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)

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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Spinach and Bacon Frittata

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Hello, my friends! I have some good news to share today: I’m starting a new job next week! I plan on continuing to post delicious recipes for you, but you may notice a trend towards more “make ahead” and easy to prepare meals.

This frittata recipe is a perfect recipe for a busy weeknight. It’s tasty, filling, and ready in a flash. I’ve never made a frittata before, but it’s kind of a cross between a crust-less quiche and an omelet, although the flavor is more omelet-y since it doesn’t have any cream.

I adapted this from an Alton Brown recipe (I just love him), which you can find here.

6-8 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped*
6 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup shredded parmesan
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon butter
2 cups of baby spinach, chopped

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, parmesan, and pepper.

Heat a 12-inch cast iron pan (or other oven-proof pan) over medium heat. Add the butter to the pan. When the butter melts, add the chopped bacon and spinach and sauté for about 2 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted.

Pour the eggs into the pan and quickly stir the eggs, bacon, and spinach together. Once combined, stop stirring, and let cook for about 4 or 5 minutes, or until the egg mixture begins to set around the edges.

Meanwhile, preheat the broiler to a low setting and set the oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source.

Once the egg mixture begins to set around the edges, place the pan in the oven and broil for about 3 minutes, or until lightly browned and puffy.

Cut into wedges and serve hot with a big green salad.

*To reduce the time and mess involved in cooking bacon, place the bacon strips in a single layer on a cooling rack, and place the cooling rack on top of a rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes.

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Summer Menu: Week 3

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Hello friends! This week’s menu is full of flavor and has lots of yummy vegetarian options. Click on the link below to download a PDF of the menu, grocery list, and recipes.
Menu Summer 2012 3

Here’s the delicious menu:

Sunday: Spiced Lentils with Garlic Naan







Monday: Zesty Quinoa and Beans






Tuesday: Simple Summer Squash and Sausage







Wednesday: Cranberry Spinach Salad







Thursday: Mediterranean Garlic Herb Cod







Friday: Heavenly Ricotta Pancakes (Breakfast for Dinner!)







Saturday: Parmesan Basil Orzo with Shrimp








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Parmesan Basil Orzo with Shrimp

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This looks like something you would eat at a fancy restaurant, but it is simple to make and it tastes amazing. The mild orzo, flavored with parmesan and fresh basil, is a wonderful a compliment to the marinated shrimp which is bursting with flavor.

1 cup olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more, if you like it spicy)
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1-2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
2 cups chicken broth (maybe a bit more)
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup chopped fresh spinach
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, parsley, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, garlic, ketchup, oregano, salt and black pepper. Add the shrimp and stir until they are well coated. Refrigerate for about 1 hour (I’ve heard that too much lemon juice can give shrimp a weird texture, so don’t let them sit in the marinade for too long).

About 25 minutes before you cook the shrimp, melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted, stir in the orzo and sauté until golden brown, stirring frequently.

Stir in the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the skillet, and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until the orzo is tender. Watch the skillet carefully, and add additional chicken broth if needed.

Mix in the parmesan cheese, basil, spinach, salt, and pepper. Stir until the spinach is wilted.

Heat another large skillet over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the shrimp to the skillet, along with about 1/2 cup of the marinade. Cook the shrimp, stirring frequently until pink and cooked through.

To serve, place a large spoonful of the orzo onto a plate, top with several shrimp, and drizzle some of the sauce from the skillet over the top.

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Blueberry Banana Coconut Smoothie

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The weather is warming up and it’s finally berry season! I love making healthy smoothies with ripe berries for a refreshing snack or a quick breakfast. I’ve been trying to cut back on sugar, so I don’t usually add any sweetener (the fruit is usually sweet enough). You may want to add a bit of honey if you like your smoothies a bit sweeter. I also add some fresh spinach to all of my smoothies now – you won’t even know it’s there!

1 cup of crushed ice
2/3 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 banana, sliced
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
Small handful of baby spinach
1-2 tablespoons milk

Put all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. You can also use a stick blender to blend your smoothie together (I got one for Christmas and it makes my smoothie prep a breeze!).

Pour your smoothie into a tall glass, add a straw and enjoy the refreshing goodness.

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Pita Pizzas

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These little pizzas are a breeze to put together and much healthier than a traditional pizza pie. Since they come in individual sizes, it’s easy to please the entire family, which is often a challenge in my house since my daughter won’t eat pizza with tomato sauce, my husband likes a meaty pizza, and I prefer vegetarian. Have fun experimenting with different sauces and toppings. Below are the recipes for a vegetarian pizza with pesto sauce and a Mexican pizza with salsa sauce.

Vegetarian Pesto Pita Pizza

6 whole wheat pita breads
1 jar of prepared pesto
Shredded cheese
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 bunch of spinach, rinsed and roughly chopped
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Parmesan cheese (optional)
Black pepper (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the pita breads in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake the pitas in the preheated oven for about 5 minutes (this will help keep the “crust” crispy).

