Tag Archives: spinach

Mandarin, Almond & Spinach Salad with Gluten Free Asian Vinaigrette

Mandarin, Almond & Spinach Salad with Asian Vinaigrette

I have a tendency to buy things in bulk. It’s next to impossible to say no to three pounds of baby spinach at Costco for under 4 bucks. The only downside is three pounds of baby spinach is a lot of baby spinach. So in another effort to clean out the fridge, I have attempted to add spinach to everything. This isn’t a recipe so much as it is an idea of flavor combinations and the possibilities  are really endless.

I really love this dressing, especially when paired with the sweet mandarins. It was a great combination. I also found this salad to be surprisingly filling. It made for a great lunch. I think the addition of grilled chicken or shrimp would easily make it into a wonderful dinner. If I was to make this salad again, I think adding crumbled feta and dried cranberries would be delicious. Strawberries, granny smith apples, or pecans would also be good substitutes (or additions too).

Mandarin, Almond & Spinach Salad with Asian Vinaigrette

Mandarin, Almond & Spinach Salad with Gluten Free Asian Vinaigrette

Ingredients

    For the Salad:
  • 2 large handfuls spinach, washed
  • 1 mandarin orange (or clementine), peeled and broken into segments
  • 1 small red onion, thinly cut into circles
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted
  • For the Asian Vinaigrette:
  • 3-5 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon low-sodium gluten free Tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • freshly ground pepper to taste

Instructions

    For the Salad:
  1. Place spinach on plate. Top with orange segments, as many onions as desired and almonds. Top with vinaigrette.
  2. Serve and enjoy!
  3. For the Asian Vinaigrette:
  4. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together until throughly mixed. Use immediately. Will keep for 1 week in fridge.
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Easy Vegetable Frittata

Easy Vegetable Frittata

This week I am sharing some of favorite brunch recipes. I absolutely love brunch and summer weekends seem to just demand them. These recipes don’t demand too much cook and can mostly be prepared ahead to time, which gives you more time to relax, enjoy your weekend and enjoy some extra mimosas with your friends.

This frittata is pretty much perfect if you ask me. It’s easy to make, it can help you clean out your vegetable drawer and it reheats wonderfully. I just used the vegetables I had on hand, but you can add just about anything you want to this frittata. Broccoli, bell peppers, jalapeños or fresh herbs, like basil or chives, would all be great additions.

Easy Vegetable Frittata

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 2+ cloves garlic, minced
  • 6+ large mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 1 tomatoes, chopped with seeds removed
  • 1 cup baby spinach, roughly torn or chopped
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (I used extra sharp cheddar)
  • 6 large eggs
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a baking dish (I used a 9 inch pie dish).
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until beginning to brown. Then add the green onions, mushrooms and garlic and cook until mushrooms begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and spinach. Sauté for an additional 1 to 2 minutes or just until the spinach is wilted. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper.
  3. In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs, cheese, salt, and pepper.
  4. Finish cooking in the oven for 25-35 minutes, until the eggs have completely set in the center.
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Gluten Free Green Chile & Mushroom Goat Cheese Queso

Chile & Mushroom Goat Cheese Queso

Last weekend I popped up to San Francisco for a quick visit with friends and my blog and computer decided they wanted a vacation too. Technical problems seem to be resolved for the most part, so let’s get back to it. Cinco de mayo is rapidly approaching and since I like any excuse to eat Mexican food, I plan on taking full advantage of the fact this week. Most of these recipes aren’t super traditional or exactly authentic, but they are delicious enough for any fiesta.

This queso is super tasty. I added some of my favorite spring ingredients (mushrooms, leeks and spinach) and they really added a lot of flavor to the queso. They mushrooms added a great earthy flavor, which worked really well with the tangy goat cheese. The chiles add just a little bit of spiciness. I served my queso with tortilla chips, but it would also go well with veggies, crackers or bread.

My oven, like all the other machines in my life, has also been a bit temperamental lately (had to get the igniter replaced… again…), which has changed my oven’s personality somewhat. It seems to be cooking a bit lower or slower (I’m still trying to figure it out).  After 25 minutes the queso was definitely bubbly and ready to serve, but there was absolutely no color to the top of it, which made it look like a blob of boring, white cheese. It’s not a requirement, but I like a little bit of a brown crust on my baked dips. It took me at least 35 minutes to get any type of color to the dip and as you can see in the picture it still came out a bit splotchy. Despite my odd requirements for baked dip coloration, the end product was delicious.

