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Easy Pasta with Lentils, Spinach & Leeks

The other day, I did a group presentation on “superfoods.” You know, nutrient-dense, health-promoting foods? And when we came to a pause, I asked the crowd, “What is your biggest barrier to eating healthy?” “Time” was the overwhelming answer. [Read more →]

May 11, 2012   No Comments

Late to the Spinach Party – But Let’s Celebrate Anyway!

 

What? How could I not know this? March 26, 2012 is National Spinach Day?? Did you know that my Baby Spinach Salad, 7 Ways is one of the most popular posts of all-time here on Semi-Sweet? Check out scads of other delish spinach recipes right here, right now! Let’s party down, Sweeties.

Spinach is a superfood that’s ridiculously easy to incorporate into your repertoire – whether you like it cooked, raw or both. Baby or mature, it comes pre-washed and pre-bagged for EZ daily use. I “eat” about 4 cups of organic baby spinach every a.m. in my green smoothie . . . what’re your favorite ways to enjoy this lovely leafy?

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March 27, 2012   No Comments

Indian Lentil & Spinach Slow Cooker Soup

It’s been cold here in the Boston area – a couple of days last week barely squeeked out of the 40′s, and it was drizzly and gray to boot. So, still soup weather, my friends! [Read more →]

May 16, 2011   1 Comment

Baked Cod With Dill Over Lemon-Garlic Spinach

baked cod with lemon garlic spinach

I don’t know what I’d do without Google.  I use it all.the.flippin’.time. for cooking.  I often research ingredients I’ve never cooked with (garlic scapes, for example) and find inspiration for things I have on hand and want to use . . . last night was one of those nights.  I had some beautiful spinach and fresh dill from my Picadilly haul on Wednesday and a nice piece of cod I’d gotten at the market earlier . . . plugged those into Google and voila!  Up popped this recipe, which D. has dubbed “restaurant-worthy.”  Be still, my heart.

Even if you don’t have the ingredients on hand, this one’s worth a trip to procure them.  It’s so fast, and there is so little cleanup.  I didn’t alter it a bit – too tired to tinker.  So I’m providing you with the link and the commendation.  It’s a keeper.  Although we enjoyed it side-dish-less, I think it’d be great with some steamed new potatoes topped with a little butter, salt & pepper.

Bon appetit!

February 21, 2011   6 Comments

Baby Spinach Salad Seven Ways

popeye-04

Those of you who know me “off the blog” know that I eat a lot of baby spinach.  I buy a huge 16 oz. tub once a week, and I use it every day - in smoothies, steamed lightly, chopped up in frittatas and egg dishes, raw in salads with lots of additions . . . I can’t get enough.  Spinach is packed with nutritive benefits.  I love other greens too, but I think that pre-washed baby spinach is the unsung hero of the prepared-food world.  Move over, Chef Boyardee!

Yesterday I talked about moving on to spring and summer.  A slow process here in New England, full of ups and downs and teases.  But I’m starting to think salads, and right now while there are no local, tender and tasty salad greens, I love the more substantial bite of a salad made with baby spinach.  Healthy, fast and easy, too.  What more could a girl wish for?

Here are some ideas for additions to your spinach salad – tweak them to your liking, and make your salads smaller for use as side dishes, or huge for use as main courses.  Maybe you try taking a salad for lunch this week?  Just pack components separately to avoid soggy wiltingness . . . small glass jars leftover from jams are great to reuse this way.

  1. Spinach salad with sweetened dried cherries, chopped walnuts, crumbled feta and fig vinegar/EVOO vinaigrette.  Note, goat cheese is great here too.
  2. Classic spinach salad with chopped hard-cooked eggs, halved grape tomatoes, crumbled bacon (please use the real stuff!) and dijon vinaigrette.  Add sliced button mushrooms if you like them, or try Marjorie Drucker’s (NE Soup Factory) updated take which boasts a warm pancetta dressing.
  3. This spinach salad with toasted chickpeas and pomegranate vinaigrette is on my list to try – POM sent me a case of pomegranate juice that I’m looking to use!
  4. Spinach salad with strawberries and pecans – my sister-in-law got me on the strawberries and spinach salad thing and I am still in love with this combo.  This is a good recipe.
  5. Easiest ever – baby spinach topped with sweetened dried cranberries, crumbled bleu cheese, chopped walnuts and Newman’s own light raspberry walnut vinaigrette.
  6. Indulge a little and top your baby spinach with grilled chicken (or pull your chicken from a supermarket rotisserie bird), pieces of brie cheese, halved grape tomatoes and a honey-mustard vinaigrette.
  7. This recipe from Bon Appetit is on my to-try list – who can resist this zany combo of spinach, pear and avocado? Or this one with warm feta dressing?

What’s your favorite spinach salad?

February 17, 2011   4 Comments

Sausage, Potato, Leek & Spinach Stew

soup pot with healthy caption

It’s soup season.  For real now, I think – that last blast of warm weather we got in Boston was flukey (it always happens, right?).  Now it’s chilly and sometimes wet and well, perfect for puttin’ up a pot of soup.  This stew hit the spot.  If you’re not familiar with Eating Well magazine, you need to check them out.  They consistently turn out healthy, mostly easy recipes that are full of flavor.  And if you’re not up for another subscription, there’s LOTS to enjoy on their site.  You can thank me later.