Remove the pitas from the oven, and carefully spread the pesto on top of each pita (as much as you like). Top with a small amount of shredded cheese, a few tomatoes, a handful of spinach (really pile it on because it will shrink in the oven), then a bit of feta cheese. If desired, sprinkle a bit of parmesan cheese and some black pepper on top.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until the crust is crunchy and the toppings are heated through. Cut into quarters and serve hot.

Mexican Pita Pizza

Whole wheat pita breads
Jar of your favorite salsa
Shredded cheese
Leftover taco meat, cooked
Tomatoes, chopped
Roasted green chilies, diced
Green onions, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the pita breads in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake the pitas in the preheated oven for about 5 minutes (this will help keep the “crust” crispy).

Remove the pitas from the oven and carefully spread each pita with a spoonful of salsa. Top with a handful of shredded cheese, taco meat, tomatoes, green chilies, and green onions.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until the crust is crunchy and the cheese is melted. Cut into quarters and serve hot.

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Bourbon Chicken

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Perfectly sautéed chicken breasts covered in a creamy bourbon sauce – yum. My husband loved this recipe and has already asked me to make it again! Pounding your chicken breasts to an even thickness before cooking will ensure that the chicken cooks evenly and turns out juicy and delicious.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon whole wheat flour, for dusting
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chopped onion
4 tablespoons bourbon
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup half-and-half
Fresh spinach (optional)

Place the chicken breasts in a gallon-sized zip-top bag and seal the bag, making sure to remove most of the air. Using the smooth side of a meat pounder/mallet, pound the chicken until flat and uniformly thick.

Remove the chicken from the bag and place on a large plate. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper, to taste, and then dust both sides of the chicken with the flour. The flour will help the chicken develop a nice brown crust while cooking.

Heat the olive oil in a large stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken (as many pieces that will fit in the skillet, without touching) and sauté until browned and cooked through, turning once. Try not to disturb the chicken too much while it’s cooking. Leaving the chicken undisturbed will ensure that the juices are retained and a nice golden brown crust is developed. I usually place the chicken in the hot skillet and then let it sizzle for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Then I shake the skillet vigorously to see if I can dislodge the chicken from the skillet (be careful when doing this). If the chicken is stuck to the skillet, I will use tongs to gently un-stick (that’s a word, right?) it from the skillet. Then I vigorously shake the skillet every 30 seconds or so to ensure that the chicken doesn’t stick again.

Remove the cooked chicken from the skillet and keep warm (I usually just loosely cover them with aluminum foil). Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the garlic and onions to the skillet and cook until tender, without letting the garlic brown. Add the bourbon and cook for about a minute. Add the chicken broth and half-and-half and cook for about 2 or 3 minutes until reduced and slightly thickened (make sure the sauce doesn’t boil vigorously, or else it may break).

Return the chicken to the skillet to reheat. Serve the chicken with the bourbon sauce poured on top. If desired, serve the chicken and sauce over fresh spinach leaves. The heat of the chicken and sauce will lightly wilt the spinach. Serve with sweet potatoes or your favorite Southern side dish.

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Chicken Alfredo Lasagna

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This creamy, cheesy lasagna is made extra delicious with an easy homemade alfredo sauce. I adapted this from a recipe I found on the Allrecipes website. If you don’t want to make a huge dish of lasagna, divide this between two smaller baking dishes and store one in the freezer (after baking) for an easy dinner on a night that you don’t feel like cooking (usually Fridays for me). To reheat the frozen the lasagna, put it in the refrigerator the day before you want to eat it to let it defrost (it’s okay if it doesn’t defrost completely). Then put it in a 400 degree oven for 45-75 minutes, or until heated through.

1 box no-boil lasagna noodles
1/2 cup butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups milk
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups ricotta cheese (I used skim-ricotta)
2 cups cubed, cooked chicken meat
1 bag frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion and garlic in the butter until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in the flour and salt, and simmer until bubbly. Mix in the broth and milk, and simmer, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir in 2 cups mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Season with the basil, oregano, and ground black pepper. Remove from heat.

In a medium bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese and cooked chicken. Spread 1/3 of the sauce mixture in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish (or two smaller baking dishes). Layer with 1/3 of the noodles, then all of the ricotta/chicken mixture. Arrange 1/3 of the noodles over the chicken, and layer with 1/3 of the sauce mixture, spinach, and the remaining 2 cups mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Arrange remaining noodles over cheese, and spread remaining sauce evenly over noodles. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven.

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Jamie’s Cranberry Spinach Salad

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Okay, get your grocery list and write down these ingredients — no really, this salad is that good. Below is my version of the recipe (which can change depending on the ingredients that I have on hand), but click here to see the original recipe on allrecipes.com. I serve mine with sautéed chicken to make a delicious main dish salad. Mmmm, it makes me happy just thinking about it!

1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup slivered almonds
1 pound spinach, rinsed and torn into bite-size pieces
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons minced onion
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add almonds and cook until lightly toasted, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, and let cool.

In a large bowl, combine the spinach with the toasted almonds and cranberries.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, onion, paprika, rice wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and vegetable oil, until the sugar is dissolved. Toss with spinach just before serving.  Enjoy!

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