Gluten Free Green Chile & Mushroom Goat Cheese Queso

Adapted from Whole Foods.

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 pound mixed mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 6 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • 6 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese (about 1 3/4 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cup sliced baby spinach leaves
  • 1 large leek, cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1 (10 ounce) can green chiles, diced (chop finely if using whole chiles)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add leeks and onion cook until softened and starting to brown, about 10-15 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms have released their liquid and are dry and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add chopped spinach and cook until just beginning to wilt, about 1 minute. Spread leeks, mushrooms, spinach over the bottom of a small ovenproof casserole or gratin dish. In a large bowl, combine goat cheese, Jack cheese, and chiles and mix until combined. Spread cheese mixture evenly over mushrooms and bake until bubbling, about 25-35 minutes. Serve hot.
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Joe’s Special

Joe's Special Scramble

I started the fall semester yesterday morning. In order to recover from the trauma, I’m taking a long weekend trip (can 6 days really be considered a ‘long weekend’?) up to San Francisco to visit some friends. What better excuse that to share some tried and true San Francisco favorites.

This dish is a San Francisco classic. It originated in the 1930′s at Original Joe’s. Even though the dish is a classic, I had to put my own spin on things. I substituted extra-lean ground turkey for the ground beef. I used a ton of garlic (10 cloves, but they were all pretty small) and fresh basil and oregano from my garden. I have to admit that I like the fact that the eggs are not the main focus of this egg dish. I feel like the egg is just there as a loose binder rather than the main feature. It makes for a nice change from a traditional Quiche or frittata. It also makes the dish much more adaptable to meals outside the morning hours. In true San Francisco style, Joe’s Special is traditionally served with sourdough. I have yet to discover gluten-free sourdough, so I served my scramble with a couple slices of gluten-free toast (Canyon Bakehouse is my favorite at the moment). Not quite the same as sourdough, but it did the job.

I made Joe’s Special for Sunday Brunch over the weekend and this morning I heated up the leftovers for breakfast. It was even better! This would be a great made-ahead meal for brunch or for anytime you want to have a meal that you can reheat in a hurry.

Joe's Special

 

 

Joe’s Special

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 5+ garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/4 pounds extra-lean ground turkey
  • 3 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh basil, finally chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano (or 1/4 teaspoon dried)
  • 1/3 cups parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 3 eggs, well beaten
  • 1/4 cup milk/cream/half and half
  • a generous dash of tabasco (optional)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Crack the eggs into a small bowl and add the Tabasco, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet heat the oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until beginning to brown. Add in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add in ground turkey; cook, stirring, until browned and all moisture evaporates, about 10 minutes. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring, until beginning to soften. Add spinach; cook, stirring, until wilted. Add eggs; cook until eggs are cooked and mixture is slightly dry, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; sprinkle with Parmesan. Serve with bread.
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Cilantro Lime Chickpea Salad

Cilantro Lime Chickpea Salad

My wonderful friend Zack sent me this recipe last week and told me to “stop what I was doing and make this”. Zack and I have fairly similar palates, so I had a feeling that I would like this salad. I didn’t just like this salad, I loved it. I have yet to find a combination of cilantro and lime that I dislike, so I might not be the most neutral judge, but this salad was pretty close to perfect. Chickpeas make a really great neutral base, which allows the other flavors to really shine through.

I ended up accidentally doubling recipe. I was trying to use up some use it or lose it spinach, which ended up being way more than the originally suggested four cups. It turned out to be a fortunate accident since I had leftovers for days. I upped the amount of garlic and took it easier on the olive oil. I also omitted the sugar the original recipe called for, but that’s just a personal preference. I never add sugar to any type of dressing.

