Tomorrow, Friday is ground hog day. I don’t go along with the shadow thing. I just look out the window and see what it looks like for the day. But that can change in an hour or two. It’s not about hogs or pork today, it’s about one of the green veggies that you like or don’t like or shouldn’t eat due to health issues. It’s spinach today. Americans buy fresh or frozen spinach as opposed to canned as in the days of the “Popeye” cartoon. It is packed with antioxidants and many vitamins, especially vitamin A and C and a lot of iron. If you are cooking or steaming spinach a squirt of lemon or orange juice will cut down the aroma while it’s cooking.
If you like feta cheese and balsamic vinegar you will like this salad.
EFFORTLESS SPINACH SALAD 1 – 8 oz. pkg. fresh spinach, stems removed 1/2 c. feta or goat cheese, crumbled, divided 1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced 1/2 c. Craisins (dried cranberries) 2 T. toasted sliced almonds, optional
Dressing: 1/2 c. balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing 2 T. orange juice 1 t. orange zest, optional
Wash spinach; damp off any water droplets with paper towel. Tear into bite size pieces and place in a serving bowl. Add half of feta cheese and onion; toss to combine. Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl, mix well with a wire whisk. Pour over salad and mix to coat. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Top with Craisins and almonds. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings. Note: If you don’t have a small onion, cut rings in half. Also, the salad and dressing ingredients can be made ahead of time, in separate bowls and refrigerated. Combine the two when ready to serve.
SPINACH FRUIT SALAD 3 c. washed baby spinach leaves, stems removed 3 c. washed and torn salad greens 1 c. sliced strawberries 2 kiwi fruit, peeled and sliced 1/4 c. sliced almonds 1/4 c. mandarin orange slices, drained 1/4 c. sliced fresh mushrooms 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
Dressing: 1/4 c. orange juice 1 T. honey 1 t. Dijon mustard 1/2 t. poppy seeds Pepper to taste 2 T. olive oil
Toss together spinach and lettuce leaves and other salad ingredients. In a small bowl, combine first 5 dressing ingredients; whisk until well mixed. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking constantly until dressing is mixed. Toss dressing with the salad or serve on the side. Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.
Note: Again, refrigerate salad and dressing in separate bowls as in previous recipe. Whisk dressing ingredients before drizzling over salad when ready to serve. You can substitute arugula leaves for spinach leaves and iceberg lettuce for mixed greens to decrease vitamin K.
LAYERED PASTA FLORENTINE 1 – 10 oz. pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry 1-3/4 cups low-fat 1% cottage cheese or part-skim ricotta cheese 1 egg slightly beaten 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese 1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided 1/3 c. chopped fresh parsley Salt and pepper to taste 1-3/4 c. shell pasta, uncooked 3 c. (24 oz. jar) spaghetti sauce, divided Additional Parmesan cheese (about 1/4 c.), optional
In a large bowl, stir together spinach, cottage cheese, egg, Parmesan cheese, 2/3 c. mozzarella cheese, parsley, salt and pepper; set aside. Cook pasta until just tender; drain. Toss hot pasta with 2-1/2 c. spaghetti sauce. Turn half of pasta mixture in bottom of a 9 x 9-inch square baking pan or 1-1/2 qt. shallow casserole. Layer spinach mixture evenly over pasta; cover with remaining pasta mixture. Spread remaining spaghetti sauce over top; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese and additional Parmesan cheese if you wish. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Makes 4 servings. Serve with a fresh fruit salad and hot French bread for a delicious hot meal.
Thought for the Day: It’s all right to hold a conversation, but you should let go of it now and then.