Category Archives: spinach

Spinach and Artichoke Dip Pasta Bake (with Chicken)

There are certain things that just go together. Bacon and Cheddar. Sour cream and Onion. And of course, Spinach and Artichokes. What is it about that combo that’s so delicious?? I remember being a kid, and having it for the first time at probably the Ground Round or someplace like that, and feeling like my 8 year old culinary world had been blown wide open. There are so many different recipes that I make now, but spinach and artichoke dip is still one of my go-to favorites for a crowd.

This recipe lets you feel like you’re indulging in a classic appetizer for dinner, but actually lightens up everything by replacing the cream cheese with Greek yogurt and halving the sour cream, using about 1/2 of the cheese and adding protein-y chicken. Plus – pasta!!!  This makes a ton, keeps really well, is able to be thrown together in 30 minutes, and will have your dinner companions full and happy in an hour and a half total, tops.

SPINACH AND ARTICHOKE DIP PASTA BAKE (WITH CHICKEN) makes about 10 servings
– 1 lb. chicken tenders, chopped
– 1 box orecchiette pasta, or similar (you want something kind of small that will stand up with this bake – bowties, mini penne or mini rigatoni would also be good)
– 2 9-oz. boxes creamed spinach (creamed is key)
– 2 15-oz.cans artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
– 1.5 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
– 1/3 c. parmesan cheese
– 1 5.3 oz container plain greek yogurt
– 1/3 c. sour cream
– 1 cup pasta water (reserved)
– 1 tbsp. EVOO
– Kosher salt & pepper
– 1 tbsp. butter
– 1/3 c. panko bread crumbs

1. Set your oven to 375.

2. In a large pot, boil water, then salt it kind of heavily. Add pasta and cook until 2 minutes before its “al dente” stage. BEFORE YOU DRAIN IT, grab a cup of the pasta water out and set aside to let it cool. Drain the pasta.

3. In the same pan, heat 1 tbsp. EVOO over medium heat. Add chopped chicken, which has been seasoned with kosher salt and pepper.


4. Cook until the chicken is almost all the way cooked through, stirring occasionally but letting it get a little browned.

5. While the chicken is cooking, heat up the creamed spinach in a microwave.

6. In a large bowl (use one bigger than you even expect will be big enough), combine the creamed spinach, 3/4 c. shredded mozzarella, and the chopped artichoke hearts. Add a little of the parmesan cheese and combine everything.


7. In a separate bowl, combine the greek yogurt, sour cream and a little more of the parmesan cheese.


8. Take the almost-fully cooked chicken off the stove and put the chicken on a plate.

9. Add chicken and pasta to the spinach/artichoke mixture. Combine well.

10. Mix the greek yogurt/sour cream blend with the cooled pasta water, a little at a time, until the sauce is pretty thin but still has enough consistency to coat a spoon.


11.Spray a casserole dish with a little olive oil. Add about half the chicken/pasta/spinach/artichoke mix. Top with 1/4 c. of the shredded mozzarella, then half of the greek yogurt/sour cream blend.


12. Add the rest of the chicken/pasta/spinach/artichoke mixture. Top with the rest of the greek yogurt/sour cream blend, then another 1/4- 1/2 c. of the shredded mozzarella and the rest of the shredded parm.


13. In a small pan, melt 1 tbsp. butter, then toast the panko breadcrumbs. Top the casserole with the breadcrumbs.


14. Cover with aluminum foil, then bake for about 20 minutes. Uncover, put on the lowest rack, and cook for another 20 minutes – just make sure the chicken is cooked through.

15. Serve and feel like you got away with getting to eat a big bowl of healthy-ish spinach and artichoke dip for dinner!

Spinach and Feta Turkey Meatballs

 

Meatballs top the list of my favorite foods, especially when they’re over pasta. My mom’s meatballs are completely amazing, so I’ve never tried to duplicate them, but I’ve got to start somewhere. I put these together based on a recipe for my Greek Turkey Meatloaf, and ended up with a lighter, brighter, Greek-er (is that a word? Anyway.) version of a traditional meatball. They were fantastic. I’m seriously convinced that a combo of spinach and feta makes just about everything better. 

