Tag Archives: spinach

Grilled Tomato and Brie Sandwiches

I had both a great weekend and yet a terrible weekend. I finished a terrific book that left me in tears at the end (which I love), went to an exciting and fun concert, hung out with a great friend…and both completely crashed my computer and nearly destroyed my iPhone.  While I had come to grips a while ago with the fact that I’m way past due for a new computer, I’m praying the Geek Squad can salvage what is left of my 6-year-old, out-of-warranty-computer, and pull the documents, pictures and music I hadn’t yet backed up to my external hard drive.  As I stood in line at Best Buy with my precious computer folded into my arms the way a toddler carries a teddy bear, I was reminded of the episode of Sex and The City where Carrie gets the “sad-Mac” and loses everything.  Panic, anger, fear, paranoia and sadness all kick in at the same time which is when one really becomes aware of just how attached to their computer they are.  And while I was both freaked out about losing some of my files yet elated that this meant I could get a computer that actually keeps up with me, I wasn’t happy to be turning over my credit card to the very nice boy at Best Buy.  To top it off, after bring home said new computer, an error occurred while updating my iPhone and after spending over 45 minutes on the phone with Apple Support, I was told everything was gone.  The backup, which iTunes had confirmed happened…didn’t.  As I’m about to freak out, looking at my blank gray, foreign-looking iPhone, with no contacts, photos, or apps, I unplugged it and plugged it back in, praying for a miracle, and voilà!  Everything miraculously showed up.  Even the Apple Support person couldn’t explain it.  Oh, modern technology, how I love and hate thee.

That being said, in my computer-grieving, financial-impact-of-buying-a-new-computer, and near-panic-attack-from-almost-losing-everything-on-my-iPhone depression, I wanted – no, needed – comfort food. And a quintessential comfort dish to me is grilled cheese. Since I still had some Brie left from last week, I figured now was as good a time as any to make Grilled Tomato and Brie Sandwiches. Nutty, creamy Brie and Dijon mustard are spread over your favorite bread (I used Oatnut which is my favorite but I only allow myself to buy about once a year), and topped with fresh tomatoes and arugula and/or spinach before being grilled to perfection on a grill pan. While I think Brie is best complemented by something sweet, like fruit, honey, or chocolate, this sandwich settled me down just the way comfort food is supposed to.  But I might be needing something a little more comforting when I get my credit card bill.

Like Brie? Check out this and this!

The ingredients:

 Brush olive oil onto one side of each bread slice and rub garlic over oil.

Turn bread slices over and spread Dijon mustard on each slice.  Top each bread slice with cheese, greens, and tomato slices.  Top each with remaining 4 bread slices, oil side up.

Place sandwiches on a grill rack, coated with cooking spray, and heated to high heat.

Grill until golden brown, about two minutes on each side.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Baby spinach

Overall Rating:  Like It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

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Fried Egg BLT Sandwiches

Bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches were a once-in-a-while meal at my house growing up. But since I didn’t eat tomatoes as a kid, my BLTs were more of BLMs – bacon, lettuce and mayonaisse.  When I did start eating tomatoes, I was a vegetarian so my BLTs became LTMs – lettuce, tomato and mayonaisse. Now that I’m no longer a vegetarian and can eat a real BLT (although I guess technically it would be a TBLT – turkey bacon, lettuce and tomato), it never occurs to me to make one.  When I saw the recipe for Fried Egg BLT Sandwiches, it was like a light bulb when off.  Why hadn’t I ever thought to do this?  I’ll eat an omelet with tomatoes and spinach and a side of bacon and toast for breakfast, so why not make a sandwich out of it?

Toasted bread is topped with spinach, a tomato slice, bacon, and a fried egg.  The recipe calls for focaccia but my store was out so I substituted a whole-wheat English muffin.  I’m sure the focaccia adds a bit of pizzazz but really any kind of bread will do.  I also used the spinach instead of arugula but only because I had spinach on hand.  If you don’t like arugula’s peppery flavor, any leafy green will be a good substitute.  Eaten open faced, this sandwich is good for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and is especially perfect for a light bite.  I’m now proud to say that I am officially a BLT eater.  Or an EBLT eater.  Whatever.

