Tag Archives: spinach

gnocchi with beans and spinach

gnocchi with beans and spinach dragitthroughthegarden.wordpress.comPart three of meatless meals: Gnocchi with beans and spinach. Lauren made this gnocchi a while back and I was very thankful for a homecooked meal that I didn’t have to cook. Not that my mom doesn’t cook me dinner when I’m home. I don’t want momma to read this and think I’m telling the world she deprives me of food. Although if I were to look in the pantry right now, I’d say my choices would probably be pretty grim…

But, seriously, with meals like this, I could go vegetarian.

Okay, maybe I will take that last part back and rephrase: I do not miss meat with meals like this, but I certainly want it in some meal at least once per week. Is that too much to ask?

As I posted here about a week ago, I was set to begin the “Eat your Heart out” Diet on Wednesday. I went to the grocery store and stocked up on fruits and veggies for the first few days. And then, two-thirds into my fruit day, the first day of the diet, I could not do it anymore.

I’m a baby. What can I say? I never would have thought I would be saying that I got stuck on the fruit day. I love fruit! But… not so much for dinner. And not so much as the only thing to eat all day. The acidity and sweetness were killing me. Seriously. My teeth hurt.

So, I made a refried bean quesadilla for dinner and called the whole diet thing done.

I guess maybe I should just start trying to eat a little bit healthier instead…

gnocchi with beans and spinach

Makes 6 to 8 Servings

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 16-oz. packages dried gnocchi
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup water
6 cups chopped baby spinach
2 15-oz. cans diced tomatoes with Italian herbs
1 15-oz. cans white beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (use part-skim to cut down on fat)
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add gnocchi and cook for about 7-9 minutes, until lightly browned, stirring often. Transfer to a bowl.

Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add in garlic and stir often until it turns lightly brown, about 1 minute. Add in water and continue cooking until onion is fully cooked, about 4-6 minutes. Add in spinach and cook for an additional 2 minutes, until it begins to wilt. Add tomatoes and beans. Season with salt and pepper. Stir until combined. Bring to a simmer. Sprinkle mozzarella and Parmesan cheese over the top and cover for about 3-5 minutes, until cheese is melted.

If you want, you can pop it under the broiler for of  to get nicely browned cheese on top.

Source: Eating Well


colleen’s spinach salad

spinach salad | drag it through the garden

I love salads with raw baby spinach. Anything with cooked spinach, however, I will definitely pass on. I feel like a five-year-old that won’t eat her vegetables, but I just can’t handle it. I try to convince myself that I like cooked spinach (aka I force myself to eat it over and over again), but it hasn’t worked. I’m still in the process of trying to convince myself that I like raw tomatoes too. I feel no different towards raw tomatoes than the day I started.

Anyhow, back to the raw baby spinach. My version of a spinach salad.  I say “my version” because this is by no means the “classic” version of a spinach salad. I don’t care for hard-boiled eggs and I try to steer clear of most nuts (Is it just me or am I sounding super picky? I promise I’m not!). In honor of my dietary dislikes, I made this salad without the nuts and the eggs. And I made sure I cooked the onion, too. Not only because the one I had was pretty hot, but cooking them brings out a bit more sweetness as well.

On a holiday note, Lauren, my mom, my dad, and I went to go see Trans-Siberian Orchestra on Thursday. Super amazing. My mom and dad went last year with some other people (and didn’t invite me! Can you believe it?). I’ve been begging them for years to go and it finally happened. And it was great! The musical talent, the lights, and everything all combined just made it an extraordinary experience to remember. I’m already thinking about next year (and I better be invited again!).

lauren and colleen

Lauren and me at Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert

colleen’s spinach salad

Makes 1 Serving

2 strips bacon, thinly sliced
¼ small red onion, thinly sliced
½ teaspoon sesame seeds
½ teaspoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (other kinds of vinegar will work)
½ tablespoon olive oil*
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups baby spinach

Add bacon to a cold skillet. Turn on burner to medium heat. Once bacon starts to sizzle, add in red onion. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until bacon is just crisp and onion is cooked through, stirring occasionally. Add in sesame seeds and poppy seeds. Cook for about a minute longer, until sesame seeds are lightly toasted.

Add in red wine vinegar, olive oil, and sugar. Cook until heated through, about thirty seconds. Toss with baby spinach and serve.

*If a lot of grease comes off the bacon, you may want to decrease the amount of olive oil you add. There should be about one tablespoon of fat total (bacon grease + olive oil).

lightened up poppy seed chicken casserole

lightened up poppy seed chicken casserole

It is almost Christmas and I cannot believe it! I know it’s a cliché, but time just seems to go by faster and faster every year. I remember the years when it would feel like forever before Christmas came around. Right now, I feel like I should still be wearing flip-flops and tank tops.

Well, I suppose I could. I just might be a little cold.

I love casserole dishes when it starts to get chilly outside. They just feel so homey no matter what gets thrown into them (within reason, people). I had never heard of poppy seed chicken until I saw it on Bev Cooks, but as soon as I spied it, I knew I needed to make it.

Long story short, I am very happy I did. It’s creamy with a little crunch from the breadcrumbs and a bit of tang from the roasted red peppers. Plus, I love poppy seeds (recall those little ham and swiss sliders with poppy seeds on top?).

So, two more days until Christmas. I hope everyone is prepared and done wrapping presents. We are almost done here, just a few more things to finish and then time to relax. Just in time to unwrap all that hard work. I did get an early Christmas present: an admission letter from Saint Louis University School of Law notifying me of my acceptance.

That was right before I smashed my head in the car door. And grabbed a pan I just pulled out of the oven. Without a potholder. Oops. I guess Mother Nature just needed to balance out the good news with some pain.

So, merry Christmas, everyone! I hope you all enjoy this time with family and friends and take in all this special season has to offer.

Plus eat lots of good food.

lightened up poppy seed chicken casserole

lightened up poppy seed chicken casserole

Serves 4

2 raw boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon coarse salt
2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 10-oz. can condensed cream of chicken soup
¼ cup sour cream
¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
2 cups baby spinach
½ cup sundried tomatoes, sliced
1 jarred roasted bell pepper, sliced
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
½ cup plain breadcrumbs
½ cup panko
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Fill a large pot with water. Add peppercorns, garlic, and salt, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add in chicken breasts. Return to a boil and continue boiling for 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover for 15 to 18 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and white in the center. Remove to a separate plate to cool.

Preheat oven to 375 °F.

In a large bowl, combine cream of chicken soup, sour cream, and yogurt. Chop chicken into bite-sized pieces and add to bowl along with spinach, sundried tomatoes, bell pepper, poppy seeds, and plain breadcrumbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.

Transfer mixture to a casserole dish (I used an 8”x8” square dish).

Mix butter and panko and sprinkle on top of casserole. Bake in preheated oven for about 30 minutes, until heated through.

Source: Adapted from Bev Cooks