Tag Archives: spinach

Spinach-Pear Salad with Honey-Ginger Dressing

7 Sep

Spinach-Pear Salad

I’m back, after a long summer hiatus!

The problem with a recipe blog is that after you share all your best tried-and-true dishes, the ones you return to again and again — well, you’re out of material! So after a flurry of activity when I started this blog years ago, I’m now limited to posting when I make something new and remember to take a photo of it, which is less often than ideal.

I still like to try new things, though. This recipe is adapted slightly from one that was in a recent issue of Cooking Light.The recipe called for 2 cups of baby spinach, which I didn’t think was enough for four people — or proportionately enough for the dressing — so I used a 5-oz. package of baby spinach and it was perfect for four.

If you look closely at the photo, you’ll see I used black raisins instead of golden — because I didn’t have any golden raisins on hand. I think the golden ones would be better, but don’t use that as a reason not to try this salad. Craisins or dried cherries would probably work well too.

Ingredients:

2 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. honey
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1-1/2 Tbs. olive oil
5-oz. package baby spinach
1 ripe Bartlett pear, sliced
3 Tbs. golden raisins (black raisins are OK)
3 Tbs. toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped

Directions:

Whisk together the lemon juice, honey, mustard, ginger, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil.

Toss the spinach, pear slices and raising with the dressing in a large bowl and divide among four salad places. Top with the toasted walnuts.

Serves 4

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Farmer cheese casserole

5 May

farmer cheese casserole

I bought a package of farmer cheese for Passover because I like to make a matzo-cheese-leek pie. Farmer cheese is kind of like a smooth and dry cottage cheese, a little like feta cheese but not as crumbly and with a less tart taste. Unfortunately, I forgot that my recipe called for half a pound of farmer cheese, and I bought the larger, one-pound package.

After Passover, I had to figure out what to do with the rest of the farmer cheese, so I took a look at what was in my fridge and came up with this recipe.

If you don’t have farmer cheese, you can substitute small-curd cottage cheese (drain it before adding to the rest of the ingredients) or finely crumbled feta cheese.

I had leftover rice so I used a little of that to add starch and thickening, in place of the flour I would normally use. Don’t make rice just for this recipe; use flour instead.

Ingredients:

3 Tbs. butter or olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
half a bell pepper (I used yellow), diced
1 small tomato, chopped
1 10-oz. box frozen spinach, thawed and drained
3 eggs
1 cup farmer cheese
1 oz. cheddar or Monterrey Jack cheese, cubed
1/4 cup cooked rice or 3 Tbs. flour
salt and black pepper to taste (the cheese may be salty enough that you don’t need to add any)
1/2 tsp. dried oregano or basil

Directions:

Heat half the butter or oil in a medium skillet and saute the onions and peppers until soft. Add the chopped tomato and spinach, and continue cooking until any liquid is evaporated. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put the remaining butter or oil in an 8-inch square baking dish (or use a glass pie plate) and put it in the oven for a few minutes until the butter melts or the oil is heated.

Beat the eggs and add in the farmer cheese and cubed cheese, then the cooked and cooled vegetables, rice or flour, and spices. Mix well.

Pour the melted butter or hot oil into the mixture, and then put everything into the greased baking dish or pie plate.

Bake for about 40 minutes or until firm and slightly browned.

Serves 4

 

Winter Squash, Spinach and Pine Nut Pasta

4 Nov

Butternut Squash and Spinach PastaButternut and other winter squashes are plentiful right now — and I think they are becoming increasingly popular, because I’ve been seeing a lot of recipes for them. I love butternut squash, and so I’ll probably be featuring a few recipes for it myself this winter.

This one is adapted from a good food blog I follow called MediterrAsian, which focuses on Mediterranean and Asian foods.

The original recipe called for pumpkin, but I used butternut squash instead. I’m sure the squash or pumpkin tastes fine boiled with the pasta as the recipe directs, but I roasted it ahead of time instead of boiling it, and just put it in with the pasta for a minute to get hot. I also increased the amount of spinach a bit from the original.

