Tag Archives: spinach

Chicken Roulades

I’ve been feeling under the weather so I’ve been trying to eat a lot of veggies.  Luckily, I’ve been obsessed with frozen vegetables lately unlike I ever have before in my life.   It’s pretty common for me to have boxes of frozen spinach in my freezer because I throw it in everything – eggs, pasta, on pizza, and in smoothies.  I also typically have all kinds of chicken in my freezer since I take advantage of when it’s on sale at the store so rather than making plain old chicken and vegetables, I wanted to see what else I could do.  I was thrilled to come across this Chicken Roulades recipe I had tucked away.

Thin slices of chicken are rolled with a spinach-Gruyère cheese mixture, cooked until golden brown and topped with an easy broth-based sauce tanged up with fresh lemon juice and lemon peel. I used smoked Gruyère cheese which gave this dish a whole other layer of flavor but you could easily use any of your favorite cheese.  I love buying thin chicken cutlets in the store and keeping them on hand specifically for recipes like this because I’m not a big fan of pounding chicken until it’s thin.  With the thinning already being done for me, it also speeds up my whole cooking process which is just what I need when I’m not feeling good.  This dish is just what the doctor ordered.

If you like this, also check out Spinach and Tomato Stuffed Chicken Roulade.

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In small bowl, combine Gruyère, mayonnaise, garlic, 1 teaspoon  mustard, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

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On each piece chicken, spread 1 heaping tablespoon spinach up to 3/4  inch from edges. Place 2 teaspoons cheese mixture on spinach at one short end,  in a strip, 1 inch from edges. Roll up, starting at end with cheese. Secure with  toothpicks to enclose filling.

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Heat oil in 12-inch skillet on medium-high; add chicken. Cook 5 to 8  minutes or until browned, turning occasionally. Reduce heat to medium; add 1 tablespoon water. Cover; cook 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through (165  degrees F), turning over once. Transfer to plate and cover with foil.

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Into same skillet on medium-high, stir chicken broth, lemon juice,  remaining 1 teaspoon mustard, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook 4 minutes or until  sauce thickens slightly. Stir in lemon peel.

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Remove toothpicks from chicken and slice.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Smoked Gruyère

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Good Housekeeping magazine

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Baked Eggs with Spinach and Tomato

Ahh, eggs.  I swear I could eat them everyday.  And I almost do.  Until recently, I wouldn’t eat any egg that had even a hint of a runny yolk.  As in no over-easy eggs, no “dippy” eggs (aka sunny side up), no eggs Benedict.  Then all of a sudden, I became obsessed with vegetarian eggs Benedicts.  So now, I’m no longer grossed out.  Well, I am a little.  But I’m getting over it quickly.  Because of this new revelation, I am now suddenly even more drawn to eggs than ever because now I have so many more options (how many times can you eat fried, scrambled, or deviled eggs?)!  These Baked Eggs with Spinach and Tomato are slightly dippy in the middle but filled with tons of other flavors making this a not-so-standard breakfast.

Onions, spinach and tomatoes are mixed together with spices before being spooned into ramekins, topped with a fresh egg and feta cheese and baked.  This dish is filled with flavor and puts plain old scrambled eggs to shame.  Serve this with a side salad and you could have this for lunch or dinner.  I left mine in the oven a little longer than the recipe said but not because of the runny yolk, but because I wasn’t sure if the whites were cooked fully.  I haven’t quite mastered the “baking” of eggs yet so I never quite do it right.  But this is a really fantastic alternative to eggs which would be festive for a holiday breakfast one day this week.

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The ingredients:

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Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat  oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add  spinach and sauté until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove from  heat.

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In a medium bowl, stir together tomatoes, cumin, salt, pepper,  paprika, and, if desired, hot sauce. Add onion-spinach mixture  and stir to  combine. Divide among 4 oiled 10-ounce ramekins.

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Crack an egg into the center of each ramekin, then sprinkle on feta.

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Bake until whites are set but yolks remain soft, 12 to 15 minutes.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Reduced-fat feta cheese

Overall Rating:  Like It

Source:  Country Living magazine

Creamed Spinach Phyllo Cups

I think I might have a little obsession with appetizers.  I don’t know what it is about them but I just love, love, love them!  Maybe it’s because they can be deceptive little suckers and trick your brain into thinking you aren’t eating much.  Or maybe it’s just the simple laid-back ease that come with appetizers that tells your guests to sit back with a glass of whatever and relax because we aren’t formal here.  Whatever the case may be, when I had two girl friends over last weekend, I was so excited to make these Creamed Spinach Phyllo Cups for them. 

