Turkey Spinach Burgers

Hi there–We have the custom around here to eat Monday night dinner in front of the t.v. — watching “Next Food Network Star” that we recorded on Sunday evening.  Are you watching too??  Who do you think will win it??  We have our favorites!!

So tonight with our serving of t.v., we dug into these Turkey Spinach Burgers, hot from the stove.  They have a whole cup of spinach in each burger and the onions, cumin, garlic and lots of salt & pepper flavor the turkey just fine.  I think you’d like them as much as we did.

TURKEY SPINACH BURGERS
4 cups spinach, chopped, stems removed
4 green onions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground turkey
1 tsp. cumin
salt & freshly ground pepper
2-3 tab. olive oil
4 hamburger buns
fixings: tomato, onion, lettuce, pickles, mayo, ketchup…

Put the chopped spinach, sliced green onion, minced garlic, turkey and cumin into a mixing bowl. Squish it all together with your hands (or with a fork it you want to be tidy).  Form 4 hamburger patties.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.  Put the hamburgers into the skillet.  Liberally salt & pepper the 4 patties as they cook, about 4 minutes on each side on medium high heat.  (Resist the temptation to squish them flatter with your spatula).

Serve them up hot on buns with all the fixings!

Butternut Squash & Spinach Lasagna

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Hello all–I know you’re maybe thinking ahead to Christmas (we put up our tree last night–all those beloved, slightly tattered ornaments coming out of boxes– love it!),  but I wanted to send out one more Thanksgiving-ish recipe before it’s all sugar cookies and Christmas hams.

My extended family meet up for Thanksgiving the weekend ahead.  We don’t do turkey. We’ll all have turkey with other in-laws on Thanksgiving day.  This year it was a couple kinds of lasagna.  And I like this veggie laden version–cheesy and a bit sweet from the butternut squash.  It was a fine Thanksgiving meal at the table with my mom and assorted nieces and nephews…  (and we did finish off with pumpkin pie!)

BUTTERNUT SQUASH & SPINACH LASAGNA

1 smallish butternut squash
3 tab. olive oil
garlic salt & freshly ground pepper
4 cups shredded spinach leaves
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup parmesan romano
3 1/2 cups milk
1/2 tsp. salt
9 no-cook lasagna noodles (Barilla is good)
1 cup parmesan romano
1 cup ricotta
2 cups mozzarella

Peel the butternut squash and remove the seeds.  Then chop it into smallish chunks.  In a bowl mix the butternut squash chunks with 3 tablespoons olive oil, a few shakes of garlic salt and a few grinds of freshly ground pepper. Spread the squash on a baking sheet and scrape the oil out of bowl over the squash.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes until the squash just starts to brown around the edges.

While that’s cooking, wash and dry the spinach leaves, remove stems and cut them to shreds.

To make the white sauce, melt the butter in a large skillet and then stir in the flour and parmesan before it browns.  Stir in the milk 1/2 cup at a time with a whisk to reduce lumps.  Continue until all the milk is combined and then simmer on low 3 or 4 minutes more until the sauce sauce thickens.  Add salt as needed (I did 1/2 tsp.)

When the squash is cooked, put the lasagna together in a 9″x 13″ making dish. Start by coating the bottom of the dish with about 1/2 cup of the white sauce.  Lay down 3 of the noodles and then layer on 1/3 of the spinach, 1/3 of the squash, 1/3 of the ricotta dropped in little dollops across the pan, 1/3 of the white space, 1/3 of the mozzarella and 1/3 of the parmesan.

Repeat that layering 2 more times to make 3 equal layers.  Cover the baking dish with foil (not touching the top of the lasagna).  Bake it covered 25 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  Remove the foil and bake 5 or 10 minutes more until the top in nicely browned.

Let the lasagna sit 10 minutes to meld together before cutting into it.  Enjoy it hot and savory!!

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Parmesan Pasta with Mushrooms & Spinach

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Hey there– We’ve been eating our share of salads and light summer suppers– but once in a while you get into a mood and only a plate of pasta will do.  This one is delectable– creamy and cheesy and garlicky– with all those mushrooms and spinach.  So satisfying.  ( I won’t admit that I had a little bowl for breakfast the next morning!).  I think you might really like it too– when that pasta craving hits.

PARMESAN PASTA WITH MUSHROOMS & SPINACH

8 oz. pasta*
3 to 4  tab. olive oil
8 oz. crimini mushrooms, cut in half
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
4 cloves garlic
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup whole milk (or half & half)
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1 tsp. cornstarch
3 cups spinach, cut in shreds

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Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box, using lightly salted water.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet.  Drop in the cut mushrooms and cook, stirring a bit for 3 or 4 minutes until they are tender.  Salt & pepper them while they cook.  Add in the garlic and cook one 1 minute more.

