Tag Archive for Spinach

Mexican Spinach Dip

My sister and I are always looking for new appetizers to make. She turned me on to a very similar version of this Mexican Spinach Dip a few months ago. I’ve made it a couple of times and it is always a huge hit! 

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Prep Time – 15 min; Cook Time – 30 min.

Ingredients:

1 10 oz package of chopped spinach, thawed & drained

1 8 oz. package of light cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 c. chopped white or sweet onion

1/4 c. seeded, chopped jalapeño

2 cans Original Rotel, 1 drained, 1 undrained

14 oz. shredded Mexican cheese blend

1/3 c. sour cream

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. chili powder

1 package of tortilla ships

Preparing Mexican Spinach Dip:

Preheat 350. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Turn into a baking or casserole dish. Bake 30 min. or until hot and bubbly. Serve with tortillas chips. 

Mexican Spinach Dip

Variations:

If you want to add some extra heat, use more jalapeños or a spicier pepper. You can also use “hot” Rotel!

Got Leftovers?:

This dip actually heats up very well. 

Pasta, Power Greens and Bean Soup

Pasta, Power Greens and White Bean Soup

Pasta, power greens and bean soup sounds incredibly healthy doesn’t it? Well, it kind of is. I like to think that the health benefits of the power greens cancel out the bacon that is in there. I have never cooked with bacon in my soup since I tend to prefer the “healthier” varieties. However, the bacon really does make this soup a complete bowl full of deliciousness.  

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Prep Time – 15 min; Cook Time – 30-40 minutes

Ingredients (enough for several meals and to share):

6 slices of bacon, chopped

1/2 white onion, chopped

6 baby carrots, diced

5 cloves of garlic, minced

2 T. tomato paste

2 tsp. fresh thyme

Kosher salt and pepper

12 c. chicken broth 

1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese (divided)

2 1/2 c. small pasta

2 15 oz. cans of white beans, drained and rinsed

3 c. fresh power greens, chopped

Preparing Pasta, Power Greens and Bean Soup:

Cook the bacon pieces in a large pot over medium heat, stirring often, until crisp (about 4-6 minutes). Add the onions and cook about 3 minutes, or until slightly softened. Add carrots, garlic, tomato paste and thyme. Stir well. Add 1/4 tsp. each of salt and pepper and cook for 4 minutes, or until carrots soften. Add chicken broth and turn the temperature up to high. Cover and bring to a boil. 

Add the pasta and beans and cook for about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the power greens. Simmer, uncovered until the soup thickens slightly, about 7-10 minutes. Stir in half of the parmesan cheese. Ladle soup in the bowls and sprinkle with remaining cheese. 

Got Leftovers?:

This soup heats up nicely for leftovers. If it’s too thick for your liking, just add some more chicken broth or water. 

 

Roasted Tomatillo and Lobster Salad

When Denise and I made our video on How to Kill a Lobster Humanely, I had the pleasure of eating the lobsters since Denise won’t touch them, let alone eat them. I still laugh out loud every time I think of her jumping out of her skin about Thelma and Louise.

After eating some of the freshly steam lobster, I saved the rest for my husband to enjoy with me. We ended up with a daytime meal, so I made this tasty and light salad to enjoy the perfectly decadent lobster. Oh so good!

I blended these perfect lobsters with some Roasted Tomatillo Salsa I had just made and had leftover too. Yum!

Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Time Required: Prep and Cook Time – 40min

Ingredients:

3 tomatillos

1 onions

1/2 bunch of cilantro

1/2 large poblano pepper

3 cloves of garlic

2 medium lobsters

juice of 2 limes

1/4 cup Greek yogurt

Spinach

2 avocados

Salt and Pepper

Special Equipment and Other Items Needed:

Steam basket

Preparing Roasted Tomatillo and Lobster Salad:

Make the tomatillo and poblano salsa according to the recipe in the link above. For this amount of lobster, I would cut the recipe in half which is what is indicated in the quantities above.

Steam the lobster and remove from the shell as described in the video. Simple and easy. Just takes a few minutes…if Denise is not in your kitchen freaking out!

Mix the tomatillo salsa, yogurt and juice of one lime. Taste. Add salt and pepper as needed.

Add in the lobster and stir gently to combine.

Plate with fresh spinach tossed with salt and pepper and the juice of the other lime.

Cut an avocado and add to the side. Top with the lobster and tomatillo salsa mixture.

 

lobster salad with tomatillo

 

Spinach Pie

Spanakopita

Ok, so with Greek Week and amazing Greek inspired recipes, I wanted to do something like spanakopita because I had a huge bag of spinach, feta and a frozen pie crust already. What is more ‘Greek’ than spanakopita? I’m not sure, but I decided to make a more family friendly and certainly easier method.