Fresh baby spinach is wilted over the stove with garlic before being bathed in cream (I used fat-free half-and-half) and reduced-fat cream cheese.  The result is a tangy creamed spinach that would be good enough on its own but is instead spooned into baked mini phyllo shells.  A quick dusting of fresh Parmesan cheese on top finished off these little bites.  These bite-sized appetizers came together quickly and didn’t take me away from drinking wine with my friends.  I will undoubtedly and happily be making these again!

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The ingredients:

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Preheat oven to 425°F. Arrange phyllo shells in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Lightly coat shells with cooking spray. Bake at 425°F for 4 minutes or until lightly browned and very crisp.

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Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add garlic; cook 1 minute or until fragrant but not browned, stirring frequently.

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Coarsely chop 1 bag of spinach. Add chopped spinach to pan; cook 2 minutes or until spinach wilts, tossing frequently. Chop remaining spinach; add to wilted spinach in pan. Cook 2 minutes or until spinach wilts, tossing frequently. Sprinkle spinach mixture with salt; toss well.

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Stir in cream and cream cheese; cook 1 minute or until cheese melts and sauce is thoroughly heated. Remove pan from heat.

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Spoon about 1 tablespoon spinach mixture into each shell. Top evenly with Parmigiano-Reggiano.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Fat-free half-and-half

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light magazine

Grilled Chicken Florentine Pasta

I have to say that I’m pretty happy about the fact that I don’t eat nearly as much pasta as I used to.  Considering at one point, about ten years ago, I ate pasta on a nightly basis (with nary a vegetable in sight), the once in a blue moon pasta I now have is all that more enjoyable.  I could very easily get back into a routine of eating pasta all the time but I actually like only eating it once in a while.  In an Italian restaurant, if I’m going to splurge on pasta, the first thing I look for is some kind of pasta mixed with veggies in a cream sauce.  It’s bad, I know, but it’s what I love when I let myself eat it.  This Grilled Chicken Florentine Pasta is a perfect pasta dinner, in my humble opinion, which can easily be made at home.

Milk, chicken broth and Parmesan cheese are cooked until thick and bubbly before being mixed with spinach to create a creamy Florentine sauce.  Chicken, which has been grilled, is added with freshly cooked linguine to the sauce to make a light pasta dish reminiscent of pasta alfredo.  This was such a simple pasta dish to make and can easily be made with any preferred pasta, any preferred cheese, or any preferred vegetable.  Instead of bone-in chicken, I used chicken tenderloins  but I think precooked rotisserie chicken would be a great quick substitute also.  A dish with such versatility is one that I can really get behind.  Because the creamy sauce is made with broth in addition to the milk helps to keep calories down without sacrificing flavor.  I used 1% lowfat milk instead of whole milk and I didn’t feel like any flavors were sacrificed.  If you are looking for a warm, comfort food pasta dish, try this!

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The ingredients:

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Prepare grill to medium-high heat.  Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place chicken on grill rack coated with cooking spray, and grill until internal temperature reads 165 degrees.

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Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain well; keep warm.

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Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add flour and garlic; cook until garlic is browned (about 2 minutes), stirring constantly.

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Add milk and broth, stirring with a whisk; bring to a simmer, and cook 2 minutes or until thickened. Add cheese, stirring until cheese melts.

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Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and spinach; stir until spinach wilts.

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Add pasta and chicken; toss to combine.

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Top with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Chicken tenderloins
  • 1% lowfat milk

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light magazine

California-Style Bibimbap

I went to a Korean restaurant with my friends Jade and Scott a while back and, not knowing much about Korean food, couldn’t bring myself to eat anything other than chicken teriyaki.  I kept eyeballing Jade’s bibimbap because if it weren’t for the meat, this seemed like a dish I would totally be all over: rice, veggies, chili paste, egg, yum!  So when I came across this vegetarian version, California-Style Bibimbap, I stared in disbelief – could it be true?  I was all over it.

Bibimbap is a signature Korean dish usually made with beef but this version takes the beef out and instead uses spinach (or kale), peppers, and avocado.  The spinach and pepper are sautéed until the spinach is wilted and the pepper is slightly soft and spooned over fluffy jasmine rice (hello…a new fave, even if it is a dreaded white rice).  Fresh avocado is added and an egg (either fried or over-easy) tops the dish.  The whole bowl is then dressed with a sesame oil-soy sauce mixture and dotted (or splattered if you so incline) with hot and spicy sriracha.  I cannot even begin to tell you how obsessed with this dish I am.  I plan on making tons of (non-traditional) variations of this using broccoli, carrots, celery, bok choy, mushrooms, asparagus or chicken in the future.  I made this on Sunday, texted Jade a picture right away, and continued to eat it all day long.  It’s no wonder that I couldn’t get Hanson’s “MMMBop” out of my head all day.

