Spinach Chips

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I’m a spinach lover and I always have a big bag of baby spinach in my fridge. I put spinach on sandwiches, salads, omelets, smoothies – pretty much anything that I think can use a bit of green. Still, I often have a hard time getting through the bag before the spinach leaves start to get slimy.

I stumbled onto this recipe the other day and had an “aha” moment. Spinach chips – of course! The perfect way to use up my extra spinach! Spinach chips are similar to kale chips, but with a much lighter texture. My kids loved them too, so this recipe gets a gold star in my book.

Ready to go into the oven:
Spinach Chips

Ready to eat:
Spinach Chips (cooked)

Ingredients
2 big handfuls of pre-washed baby spinach
Olive oil (use a Misto Olive Oil Sprayer, if you have one)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. (Note: this step is important; otherwise the spinach will stick to the baking sheet.)

Lightly spray the parchment paper with olive oil using an olive oil sprayer (or put a bit of olive oil on a paper towel and wipe it onto the parchment paper).

Spread the baby spinach evenly between the two baking sheets, making sure to keep the spinach in a single layer. Lightly spray the spinach with a bit more olive oil (alternatively, you can toss the spinach and olive oil together in a bowl, but be sure not to use too much oil).

Sprinkle salt and pepper over the spinach and bake for 12 minutes (you can cook both baking sheets at the same time). After 12 minutes, turn the oven off and keep the spinach in the oven for another 5 minutes.

Remove the baking sheets from the oven and let the spinach cool for a few minutes before digging in. Enjoy!

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Roasted Chickpeas

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Hello everyone, I’m back! My work contract is over, and I’m super-excited to get back to blogging now that I have some more time on my hands. Yay!

Have you tried roasted chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans) yet? If not, I’m so delighted to share this recipe with you. I’m a firm believer that roasting makes everything taste better, and chickpeas are no exception. Roasting turns bland-and-boring chickpeas into little balls of goodness that are tender on the inside and crispy on the outside.

Roasted Chickpeas

The best thing about these roasted chickpeas is that they are healthy and my kids love them too. In fact, this is one of their favorite after-school snacks (and mine too). Chickpeas are a great source of protein and fiber, as well as several vitamins and minerals such as Folate, vitamin B6, and Manganese.

I started making this recipe with just one can of garbanzo beans, but I found that wasn’t enough for three hungry gals, so I make this with two cans now. Sadly for my husband, there still doesn’t seem to be any left when he gets home from work.

The basic recipe just calls for salt and pepper, but you can get as adventurous as you like by adding your favorite spices, like paprika, chili powder, cayenne pepper, or even cinnamon and brown sugar for a “dessert” chickpea.

Ingredients
2 15-ounce cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 tablespoon olive oil (approx.)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with 2 layers of paper towels (or a clean dish towel).

Drain and rinse the chickpeas and then put them on the towel-lined baking sheet to dry. If you have time, you can leave them on the baking sheet and let them air-dry, or you can place another towel on top of the chickpeas and roll them around a bit to dry them off.

Once dry, add the chickpeas to a large bowl and combine with the olive oil. You want enough oil to coat every chickpea. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and stir gently.

First, remove the towels from the baking sheet and then pour the chickpeas onto the baking sheet. Be sure to spread them out in a single layer.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until the chickpeas are golden-brown. Shake the baking sheet every 10-15 minutes to keep them from sticking.

Let cool and add more salt and pepper, if desired.

Enjoy and happy snacking!

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Mexican Casserole

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This casserole tastes just like nachos, without the chips! It’s cheesy and flavorful and easy to make. You can adjust the ingredients to suit your family’s tastes. It would be a great recipe to take to your next potluck too! This recipe will serve about 4 people.

Ingredients
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 package ground turkey (1.5 pounds)
2 tablespoons diced onion
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup chopped green onions, divided
3/4 cup salsa
1/2 cup black beans
1 – 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (your favorite)
1/4 cup chopped black olives
Sour cream
Tortilla chips (optional)

Heat the oil in a skillet, over medium-high heat. Add the turkey and cook thoroughly. Stir in the diced onion, chili powder, cumin, oregano, garlic powder, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper. Remove the skillet from the heat.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Spread the cooked turkey in the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish (or similar sized dish). Sprinkle half of the green onions over the turkey, and then top with the salsa and black beans. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top.

Bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Garnish with the rest of the green onions, olives, and a dollop of sour cream. Serve with tortilla chips, if desired.

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Almond Butter Balls

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My kids love peanut butter and almond butter. They would eat it right out of the jar, if I let them. These no-bake balls are ready to eat in minutes and make a perfect after-school snack. The oats provide fiber and energy, and the almond butter adds protein and healthy fats. Just what tired kids (and moms!) need after a long day. This makes a small batch; just enough for a day or two.

Ingredients
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 cup flaked coconut
2 tablespoons honey (use less if your coconut is sweetened)
Coconut flakes, unsweetened cocoa, and finely chopped almonds for coating

Combine the oats, almond butter, 1/2 cup flaked coconut, and honey in a medium bowl and stir well to combine. It may take a few minutes of stirring to completely combine the ingredients.

Using your hands, press the mixture into 1-inch balls and roll them in the coating (coconut, cocoa, or almonds).

The balls can be stored at room temperature, but I prefer to store them in the fridge to help them keep their shape (less messy to eat too).

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Split Pea Soup

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Mmm, I love this soup. It’s creamy, and filling, and healthy too! Oh, and it’s kid-approved. Serve it with warm buttered bread for a comforting, cold-weather dinner.

Ingredients
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrots
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 pound dried split peas
1 pound ham bone, 1 cup chopped ham, or 6 strips of bacon chopped and cooked
1 bay leaf
1 32oz carton of chicken broth
1 pinch salt and pepper to taste

In a medium pot, sauté the onions and carrots in oil. Add the split peas, ham bone (or chopped ham or bacon), bay leaf, chicken broth; season with salt and pepper. If needed add additional water or chicken broth to completely cover the peas. Bring to a boil.

Cover, and simmer until there are no whole peas left, about 2 hours. While it is cooking, check to see if the liquid has evaporated. You may need to add more water as the soup continues to cook.

Serve hot with your favorite crusty bread.

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