The Sauce is in the Spinach

Spinach Sauce

Well, I haven’t been keeping up with posts.  As life fluctuates and we progress, changes happen and it’s only good to go with that flow.  I’ve missed you all and I’ve missed sharing my goings on in the kitchen.

This is a healthy yummy dish I created because I love spinach and it was inspired by a dish I had at a local soul food restaurant — spinach rice.  I’ve also been shopping too much at the big box stores and quantities for one are nonexistent so it gets me to be even more creative since waste makes me cringe.

If you’re in the mood for something different yet flavorful and healthy, give it a try.

Here’s the recipe.

Spinach Sauce

2 ½ – 3 C baby spinach or any fresh spinach, blanched
1 medium onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
dash or two of red pepper flakes
1/4 C pitted green olives (any you like)
1 T olive oil
pinch of salt

Process:  Saute the onion, olives and garlic in olive oil until fragrant; add the blanched spinach and cook for another 5-7 minutes until flavors meld. Let cool; add to a blender and puree.

Add this sauce to any side dish like quinoa, rice, pasta with a sprinkle of pecorino romano cheese, and perhaps for added creaminess, some cream or half and half.

Here’s the sauce on quinoa topped with pecorino romano cheese.  Mmmm…


Sweet Peppered Universe!

Stuffed Peppers

Over-Stuffed Sweet Peppers

I take full advantage of the summer bounty of offerings this amazing universe has to offer and cooking with seasonal fruits and vegetables is always the flavorful way to go.
Cooking in season offers the best ever flavors as the vegetable and fruit is picked and eaten according to Mother Nature’s plan and not when I may want it. I think this idea works best as it encourages my creativity to do well with what is offered me.

Stuffed Peppers

These sweet beauties were the sale of the week at Whole Foods so I immediately got a craving for stuffed peppers. Yes, that’s all it takes – a stroll through the produce department of a nice, clean supermarket and a sale or coupon — gets my juices flowing.

Stuffed Peppers

But stuffed with what? I wanted to steer away from pasta and cheese, since I’ve done that already and really, sweet peppers can be stuffed with whatever your imagination can conjure up.

Remembering a taco salad recipe that came across my computer recently, I decided to use some of those ingredients keeping the flavorful punch that has been my trademark. I decided however, not to use the traditional Mexican flavors.
The list of ingredients is long here and I say, if you can substitute any ingredient you like better, go for it. I made three different sets of concoctions then layered them inside the peppers and roasted them in the oven for about 25 minutes.

Over-Stuffed Sweet Peppers

3 large sweet peppers

1 chorizo link removed from casing
2 T olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
4 C fresh spinach

1/4 C pasta sauce (optional)

1/4 C of each:  jalapenos (I used pickled), olives, tomato
3/4 pound of ground beef – grass-fed or antibiotic and hormone free
3/4 C black or pink beans, rinsed
1/2 C mozzarella cheese, shredded

1/2 C plain Greek yogurt
2 T mayonnaise
1 t horseradish sauce

Three Different Processes

1. Pulsing the spicy vegetables – add the jalapenos, olives and cut up tomato to a food processor and pulse about 3 times then set aside.

2. Cooking the beef – cook the chorizo in a large pot in olive oil with the onions, remaining bits of sweet pepper after hollowing out, and garlic for about 12-15 minutes until lightly browned; add the spinach and pasta sauce and cook for another 4 minutes; remove from pot then add ground beef to the pot with a dash of salt and cook until almost done. Once this mixture is cooled a bit, add the chorizo sauté, the pulsed spicy vegetables and the beans and stir to combine.

Stuffed Peppers Stuffed Peppers
Stuffed Peppers

3. Making the yogurt sauce – combine the yogurt, mayonnaise and horseradish sauce and mix well.

Stuffed Peppers

Assembling the Peppers

Add a layer of the beef mixture to the hollowed-out pepper then add a layer of yogurt and cheese; add another layer of beef mixture and top with cheese; roast in 350F oven for about 25 minutes.

Stuffed Peppers Stuffed Peppers
Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed Peppers

Please note that I began roasting at a high temperature of 400F which caused the browning of the cheese too soon. The result should be a browned top and a softened pepper.

Good luck!