The ingredients:

Prepare bacon according to package directions.  Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat and swirl to coat.  Crack eggs into the pan and cook for 2 minutes.  Cover and cook an additional 2 minutes or until whites are set.

Place a bread slice on a plate and top with spinach, 2 bacon slice halves, and 1 tomato slice.  Sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper.

Top each serving with 1 fried egg. 

Season with salt and pepper.

 

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Baby spinach
  • Whole-wheat English muffin
  • Turkey bacon

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

Sausage-Spinach Quinoa Bowl

I admit that I’m late to the quinoa party. Quinoa recipes are everywhere now and I’d been so curious about this superfood for a while but had never tried it. My grocery store doesn’t carry it so I finally went to another grocery store slightly farther away that always seems to carry whatever it is that my grocery store doesn’t. When the check-out girl saw my bag of quinoa, she asked me if it was good, saying her mom wanted to try it for weight loss. I came home and made a batch just to keep on hand to eat as a side in place of my usual brown rice. Even though brown rice is good for your diet, quinoa is better because it’s a complete protein (meaning it has all of the essential amino acids we need). People say it has a nutty taste but I think it tastes more like corn which isn’t at all what I expected.

I wanted to try a recipe using quinoa in place of rice and since the spinach in my produce drawer was close to going bad and I needed to cook the leftover turkey sausage from the gratin I made earlier this week, the perfect dish to make was Sausage-Spinach Quinoa Bowl. With hot turkey sausage, spinach, and quinoa, this dish came together very quickly since I’d already cooked the quinoa. (Rinse the quinoa thoroughly. Bring one part quinoa, two parts water to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes until the liquid is absorbed.) The spiciness of the turkey sausage pairs terrifically with the bitter spinach and the red pepper flake gives it the slightest hint of kick. The quinoa made for a great substitute for the rice which is exactly what I was hoping it would do. I look forward to making this superfood more in the future!

The ingredients:

Heat olive oil in a large skillet and cook sausage and red pepper over medium-high heat until browned and crumbled.  

Add in garlic and cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. 

Add in spinach and cook 30 seconds or until spinach begins to wilt. 

Stir in prepared rice or quinoa; cook 1 minute or until heated.

Additions:  None

Omissions: 

  • Parmesan cheese

Substitutions:

  • Quinoa

Overall Rating:  Like It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

Spinach-Pesto Dip

A friend of mine came to visit a couple weekends ago and when I was at the grocery store buying food for the week, I realized I didn’t have anything to offer her to snack on other than veggies or chicken. I remembered a page in the latest Real Simple magazine about different dips to make with Greek yogurt and the next thing I know, I was scouring the check-out lanes for the latest issue to look up the ingredients. This Spinach-Pesto Dip appealed to me since I’m not only a big spinach fan but I would eat pesto on top of just about anything if it wasn’t so fattening. I wasn’t thrilled about buying store-bought pesto with it’s inch-thick layer of olive oil sitting at the top of the jar but I didn’t want to have to buy all of the ingredients to make my own. I ended up dumping most of that olive oil once I opened the jar before stirring the pesto and I didn’t miss any of the extra oil. This was such a simple dip to make what with it only having three ingredients and it’s a pleasant change from the regular old spinach dip. This made for a perfect last minute appetizer to have with wine when my guests came over. I served it with carrots and pretzel chips (is anyone else as addicted to these things as I am?!) but this dip will taste great with any of your favorite veggies or chips.

The ingredients:

Cook the frozen spinach as per the package instructions. Once the spinach is cool enough, press or squeeze out as much excess water as you can.

In a small bowl, combine Greek yogurt and pesto.

Add in the spinach and stir until incorporated.

Serve with your favorite vegetables or chips.

Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Like It

Source: Real Simple Magazine

Sausage and Spinach Risotto

It snowed in the Philadelphia region this past weekend and it was icy, gray, and cold.  Saturday was the kind of day where you didn’t want to go outside but stay curled up on the couch with a warm bowl of something and a cozy blanket.  I wanted something a little more stick-to-your-ribs and comforting than soup so I decided to make Sausage and Spinach Risotto.