– 1.5 lbs ground turkey 

– 1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained pretty well 
– 1/2 tbsp chopped dill 
– Squeeze of lemon – this sounds weird, but just trust me. 
– 1/2 C crumbled feta 
– 1/3 panko bread crumbs 
– 1 egg 
– Salt & pepper 

1. Preheat oven to 400 and lightly grease a baking tray. 


2. In a large bowl, combine turkey, feta, spinach, egg, dill, lemon, salt & pepper. Dig your hands in and just mix it up – it’s kind of gross and satisfying all at once. 


3. Form turkey meatballs into approximately golfball sizes, place on the tray. 


4. Bake for 12 minutes, then flip and bake for 12 minutes more until they gain a little color and are fully cooked through. I put these on top of a mediterranean quinoa and topped them with Tzatziki sauce, and we housed them. Fantastic. 



Breakfast Bake: Spinach, Feta and Caramelized Onion

I really love breakfast bakes – they’re so easy to make, you can throw it together in 15 minutes and have a reheatable breakfast for almost the rest of the week, and they’re so versatile, too. In this past I’ve made a baby kale & feta bake and one with leeks, smoked salmon, cheddar & cream cheese, but this one is more of a Greek flavor…spinach, feta, onions and a little dill. It was fantastic.

BREAKFAST BAKE: SPINACH, FETA AND CARAMELIZED ONION (makes 8 slices)
– 8 oz. spinach 
– 1/2 a vidalia onion, sliced into thin moons 
– 1 tsp. chopped dill (optional) 
– salt & pepper 
– 10 eggs (6 whites and 4 whole eggs) 
– 1/3 C. milk 
– 1 tbsp. butter 
– 1 tbsp. EVOO 
– 1/3 c feta 
– 1 tsp. herbamare or 1/2 tsp. salt & 1/2 tsp. pepper 

1. Preheat oven to 375. 

2. Grease pan lightly with dab of EVOO.

3.  Melt butter over medium low and saute onions until translucent, then beginning to pick up some rich color.   


4. Remove from heat and add spinach, stir until wilted. 


5. Add dill (optional) and herbamare or salt/pepper.

6. Make the first layer a mix of spinach & onions.

7.  Add crumbled feta for the second layer.


8. Beat the eggs, milk & a little more salt/pepper, then add to the top of the spinach/onion/feta layers. Use a fork to kind of stick the eggs down into the mix so they get covered. 


9. Bake, uncovered, for 30-35 minutes, or until a knife can be interested cleanly. Don’t open the oven to check on this until you’re almost positive it’s ready, or it’ll fall! 

10. Let stand uncovered for at least 5 minutes before serving. Cut into squares or slices and enjoy.


Linguini with Baby Portabellos, Spinach & Shallots in a Rosemary Cream Sauce

One of the things I love most about visiting my parents’ house is that you can always find great stuff in the fridge to throw together to make something delicious. Oh, are you starving? Ok, let’s find baby portabellos, shallots, spinach, fresh rosemary, a little heavy cream and good pasta too. That’ll work! This was so easy to throw together and completely allowed me to overlook the heavy cream I added because there was spinach in it, which everybody knows cancels out any fat content in any recipe, ever.

LINGUINI WITH BABY PORTABELLOS, SPINACH & SHALLOTS IN A ROSEMARY CREAM SAUCE 
– 2 cups baby portabellos, washed and sliced 
– 2 cups spinach 
– 2 shallots, sliced 
– 1/3 C. heavy cream 
– 2 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary (if you don’t have fresh, skip it. Don’t use dried in this recipe) 
– Fresh parmesan, approx. ¼ cup plus more for topping 
– 1 lb. pasta 
– 1 tbsp. butter 
– 1 tbsp. EVOO 
– 2 cloves garlic, chopped 
– Kosher salt & pepper to taste 

1.  Cook your pasta – linguini should cook for about the same time as it takes to make everything else. 

2. In a saucepan, melt the butter and EVOO over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, approx. 60 seconds. 


3. Add the sliced baby portabellos and cook until they’re fairly soft, approx. 5 minutes. These will continue to cook as you add everything else, so don’t overdo it. 


4. Add the shallots, cook until wilted. 


5. Stir in the cream, rosemary and parmesan over medium-low heat. This will look pretty thin, but don’t worry – it’ll cook down a bunch and it coats the pasta really well. I usually stop when it still looks pretty thin before I overdo it and end up with a barely-there cream sauce. If you do that, though, just add a little pasta water to it. 


