October 18, 2008

Sneaky Spinach

I am not an advocate of sneaking veggies in with dessert, or other sneaky ways of getting kids to eat veggies. I think veggies are great and that it is possible to make them in ways that the kids will enjoy, and I also think it can be another area to disobey mommy. Yippee.

That being said, I am not opposed to cutting my daughter's broccoli into teeny, tiny pieces in her stir fry, or making dinners with the vegetable tastefully mixed into the main dish. I am very much a fan of eating dinner in peace every now and then. . . or maybe every night? To share a peaceful meal opportunity with you, I thought I might pass along these wonderful recipes with spinach in them.

This one is more frugal than my other macaroni and cheese recipe, I think. Well, if you make a few changes. :) Cooking Light's Penne with Pancetta, Spinach, and Buttery Crumb Topping (aka: fancy smancy mac'n'cheese) is very yummy! It has 6 cups of chopped, fresh spinach in it! I hear pancetta is pretty pricey, and I had bacon on hand, so I just used bacon, although, you might be able to try sausage? I am not sure. And of course, healthy substitutes of brown rice pasta and soaked grain bread crumbs would help. We all liked this one tonight! I am excited to try it out on some guests.

Joe helped me make the bread crumbs in the food processor, and I think it would be fairly easy to encorporate helpers. Prep time seemed pretty minimal (I'll try to start timing these things) and clean up was pretty decent as well.

My mom has made this one for as long as I can remember, and there are several varieties, but this one is my favorite. I loved it growing up, and am so happy to see my children enjoy it. They usually ask for more. One morning, we were in a hurry to get out the door, so I heated mine up while buckling the kids in the care. I handed the kids cereal bars (a special treat left over from a road trip) and grabbed my bowl of spinach souffle. Joe threw a fit when he saw what I was eating and wanted some too! It is more like a quiche, but we always called it spinach souffle; I am not sure why. IT IS REALLY EASY!

6 eggs
16 oz cottage cheese
1 8-10 oz pkg of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained (or fresh works, too!)
8 oz cheese, cubed
1 stick butter, cubed
6 Tbs flour

Mix all together, bake at 350 degrees in a greased 9"x13" pan (or slightly smaller.)

There is a lot of flexibility with this recipe. I've seen my mom put all sorts of cheese in it. She has even used cream cheese, although, I'm pretty sure it was with another cheese. I have used all sorts of grains to substitute for wheat, and it has turned out fine. Lately, I have been throwing in Bob's Red Mill gluten free hot cereal mix, because it is in my pantry. This can work for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It is best eaten warm.
Make in the morning tip: cube everything the night before. :)

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