This risotto is made with arborio rice, mushrooms, spinach, and sausage and cooked slowly until creamy and dreamy.  (I used Thin ‘N Trim’s Spinach & Red Onion Chicken Sausage but I bet sweet turkey or pork sausage would be good here too.)  I messed up making this and left the mushrooms in the pan the whole time (the recipe says to cook them, set them aside, and add in at the end) but it turned out fine.  I love the salty addition of the cheese at the end too so don’t leave that off or you might need to add in some salt.  As I’ve mentioned before, I love risotto and don’t mind that it takes time and patience to make.  It was exactly what I wanted while the sleet fell against my windows and I stayed nice and warm inside.

The ingredients:

Bring broth and water to a simmer in a small pan and keep on low heat.  Add oil to another pan and cook mushrooms and salt over medium-high heat until browned (about 8 minutes).   Remove mushrooms from pan and set aside.

Add sausage until browned.  Then add shallots and garlic, cooking 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Reduce heat to medium and add rice, cooking for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Stir in wine, and cook until liquid is nearly absorbed.  (Ahh, fragrant!)  Stir in 1 cup of broth mixture and cook until liquid is absorbed, stirring constantly.  Continue adding remaining broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, until each portion of broth mixture is completely absorbed.  Stir constantly.

Once all of the broth has been absorbed, remove the pan from the heat and add mushrooms and spinach, stirring until spinach wilts.

Serve topped with cheese.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Pre-cooked chicken sausage for sweet sausage
  • Shaved parmesan cheese for Romano cheese

Overall Rating:  Like It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

Spinach-Feta Stuffed Shells

As I mentioned two weeks ago, I can’t stop eating spinach. Maybe my body is needing iron, who knows. I’ve had this recipe for Spinach-Feta Stuffed Shells for quite a while and this seemed like a perfect time to make them. These aren’t quite your traditional stuffed shells because they have cottage cheese and feta instead of ricotta cheese. Using cottage cheese in place of ricotta is nothing new to me because my mom never used ricotta in recipes like this but always used cottage cheese instead. It provides a different texture to these shells which works well with the spinach.

These aren’t overly cheesy which is one thing about them that I like. The tomato-basil feta adds a little bite and the parsley adds a happy freshness but the spinach is the real star of this show. If you are willing to branch out and try something a little different than your normal shells, give these a try. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Also consider Pumpkin-Ricotta Stuffed Shells.

The ingredients:

Cook the shells according to package directions and let cool. In a bowl, combine cottage cheese, feta cheese, parsley, salt, nutmeg, spinach, and garlic.

Pour marinara into a cold large skillet and add the basil.

Spoon the cottage cheese-spinach mixture into cooled shells and set each shell into the marinara sauce.

Move skillet to the stove over medium-high heat. Bring the sauce to a boil. Cover and reduce heat, allowing the sauce to simmer for 15 minutes.

Serve shells with crumbles of feta and fresh parsley.

Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions:

  • Fat-free tomato-basil feta cheese

Overall Rating: Like It

Source: Cooking Light Magazine

Green Monster Spinach Smoothie

I hate to sound cliché but I really, really, want to start eating better.  I know, I know, me and half of the country, right?  It isn’t that I really eat that bad, I mean I do get the majority of my recipes from Cooking Light magazine after all, but my problem is two-fold:  I don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables and I have no concept of portion control!  Smoothies are a great way to get those much needed servings of fruit and vegetables that most of us don’t get and also make for a filling, delicious breakfast.

This Green Monster Spinach Smoothie may not look appetizing to some of you but don’t be intimidated by it’s bright green color.  Yes, it’s a spinach smoothie but if it weren’t for the color, you would never know by the taste.  This smoothie has milk, vanilla yogurt, banana, and peanut butter and tastes like a peanut butter-banana milkshake.  Since spinach is nutritious and so, so, so good for us, consider putting spinach in any smoothie you make.  Your body will thank you.

The ingredients:

Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Pour into your favorite glass or to-go cup and enjoy!

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Iowa Girl Eats blog

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