spinach Empanadas with Chimichurri Dipping Sauce.

Precooked chicken, cheese, spinach, onion and pimientos are combined with a creamy mixture of cream cheese and smoked paprika before being folded into empanada dough and baked until golden brown. A quick chimichurri sauce of parsley, oregano, onion, garlic, red wine vinegar, olive oil, and red pepper flake adds a bold, fresh flavor which would also be a great addition to any beef, chicken or pasta dish. These empanadas are full of flavor and are perfect for a small meal on the go.

Tip: I found the empanada dough discs in the freezer section of my market, near the international and vegetarian frozen meals. To quickly thaw the dough, remove the discs from the packaging, separate them by the paper between each one and sit at room temperature while you make the filling.

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Smoky, Cheesy Chicken and Spinach Empanadas with Chimichurri Dipping Sauce (makes 10 empanadas)

For the empanadas:

  • 1/2 pound rotisserie or leftover chicken, shredded
  • 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach
  • 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pimientos
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 3 ounces 1/3-less fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 14-ounce package frozen empanada discs, thawed (such as Goya Empanada Discs)
  • 1 egg

For the chimichurri sauce:

  • 2 cups flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • salt and red pepper flake to taste

To prepare the empanadas, cook spinach according to package directions. Drain and cool slightly. In a bowl, mix chicken, spinach, mozzarella cheese, pimientos, onion, and pepper.

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In a small saucepan, mix broth with cornstarch. Add cream cheese and smoked paprika. Whisk over high heat until mixture is boiling, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape over chicken mixture and combine well, adding salt to taste.

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Place thawed empanada discs on a flat service. Stretch each disc carefully to expand dough slightly. On each disc, spoon heaping 2 tablespoons of chicken mixtures.

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Fold dough over filling to form a semi-circle, then fold edges together and pinch to seal, using a fork. Gently place empanadas, slightly apart, on baking sheet.

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In a small bowl, beat egg to blend and brush generously over each pastry.

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Bake in a 375°F oven until empanadas are golden browned, 25 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool at least 10 minutes. Serve hot or warm.

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To prepare the chimichurri sauce, combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until desired consistency.

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Spoon into a bowl and serve with empanadas.

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Red Quinoa with Spinach and Dried Cherries

I’ve had a minor obsession with dried cherries lately. And by lately, I mean the last year. When I was in Chicago visiting my aunt last year, she offered me a huge bag of some dried cherries that she’d gotten at a farmer’s market (or something like that, I can’t remember!).  The dried cherries she had were so plump and sweet yet tart and I had to physically stop myself from consuming an embarrassing amount. Now, I grab dried cherries often to have on hand to eat with peanuts or in plain Greek yogurt. Or I just pop them as a small snack.  I came across this recipe for Red Quinoa with Spinach and Dried Cherries and figured it would be another way to try these dehydrated gems.

Red quinoa (or red rice as the original recipe calls for) is cooked and combined with onion, ginger and dried cherries. Spinach and fresh orange juice are added for yet even more layers of flavor to this superfood-filled dish. I found the red quinoa at my local Target (I have yet to find red rice) but regular ol’ quinoa or rice will work. The zing of the ginger, the sweetness of the orange, and the mild tartness of the cherries combine for a real melody of flavors. And with the quinoa and spinach, this dish is good for you!

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Prepare the red quinoa according to package directions in a medium saucepan. (Or if using red rice, combine rice and water in a medium pan, cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat; reduce the heat to medium low and cook until the rice is tender, about 45 minutes.)

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Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion; sprinkle with the sugar and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger and dried cherries; cook, stirring, until the onion is golden brown, about 7 more minutes.

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Stir the prepared quinoa (or rice) into the onion mixture. Add the baby spinach and orange juice and stir until the spinach is just wilted, about 1 minute.

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Season with salt and pepper.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions:

  • Red quinoa

Overall Rating: Like It

Source: Food Network magazine

Turkey Sausage and Spinach Lasagna

I don’t know what has happened to me but I think I’ve turned into a little girl again getting all giddy every time Frozen comes on television. The past couple of weekends, I’ve been getting ready to cook some food and scroll through the tv stations for background noise only to find Frozen on one of the cable channels. When I see it’s on, I can’t help but turn it on. And yes, I sing at the top of my lungs. Frozen has become one of those movies I turn on whenever it’s on. I’m even pretty darn close to downloading it. I mean, I have a niece who turns six on Friday so I should at least download it so I have it available for her to watch when she visits, right? It only seems like the right thing to do. Anyway, one dish I made while belting out Let It Go was this Turkey Sausage and Spinach Lasagna.

Hot turkey sausage, fresh spinach, shallots and garlic are the basis of this lasagna which is layered with no-boil lasagna noodles, ricotta cheese, and a béchamel white sauce. Topped with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, this tomato-less lasagna is creamy, a little spicy, and a lot flavorful. It makes six servings so this is a great meal for a family or easy to portion control for lunches or dinner leftovers. Maybe you won’t feel like making lasagna during the summer but after watching Frozen for the umpteenth time, I felt like having a warm meal. Do you want to build a snowman?

If you like this, check out Turkey Lasagna.

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Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, milk, stock, oil and bay leaf in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring with a whisk. Cook 8 minutes or until thick and bubbly, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in salt and pepper. Spread 1 cup milk mixture in bottom of an 11 x 7-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.

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Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons water and spinach to pan; cook 2 minutes or until spinach wilts. Drain spinach, pressing until barely moist. Increase heat to medium-high. Remove casings from sausage. Add sausage to pan; cook 4 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Remove sausage from pan. Add shallots and garlic to pan; sauté 2 minutes. Stir in remaining milk mixture, spinach, and cooked sausage. Remove pan from heat.

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Arrange 2 noodles over milk mixture in baking dish; top with 1/2 cup ricotta and one-third spinach mixture. Repeat layers twice. Sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375°F for 40 minutes. Remove foil.

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Preheat broiler to high. Broil 4 minutes or until cheese is golden brown.

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Let stand 10 minutes.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

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