Tag Archives: spinach

Spinach, Blueberry, and Blue Cheese Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette

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I took a short break from the internet at the end of August, and I can’t believe we are into September already! But it’s still officially summer and the weather is still warm for many of us, so I thought I’d post a recipe for a fruity, cheesy salad. Salads make great light lunches on hot, humid days and it’s even more convenient when you can make them ahead of time for work or just to have handy at home. I found lots of great grab-and-go ideas in Mason Jar Salads and More by Julia Mirabella. The salads are made by layering the ingredients vertically in Mason jars (the 9781612432892.011dressing usually goes on the bottom–this salad is an exception). In addition to recipes for salad lunches, the book includes some breakfast smoothies and oatmeal you can make-and-take in mason jars, as well as other healthy lunch options that include pasta and rice. There are some snack ideas, too, and lots of great homemade vinaigrettes to try out.

I decided to make the Spinach, Blueberry, and Blue Cheese Salad and instead of using the Red Wine Vinaigrette that the original recipe calls for, I made the Blueberry Vinaigrette. I thought the blueberry-spinach combination was really good, and I loved the taste of blue cheese with it, too. The Blueberry Vinaigrette was great on this salad–it added even more blueberry flavor. If you like fruit and cheese, this salad is a great way to enjoy those mix of flavors. Some of you may not be crazy about blue cheese, so if that’s the case, you could try substituting feta cheese. This is a really easy salad to put together–hope you enjoy it!

SPINACH, BLUEBERRY, AND BLUE CHEESE SALAD WITH BLUEBERRY VINAIGRETTE from Mason Jar Salads and More

Makes 1 serving

  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 3 cups spinach leaves, divided
  • 1/4 cup shaved or sliced almonds
  • 2 ounces crumbled blue cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons Blueberry Vinaigrette (see recipe below)
  • 1 quart-size Mason jar

Place the blueberries, vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper in a blender and blend until smooth. With the blender running, slowly add the olive oil until it is the right consistency.

Place the blueberries in the bottom of the Mason jar. Next make layers of 2 cups spinach, the almonds, and the remaining 1 cup spinach. The final layer should be the blue cheese. If you’re eating this right away, you can pour the vinaigrette over the salad and serve. If you’re storing this in the fridge for later, see below…

On top of the blue cheese, make a parchment paper cup (cut a square of parchment paper to an 8×8″ size; place it over the jar and push down to form a little cup). The edges of the parchment paper should extend beyond the edge of the jar; bend edges downward over the outside of the jar.

Pour the vinaigrette into the parchment paper cup and twist on the lid, making sure it is tight. Refrigerate until ready to eat and mix the vinaigrette in with the other ingredients in your salad. Note: !f you’re going to eat this salad on the same day you make it, you can put the dressing in the bottom of the jar and eliminate the parchment paper cup. Otherwise, the salad will last longer if the blueberries don’t sit in the dressing.

BLUEBERRY VINAIGRETTE

  • 3 Tablespoons fresh blueberries
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon honey
  • pinch of salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 to 5 Tablespoons olive oil

Place the blueberries, vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper in a blender and blend until smooth. With the blender running, slowly add the olive oil until it is the right consistency.

I love using fresh fruit in salads–it adds so much extra flavor! What fruits do you like using in your salads?

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Cheesy Spinach Bake

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This cheesy casserole is a great way to enjoy spinach! I like it because it’s made with fresh baby spinach, not frozen, and two kinds of cheese–Sharp Cheddar and Monterey Jack. I found this recipe at Myrecipes and changed it a little by using spicy mustard instead of Dijon mustard, and adding extra cheese, like I usually do! 🙂 I also used real eggs instead of egg substitute, so my version is not quite as healthy as the original.

I really liked this! When it comes out of the oven, it’s puffy, and the puffiness settles down after a few minutes… and then you have this tender spinach filling with a cheesy crust-like layer on top. Very yummy. Great for brunch or as a side dish for lunch or dinner. If you like spinach and cheese, you’ll want to try this recipe!