Sausage, Potato, Leek & Spinach Stew (adapted from Eating Well Magazine)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 links hot Italian turkey sausage (6-7 ounces), casings removed
3 cups chopped leeks (about 3 leeks), white and light green parts only
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup dry white wine
1 pound new or small potatoes, halved and thinly sliced
6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
8 ounces baby spinach (about 8 cups)
1 bunch scallions, sliced
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, preferably no-salt-added, rinsed
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

 

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add sausage and leeks and cook, stirring occasionally and crumbling the sausage with a wooden spoon, until the leeks are tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and salt and stir until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add wine, cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Uncover and cook until the wine is almost evaporated, about 4 minutes. Add potatoes and broth; cover and bring to a boil. Stir in spinach and scallions and cook, covered, until the potatoes are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in beans. Cover and let stand for 1 minute. Divide among 6 soup bowls and sprinkle each portion with parsley.

Serves 6.

This is awesome left over.  I put a few handfuls of fresh baby spinach in a big soup bowl, added some stew, and microwaved it . . . warm, filling, flavorful and packed with veggie goodness.

October 14, 2010   2 Comments

Bulgur With Red Peppers, Chickpeas & Spinach

bulgur 

This is a goodie, friends.  It’s adaptable (vegetarian or vegan, anyone?) and tasty and easy.  You can choose to go hardcore and roast the peppers yourself (I did, but I rarely do – I won’t judge you if you decide to just open a jar) and/or cook the chickpeas yourself (I didn’t – Eden Organics in the can is this housewife’s little helper).  But bottom line, any way you do it up, this is a satisfying meal loaded with nutrition.

Bulgur with Roasted Red Peppers, Chickpeas & Spinach (adapted from Everyday Food)

1 c. bulgur
2 c. low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
2 red bell peppers
1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1 can (14.5 oz.) chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and patted dry
1 medium onion, chopped
4 c. baby spinach
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

 

In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a boil.  Add the bulgur and remove from the heat.  Soak until tender, about 30 minutes.  If there is any liquid remaining, drain in a fine-mesh sieve, pressing to remove as much liquid as possible.

Meanwhile, roast the peppers over a low gas flame or under the broiler, turning frequently with tongs (I used the broiler so I could prep the onions and chickpeas at the same time, plus, if you have arthritis like me, holding a pepper in tongs over an open flame for 8+ minutes is a form of torture).  After about 8-10 minutes, the peppers should be blackened on all sides.  Put the peppers in a bowl and cover it tightly with plastic wrap.  Let cool.  Peel off charred skins; discard the seeds and stems.  Whether you’ve roasted them yourself or you’re using jarred roasted red peppers, chop your peppers into 3/4-inch pieces.  Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Fry the chickpeas until golden brown and lightly crisp, about 4 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the chickpeas to a plate lined with paper towels and season immediately with Kosher salt.

In the same oil, fry up the onion until lightly browned.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the onion to another plate lined with paper towels.

Place the spinach in a large bowl.  Add the warm/hot bulgur, chickpeas, peppers and spinach, along with a tablespoon of the oil leftover from frying the chickpeas and onions.  Toss and season to taste with more Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. 

Serves 4.

September 16, 2010   4 Comments

Shhhhh . . . Spinach & Cheddar Strata

spinach

This is going to be quick, ’cause right now, I’m the only one in this house who’s awake.  I’ve got three jet-lagged Madrileños and a 7-year-old all wound up about her school open house tomorrow all snoozing upstairs and it’s only 8:30 p.m.  I’m left up laundering and munching marshmallows, so I thought it’d be a good time to check in and let you in on tonight’s recipe success.

This spinach and cheddar strata is SO easy and it can even be made ahead of time.  I whipped it up this morning while L. had a friend over, covered it, put it in the fridge and pulled it out when I got home from the airport with my sister and her family.  30 min. in the oven and out popped a warm tasty treat – just enough but not too much for anyone who wants a lighter meal.  Like anyone who’s been trapped on a plane for 7 hours with a 9-month-old.  Just a for-instance.  The gang loved this, and I hope you will, too.

Spinach and Cheddar Strata (adapted from Everyday Food Magazine)

1 t. extra-virgin olive oil
16 oz. baby spinach
3 c. day-old bread cubes (1 inch)
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 c. skim milk
1 1/4 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Pinch of nutmeg

 

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet.  Add the spinach and cook, stirring constantly, until it’s wilted, about 4 minutes.  Transfer to a colander and drain, pressing with a spatula until the spinach is as dry as possible.  Transfer to a cutting board and chop coarsely.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, 1/4 of the cheese, some salt, pepper, the cayenne and the nutmeg. 

In an 8-inch square baking dish, or one of similar capacity, layer the bread cubes and then the spinach.  Pour the egg mixture over the lot and sprinkle it all with the remaining cheese.

Bake at once in a 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, or else cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.  Remove from fridge and bake in a 400 degree oven for 30-35 minutes.

Serves 4.  This would be great with a nice tossed salad alongside . . . but tonight, I just had to get something in their bellies before they fell asleep – so this was a one-dish meal.

Sweet tip:  I keep odds ‘n’ ends of bread in the freezer for just this sort of purpose.  Sometimes we don’t make it though a whole loaf of good Italian or French, so the next day when it’s less than appealing, I bundle it into a Ziploc, label it, and sock it away.  Great for stratas, croutons, breadcrumbs etc.

August 25, 2010   2 Comments