Category Archives: spinach

Your Garden-Variety Dinner

Some of my fondest memories of my father are of our runs together. One day, a couple of years before he died, we stopped near the end of our run at a neighborhood produce stand. Dad bought an assortment of fresh vegetables grown right there in the man’s backyard. I promised to cook whatever he bought. He spent about six bucks, total, and my family sat and ate as if it was Thanksgiving dinner.

We love vegetables, especially locally grown, fresh produce. Our favorite summer dinner is a fresh-from-the-garden vegetable plate. If you haven’t taken advantage of the produce grown in your area, now is the time to indulge.

Don’t restrict your menu. Plan your meals around what looks good and fresh, even if you have two or three green veggies. Corn on the cob, Squash, potatoes, beans, broccoli, tomatoes…it’s all better when fresh-picked. Steam, grill, roast, saut√©, or all the above. It’s healthy, tasty, and good for the local economy.

Green beans, roasted potatoes, and vegetable medley, served with a whole wheat roll.

Green beans, roasted potatoes, and vegetable medley with a whole wheat roll.

KITCHEN TIP: Add a little bit of butter for flavor. A tiny amount goes a long way. I freeze butter and use a hand grater to add it to cooked vegetables. Isn’t that a grate idea? ūüėČ

Grate cold butter for easier seasoning.

Grate cold butter for easier seasoning.

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Filed under cooking, corn on the cob, Green Beans, Healthful Eating, onions, Quesadillas, Roasted Vegetables, Salads, spinach, tomatoes, Vegetables

Hasty Tasty Spinach-Chicken Pasta

You’ve had a long day. All you want to do is collapse in a chair and be served dinner. But you’re on a budget and trying to eat healthy meals, so you prefer eating at home instead of a restaurant. What a dilemma.

Sound familiar? Been there, done that. So I keep a few speedy-to-the-table meals in my cooking arsenal, including Hasty Tasty Spinach-Chicken Pasta. This one uses leftover, cooked chicken (but you could substitute other cooked meats or chopped¬†Portobello¬†mushrooms) and a package of triple-washed spinach. I also use a jar of light Alfredo sauce from my¬†pantry (I stock up when my local grocer has a BOGO–Buy-One-Get-One-free). My recipe serves two, but you could easily double it. It’s thirty minutes, max, until you’re sitting down to enjoy your meal.

Even with the prepared sauce, this meal is fairly light and packed with nutrition. Don’t feel guilty for using prepared¬†sauce when you’re eating almost two servings of iron- and fiber-rich spinach. Busy schedules call for compromise.

Note: For this recipe I used my Fasta Pasta microwave oven cooker to prepare the farfalle while I made the dish using my 12″ Gourmet electric skillet (by Kitchencraft). Use whatever cookware works best for you.

 

RECIPE

HASTY TASTY SPINACH-CHICKEN PASTA

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces (1 serving) dried bowtie (Farfalle) or shell¬†pasta
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, cubed
  • 1 package (3-4 servings) spinach salad mix, washed and ready to eat
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 jar prepared Alfredo sauce, your choice.
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 clove garlic, grated or pressed
  • 2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  • Cook pasta in a separate pan or in a microwave oven pasta cooker until al dente. Salt generously.
  • In a large covered skillet or electric skillet, wilt fresh spinach over low heat (225¬įF)
  • Add the cooked chicken, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add the jar of Alfredo sauce, stir, and cover. Heat through 2-3 minutes.
  • Stir in cooked pasta, season with the grated garlic and nutmeg. Turn off heat.
  • Divide and serve, garnished with Parmesan cheese.Enjoy.

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Tip: Cooking for one? Leftovers taste great cold, too. Save half to take for lunch.

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Filed under chicken, pasta, spinach