CHEESY SPINACH BAKE by NancyCreative, adapted from Myrecipes.com

Makes 12 servings in a 9 x 13 pan or baking dish

  • 1 Tablespoon butter, melted
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 (6-ounce) packages fresh baby spinach
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese (regular or reduced-fat)
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (whole, low-fat, or fat-free)
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten (or 1 cup egg substitute)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons spicy mustard (or Dijon mustard)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Pour melted butter into the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish or pan coated with cooking spray; tilt dish or pan to coat. Place spinach evenly in bottom of dish or pan and sprinkle evenly with the cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses.

ncChSpinBk2In a medium size bowl, combine flour and remaining ingredients, stirring with a whisk until blended. Pour this mixture over spinach and cheese in pan. (Note: As you are making this, it may seem like there’s too much spinach and cheese, because it definitely fills up the pan–but put all of it in there! Because when you mix the egg-milk mixture and pour it over the spinach and cheese, that will weigh it down. Before you put this Cheesy Spinach bake in the oven, it will look like what is shown in the small picture.)

Bake at 350˚F for 40 minutes or until lightly browned. Let set for about 5 minutes, then cut and serve.

Here’s what it looks like after it’s been out of the oven and settled for a few minutes…

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It’s always nice to find great-tasting recipes with veggies–do you have a favorite veggie side dish recipe that’s really yummy?

Sharing this recipe at Meal Plan Monday.

Sun-Dried Tomato Turkey Wrap

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I made these wraps on a really warm day recently, and it made such a nice summer meal! They have lots of good and healthy things in them…lean turkey, a mix of baby spinach and lettuce, julienne cut sun-dried tomatoes (from an oil-packed jar), and cucumber strips. All wrapped up in a Tomato-Basil flour tortilla.

I modified a recipe that I had found at Kraft Foods, adding cheese and using sun-dried tomatoes instead of roasted red peppers, although those would be great in this, too. And I used a Tomato-Basil tortilla, but you can use your favorite kind.

SUN DRIED TOMATO TURKEY WRAP by NancyCreative, adapted from Kraft Foods

Makes 2 wraps

  • 2  (8″) flour tortillas (I used a tomato-basil flavored tortilla)
  • 1 Tablespoon light mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons light zesty Italian dressing
  • 2 slices of Muenster or Provolone cheese, optional
  • 3/4 cup baby spinach leaves (or a salad mix of half spinach leaves and half spring mix)
  • 10 very thin slices of deli-style oven-roasted turkey breast
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced cucumber strips
  • 1/4 cup julienne cut sun-dried tomatoes in oil (or substitute roasted red pepper strips)
  • Sliced kalamata olives or slivered red onions, optional

Mix mayonnaise and Italian dressing; spread over tortillas. Put a slice of cheese in the center of each tortilla. Top evenly with remaining ingredients and roll up tightly–the key to a well-wrapped wrap is to layer the ingredients evenly and wrap tightly–something I still need to improve on!  🙂 Cut each wrap in half and serve with a salad or other simple side dish.

Do you make wraps often? What do you like to put in yours?

Spanakopita from 175 Best Mini Pie Recipes and a Giveaway!

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Spanakopita is one of my favorite appetizers. I have always loved these bites of cheesy spinach filling and flaky phyllo crust. But I’ve never tried making them. So, when I received a review copy of 175 Best Mini Pie Recipes: Sweet to Savory and discovered a recipe for them in the book, I knew it was time to give it a try! I’m really glad I did–they were really good! I’m sharing the recipe with you later in this post. But first I’ll tell you more about the book, because there are all sorts of mini pie recipes in it…and I have a giveaway copy you can enter to win, too! See the end of the post for the giveaway details!

minipiecover175 Best Mini Pie Recipes (softcover), by chef and food writer Julie Anne Hession, has all kinds of wonderful sweet and savory recipes. Here are just a few…Blackberry Sugarplum Cornmeal Pies, Raspberry Nectarine Gallettes, Caramel Apple Hand Pies, Brown Butter Custard Pear Tarts, Southern Banana Pudding Pies, Carrot Cake Pies with Cream Cheese Crust, Chocolate Cappuccino Pocket Pies, Pesto Chicken Hand Pies, Pork Empanadas with Salsa Verde, Mini Cheese and Sausage Calzones, Croque Madame Breakfast Cups, Minestrone Pot Pies…and lots of other tasty treats for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. The book also includes helpful tips in the chapters on Creating Perfect Mini Pies and Working with Dough. So if you’re new to pie-making, you’ll find this book helpful and easy to understand. And if you’re an experienced pie maker, you’ll enjoy the wide variety and creative recipes to choose from!