6. Remove from heat, add spinach and stir well to wilt. 


7. Add the cooked pasta to the spinach – the heat from the noodles will continue to wilt the spinach.

8. Stir everything well, top with a little fresh parm, and give your parents a kiss for being so wonderful.



Orzo with Chicken, Spinach, Tomatoes, Onions & Feta

This is one of the quickest and most delicious go-to recipes I have. I loooove orzo, if only because it makes me feel like I’m getting away with eating pasta, because it’s not in traditional noodle form. Add some spinach and chicken? A balanced meal in no time flat. This is great hot or cold.

ORZO WITH CHICKEN, SPINACH, TOMATOES AND FETA (serves 4 as a side)
– Half a box of orzo
– Shredded cooked chicken, approx. 2 cups
– 4 cups spinach
– Halved cherry tomatoes, approx. 1 cup
– Half a vidalia onion, diced
– 1 Tbsp butter
– 1 Tbsp EVOO
– kosher salt and pepper
– 1 cup crumbled feta (or Parmesan, if you don’t like feta)
1. Cook the orzo according to package directions. You can do the rest of this while it’s boiling.
2. In a large sautee pan, melt butter and EVOO together over medium heat.


3. Dice the onion, then add to the butter & EVOO. “Sweat” it with a little kosher salt and pepper. Cook approx. 3 minutes, or until softened a bit.


4. Add the halved cherry tomatoes, cook until skins start to blister, stirring frequently.


5. Add the spinach, keep stirring, and turn the heat down to low. You want to start to wilt this down, but the heat from the cooked orzo and the pan should do the trick as is.


6. To the pan, dump in the cooked orzo, stir everything together. Add the shredded chicken and feta (or parm). Mix well. Serve.

…birthday tomorrow!!!


Spinach & Artichoke Dip

I love everything about this. Artichokes, creamed spinach, a little mozz, a little cream cheese, a little sour cream – it’s so delicious, it’s gone before you know it. And it reheats really well too. I hosted my friend Missy’s birthday party this past weekend, and threw this together before all the girls showed up for the night…at 3pm. Older, but probably not wiser. :]

SPINACH AND ARTICHOKE DIP (serves a pack of 13 “ladies”, if you include 4 pizzas, another veggie dip, mini cupcakes, a couple cases of CLs/ALs, infinite wine and champagne and a total lack of shame on any of our parts).
– 2 8 oz. packages of creamed spinach (the creamed part is key)
– 2 cans artichoke hearts, drained really well and chopped
– a package of shredded mozzarella cheese (A whole package. Yes, I know.)
– 1/3 C. cream cheese, softened
– 1/3 C. sour cream
– 1/4 C. parmesan
– 1/4 C. mayo (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Cook creamed spinach according to package directions. Put into a bowl.

3. Add chopped artichoke hearts to the spinach and stir to combine.


4. To the spinach/artichoke mixture, add the cream cheese, sour cream, mozz, parmesan and optional mayo.  Stir it all together and spread evenly in an oven-proof serving dish.


5. Bake at 350 until cooked, approx. 15-20 minutes.  Remove, let cool, and serve with tortilla scoops or chips. 


Greek Turkey Meatloaf “Roll-Up”

I love making Spanakopita, even though all those delicate layers of pastry dough are my nemesis (nemeses??).  That said, all those Greek flavors – spinach, feta, a little lemon, and dill – are some of my very favorites.  Could we take those and incorporate them into a turkey meatloaf?  Yes.  Yes we could.  This was delicious, and I didn’t tell B what I had added, but he noticed the light lemon and dill flavor after a couple of bites.  They definitely add a different dimension to your typical turkey meatloaf, but in an awesome way. Rolling this up makes it so pretty, too!
 
GREEK TURKEY MEATLOAF “ROLL-UP” (serves 4-6)
Ingredients:
– 2 lbs ground turkey
– 1 Vidalia onion, diced
– 5-6 packed cups fresh baby spinach (approx. a 10-oz. bag), wilted, drained, and chopped
– 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
– 1 egg & 1 egg white, slightly beaten
– 1 cup panko bread crumbs
– 2 tbspns olive oil (or 1 tbspn olive oil and 1 tbspn butter)
– salt and pepper
– dried dill (1.5 tbsps)
– juice of 3/4 of a lemon  (approx. 1.5 tbsp)
 
1. Preheat the oven to 400. 
 
2. Heat 2 tbspns olive oil (or 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter) in a large saute pan over medium heat.
 