You can buy peeled and cubed butternut squash at Trader Joe and other upscale groceries. It’s pricey, but it makes the process much easier.

I used tri-color penne. You can use plain or a similar shaped pasta such as rotini or ziti.

It tasted really good and we had enough left after dinner (for the two of us) for a lunch.

Ingredients:

6 oz. penne pasta
12 oz. pumpkin or winter squash, peeled, seeded and cut into small cubes
3 Tbs. toasted pine nuts
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1½ tsp. fresh rosemary, or ½ tsp. dried
3 cups firmly packed fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese to serve, optional

Directions:

Cook the pasta and pumpkin in a large pot of lightly salted boiling water for 8 minutes, or according to package directions. Drain, reserving 3 Tbs. of the pasta water. You can start on some of the other steps while the pasta is cooking.

If the pine nuts aren’t already toasted, toast them in a large skillet over medium heat until lightly browned (shake the pan and watch them carefully so they don’t burn). Remove from pan and set aside.

In the same skillet heat 2 Tbs. olive oil and cook the onion for 6 minutes. Add the garlic and rosemary and cook for 1 minute. Add the spinach and cook for 4 minutes, stirring frequently.

Stir in the pine nuts, salt, pepper, remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil and the 3 Tbs. of pasta water.

Toss the pasta and pumpkin with the spinach and onion mixture. Top with Parmesan cheese if desired.

Serves 3 as a main course or 4 to 6 as a side dish

Jerusalem Spinach Salad

3 Dec

Jerusalem spinach saladAfter a weekend of gorging, I thought everyone might be ready for a lighter recipe!

This recipe is adapted (very slightly) from one in Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. It’s easy and delicious.

The book is absolutely gorgeous and would make an excellent gift or look good on a coffee table. Many of the recipes are interesting, although some of the ingredients may be difficult to find in the United States. We’re lucky to live in an area with a large Middle Eastern population, so I had no problem finding pita or sumac powder. I didn’t have any chile flakes (which are easy enough to find) so I used cayenne pepper, about half as much as the recipe calls for.

Ingredients:

1 Tbs. white vinegar
½ medium red onion, thinly sliced
¼ lb. pitted dates
¼ cup olive oil
2 small pitas (or one large one) roughly torn into 1½-inch pieces
½ cup unsalted almonds, coarsely chopped
2 tsp. sumac
½ tsp. chile flakes
5 oz. (half a standard-sized package) baby spinach
2 Tbs. lemon juice
Salt

Directions:

Put the vinegar, onions and dates in a small bowl. Add a pinch of salt and mix well with your hands. Allow to marinate for 20 minutes, then drain out any residual vinegar and discard.

Heat the 3 Tbs. olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add the pita and almonds and cook for 4 to 6 minutes, stirring all the time, until the pita is crunchy and golden brown. Remove from the heat and mix in the sumac, chile flakes and ¼ tsp. salt. Set aside to cool.

Just before serving, toss the spinach leaves with the pita mix in a large mixing bowl. Add the dates and red onion, the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil, the lemon juice and another pinch of salt.

Serves 4

Wheat Germ Spinach Tart

5 Nov

Wheat Germ Spinach TartA week or so ago I bought a pint of half & half for another recipe, but I used only half a cup. What to do with the rest? I searched my recipe files for “half & half” and … serendipity! I came up with this recipe, which not only uses the exact amount of half & half I had on hand, it also uses a quarter-pound of mushrooms, which I also had on hand. Of course I didn’t have any wheat germ or block cream cheese (I use whipped cream cheese on bagels) but that didn’t stop me from feeling like I was fated to make this recipe this week.

It’s a delicious tart, even if it is a bit of a bother to make. I’ve had the recipe for more than 35 years. I can tell if a recipe is really old if it’s in my card file box. That’s where I first started my recipe collection — which quickly outgrew the box! I clipped it from a newspaper, and the clipping is now very yellowed.

The recipe calls for regular, untoasted wheat germ in the filling. All I could find in Kroger was toasted — and who wants two jars of different types of wheat germ anyway? So I used toasted wheat germ in the filling and it was just fine.