Here’s the recipe for Spanakopita…no need to make any dough for this, since it calls for purchased phyllo dough. If you haven’t ever used phyllo sheets in a recipe, you may find it a little tricky to work with because they are so thin and delicate…but after folding a few spanakopitas, you’ll get the hang of it! 🙂

SPANAKOPITA from 175 Best Mini Pie Recipes

Makes 24 Triangles

When people think of Greek food, spanakopita is likely one of the first dishes that come to mind. Serve these crisp spinach and feta phyllo pies as a flavorful vegetarian appetizer at parties–they will quickly disappear!–Julie Ann Hession

  • 1 Tablespoon (15 mL) unsalted butter
  • 1 Tablespoon (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 ounces (375 g) fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped green onions
  • 2 Tablespoons (30 mL) chopped parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon (15 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2mL) freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup (250 mL) crumbled feta cheese
  • 24 sheets phyllo dough, thawed
  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375˚F (190˚C), positioning racks in upper and lower thirds. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

1. Filling: In a large skillet, melt butter with olive oil over medium heat. Add spinach and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for 15 minutes.

2. Squeeze excess liquid from spinach, then transfer to a cutting board. Chop coarsely and place in a large bowl. Add green onions, parsley, lemon juice, egg, nutmeg, salt, and pepper; stir to blend. Add feta and toss to blend.

3. Place one sheet of phyllo on clean work surface, short side facing you. Working quickly, brush with melted butter and fold in half lengthwise. Brush again with butter.

4. Spoon 1 heaping Tablespoon (20 mL) spinach filling onto bottom left side of strip, leaving about a 1-inch (2.5 cm) border at the bottom. Fold bottom left corner over the filling to form a triangle, then continue to fold triangles up the strip of phyllo to the top as if you were folding a flag. Brush top of triangle with butter, pressing end to seal. Place triangle, seam side down, on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining phyllo and filling, making 24 triangles.

5. Bake in preheated oven at 375˚F for 18 to 20 minutes, switching positions of baking sheets halfway through, until phyllo is deep golden brown and crisp. Cool slightly and serve warm.

Tip: The key to making perfectly crisp spanakopita is to ensure that excess liquid is removed from the spinach before filling. If your filling begins to produce liquid while you are still constructing the triangles, remove it by straining or by pressing the spoonful against the side of the bowl before placing on the pastry. This will make the difference between soggy and spectacular bits.

Make Ahead: Spanakopita can be assembled and frozen for up to five days. Freeze pies for 30 minutes on baking sheets, then seal in zip-top bags. Bake from frozen as directed.

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GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

Congratulations to commentor #18, Marie, for winning the book!

Now for the Giveaway…if you’d like to enter to win a copy of 175 Best Mini Pie Recipes, leave a comment on this blog post between now and Saturday, June 1, at midnight (CST)–the random drawing will be made from the comments on this post only! The winner will be chosen randomly via Random.org and announced on Sunday, June 2. Winner will be notified via email (if winner does not respond in 3 days, I’ll do another drawing). Giveaway limited to readers in the Continental U.S. and Canada.

First entry: Leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite kind of pie is.

Bonus entry: If you are a new or existing follower or subscriber, you can leave one extra comment telling me the way (or ways) you are following.

Can’t wait to hear what kind of pies you all like! 🙂

Green Ginger-Peach Smoothie

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If you had too much Easter candy last weekend and are craving something healthy, you may want to try this smoothie out! 🙂 This recipe is adapted from a recipe in Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food. It has lots of fresh baby spinach, fresh ginger, and frozen peaches in it. During peach season, you could use fresh peaches (it just won’t be quite as thick, because the frozen fruit helps thicken the smoothie).

This smoothie doesn’t have any dairy products in it. But I didn’t miss the dairy at all. The original recipe uses water, but I thought it was a little bland with water, so I used a peach juice blend instead. I thought this smoothie was really yummy–a very tasty way to up your spinach intake!

GREEN GINGER-PEACH SMOOTHIE by NancyC, adapted from Everyday Food

Makes about 2 (9-ounce) servings

  • 1 cup well-packed baby spinach leaves
  • 1 teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cups frozen sliced peaches
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 1/4 cups peach juice blend (I used Dole® Orange Peach Mango Juice)

Add all ingredients in blender and mix until well-blended (you may have to help stir the mixture along with a spoon at first). Serve immediately. Makes about 18 ounces, or 1 to 2 servings.

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Do you make green smoothies and do you have a favorite recipe?

Linked to Inspire Me Monday.