Cilantro Lime Chickpea Salad

Cilantro Lime Chickpea Salad

Ingredients

  • 4 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 6 loosely packed cups fresh spinach
  • 1 onion, chopped diced
  • juice from 8 limes
  • 1 bunch of cilantro (about loosely packed cup)
  • 4 Tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 8 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 3/4 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

Instructions

  1. Chop the spinach very finely (feel free to use a food processor and pulse 3-4 times). Add the chickpeas, onion, and spinach to a large bowl.
  2. In the same food processor add the lime juice, cilantro, mustard, garlic, chili powder, and olive oil. Blend until it comes together into a dressing, about 30-45 seconds.
  3. Pour over the chickpea mixture and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let sit for at least 15 minutes on the counter (or overnight in the fridge) to let the flavors get friend.
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Spanakopita Quesadillas

Spanakopita Quesadillas

Back when I was living in Budapest, there was this amazing Greek restaurant that I loved to go to. It was right on Danube and had a wonderful patio during the summer and was nice and cozy in the winter. At the time I was also a pescatarian and trust me when I say it can be a challenge to find tasty vegetarian options in a land full of szalámi and gulyásleves. (I never quite understood where fish in a landlocked country came from, so I either didn’t question it or steered clear completely.) Between good veggie dishes and an excellent wine list, it was one of my favorite places in Bp.

I have really had a hankering for Greek food recently. Unfortunately nearly every dish I could think of involved pita or phyllo… While attempting to make gluten-free phyllo dough sounds like a wonderful challenge, unfortunately I just don’t have the time or patience to attempt it.  Being the resourceful type that I am, I took a look around the kitchen and decided to improvise. I made the executive decision that corn tortillas would make a perfect substitute (might sound strange to some, but corn tortillas are a staple in these parts, plus they are gluten-free and are very handy for holding/transporting food).

Spanakopita quesadillas were the perfect (gluten-free) fix for a Greek craving. Not authentic by any stretch, but the flavors were there and they were so, so, so easy to make. I threw in a few chopped kalamatas for fun and I served up these quesadillas with some delicious tomato pasta sauce (Trader Joe’s Roasted Garlic) and some Greek yogurt mixed with dill and a few spices in an attempt to make a totally illegitimate tzatziki. I do kind of , sort of, like tzatziki, but cucumber in general makes my skin crawl, so plain Greek yogurt and dill, garlic powder, pepper and lemon juice was the perfect compromise.

Spanakopita Quesadillas

Spanakopita Quesadillas

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 4+ cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground, or to taste
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 4 corn tortillas
  • 1/2 cup grated mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup prepared pasta sauce
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon dill
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced

Instructions

  1. First make the 'mock' tzatziki. Combine Greek yogurt, dill, garlic powder, pepper and lemon juice. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When oil is heated add onion and cooking until translucent and starting to brown, about 6 minutes. Add in minced garlic and cook another minute or two until fragrant. Add oregano, black pepper and red pepper flakes (if using). Stir until mixed.
  3. Next add the baby spinach. Stir to coat and cook until spinach has wilted.
  4. Remove pan from heat and put the spinach mix into a bowl or plate and set aside. Wipe down the pan return to medium heat and spray with cooking spray (you can use a new pan, but why do more dishes?). Place one tortilla in the pan and heat. Flip over when warmed and sprinkle with 1/4 cup mozzarella. Top the cheese with half the spinach mixture, 1/4 cup of the feta and half the olives.
  5. Place another tortilla on top, spray lightly with cooking spray and use a spatula to flip the quesadilla over. Cook until the tortilla is warmed through and slightly crisp, about 3 minutes.
  6. Repeat with the other tortillas to make a second quesadilla.
  7. Serve with pasta sauce and 'tzatziki'.
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Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad

Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad

 

I will fully confess this salad was made out of desperation. I got a little overzealous at Costco and bought a 5 pound bag of baby spinach. It was $3.79, seemed like such a great idea at the time. Do you know how much baby spinach is in a 5 pound bag of baby spinach? FIVE pounds. Do you know how hard it is to come up with new ideas to use up 5 pounds of baby spinach? Real hard. There are only so many green smoothies and sautéed spinach one can consume. I have gotten to the point I just google spinach and any other random ingredients I can think of and hope something worthwhile comes up. I’ve been hitting a lot of duds, but I really lucked out with this one.

I personally don’t like super oily vinaigrettes (or oily anything), so I tend to skimp on that. I just couldn’t get a taste I liked with just the limes for acidity, so I added in a bit of white wine vinegar to try to get the flavors to blend a bit better. Perfect fix. I added the feta at the last-minute (an other Costco purchase that needs to be used… I need to stop doing this to myself). I think it gave the salad a tangy bite that worked really well with the other flavors.

