Spinach

Spinach Artichoke Bacon Egg Souffles

For whatever reason, I have been craving crescent rolls for awhile now. The kind that come in a tube and you grew up eating on top of casseroles and straight out of the oven (at least, if you were in my family). So, I bought a tube with no real plan on how I would use them.

Then the other night, I had made individual serving egg casseroles using the dough, frozen spinach, and some leftover bacon. They turned out great, and became my breakfast for the week.

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Spinach Artichoke and Bacon Egg Souffle Cups
Inspired by Pillsbury, Panera and others

1 tube refrigerated crescent rolls
4 slices bacon
1 tsp butter
1/4 cup diced red pepper
2-3 canned artichoke hearts, well-drained and chopped
1/4 box frozen spinach, thawed and well-drained
6 eggs
1/4 cup cream
2 oz Monterey Jack or other cheese(s), shredded, plus more for topping
Salt and pepper

Unroll crescent dough, pressing each pair of triangles together to create a rectangle. Press into the bottoms and sides of 4 1-cup ramekins, letting the edges overhang. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat. Drain and crumble. Remove pan drippings. In the same pan, melt butter. Saute peppers for about 3 minutes. Add artichokes and spinach, stirring to heat through.

Whisk together eggs, cream, cheese, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt (or less if using salty cheese). Pour egg mixture into hot skillet. Stir constantly for 90 seconds to 2 minutes. Eggs will be very runny. Working quickly, pour into ramekins. Sprinkle with a little bit of extra cheese.

Place ramekins on a baking sheet. Bake for 17-20 minutes. Eggs should be set, and dough golden-brown.

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Turkey-Spinach Meatballs

Two of the most common misperceptions (excuses, maybe?) of everyday healthy cooking is that it takes too much time, and it costs too much. (That, or if it is good for you it tastes like crap.)

These meatballs prove that doesn’t have to be the case. Three servings of vegetables, plus lean protein, from kitchen to table in about 30 minutes.

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First, the time. I try to cook or prep as much food as I can over the weekend. I am really good at coming up with excuses during the week, and I’m especially likely to talk myself out of cooking something that takes more than 30 minutes. My timesavers for this recipe: I roasted and shredded a spaghetti squash Sunday, and I bought  jarred spaghetti sauce. I like homemade sauce, but this saved a lot of time for not a lot of money.

Second, the cost. Here’s a breakout of what I spent (realizing that prices vary by market and brand, and season).

Ground turkey: $4.29
Frozen spinach: $.59 (1/2 box)
Egg: $.16
Onion: $.13 (1/4 of an onion)
Parmesan: $.47
Breadcrumbs $.40
Spaghetti squash: $1.99
Jarred spaghetti sauce: $2.00 (on sale)
Total: $10.03
Cost per serving: $2.52

If you’re looking to cook healthier without breaking the bank, make friends with the frozen food aisle — specifically, frozen vegetables. It’s not unusual to find any number of vegetable varieties on sale for $1 per bag. Unlike canned vegetables, frozen retain their nutritional value. A small amount of cheese adds flavor, as do inexpensive dried seasonings.

Turkey-Spinach Meatballs
Adapted from Bob Appetit

1 1/4 lb lean ground turkey
1 egg, lightly beaten
5 oz. frozen spinach,  thawed and well-drained (1/2 of a 10 oz. box)
1/4 cup diced yellow onion
1/4 cup grated or shredded parmesan, plus more for serving
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

Coat a broiling pan or a foil-lined baking sheet with cooking spray. Adjust oven rack to the top one-third.

Combine all ingredients except olive oil in a large bowl. Shape into 12-15 meatballs and arrange on broiling pan. Brush with olive oil. Broil 15-20 minutes until cooked through.

Serve meatballs with spaghetti squash and marinara sauce. Top with additional cheese if desired.

Bacon Spinach Quiche

I am not a morning person, and I am always looking for make-ahead breakfast ideas.

If I don’t get enough protein in the morning, I am invariably famished and sneaking down to the ABP in the basement of my office building for a sugary carb fix before 10:30.

Quiche seemed like a great solution: versatile (what leftover veggies are in mt fridge?), with protein and vegetables, as well as portable. Leave off the crust, and they’re pretty guilt-free.

But I’ve been experimenting with quiche recipes off on and on for about six months, and they always turn out watery. Turns out, eggs release water when they cook, without the right balance of fat in the liquid. You can’t substitute milk or half and half for the cream. Vegetables should be pre-cooked and sufficiently drained of excess moisture, especially for a very watery vegetable such as zucchini. Also, oven temperature matters: 400 degrees seems to work best.

This recipe is a starting point; substitute whatever vegetables and cheese you have on hand. A little salt is good, but be careful not to over-salt, especially if you’re using a salty cheese such as Parmesan.

Many cooks prefer to make quiche in a tart pan, and remove the sides when cooling. I don’t own a tart pan, so I just use a pie plate. This may be too much filling for a tart pan; start with 2 eggs and 2/3 c cream.

Bacon Spinach Quiche

4 slices thick-cut bacon (I used Trader Joe’s applewood-smoked bacon)
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced, if desired
4 c baby spinach (half a package)
3 eggs
1 c cream
Salt & pepper to taste
1/4 c shredded Parmesan (or to taste)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large skillet, cook bacon. Remove bacon to a plate lined with paper towels to drain the fat; crumble. Remove all but one tablespoon of grease from the pan. Reduce heat to low. Add onions and saute for several minutes. Add garlic and continue sauteeing until onions begin to get translucent. Add spinach. Cook for an additional two minutes until spinach has cooked down. Transfer mixture to a cutting board to cool slightly. Run a knife through the mixture several times. Blot excess moisture from the vegetables with paper towels.

Lightly coat a pie plate with cooking spray. Spread bacon crumbles and spinach over the plate. Whisk together eggs, cream, salt and pepper; pour into pie plate. Sprinkle with cheese.

Place pie plate on a baking sheet and carefully slide into the oven. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes, until the filling has uniformly puffed (wait for the center to puff), browned and set. Transfer to a cooling rack. Let set for at least 5 minutes before serving.