Mind you, I had no recipe. Just made it up as I went. When you start with quality fresh ingredients, you really can’t go wrong. I knew the feta would give great flavor, the panko great texture and the eggs would help bind it together.

Definitely a ‘recipe’ that is very forgiving. Just get the moisture out of the spinach and you are good!

Level of Difficulty: Moderate (only because the spinach is a pain in the a$*)
Time Required:Prep Time – 30min; Cook Time – 45 min

Ingredients:

2 lbs fresh spinach

1/2 lb feta, crumbled

3 eggs

salt and pepper

4 cloves garlic, minced

olive oil

1 deep dish pie crust

1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs

Special Equipment and Other Items Needed:

Colander

How to make spinach pie:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

 

Working in batches, sauté the spinach in olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper until just wilted. You won’t fit 2 lbs of spinach in a skillet. It took me 4 batches. After you are done with each batch, place the wilted spinach into a colander.

After sautéing all the spinach, let it drain in the colander for a few minutes and as it cools and you can handle it, squeeze out excess water. Since we are making a pie, we want to keep the liquid to a minimum. This will take a bit of time.

Spanakopita

Once you’ve done that, place the spinach on a cutting board and chop it up. Yes, that is 2 lbs of spinach sautéed and squeezed. Hard to believe, huh!?

spanakopita

Place the spinach in a bowl with the eggs and feta and mix to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Place the mixture into the pie crust (if you like to bake, make your own. I like the store bought kind in the freezer section!).

Top with the Panko and bake for about 30-40 minutes until nice and warm.

Now notice I did not call this spanakopita, although somewhat similar. Since I chose not to use phyllo dough, I did not feel comfortable calling this spanakopita, although that’s what it tasted a lot like. Regardless, even my 11 year old who won’t touch sautéed greens loved this!!

Spanakopita

Important Tips:

Squeeze the spinach (it’s not Charmin) and use GOOD feta!!

Got Leftovers?:

This was delicious leftover the next day too!

This looks fantastic. I am partial to traditional spanakopita but working with phyllo dough can be a huge pain in the rump so this would be a great alternative ~ Denise!

Ha Ha! Even I buy the frozen spanakopita at Costco. Are you really saying you make it from scratch?! If so, I’m impressed. ~Melissa

Filet Mignon Stuffed with Spinach and Manchego

stuffed filet mignon

Normally, I think filet mignon should have nothing on it but a nice amount of Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper. A meat this perfect, should be allowed to shine. BUT, for our little challenge of trying to be different, I knew Denise would play it safe which meant I had to go out on a limb. I’m happy to report the limb didn’t break!

Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Time Required: Prep Time – 10min; Cook Time – 15-20 min

Ingredients for 4:

4 filet mignons, about 2-3 inches thick

3 oz  fresh spinach (give or take, it’s not rocket science)

4 oz Manchego cheese

Kosher salt

Fresh cracked black pepper

Special Equipment and Other Items Needed:

Toothpicks

How to make filet mignon stuffed with spinach and manchego:

Preheat grill on high heat.

Take your beautiful and thick filet’s and cut a small slit in the center of one side. Use that slit to put your knife in and cut a small pocket towards both ends but without going through the meat. Take your time. Feel around with your fingers and see if you’ve got a large enough pocket with a minimal hole in the steak.

Once you are ready, cut some slices of manchego and stuff into the pocket. Then take a stack of a few spinach leaves, roll them up and shove inside the pocket. Repeat for as many as you can fit. I did 3 rolled bunches of spinach and 2 slices of manchego.

Grilled stuffed filet mignonbeef tenderloin with spinach and manchengo

Repeat for the other filets, then secure the opening with a toothpick or two.

grilled beef tenderloin

Sprinkle generously with coarse Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper.

When the grill is hot, add the steak. Cook on high heat until the meat comes away from the grill grate. If it is sticking, don’t turn it! It will release when it is ready to be turned and will give you a nice crust.

grilled filet mignon

Cook until medium rare. Since these are stuffed, you really can’t shove a meat thermometer in there. You’ll just have to do by feel and trust yourself.

Remove and let rest before serving.

grilled beef tenderloin stuffed with spinach

Here is a view without the salsa.

stuffed beef tenderloin

I topped these with a fire roasted tomatillo and poblano salsa too! Delicious.

 grilled filet mignon with tomatillo salsa

Important Tips:

Don’t overcook the meat and try to make as small of an exterior slit as you can in the beef.

Variations:

Next time, I think I’ll choose a more melty cheese instead of Manchego.

