5 Things To Do With: SPINACH

5 Things To Do With Spinach // Holly Would If She Could

I was going to start this post by saying that I am not a huge fan of spinach, but that’s not 100% true. If this website was called into evidence, it would obviously reveal that I do like spinach salad covered in warm bacon dressing. I mean, duh. Also, I don’t think they let you even HAVE a blog these days if you don’t have a recipe for a green smoothie that you endorse, so there is always that. I finally developed a taste for warm spinach in a breakfast casserole and then I branched out to eating it in a dinner appropriate egg dish that, while delicious, is ugly as sin.

(Oh man, Joe’s Special is just so darn ugly. But you all, it has helped me embrace TWO ingredients I don’t normally love – spinach AND mushrooms. WHAT? I’m convinced it’s a Miracle Food. A really ugly Miracle Food.)

Anyway, the fact is though, my brain always defaults to thinking about how I can “hide” the spinach. Maybe you can love a side dish of sauteed spinach, but I have to be honest, it makes me feel like I’m eating wilted grass. I just can. not. abide. So I hide! And now I’ve made a spinach poem. We may be at an all time low here, you all. If you are a hider too (no need to be a poet) here are my 5 favorite ways to get some spinach in your meal without it having to be the main act:

1. Stuff It In A Muffin

Meat and Spinach Muffins (from The Clothes Make The Girl)
Meat Spinach Muffins - The Clothes Make The Girl dot Com

This recipe is a gem (as is Mel’s cookbook Well Fed) and I love the novelty of having a muffin that isn’t overly eggy and is packed with a protein/veggie punch.

2. Add It To A Soup

Paleo Stracciatella (from Goddess Lifestyle Plan)
Paleo Stracciatella

Recently my mom made me a batch of chicken soup and she just happened to throw in spinach because she had some…BRILLIANT! This led me down a rabbit hold of spinach-type soups and I found this recipe for Paleo Stracciatella which looks delicious!

3. Prep A New Pesto

Lemon Thyme Chive Spinach Pesto (from Caveman Connoisseur)

lemon thyme spinach pesto

Such a versatile and verdant little change up, right? I can’t wait to try this. I may substitute something for the pecorino, or find some raw parmesan, but regardless this will be making its way on to my menu soon.

4. Change Up Your Chimichurri

Grilled Skirt Steak with Spinach Chimichurri (from Cooking In Red Socks)

chimichurri

Grilling season is right around the corner and Chimichurri is one of my favorite toppers for grilled meat and vegetables. How about getting creative and working in some greens?

5. Mix It Into A Burger

Turkey Spanikopita Burgers (from Tastebook)

spanikopita burger

This is in pretty regular rotation at our house, sometimes with raw feta, sometimes without and let me tell you it is delicious either way! Definitely worth trying, and if you serve it over a bed of raw spinach: EXTRA CREDIT! :)

*****

What’s your favorite way to hide spinach? Have a good recipe? Don’t forget to share!

 

Original Spinach Image Source

 

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Ground Beef & Spinach Egg Casserole

Ground Beef & Spinach Egg Casserole // Holly Would If She Could

Just about every Sunday I whip up an egg casserole while doing my food prep for the week. I use a 13×9 casserole dish because it yields 8 nice sized squares. Symmetry makes me happy! Plus then I can put them in individual containers with roasted vegetables so Garrett + I have a grab and go breakfast for the week. I assure you it would be just as lovely to serve to friends at brunch.

I have a few favorite breakfast casserole recipes that I rotate through so I don’t get bored, but for the last few weeks I’ve been making this one with ground beef and spinach. Seasoned ground beef and eggs go really well together, and when you throw in a metric ton of spinach you get to start your day off with a leafy green smugness that helps you run faster, jump higher and knock out your To-Do List with superhero-esque strength.

The best part about it? Very few ingredients!

Ingredients

Look at that. That’s nothing!

You start by sauteing half an onion until it is translucent, then browning ground beef and seasoning the mixture with salt, pepper and garlic powder. So far, so good, right? Then it’s time for the go-go juice. Uh, I mean the spinach. Let’s talk about the spinach for a second, shall we? I’m going to give you a really specific measurement to add and that is 2 to 4 large handfuls. Got that? :) It doesn’t matter if you have large hands or small hands, you just want to dig deep in your bag and pull out the biggest handful you can handle and then throw it in the pan. Repeat this until you are satisfied that you have enough giddy-up and go. The thing about spinach though is that it looks likes too much when you throw it in the pan, but then it cooks down to almost nothing. I have huge hands, which a jeweler recently confirmed to me (THANKS BUT NO THANKS WE WILL BUY NO JEWELRY FROM YOU!) so I like to use about 3 handfuls.

3 handfuls

See? Not too bad.

