For those who love spinach


Tamorlan, Wikimedia Commons

Spinach is the star of the show in this quiche, and you can customize it any way you wish. Meat, no meat, your favorite cheeses and more.

I have always loved spinach, and both of my sons have always loved it. I do realize there are more than a few people who don’t like the healthful plant, but for those who appreciate it, I am sharing some spinach recipes.


As I type this, I have a pan of spinach enchiladas heating in the oven. I got the recipe from a friend and neighbor back in the 1980s. It is not like traditional enchiladas, but it does feature corn tortillas and some Monterey Jack cheese, as well as spinach.


As always, I hope you and your family members are all staying safe as well as well fed. Everyone seems ready for spring. I am hoping for more rain for farmers and filling dams and for more snow pack in the high country. Take care.


Betty Ann’s spinach enchiladas


As a tip, I would wait to roll the enchiladas until after the sauce has been made, and place a little of the sauce on the bottom of the pan. Spray the pan with nonstick cooking spray before adding sauce.


1 1/2 pounds washed fresh spinach leaves


3 tablespoons olive oil


1/2 large onion, minced


3 cloves garlic, pressed


Salt and pepper, to taste


3/4 pound Monterey Jack cheese


9 or 10 corn tortillas (I can fit 9 in a 9-by-13-inch pan)


1 tablespoon butter


1 tablespoon flour


1 cup milk, heated


1 cup sour cream, room temperature


1/2 cup canned green chiles, drained


1. Preheat oven to 350 (325 if using a glass pan). Coarsely chop spinach leaves. Saute onions and garlic in oil until golden. Add spinach, toss until wilted. Salt to taste, continue cooking until liquid is absorbed.


2. Grate cheese coarsely. Brush tortillas lightly with oil and heat quickly on both sides in skillet. (Note: I did not do this; I just heated each tortilla about 15 to 20 seconds in the microwave. Be careful not to overheat them, though.)


3. Spread a heaping tablespoon of grated cheese in a line down the center, then spread a heaping tablespoon of spinach mixture over cheese. Fold one side over filling and roll up. Place in prepared 9-by-13-inch pan.


4. For sauce, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a pot and stir in the flour. Cook roux over low heat, stirring constantly until golden. Add heated milk and stir with a whisk until slightly thickened. (Note: You may need to add a little more milk if the sauce is too thick.)


5. Add sour cream, green chiles and remaining cheese and cook sauce until all cheese is melted and sauce is quite smooth. Season with salt and pepper and pour over enchiladas.


6. Cover casserole and bake at 350 for about 20 to 25 minutes. The enchiladas should be very hot all the way through.


Spinach quiche


1/2 cup butter


3 cloves garlic, pressed


1 small onion, chopped


1 package (10-oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained


1 can (4.5-oz.) mushrooms, drained


1 package (6-oz.) herb and garlic feta, crumbled (or substitute plain feta)


8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese, divided


Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste


1 9-inch unbaked deep-dish pie crust


4 eggs, beaten


1 cup milk


1. Preheat oven to 375. In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Saute garlic and onion in butter until lightly browned, about 7 minutes (being careful to avoid burning the garlic). Stir in spinach, mushrooms, feta and 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon mixture into pie crust.


2. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Season with a bit more salt and pepper. Pour into the pastry shell, allowing egg mixture to thoroughly combine with spinach mixture.


3. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Sprinkle top with remaining Cheddar cheese, and bake an additional 35 to 40 minutes, until set in center. Allow to stand 10 minutes before serving. Makes 6 servings.


Spinach salad with orange sesame dressing


For dressing:


1 cup orange juice


1 teaspoon honey


2 teaspoons sesame oil


1 tablespoon soy sauce


2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar


1/4 cup water


1 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce (optional)


1 shallot, chopped


2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger


For salad:


5 cups baby spinach leaves


1/4 cup daikon sprouts (or any available sprout, such as radish)


1/4 cup julienned carrots


1/2 cup peeled, julienned jicama


2 tablespoons mixture of black and white sesame seeds, for garnish


1. For the dressing: cook the orange juice in a saucepan until reduced by half. Combine with the honey, sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, water and hot sauce in a blender. Add the shallot and ginger and process until smooth. Store in the refrigerator.


2. For the salad: mix the spinach, daikon (or other) sprouts, carrot and jicama in large bowl. Add the dressing and toss to coat well. Garnish with the sesame seeds. Makes 4 servings.


Spinach lasagna


This makes 12 layers. I do not usually make that many, but use your own preference.


For the spinach:


2 tablespoons butter, divided


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


1 shallot, finely minced (about 1/2 cup)


6 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tablespoons)


Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


‘2 pounds fresh spinach leaves, washed and blotted


‘For the ricotta:


2 pounds fresh ricotta cheese (see note)


‘2 eggs


4 ounces finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (or ground nutmeg)


For the white sauce:


4 tablespoons butter


1/4 cup flour


1 quart (4 cups) whole milk


12 ounces grated low moisture mozzarella cheese


12 ounces grated Gruyere or Emmenthaler cheese


For assembly:


1 1/2 pounds (enough sheets to make 12 layers) fresh lasagna noodles


1. For the spinach: Heat olive oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add shallots and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and fragrant, about 1 minute. Add a few large handfuls of spinach and cook, stirring, until wilted. Continue adding spinach, a handful at a time, until it is all in the pot. Cook, stirring frequently, until spinach loses its moisture, leaving a dry bottom as you stir. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer spinach to a fine mesh strainer set over the sink and press out excess moisture (if any) with a rubber spatula. Let spinach continue to drain as you prepare the ricotta mixture.


2. For the ricotta: Transfer half of the ricotta, both eggs, the Parmesan, and nutmeg to the bowl of a food processor. Season with salt and pepper. Process until completely smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer mixture to a large bowl but do not wipe out food processor. Transfer spinach to food processor and pulse until finely chopped, 10 to 12 short pulses. Add spinach and remaining ricotta to the ricotta mixture and fold gently to combine.


3. For the white sauce: Heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add flour and increase heat to medium high. Cook, stirring butter and flour with a whisk until pale golden blonde, about 1 minute. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in milk. Continue to cook, whisking frequently, until mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Remove from heat and add 3/4 of mozzarella and Gruyere or Emmenthaler cheese. Whisk until smooth, then season to taste with salt and pepper.


4. To assemble: Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and preheat oven to 400. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta sheets a few at a time and cook until barely tender, about 45 seconds. Transfer to a fine mesh strainer and run under cool water until well chilled. Transfer to a clean kitchen towel in a single layer. Continue until all pasta is par-cooked and dried.


5. Drizzle a small amount of white sauce over the bottom of a deep lasagna pan or large casserole. Add a layer of noodles. Top with 1/12th of spinach mixture and 1/12th of remaining white sauce. Continue layering pasta, spinach, and white sauce until you lay down the top sheet of pasta.


6. Spread remaining spinach mixture evenly over the top. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Gruyere or Emmenthaler cheese and drizzle with remaining white sauce. Spread into an even layer with a rubber spatula.


7. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until bubbly and lightly browned, about 20 minutes longer. Let rest at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes, then slice and serve. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

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