Sunday, October 5, 2008

Good Morning, Campers!

WOW, what a gorgeous day. I'm so looking forward to heading to the Greek Festival this afternoon - what's better than Greek potatoes???

If you don't have access to that Mediterranean delicacy this afternoon, you've got an excellent backup in Creamed Spinach Gratin, this week's Learn To Cook/No-Fuss recipe.

The recipe calls for fresh, and that's a great, close-to-your-food way to go. Personally, I prefer using frozen spinach just because it's less work. With the fresh spinach you have to swish it in water to make sure all the grit is out, and go through that process of foot-tall piles of spinach leaves cooking down into a manageable amount of greens before wringing out the water. Frozen spinach still requires you to wring out the water, but other than that you just let it thaw and nothing is less work than that.

Creamed Spinach Au Gratin
Cooking Light, November/December 1997
1 (10-ounce) bag fresh spinach, or one box frozen chopped spinach
Cooking spray
2/3 cup chopped onion (optional)
1/4 cup tub-style light cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt & pepper
1 cup sliced tomato
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs (or crushed corn flakes, for a gluten-free option)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

IF YOU'RE USING FRESH SPINACH - Remove the large stems from the spinach and throw them away. Tear spinach leaves into 1-inch pieces, place in a sieve/colander, and rinse the spinach under cold water.

Place a large Dutch oven (big saucepan), coated with cooking spray, over medium heat until it's hot. Add onion if you're using and saute 3 minutes. Stir a few times during those 3 minutes.

Add the spinach. Cover and cook 2 minutes or until spinach wilts.

IF YOU'RE USING FROZEN SPINACH - allow the spinach to thaw. Squeeze the water out with your hands.

Place a large Dutch oven (big saucepan), coated with cooking spray, over medium heat until it's hot. Add onion if you're using and saute 3 minutes. Stir a few times during those 3 minutes.

Add the spinach.

BACK TO THE RECIPE....
Add the cream cheese, oregano, salt (just a pinch) and pepper (a few dashes or twists). Uncover and cook an additional minute or two until the cream cheese melts.

Get a rubber or silicone spatula and scoop the spinach mixture into a one-quart (small - 8x8 baking dish is too big) gratin dish or shallow casserole coated with cooking spray.

OPTIONAL
Arrange tomato slices, or halved grape or cherry tomatoes, in a single layer on top of the spinach, and sprinkle with breadcrumbs (if using) and Parmesan cheese.

BACK TO THE RECIPE...
Having spooned the spinach mixture into the gratin dish, sprinkle with the 2 Tablespoons of Parmesan.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 inutes or until golden brown.

1 comment:

Nancy said...

Shoot, we missed you at the Greek Festival yesterday! John and I took his dad there later in the evening for dinner.

-Nancy