Thursday, September 18, 2008

Creamed Spinach Gratin

The hubs is home today, his day off - he's been on night work for 2 weeks. I asked him what he wanted for dinner and he wanted chicken cutlets. So I decided to try out a new creamed spinach recipe. This one got 5 stars on It's a Cooking Light recipe so that's a bonus. It was really really easy to throw together, and so flavorful! And at only 72 calories per serving, it's definitely being added to the stack of usable recipes for some nice homecooked meals like this one. I also served with some (instant) mashed potatoes and gravy (mixed from a packet, just like Mom used to make). See? I like to keep things simple :)

And if you're not near Jersey - I feel sorry for you. There really is something special about a fresh Jersey tomato - I'm not even a fan of tomatoes, but as soon as you slice one of these babies open, it's like discovering a treasure.


10 oz. of fresh spinach
cooking spray
2/3 cup chopped onion (I just used a little sprinkle of dehydrated minced onion because I'm pretty sure 2/3 cup of onion would be a bit overwhelming)
1/4 tub-style light cream cheese
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup (1/4 inch thick) sliced tomato
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp finely grated parmesan cheese (I went a little overboard with the sprinkle)


1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Remove large stems from spinach. Tear spinach into 1-inch pieces; place in colander and rinse under cold water. Set aside. (Umm, I totally skipped step 2 entirely, and I didn't notice anything unusual in the final dish)
3. Place a large dutch oven (I used a deep skillet) over medium heat. Coat with cooking spray and add onion. Saute 3 minutes or until softened. (Again, I skipped the onion step because I used dehydrated onion)
4. Add spinach and saute until wilted, about 2 minutes.
5. Add cream cheese, oregano, salt and pepper and cook an additional 1 minute or until the cream cheese is melted.
6. Spray a 1-quart gratin dish with cooking spray and spoon the spinach mixture into it.
7. Lay the tomato slices on top, followed by the breadcrumbs, then the cheese.
8. Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown.

For the chicken, I just dipped in egg and breaded it with plain panko, seasoned with italian seasoning and cayenne pepper.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Broccoli, Cheese & Rice Casserole

Sigh. I'm trying to eat more vegetables. I've never found vegetables to be exciting. I scoured to find some appealing recipes and came across this one. It had decent reviews. In the end, I didn't love it, but it was good. I made it tonight as a meal but think it would be more acceptable as a side dish, possibly for a fall dinner party or something. But I don't have dinner parties so I dont think I'll be breaking this recipe out again in the near future. Also, at first, the onion seemed to be a little overwhelming, but I quickly forgot about that. The creaminess lended by the cream of mushroom soup and the cheese was comforting. I think this would be a great recipe to get kids to eat more veggies. But I don't have kids, so I'm just going to keep this recipe in the bottom of my recipe drawer.

(come to think of it - I bet this recipe would've been a real winner in 1999)

1 cup uncooked instant white rice
1/2 cup chopped onion (I'd consider reducing this to 1/4 cup and chopping smaller than I did)
1/4 cup fat-free milk (I used 1/3 cup of milk based on reviews, and also used 1% milk)
4 ounces light processed cheese, cubed (I used 1/2 regular velveeta and 1/2 low-fat sharp cheddar)
2 (10 oz.) packages of chopped broccoli
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can of reduced sodium condensed cream of mushroom soup
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Spray a 2 quart casserole dish with cooking spray.
3. Mix all ingredients and spoon into casserole dish.
4. Bake for 45 minutes.