Ingredients:

Wheat germ shell:
1 cup flour
¼ cup toasted wheat germ
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. marjoram
¼ cup (half a stick) butter
1 egg yolk (or entire egg if you prefer)
2-3 Tbs. water

Filling:
1 (10 oz.) package frozen chopped spinach
1 (3 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1½ cups half & half
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
½ cup wheat germ (regular, not toasted)
½ tsp. tarragon
½ tsp. marjoram
1 onion, chopped
¼ lb. mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbs. butter

Directions:

Make wheat germ shell: Mix toasted wheat germ, salt, and marjoram and cut in butter. Stir in the egg yolk or egg and just enough water to get a crumbly mixture that holds together when pressed. Press into a 9-inch pie plate and flute the edges.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Make filling: Thaw spinach and squeeze dry. Saute onion and mushrooms in butter. Beat softened cream cheese, gradually adding half & half. Stir in Parmesan cheese, eggs, spinach, wheat germ, tarragon and marjoram.  Add the sauteed onion and mushrooms. Turn into the wheat germ shell.

Bake 35-40 minutes until filling is set in the center. Cool for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.

Serves 6

Spinach and Cabbage Salad

7 May

Spinach and Cabbage SaladYikes! I needed a dish for a potluck and didn’t have any time to cook. Solution? This wonderful Spinach and Cabbage Salad, which is soooo easy and soooo yummy!  You can eat mountains of it without worrying about calories too much, because it’s full of fiber and not too heavy on the dressing. The hardest part is picking over the baby spinach to get rid of any really long stems and slimy pieces. If you buy a package of spinach a day or two before you’re making the salad, and it has a good “use by” date, you shouldn’t have to throw away much at all.

If you make this for a potluck and need to drive a long way, or if you have to mix up the ingredients more than an hour before you serve it, add the dressing at the last minute.

Don’t use the entire half-bottle of dressing to start. If you prefer a lightly-dressed salad, you might want to use less. So start with one-quarter or one-third of the bottle and add more if you need to.  Just be sure all the vegetables are coated and the salad seems moist.

You can eat any leftovers the next day, but after that it will be too soggy to enjoy.

Ingredients:

3 cups shredded cabbage or pre-packaged slaw mix (or just use the whole package, which is probably more than 3 cups)
1 bag baby spinach (pick over it to get rid of long stems and slimy bits)
½ cup toasted slivered or sliced almonds
½ cup golden raisins
½ bottle Vidalia onion salad dressing (Westborn Market makes a good one)

Directions:

Combine cabbage, spinach, almonds and raisins. Add dressing just before serving and toss well so that all the ingredients are coated.

Serves 8 to 10

Spinach-Tortellini Soup

9 Apr

Spinach-Tortellini SoupI adapted this recipe from a recipe I clipped from the Detroit Free Press, whose food editor adapted it from Fine Cooking magazine (November 2001). It’s a nice, hearty soup – serve it with a salad and some crusty bread and you’ve got dinner! It’s great for a dreary, rainy, not-quite-spring day like we have today in Detroit.

Warning: it’s quite garlicky, so make sure everyone in the family eats it — and don’t breathe on anyone who doesn’t!

Ingredients:

2 Tbs. olive oil
4-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ cup chopped onion
4 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
2 cups water
9 oz. fresh or frozen cheese tortellini, or 2 cups of the dry tortellini in a bag from Costco
1 can (14½ oz.) diced tomatoes
10 oz. fresh spinach, wash, stemmed and coarsely chopped, or 1 10-oz. pkg. frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
8-10 basil leaves, coarsely chopped, or 2 tsp. dried basil
1 egg
½ cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and sauté the garlic and onion until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the broth, water and tomatoes (with the juice) and bring to a boil. Add the tortellini and cook over low to medium heat until the pasta is tender. Reduce heat to a simmer. Stir in the spinach and basil; if using fresh, cook until they are wilted, about 2 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and Parmesan cheese. Drizzle the egg and cheese mixture into the soup and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 6