Cranberry Praline Pecan Spinach Salad

Cranberry Praline Pecan Spinach Salad
inspired by friend, Megan

baby spinach
grape tomatoes
dried cranberries
praline pecans
log of goat cheese

In a salad bowl, place spinach.
Top with grape tomatoes, dried cranberries and pecans
Run a fork over the log of goat cheese to crumbe the cheese & top the salad.
Serve with your choice of dressing. (I recommend lemon poppyseed & raspberry pomegranate vinaigrette!)

Warm Spinach Artichoke Dip

Warm Spinach Artichoke Dip

1 cup frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted

1 10oz package frozen spinach, defrosted
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
salt & pepper to taste
garlic powder
onion powder
1 brick cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cup italian cheese blend

Combine all the ingredients above and mix thoroughly.
Place in baking dish and bake for 20-23 minutes until warmed and bubbly OR place in mini crockpot to keep warm.
** I made this a day in advance and replenished my mini crockpot as needed.

Ham Florentine Appetizer Wreath

Ham Florentine Appetizer Wreath
recipe courtesy of Pampered Chef

2 8 oz packages refrigerated crescent rolls
8 oz thickly sliced deli ham, diced
1/4 c green onions with tops, thinly sliced
5 oz Swiss cheese, grated (1 1/4 cups)
10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 t coarsely ground black pepper
2 plum tomatoes, sliced
1 egg, separated
1/4 cup almonds, choppedPreheat oven to 375° F.

Unroll crescents into 16 triangles. With wide end toward center arrange 8 triangles in circle. Arrange remaining 8 triangles in center matching wide ends. Seal seams.

Mix ham, green onions, 1 cup cheese, spinach, mayo and black pepper. Scoop filling over seams of dough forming circle. Arrange tomatoes in overlapping circular pattern over filling. Top with remaining cheese. Lift corners of dough over filling one at a time slightly overlapping to form wreath.

Beat egg white lightly; brush over dough. Sprinkle almonds over wreath.

Bake 25 to 30 min or until golden brown.

Spinach & Artichoke Appetizer Wreath

Spinach & Artichoke Appetizer Wreath
recipe courtesy of Pampered Chef

2 (8 ounce) packages refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1 (14 ounce) can water-packed artichoke hearts, drained & chopped
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 cup diced bell pepper
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 egg white, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheesePreheat oven to 375*F. In bowl, combine artichokes, spinach, mozzarella cheese, feta cheese(or Parmesan, red bell pepper, mayonnaise, garlic and black pepper. Mix well. Set aside.

Unroll the 2 packages of crescent rolls onto work surface. Separate into 16 triangles in a circle on a large round pizza pan(or baking stone) with wide ends 3″ from edge of pan and points towards the outside. Points will extend off the edge of the baking stone or pan(depending on size).


Arrange remaining triangles in center of baking stone or pan; matching wide ends with triangles already in place Points will overlap in the center.


Using rolling pin, roll over seams of triangles where the wide ends meet, creating a smooth surface for filling. Do not seal center triangles.


Using an ice cream scoop, scoop filling evenly over dough in a continuous circle.


Beginning with the last triangle placed in center of baking stone or pan, bring point of triangle straight across filling.


Next, bring point of opposite outside triangle diagonally across point of previous triangle. The filling will show.


Repeat, overlapping points of inside and outside triangles to form a wreath. Tuck last end under first.


Brush top of wreath with egg white. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.
Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Sauteed Spinach with Bacon

Sauteed Spinach w/Bacon
original Joelen recipe

1-2 packages fresh baby spinach leaves

5 slices canadian bacon, diced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
2-3 tablespoons butter
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth

In a saute pan, melt butter and saute garlic and bacon.
When bacon is crisp, add chicken broth and spinach; toss until it wilts.
Serve immediately.

Don’t Be a Dip…

I’m a snacker and love snack food & snack portions. One of my fave snacks are dips (preferably involving cheese) with something crunchy. However these days I’ve been trying healthier alternatives to our favorite foods without sacrificing flavor.

Rather than whipping up a spinach & artichoke dip to munch on for lunch, I decided to throw a little spin on it by using a healthier version of the dip to create a more substantial and healthier meal. So for lunch today, I made Spinach & Artichoke Chicken adapting this recipe for Spinach & Artichoke Dip. Rather than using as a traditional dip, I topped boneless, skinless chicken breasts with it and served it with a sauteed yellow squash, zucchini, mushrooms and tomato.


Here’s my recipe for Spinach & Artichoke Chicken:

1 cup thawed, chopped frozen spinach
1 1/2 cups thawed, chopped frozen artichoke hearts
6 ounces low fat cream cheese
1/4 cup low fat sour cream
1/4 cup low fat mayonnaise
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Breadcrumb Topping:
1/4 panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan

Boil spinach and artichokes in 1 cup of water until tender and drain. Discard liquid.
Heat cream cheese in microwave for 1 minute or until hot and soft.
Stir in rest of ingredients and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350.
On a baking sheet, place chicken and season with salt & pepper to taste.
Top each chicken breast with the spinach & artichoke mixture.
Combine the ingredients for the breadcrumb topping and sprinkle over the spinach & artichoke mixture.
Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until juices run clear.