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The ingredients (I forgot the avocado):

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Put rice and 2 cups water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cook rice until water is absorbed, about 20 minutes.

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Meanwhile, heat grapeseed oil in a large nonstick frying pan. Cook kale, bell pepper, and garlic with salt over medium heat until kale is wilted, 3 to 5 minutes.

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Divide rice among 4 bowls and top with vegetable mixture and avocado.  Fry eggs in the same pan until done the way you like. Slide each egg into a bowl.

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Mix sesame oil and soy sauce and drizzle over bowls.

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Drizzle with Sriracha or sprinkle with togarashi.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Sunset Magazine

Roots, Greens, and Shoots Quinoa

Have you been hearing about “superfoods” lately?  Foods that are supposedly the most nutritious food we can put into our bodies?  Well, I have.  The list of the top superfoods can vary by professional or article but I’ve seen enough written on the topic to know that quinoa, sweet potatoes, and spinach are all top contenders.  So when I came across a feature in Cooking Light magazine of different low-calorie quinoa combos, I was drawn to this Roots, Greens, and Shoots combination.

With nothing more than roasted sweet potato, baby spinach, toasted pecans and scallions, this quick meal is about as nutritious as you can get.  If you have a spare sweet potato or some leftover cooked quinoa, you also have a speedy meal.  But if not, either roast a sweet potato in a 375 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or buy a super-simple pre-wrapped sweet potato and microwave according to the directions.  Quinoa, which has become an easy replacement for rice in my house, can be cooked in 15 minutes with a 2:1 water ratio.  Although there isn’t any dressing or other flavoring to this dish, you might think this would be pretty bland but on the contrary, the combination of the sweetness in the potato, the crunch of the pecans and the zing of the scallions made this easily one of my favorite quick meals I’ve ever made.  In fact, it’s super.

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The ingredients:

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Combine chopped sweet potato, torn spinach, and sliced scallions in a bowl.

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Top with toasted pecans.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light magazine

Lemon-Braised Chicken Tenders and Cauliflower

Sorry for the two week silence and no blog posts.  I’ve really tried not to talk too much about work here but my work situation has been so stressful the last several months, specifically the last few weeks, that I come home at night and don’t do much but lay around in the dark, watch television and eat take out or fried egg sandwiches.  My weekends, which is usually when I do my cooking, have been a lot more of the same.  I’m probably depressed but I’ll be changing jobs at the end of the month so I’m hoping things start to get better.  Usually cooking calms me down and helps me to decompress but I haven’t even been up for doing that much.  The only good thing that comes out of eating badly for two weeks and laying around is that finally I want something better to eat, something somewhat healthy and something that maybe includes a fruit or vegetable.  So I finally got off my butt and made some food, specifically these Lemon-Braised Chicken Tenders and Cauliflower.

Frozen chicken tenders (yes, frozen) are mixed with onion and cauliflower before sitting in a lemon juice-chicken broth bath until mostly cooked.  After finishing cooking in the oven, spinach and scallions are added as well as slightly sweet dates and nuts (I used pecans instead of pistachios).  This is a truly unique mixture of flavors which all works together wonderfully.  I’m shocked that I like cauliflower as much as I do considering I wouldn’t go near it as a kid.  Or spinach.  Or scallions.  Or onions.  Or dates.  Hmm, who is that in the mirror looking back at me?

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The ingredients:

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Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add frozen chicken tenders. Cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Transfer to plate.

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To the same Dutch oven add onion and cauliflower. Cook 2 minutes until lightly browned. Add garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper; cook 30 seconds more. Add lemon juice. Stir,  scraping up brown bit in bottom of pan. Add chicken broth and lemon peel. Bring to boiling; cover and transfer to oven.

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Bake 10 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink (170 degrees F). Add spinach and green onion; cover and let stand 2 minutes to slightly wilt spinach.

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In a small bowl combine olives, dates, and pistachios. Spoon chicken mixture over cooked rice, if desired. Top with date mixture and additional lemon peel, if desired.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:

  • Olives

Substitutions:

  • Pecans

Overall Rating:  Like It

Source:  Better Homes and Gardens magazine

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