Sunday, February 21, 2010

Popeye was Right

Today lets talk about spinach for two reasons, first I found a beautiful bunch of spinach yesterday, even the guy in front of me in the check out line said wow.  Also my doctor and makeup artist told me that I am iron deficient, which spinach can help with because it has iron.

Supposedly early forms of spinach came from Persia where it was known as aspanakh.  Then it made its way to China as a gift from the king of Nepal in the 7th century and then got transported to Europe in the 11th century where it was introduced to Spain by the Moors.  In England, spinach became known as the spanish vegetable.  It eventually made its way to North America in the early 19th century.  The cartoon Popeye made it extremely popular in late 1920's when it was introduced as making Popeye strong.

General Information:
You have always heard eat darker greens and there is a reason.  Spinach is loaded with vitamins A, B and C, as well as calcium, potassium and iron.  Spinach leaves can be flat or curled and is available year round.

Selection & Storage:
When buying spinach, make sure to choose crisp, dark green leaves with no yellowing.  If you are buying pre-washed and bagged, then take it immediately out of the bag and remove any rotted leaves.  Refrigerate up to 3 days wrapped in a plastic bag and make sure you put a paper towel in the bag to help keep down on moisture.

Preparation & Cooking:
I know you have bought spinach or avoid buying spinach because it is gritty and has sand in it.  However, do not let this stop you.  Fill a sink with cold water and add spinach.  Remove any large stems and remove from water and drain the spinach.  I would recommend doing this step again.  It truly helps! Dry leaves on a paper towel or in a salad spinner.  I like using the spinner first and then laying them out on paper towels.  It really gets rid of any moisture.  There are many ways to cook spinach but my favorite is sauteing in a little olive oil and minced garlic and then add some freshly grated nutmeg.  It is so good.

How do you like your spinach cooked?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Frankly Dang Good Chicken & Apple Crepes

I had an extremely crazy day and came home exhausted.  I was not in the mood for dinner which I know most of us are when we come home from work.  So once again, I told myself I was going to eat out of my freezer.  I had thawed a chicken breast and two pork chops.  I decided to work with the chicken and wanted to make crepes.  I had attempted chicken crepes a couple weeks ago and had so many unsuccessful tries that I did not eat dinner.  I realized it was the pan.  If you are going to make crepes, definitely use a non-stick pan.  These are not my favorite and I did not own one, I do now just for crepes and maybe pancakes.

Well anyway I decided to attempt a second try at making crepes and found a recipe out of Oxygen Collector's Issue Nutrition, Fall 2008.  They were so easy by mixing all ingredients in a blender and then cooking.  Next, I thought what can I do with the chicken and how do I get some fruits and vegetables into the dish.  I decided to fix brown sugar coated chicken and apples.  Which turned out fantastic.  I just started throwing stuff into the pan and here is the result:

1 chicken breast
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp butter
1 green apple or any type
1/4 c chicken stock
3 tsp of brown sugar
salt & pepper to taste

First I put the olive oil and butter in the pan with the chicken.  I then cooked the chicken for about 5 minutes.

Once the chicken had cooked I added the apple slices, you could also chop them.  Slicing cooked them faster.  I also added some chicken stock and the brown sugar, salt and pepper, covered to let cook.

Once everything had cooked for about 5 - 7 minutes, the chicken broth and brown sugar started making a syrup like coating.

Then I cooked my crepes.  They were not the most beautiful but they tasted great.

Then you put the finished product in the crepe, roll it up, and enjoy the heck out of it.  Also, I added a green salad with it to even get in some vegetables.

I have to say that I was impressed with myself because I did not use any recipe on the filling.  It was totally my idea and I came up with a winner.  It had somewhat of a sweet and salty taste, which is always good.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Frozen Broccoli, What to do?

I have a ton of food in my freezer that I am trying to use before buying more stuff, so I decided to do something with frozen broccoli. This was the first vegetable I saw in the freezer.  I have never been a big fan of broccoli but will eat it if cooked or steamed.  I cannot eat it raw because I get choked.

So I thought how can I cook this broccoli in a short amount of time, I was hungry, and make it taste good.  I put some frozen broccoli, chicken stock, dab of milk, and shredded cheese in a pyrex dish and tossed it into the oven.  Next thing I know, I have a really good flavor to the broccoli.  I almost felt like I was eating macaroni and cheese, which is a major bonus for me.  Some of you maybe already cook it this way, but adding the chicken stock gave it amazing flavor.  So I say bravo to me for using the food in my freezer and figuring out an easy cooking method for broccoli.

The broccoli tasted better than it looks. Wanted to show you the consistency.


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