All that goes into a casserole dish, your seasoned eggs get poured over it (Yep, egg seasoning. It’s necessary!) Then you bake, and most importantly YOU EAT! That last part is the best part.

Egg Casserole

Enjoy it in your breakfast nook or out of a tupperware at your desk at work. Either way it’s a great dish and I hope you enjoy it!

5.0 from 2 reviews

Ground Beef & Spinach Egg Casserole
Author: 
Cuisine: Breakfast
Serves: 8
 

Ingredients
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ½ Red Onion, finely diced
  • 1 Pound Ground Beef
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1¼ teaspoons pepper, divided
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2-4 Large Handfuls Spinach
  • ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 12 Eggs

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 13×9 casserole dish
  2. Heat Olive Oil over medium in a large skillet
  3. Saute diced onion until translucent, about 5-7 minutes
  4. Add ground beef and crumble with a wooden spoon and brown until cooked through
  5. Season meat and onion mixture with ¾ teaspoons of salt and ¾ teaspoons of pepper and ½ teaspoon of garlic powder
  6. Add spinach and let it wilt while stirring into the meat mixture
  7. Sprinkle in ⅛ teaspoon of nutmeg. This gives your spinach a little something extra!
  8. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl crack 12 eggs, season with remaining salt and pepper and scramble with a fork
  9. When spinach is wilted, transfer meat mixture to casserole dish
  10. Pour egg mixture over meat mixture
  11. Cover dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes
  12. Remove foil and finish baking for 10 minutes or until eggs are cooked to desired doneness

 

 

Spinach Salad: The John Malkovich of Salads

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Here’s the thing about spinach salad: it’s seems slightly more exotic than your average salad, right? But in the end it’s just a salad, like every other salad: some green stuff, some other stuff, some dressing.

But it’s also the kind of salad that people have very strong opinions about. Most people either detest it with every fiber of their being, or have a strange fetish like love for the brilliant combination of raw spinach, salty bacon, and perfectly cooked, sunshine-yellow yoked eggs. I guess you can probably guess where I fall on the spectrum, can’t you?

Ordinary ingredients, but when you put them all together and dress them with a warm bacon vinaigrette — EXTRAORDINARY. Which I think is a lot like John Malkovich, who really is just a regular actor dude. But man, people either hate him or talk about him like he is George Clooney covered in gravy and OMG HAVE YOU EVER SEEN SOMETHING SO DELICIOUS, JOHN MALKOVICH HOLY CRAP?

I don’t know if I feel that extreme, but I have to say if he one day hopped on my elevator, I may just hit the emergency stop button. Who knows?

Wow, this has gotten very off topic, hasn’t it? I’m sorry but sometimes while I’m washing dishes I have these very long involved tangents in this crazy brain of mine, and dammit I started a blog so I could share these tangents WITH THE WORLD!!!

You’re welcome.

Now let’s talk about the best spinach salad. The best spinach salad has 6 ingredients. Anyone can handle 6 ingredients, right? You probably keep them on hand anyway!

1. Spinach — bet you didn’t see that coming, did ya? Baby spinach, preferably. A giant mound of it. This is your foundation — make it a good one!

2. Perfectly Cooked Hard Boiled Eggs — I’m sure you have opinions on how to cook the perfect hard boiled egg, everyone does. Now don’t go being stingy with the egg. Make plenty because you can always eat them later. Chop them up in slivers and top with some flake salt and some course black pepper.

3. Way Too Much Bacon — If I’m using a bag of Trader Joe’s baby spinach, I’m thinking at least half a pound of bacon. What? Don’t judge. Bacon makes everything better. You will never feel like there is too much bacon on this salad.

4. Tomatoes — Little cherry tomatoes, Multi-colored baby heirlooms, chunks of juicy beefsteaks — it doesn’t matter. Just get some tomatoes in there. The sweetness and acidity cut through all of that bacon. And when you do add the tomatoes, salt them just the teeniest bit!

5. Cheese of Choice — Get crazy here. Sometimes I throw in shredded cheese just sitting in our fridge. Sometimes I do parmesan if that’s all we’ve got. Sarah does Blue Cheese and I think that sounds AMAZING but have never tried it (gasp!) Just get some cheese in there!

6. Warm Bacon Vinaigrette — If you are a person who likes red onion in your spinach salad — this is where you get the best bang for your buck! After you are done cooking your bacon and pulling it from the pan, mix those delicious bacon renderings with some chopped up onion or shallots. You only need to caramelize them for a second, then stir in some dijon mustard, a touch of apple cider vinegar, and a generous sprinkle of black pepper. Pour that baby straight from the pan right over the top of your greens.

After all of that, I promise that you will die happy. And if you pair it with a good John Malkovich movie and very full glass of red wine, you may even experience true spiritual enlightenment.

