Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Ew! Spinach!

I am so mean. But spinach is good for you! I do not like it plain unless it is raw and fresh - which I can't always have. I have to say though, spinach cooked into other foods can be yummy... not according to the kids, but I think so.

I have a once weekly shopping trip, and a veggie delivery once a week, and that's it. For the rest of the week, food will be what is on hand: fresh, canned, or frozen. It might help, I suppose, if I planned our menus, but I haven't figured that out yet. I never know what kind of leftovers we will have and we actually like leftovers - esp. something I can create new meals with. How can you plan around the randomness of growing kids and ever changing amounts of leftovers?? I don't think meal planning would fit my cooking personality anyway. My method, unless I wake up and start the day with a meal idea - it happens - is to open the fridge and hope the inspiration fairy whacks me. Today, it was the zucchini that got me. Spinach is a mean enough thing to impose on small children, but zucchini too?! Yea. I did. Can't make a whole meal of 6 small zucchini though, so I just chopped them up and threw them in the steamer.

So, next I moved on the freezer. No fairy in there either. Finally I opened the pantry and saw a can of spinach. Ta daa! (or should I say "Mwaa-ha-ha! and rub my hands gleefully?)

Here's what I did to the kids tonight:

Browned 1lb lean ground beef in olive oil.
Sauteed one small red onion and a couple cloves fresh minced garlic, as the meat was browning, in the same pan. (Sloppy? Cutting corners? Whatever. It works!)
(Normally I'd drain the excess oil, but there was none)
When the onion was soft, I added one, drained, can of spinach. (The equivalent amount in frozen or fresh works too.)
Added about a cup of dried cranberries.
Added (to taste) salt, pepper, cinnamon, (tiny bit of) allspice, ginger, and cardamon. (I'd usually add mint too, but apparently I am out. Oops!)
I will also often throw in a handful of cashews or pine nuts, but I forgot this time.
Last hard ingredient is 2-3 medium apples, diced. (Any kind, and I do not peel them - keeps in the nutrients and the crunch.)
Pour in 1/3 cup white zinfandel (which was a nice change - I usually use red wine, but the lighter wine was very nice with the apples).
Simmer until the apples are slightly soft/cooked - not mush. A couple of minutes.
Serve over white rice.
Feta cheese (best!), or parmesan cheese, is a good topper.

I'm not sure if the zucchini was the best 'match' to this entree, but it was sweet and fresh. Poor kids. At least they liked the rice. And the dish didn't get a complete thumb's down. They managed to clean their plates, and they'd have chosen to go hungry if they really despised it. At least Brad and I liked it, and I can sleep easy tonight with the knowledge that I got greens AND fruit in the kids again!


Christine said...

THis sounds really interesting sis! I think I would like it, but the kids???? Not so sure.

Connie said...

Brad and I really like this dish. The 'cool' spices, the apples and cranberries, make it an almost dessert-like meal. The wine and apples give the 'plain ol' burger' a rich taste. The spinach just keeps it moist and you don't taste the usual bitterness.

I think the kids just see spinach and psych themselves out. ;-) !

Tina in CT said...

I'm going to print it out as it sounds very good and many of ingredients are on hand. It would be good over pasta too.