Spinach & Oyster Loaf

The following recipe was prepared for my Chef Spotlight Dinner highlighting New Orleans chefs. You can read about it and get other recipes from the event HERE.

Spinach & Oyster Loaf
shared at the event by Robert
recipe can be found here

1/4 cup butter
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 cups finely chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 (10 ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1 cup heavy cream
2 dashes hot sauce
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
salt
3 cups fresh breadcrumbs
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup coarsely chopped and drained oyster

Preheat oven to 400°F and butter a loaf pan.

Melt butter in a large skillet, add onions, celery and garlic and cook over medium high heat, stirring until vegetables soften.
Add spinach, cream, hot sauce, nutmeg and salt.
Cook 5 minutes, stirring often.
Remove pan from heat, stir in bread crumbs, eggs and oysters, stirring until well mixed.
Spoon mixture into the prepared loaf pan.
Set pan in a larger baking dish and add about 1 1/2 inchs of boiling water.
Bake 45-50 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Bursting With Blueberries!

In addition to the wonderful Wolfgang Puck recipes we feasted on for tonight’s dinner, I also created a non-Wolfgang Puck salad – Blueberry Spinach Salad. This salad is not only delicious, but takes on a different twist of the classic Strawberry Spinach Salad.
Here’s the my adaption of recipe for Blueberry Spinach Salad, orginally from AllRecipes.com:

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons raspberry puree
2 teaspoons honey mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (10 ounce) package fresh spinach, torn
1 (4 ounce) package blue cheese, crumbled
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

In a bowl, whisk the first five ingredients and shake well. In a large salad bowl, toss the spinach, blue cheese, blueberries and pecans. Add dressing and toss gently; serve immediately.

*I’m also submitting this recipe to the Tried Tested & True blogging event, hosted by Equal Opportunity Kitchen. If you have any health-promoting tried, tested and true recipes, submit them to the event!*

When Spinach & Cheese Comes Together…

It’s time for pasta! My hubby doesn’t really like pasta too much but if anything, he prefers baked pasta dishes such as cannelloni. I had quite a bit of spinach to use so I thought a spinach & cheese cannelloni would be in order. I served this with sliced italian sausage. The recipe I used was inspired by Sara Moulton’s version. Here’s my recipe for Spinach & Cheese Cannelloni:

Sauce:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups half & half
salt & pepper to taste
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese

Cannelloni:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
10 ounces baby spinach
1 12 oz container ricotta
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
8 dry or “no-boil” Lasagna noodles , boiled & cooled

Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat. Whisk in flour and cook the roux, whisking, 2 minutes. Add the half & half and whisk, bringing to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, 2 minutes.
Whisk in salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Remove from heat and whisk in cheese, then cover.

To make the cannelloni:
Heat oil in a 5 to 6-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then saute onion and garlic, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add spinach and saute, stirring, until just wilted, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.
Stir together ricotta, egg, parsley, salt, pepper, and cheese in a bowl, then stir in spinach mixture.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Spread 2/3 cup sauce in buttered baking dish.
Spread about 1/3 cup ricotta filling in a line along 1 short side of 1 pasta rectangle, then roll up to enclose filling. Transfer, seam side down, to baking dish.
Make 7 more cannelloni in same manner, arranging snugly in 1 layer.
Spread 1/2 cup more sauce over cannelloni and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake, covered with foil, in middle of oven until sauce is bubbling, about 20 minutes.
Turn on broiler. Remove foil and broil cannelloni about 5 inches from heat until lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Reheat remaining sauce and serve on the side.

**I’m also submitting this to the Presto Pasta Nights blogging event! This week the event is hosted by Gay of A Scientist in the Kitchen. Be on the lookout for great pasta recipes with their roundup coming up next week!**

Spinach Basil Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

The hubby is off from work today so I’m taking advantage of making a nice dinner. So what’s gracing our table tonight? Spinach Basil Stuffed Pork Tenderloin! This is a great dish that doesn’t take much effort and is elegant enough for company. You could even prepare this in advance and freeze it in a heavy duty freezer bag. I served this with citrus basil hot crashed potatoes and sauteed veggies. Here’s the recipe for Spinach Basil Stuffed Pork Tenderloin:

2 pork tenderloins (1 pound each)

Seasoned oil:
2 Tbl olive oil
1 Tbl chopped garlic
1 Tbl fennel seeds, crushed
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Spinach stuffing:
1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed
2 Tbl fresh chopped basil
1 Tbl chopped garlic
1/2 tsp kosher salt

In a small bowl, stir together ingredients for seasoned oil; set aside. In a bowl, stir together the spinach stuffing ingredient (spinach through salt); set aside. To prepare the tenderloins, cut a lengthwise slit down the center of each tenderloin to within 1/2 in. of bottom. Open tenderloins to lie flat. Lightly brush with some of the seasoned oil. Divide the stuffing mixture between both tenderloins, close tenderloins. Tie tenderloins at 2-inch to 3-inch intervals with kitchen string. Brush exterior of tenderloins with remaining oil.

Tenderloins can also be grilled over indirect medium heat for 25-30 minutes or baked in oven at 425° 25-30 minutes either method, until a meat thermometer inserted in the pork reads 155º.