Spinach, Spinach Everywhere

As 2011 came to a close, I had to admit that the boys and I were eating too many frozen pizzas, microwave dinners, and processed soy foods.  In my defense, I teach piano lessons straight through dinner time Monday through Thursday. But this is a problem that can be solved through advance preparation. So one of the habits I have been working on this new year is meal planning.

One of the best weapons in my arsenal is my crock pot. I have made this bean soup recipe (click HERE) twice. Sunday I had chili waiting for my family after our 5K run. A little bit of mushroom soup and some chicken breasts cooked on low all day come out juicy and tender and are great served on top of some steamed rice with a side of mixed veggies. I bet you have your favorite crock pot recipes, too.

I don’t know if my iron count is low or what, but this week I have been craving spinach. So Monday morning I baked a spinach quiche, cooled it, sliced it, and stuck it in the refrigerator. After I finished teaching, all I had to do put together a tossed salad and zap each slice of quiche in the microwave for a couple of minutes. We had a meal in minutes, and it was delicious.

Spinach Quiche


2 tablespoons butter
1 package frozen chopped spinach, cooked and drained
1/3 cup onion, chopped
1 cup half and half
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash pepper
9-inch pie shell (I use Pillsbury)
1 cup shredded swiss cheese

Melt butter; add cooked spinach and onion; saute until tender and very dry, 3-5 minutes; set aside and cool. Add cream and the next four ingredients to spinach mixture; stir until well mixed. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line pie plate with foil and fill with uncooked rice or beans. Bake 8-10 minutes; remove foil and bake 3-5 minutes more. Remove from oven. Sprinkle cheese on crust. Carefully pour in spinach filling. Return to oven and bake for 30 minutes or until set.

On Thursday I say goodbye to my last student at 6:30, early enough to do put together a meal if I have assembled my ingredients ahead of time. So last night I tried a recipe for a simple pasta, spinach and bean dish that has been sitting in my box for almost ten years. It was a big hit with all of us.

Pasta with Spinach and Beans


8 cups fresh spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
10 ounces spiral shaped pasta, cooked, drained and hot
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 can white beans, drained and warmed
1/2 cup shredded Romano cheese
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss well. The spinach will wilt and the cheese will melt slightly from the heat. Top with extra cheese and fresh ground pepper if desired.

How do you manage to get fresh, hot meals on the table every day? Any tricks or recipes you would like to share?