I also have to admit I am totally embarrassed by the fact that I took the time to cut the strawberries into hearts. Who does that? It’s a cheesy cute idea for a Valentine’s Day salad if you have the need for such a thing. This salad is definitely tasty enough to share.

Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad

Inspired by Flourishing Foodie.

Ingredients

    For the Salad:
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup chopped candied walnuts
  • 1 cups strawberries, halved (cut into hearts if you're crazy)
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • For the Dressing:
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (I don't like oily vinaigrettes, use more if you do)
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/2 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons grainy Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large serving bowl, add the spinach, strawberries, shallots and feta.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, grainy mustard, salt, and pepper.
  3. Drizzle the dressing over the salad. Sprinkle on the walnuts and add the diced avocado.
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Roasted Garlic, Spinach & Brie Dip

Roasted Garlic, Spinach & Brie Dip

Now that I’m kind of, sort of , nearly over my never-ending mystery illness (just can’t shake this sore throat), let’s get back to business.

It’s the Super Bowl next Sunday. Normally, I would be super excited and looking forward to it, but considering I have not watched a single football game (of any kind or level) this year, I’m really not into it. That being said, I do love any excuse for a party and parties must have food and drinks. I can always get behind party planning. This week I’ll be sharing some recipes perfect for your Super Bowl weekend.

Apparently there are people in this world who do not like garlic and don’t care for brie. Fortunately, I don’t know anyone like that, but if you are a little wary of the amount of garlic in this dip, fear not. When garlic is roasted, it gets this more caramelized, almost nutty flavor, which is much more subtle than fresh garlic. If you don’t like brie, well I really can’t help you all that much. Maybe substitute goat cheese? This was the first time I had ever used pimentos in anything or even had them outside of stuffed olives. I was hoping they would give the dip just a little extra kick or something to keep the taste buds happy. Maybe they just got too chopped up in the food processor, but they didn’t really bring much to the overall taste. I think I would stick with real hot sauce or chili powder if a subtle heat.

You could actually serve this dip two different ways. I decided to go with hot, but the end result was a little more fondue-y than I would have like. Once it cooled down about 5 or 10 minutes, it was the perfect consistency. I also tried it before I baked it and it was pretty close to perfect. I should have left it, but I really wanted a hot dip… You can definitely make this ahead of time, but remember to take it out and let it soften. It is brie base, so it will definitely need to soften.

Roasted Garlic, Spinach & Brie Dip

Roasted Garlic, Spinach & Brie Dip

Ingredients

  • 2 heads of garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1-20 ounce round of brie, rind removed
  • 1 cup 0% plain Greek yogurt (I like Fage)
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons diced pimentos, drained
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned pepper (or freshly ground pepper, to taste)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut top 1/2" off the top of the garlic heads. Remove some of the loose, papery skin, leaving the heads intact. Place each on a square of tinfoil, drizzle each with the olive oil (about 1 teaspoon each), and wrap well. Bake 50-60 minutes, until the garlic is very soft and begins to brown. Cool until easy to handle. Squeeze each head to into a mixing bowl to remove the soft roasted cloves. Be careful to avoid getting any of the garlic skin/paper in the bowl.
  2. In a large skillet, add the remaining olive oil and heat over medium. When oil is shimmering, add the spinach and cook until wilted. Add in the green onions and cook until just softened. Remove skillet from heat and set aside. Attempt to drain any excess oil if necessary.
  3. In a food processor, process Brie cheese and cream cheese with the seasoned salt, pepper, and garlic cloves. (You can also cream these ingredients together using the back of a spoon and a lot of energy.) Refrigerate several hours to blend flavors. Serve with crackers, crostini, and sliced French bread.
  4. In a food processor, combine Brie cheese and greek yogurt with the seasoned pepper, garlic cloves and pimentos. Add in the spinach and green onions. Pulse in the food processor until blended.
  5. This dip can be served either hot or cold. For cold: Refrigerate several hours to allow flavors to blend. For hot: Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and serve.
  6. Serve with crackers/sliced bread/tortilla chips/veggies.
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