Food Friday: Eat Your Spinach!


I still can’t wrap my head around kale. I suppose if you drop it, disguised, into my fruit smoothie I might not consciously resist it, but I would still resent you. Kale seems so trendy, and earnest, and demanding of my attention, so I have shunned it. Give me my leafy green vegetables that are versatile and constant. Let me introduce you to the many virtues of spinach.

It’s good for you. It is cheap and plentiful. It is not zucchini. At this time of year, when summer is winding down, it is time to think of cozying up with the family, and making real meals again. Think green.

Morning, noon and night, you can find a way to encourage the young ‘uns to eat spinach. There is still a deafening audible eye roll from our children when we remind them that we used to line their tacos with spinach, before they caved into the peer pressure that was preschool. Before preschool they hadn’t realized that we were depriving them of a world in which sandwiches could be made from spongey white bread, that pizza comes from a freezer, and that iceberg lettuce (which is basically just crunchy water) is served with tacos.

Of course, my idea of morning time spinach is a weekend morning, when we have leisure time, and bacon is quite possibly involved. I wouldn’t chance bacon on a day when everyone is marching out the door with Swiss precision. But there is always this:

Easy to Freeze Crustless Spinach Quiches

5 large eggs
10 ounces frozen spinach
1 cup shredded cheese
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake tin with cute multi-colored paper liners. Thaw spinach and squeeze out as much water as possible. Beat eggs and baking powder in a medium-sized bowl. Add cheese and spinach – mix well. Pour the mixture into cupcake tin and bake 25-30 minutes. Add other ingredients if you are feeling desperate or creative. These quiches are easy to toss at moody adolescents or to stuff in lunch boxes. They are even good for your own lunch, as you stand silently reading yesterday’s paper. 6 servings

Fun fact to know and tell: when a recipe calls for cooked fresh spinach, 1 pound of fresh spinach will yield 10-12 cups of torn leaves, which will cook down to about one cup. One package (10 ounces) of frozen spinach leaves yields about 1-1/2 cups after cooking. No wonder I prefer raw!

Huevos Rancheros is one breakfast standard where spinach is an easy add-on.

Or an elegant brunch time meal in my fantasy world of brunches and gracious living- Poached Eggs Florentine:

One pan meals are always a blessing:

There is a highly amusing blog called Spinach for Breakfast, I kid you not. They have more healthy eating ideas than I could ever muster. The sisters who write this blog are very chic New Yorkers who also wear red-soled Christian Louboutin shoes. I am pecking out Food Friday this week wearing a very earnest pair of well-worn Merrell ballet flats. Just so you know.

Here is a sneaky lunchbox dessert recipe from the Louboutin duo:

Gluten Free Chocolate Spinach Muffins

1½ cups of rolled oats or gluten free oats
½ cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
⅓ cup of coconut palm sugar
1½ teaspoons of baking powder
½ teaspoons of baking soda
1 7oz container of plain Greek yogurt
2 very ripe bananas
2 large organic eggs
3-4 large handfuls of spinach
½ cup of chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a blender, add in the oats and blend until they turn into a flour consistency.
Pour into a medium mixing bowl, and add in the cocoa powder, coconut palm sugar, baking powder and baking soda.
Mix until combined.
In the blender, add in the spinach first, yogurt, eggs, and banana and blend until smooth.
Pour the liquid batter into the mixing bowl, and mix with the dry ingredients until combined. (*If you would like to mix in the chocolate chips instead of placing them on top, mix in now).
Pour the batter into a well-greased or lined muffin tin, filling each slot about ¾ of the way.
Top with a few chocolate chips.
Bake for 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the muffin tin for about 10 minutes before removing and placing on a cooling rack.
Store in an air tight container.

Kiss your kids goodbye. And you will never really know if they eat the muffins, by the way, so you might as well just toss in a couple of Ring Dings and consider yourself to be a decent, hard-working concerned parent.

Dinner is the best time to make your spinach approach to the family. This is a good mid-week surprise to spring on everyone – they will be thrilled that you made the effort, and might even help with the washing up, so deep will gratitude plumb the depths of their inky souls:

Here is one to pull out of the freezer when you have had one of those days. You will thank your lucky stars that you thought ahead for once:

Spinach is an earnest autumn-y vegetable. Air out your sweaters. Pair some socks. Turn on your oven, warm up the skillets, and wash a mess of spinach. We need to be hearty and healthy for the next season – winter is coming.

“On the subject of spinach: divide into little piles. Rearrange again into new piles. After five of six maneuvers, sit back and say you are full.”
-Delia Ephron

About Jean Sanders

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