3. Dice the vidalia onion like this:
Half an onion, slice off the top part (but keep the “root” part intact) and then make slits along the ridges of the onion, almost down to the root. You can kind of follow the natural lines of the onion.  Then flip it on its side, and slice it horizontally. The onion will “dice” itself naturally.
 
4. Saute the onion in the oil or oil/butter combo until soft, add salt/pepper to taste.
 
5. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine turkey, dill, breadcrumbs, the lemon juice, the egg, 1/2 a teaspoon salt, and 1/2 a teaspoon pepper.
 
6. When onion is soft, remove from the pan and put on a plate to cool slightly.
 
7. Put pan that previously contained onions back on the heat, and add spinach to it.  Lower heat and stir until just wilted, then remove spinach and drain by either pressing spinach against the sides of a sieve, using a cheesecloth to wring it out in bunches, or squeezing most of the liquid out with your hands (but let it cool first, obviously). When the spinach is drained, roughly chop. Set aside.
 
8. Add cooled onions to the turkey mixture, stir everything to combine. You can really get your hands in there to mix it up, which is probably easiest. Form turkey mixture into a ball, and then press into an oblong shape on a piece of wax paper, and flatten minimally.
 
9. Top turkey mixture with chopped spinach, and then top with the crumbled feta:
10. Using the wax paper to help get things moving, roll the turkey meatloaf, beginning at either short end of the roll. It should look like this when you’re finished:
12. Put the meatloaf in a foil-lined baking pan, and bake in the oven at 400 for approx. an hour, or when the internal temperature reaches 160 Degrees 160 degrees.  About 45 minutes into this, I took it out of the oven and drained off the fat/liquid that had pooled in the foil. You don’t have to, but it probably helps.
 
This is really pretty, so tasty, and is even better for lunch the next day, hot or cold.

Spinach, Roasted Butternut Squash, Feta, & Toasted Walnut Salad with a Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

I’ve been dying to try anything with Meyer Lemons for over a year now.  They only show up around here is in January – February, so when I saw a bag at Wegman’s the other day, I knew the time had come.  Meyer Lemons are kind of a cross between a clementine and a lemon (my friend Klob calls them “lemontines”), so they’re a little lighter and sweeter than traditional lemons.  The vinaigrette plays well against the roasted butternut squash, the feta adds a little saltiness, and the toasted walnuts add a little heartiness and crunch.  The spinach pulls this all together for a super satisfying, really easy salad.

SPINACH, ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH, FETA, & TOASTED WALNUT SALAD WITH A MEYER LEMON VINAIGRETTE (makes 4 individual side salads)
– 1 9 oz. bag of spinach
– 1/4 – 1/2 Roasted Butternut Squash
– 1/4 C. crumbled Feta
– 1/4 C. toasted walnuts
MEYER LEMON VINAIGRETTE
– 2 Meyer Lemons, zested and juiced
– 1 tbsp. honey
– 1/2 – 3/4 C. EVOO (start with 1/2, then add more to taste)
– Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Roast the butternut squash. Basically, turn the oven to 400, throw in the squash for maybe 15 minutes, then remove to cut off the bottom and slice it in half easily.  Scoop out the seeds, rub a little olive oil on both sides, then place the squash cut-side down on a baking sheet for 30 – 45 minutes, depending on the size of the squash.  Remove from the oven, peel off the skin, and cut as needed. I has some leftover from the other night’s chicken, kale, roasted butternut squash, and black bean enchiladas, so I just used that.

2. Add the spinach leaves to a large bowl, then and add a little kosher salt or Herbamare (lettuce is a vegetable, and should be dressed like one). Stir to combine.


3. In a small pan, toast walnuts over medium-high heat.  This should take about 5 minutes – just watch the pan closely, and shake it around a lot to flip the walnuts evenly.  You’ll see (and smell) when the walnuts are toasted – just be careful not to burn them!

4. Add toasted walnuts, cubed butternut squash, and crumbled feta.  Mix gently to combine.


5. In a smaller mason jar (or similar), combine the ingredients for the Meyer Lemon vinaigrette. Put a lid on the jar, shake well to combine, then season to taste if necessary.


6. Pour about half the dressing over the salad, mix gently to coat. Add more dressing if you like, or refrigerate for up to 3-4 more days.  Yummo.