You knew I would play it safe? Are you kidding me? Gee, I’m sorry. When you said cook a beef tenderloin on the grill, I took that as COOK A BEEF TENDERLOIN ON THE GRILL! I didn’t think to change the rules (like you did last week, and clearly this week) and slice it up to make filets. I will go out on a limb when you least expect it…and you will be wishing that you were at my house for dinner!!!! -Denise

There she goes again. Really? Changing the rules by cooking beef tenderloin on the grill as individual filets? Have you never watched an episode of Chopped? Transform the ingredients!! I can’t wait until we do McNack’s Chopped. Can we say easy target? ~Melissa

Halibut – roasted with tomato chutney and sauteed spinach

Quality, fresh fish makes my mouth water when I see it in the market. I wish my children were ready to eat fish because I’d make it a whole lot more than I do now if they did. It provides such great variety to your weekly menus because chicken tastes like chicken, but all the different varieties of fish and seafood each have their very own flavor.

I saw a really nice piece of halibut the other day and decided the kids could eat pasta tonight! This was absolutely delicious and was pretty to look at too.

Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Time Required: Prep Time – 20min; Cook Time – 20 min

Ingredients for 2:

2 pieces of halibut whatever size you want

Panko bread crumbs

Salt and Pepper

Olive Oil

1 lb fresh spinach

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 lemon, juiced

4 jalapenos (red if you can find them), seeded and diced

2 cups grape tomatoes, sliced

1 shallot, sliced thinly

1 T sugar

How to make Halibut with tomato chutney and spinach:

Halibut:

Salt and Pepper the Halibut filets. Let rest for a few minutes to pull some of the water from the fish and then top with panko bread crumbs and a drizzle of olive oil. Place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and set aside. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Halibut with panko

Spinach:

Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to a skillet, squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lemon, add salt, pepper and minced garlic cloves. Place spinach on top and set aside. This will only take about 2 minutes to cook.

Tomato and Pepper Chutney:

Add the sliced tomatoes, diced peppers, and sliced shallot to a sauce pan. Turn on medium high heat. Drizzle a little olive oil on top and add the sugar. Stir and let cook down to your desired consistency. This will certainly have a kick to it so feel free to add less peppers or a bit more sugar to tone it down a bit if you want but it is a nice compliment to the blandness of the fish.

tomato and pepper chutney

Finishing it all:

Once the chutney is done and the oven is heated, place the fish in the oven on the middle or one spot above the middle oven rack. This will take less than 10 minutes to cook and will depend on the thickness of your fish. You want it hot and opaque in the center. When the fish has just a couple of minutes left, turn the spinach on high. When it starts to sizzle a bit, use some tongs to toss it around in the olive oil. Cook until just wilted.

You can then plate it all up. We did it two ways to see what was prettier and this picture came out better but you could do it however you want. It tastes best with a little bit of everything in each bite.

halibut tomato chutney sauteed spinach

Important Tips:

Try not to overcook the fish. You may think you like it cooked all the way, but try it first. You can always put it back in the oven.

how to cook halibut

Stuffed portabella mushroom with spinach and feta

stuffed mushroom

Have you ever had one of those giant portabella caps stuffed with anything? I’ve only had it a couple of times and I love the concept. The stuffed portabella always tastes good.  I decided to experiment on my own and made this the other night.

Level of Difficulty: Easy Time Required: Prep Time – 5 min; Cook Time – 25 min

Ingredients:

2 large portabella mushroom caps

1/4 cup onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

3T extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

1/2 lb baby leaf spinach

1/4 lb feta cheese, crumbled (my favorite right now I get at Costco – TNUVA Feta, really good!!)

Special Equipment and Other Items Needed:

Grill (could be done in oven too)

Preparing portabella stuffed mushrooms:

Start your grill over medium high heat. Clean the portabella (if you want to know how to properly clean mushrooms, check out this short video)

stuffed mushroom

In a large sauté pan, add olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and sauté until golden.

portabella mushroom recipe

Add spinach and sauté until wilted.

portabella caps

Season with salt and pepper. Place spinach in a bowl and let cool a couple of minutes. Add feta and fold in gently.

portabella recipe

Salt and pepper the underside of the portabella cap (where the gills are) and place on grill for about 5 minutes.

IMG_2600

Remove from grill and brush the top of the mushroom cap with olive oil. Add spinach mixture.  Return to grill and grill for about 10 minutes or until mushroom is to desired level of tenderness.

stuffed mushroom

Meal Ideas:

You could make this into a meal if your mushroom cap is large enough. If I served it as the main course, I would add some sausage (chorizo preferably) to the spinach mixture. That would be awesome!!

Shown here with blackened tuna with cowboy caviar

seared tuna with stuffed mushroom