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Ugly Food That Tastes Good: Joe’s Special

In my arsenal of ugly recipes, this is probably the worst offender. It’s ugly when you start, ugly while you’re cooking it, and ugly when it’s finished. Thank god it is so tasty that it is worth it casting aside this discriminatory idea that we eat with our eyes first.

Also: Super Nutritious.

You know how everyone and their mother wants you to drink Green Smoothies for breakfast because it’s such a delicious protein filled way to camoflouge all of that spinach? Well this is the Green Smoothie’s dinner equivalent. And it will rock your socks off, even if you are a confirmed hot spinach hater like me.

Allow me to introduce to you: Joe’s Special.
Joe's Special

Have you heard of Joe’s Special? It is a famously San Franciscan dish that I remember hearing about in my childhood. The story of origin varies — some say it was invented to fill the bellies of hungry miners during the gold rush, others say it was a midnight snack for local jazz musicians in the 20s, my parents used to order it at a restaurant that they enjoyed on those occasional date nights they had while I was growing up. I can’t remember not knowing about Joe’s Special. So the first time I actually saw it, I was shocked that it looked a lot more..um, “rustic” than I had imagined for a dish with such history. I expected something fancy done in little bites on fine white china, what I got was something that Ina Garten would say looks like “A Dog’s Breakfast.”

But do you know what it tastes like? Bliss.

It’s a combination of beef, onions, spinach, mushrooms and eggs that has all of the flavor but none of the refinement of a good frittata. And? It falls within the Paleo/Primal spectrum no matter how strict you are. Omit the dairy and it’s still great! Not drinking alcohol? Substitute Beef Broth. Anyway you slice it, it will come through in the clutch the next time you need to get a quick meal on the table. And as a bonus it will give you a good story to tell.

Joe’s Special
Adapted from: Everywhere. This recipe specifically is on a 3×5 card from my Mama!

Ingredients:
1 TBS Coconut Oil (Or cooking fat of your choice)
1 Large Onion, diced
6-8 Large Mushrooms, sliced (Any kind you you like will do)
5 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 lb Grass Fed Ground Beef
6-8 oz of Fresh Spinach (About 6 big handfuls. More is ok too!)
1/2 Red Wine or Beef Broth (Depending on if you cook with alcohol)
1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese (Omit if you don’t do dairy. Totally cool.)
2 Extra Large Eggs, beaten
Salt and Pepper

Method:

1. Saute diced onion and sliced mushrooms in Coconut Oil over medium heat. You want to get the mushrooms good and caramelized. Salt and pepper the onions and mushrooms when they have browned a bit otherwise the mushrooms will get rubbery.

2. Add garlic, cook for about a minute.

3. Crumble in ground beef and brown. When beef is cooked, salt and pepper this layer liberally as well.

4. Add in your spinach. It will look like a lot. It will cook down. In fact, sometimes I add extra just to get crazy. You can’t have too much spinach in this dish, so don’t be afraid.

5. Pour wine/beef broth over your spinach and meat concoction and let the spinach wilt down.

6. Add in your parmesan and blend together.

7. Pour beaten eggs over the whole shebang, stir until eggs are cooked. Serve with a little extra grated parmesan or spinach for garnish.

8. Enjoy the ugliest dish ever!

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Green Smoothies: Breakfast of Champions

Untitled

5 days a week, I start my day off with an enormous green smoothie — and at least one day a week I hear something about it:

“What the heck is that?”

“Did you make that yourself?”

“What’s in that?”  or the ever so tasteful “That looks gross.” 


And the truth is — it does kind of look gross.  It looks like lawn clippings mixed with water or something, and just typing that made me dry heave a little.  But it is the best tasting, most-efficient, on-the-go breakfast ever so I remind myself regularly that food doesn’t always have to be pretty to be delicious.   And this Breakfast of Champions is definitely delicious.  If you are not sold on the delicious factor, what if I told you it had 2 CUPS OF SPINACH in it.  I mean, hello, when else are you going to eat 2 cups of spinach??  If you are like me, probably never, since I don’t even like spinach that much.  But in this smoothie?  You can’t even taste it!  So here we go…


Add the following to a blender and give it a whirl:

1 Cup of Almond Milk (I used unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk, but you could use plain too)
1 Frozen Banana
1 Scoop of Protein Powder of Your Choice (you need an emulsifier so it’s milkshake-like)
1-2 TBS of Almond Butter (You could use Peanut Butter if you have it on hand)
2 TBS of Ground Flax Seeds (Or anything else you’d like to sneak in)
2 Cups of Spinach


You all, it tastes like a giant peanut butter and banana smoothie but you just ate 2 cups of spinach.  How badass is that?  Plus, with the almond butter/milk/protein powder combo you will not be hungry until lunch, I promise. 


IT. IS. AWESOME!  

And if nothing else, Popeye (and your mom, no doubt) would probably be proud.

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