Then pour in the chicken stock and milk.  Bring to a low simmer and cook 2 minutes.  Stir in the parmesan cheese.  Mix the cornstarch with 1/4 cup water in a container with a tight fitting lid and shake it up until the cornstarch is completely dissolved and stir it into the simmer sauce until it thickens.

Drop in the shreds of spinach and cook 1 minute more until it is wilted and tender.  Then drain the pasta and spread it onto a platter.  Top it with the mushroom-spinach sauce.  Serve it up hot, maybe with another sprinkle of parmesan on top!

*Used my very favorite angel hair pasta, pick your own fave.

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Peach & Faro Spinach Salad

IMG_2318PEACH & FARO SPINACH SALAD
4 oz. baby spinach leaves (about 1/2 bag)
2 ripe yellow peaches
1/2 cup uncooked faro
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 cup salted almonds, cut in half
1/4 cup feta, crumbled*
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tab. tarragon vinegar (or red wine vinegar)**
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tab. maple syrup

Put the faro in a pot with a little more than 3/4 cup of water and the 1/8 tsp. salt.  Bring it to a boil and cook about 8 minutes.  Pour it into a large sieve and rinse to cool it down.

On a pretty platter, layer the spinach, faro, peaches, almonds and feta.

Whisk together the oil vinegar, slat & pepper and maple syrup until they are thoroughly emulsified.  And pour over the salad when you are ready to set it on the table.

P.S.– We had this all on  it’s own for supper, but if you wanted to make it a little more hearty, add in a cup of cooked, chopped chicken or salmon.

*I like the feta with garlic & herbs, but plain feta is fine.
**Tarragon vinegar has a gaslight sweetness that is nice with the peaches, and I’ve used red wine vinegar as well.  Both are nice.

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Caramelized Onion & Spinach Pizza

IMG_2812Hello all-  On a Friday night, what’s better than pizza, something good on the “telly” and a comfy spot on the sofa– winding down at the end of the week??  Perfect.

Here’s a favorite of ours.  First had something like this at Cheese Board Pizza in Berkeley several years ago and it’s been coming out of our oven ever since.  Garlicky, onion-y good.  (and it makes 2 pizzas!)

CARAMELIZED ONION & SPINACH PIZZA

Crust:
1 package yeast
1 cup warm water*
1 tab. sugar
2 tab olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups flour

Let the yeast dissolve in the water and then stir in the other ingredients.  Knead 3 to 4 minutes (you can add a little more flour if it feels too sticky)  and stretch the dough onto 2  12″ pizza pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray.  Put them in a warm place to rise while you do the rest of the prep.  (I turn the oven on for just 3 minutes, then turn it off to warm it a bit and set the pizza crusts in there to rise).

IMG_2788Toppings:
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/3 cup olive oil*
4 onions (yes 4!!), chopped
Big splash of olive oil
8 oz. mozzarella, grated
4 oz. spinach, chopped
6 oz. brown mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup pine nuts

While the crust is rising, do all your chopping and grating of the topping ingredients.

Heat the splash of olive oil in a skillet.  Cook the onions for about 10 minutes until they are browned and caramelized.

Mix the garlic and 1/3 cup olive oil together.  Spread it over the raised crust.

Then layer on the onions, cheese, spinach, mushrooms and pine nuts.

Pop the 2 pizzas into a 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pizza starts to brown around the edges.

*We love the Spanish Olive Oil from Trader Joe’s.  It tastes like cooking-smells floating out the windows in Seville on a hot summer night.  So rich and buttery.

Garlicky Spinach Mushroom Pizza

IMG_7812Hello friends–  After spending my days in the classroom with 3rd and 4th graders for several years, I can tell you that pizza is the overwhelming food favorite for those kids.  I’m a long way past 4th grade, but I’m still an enthusiastic pizza eater.  And here’s one we really thought was delish!

This recipe makes two 12″ garlicky good pizzas.  Even though it’s just Larry and me in the house these days, I still make double pizza so there’s leftovers to toast up at lunchtime the next week…

GARLICKY SPINACH MUSHROOM PIZZA

Crust:
1 package yeast
1 cup warm water*
1 tab. sugar
2 tab olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups flour

Let the yeast dissolve in the water and then stir in the other ingredients.  Knead 3 to 4 minutes (you can add a little more flour if it feels too sticky)  and stretch the dough onto 2  12″ pizza pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray.  Put them in a warm place to rise while you do the rest of the prep.  (I turn the oven on for just 3 minutes, then turn it off to warm it a bit and set the pizza crusts in there to rise).

IMG_7818Toppings:
4 cloves garlic
4 tab. olive oil
12 oz. mozzarella (or fontina), grated
4 cups baby spinach leaves, cut to shreds
6 oz. crimini brown mushrooms (or your favorite), cut into slices
1/4 cup parmesan reggiano
1/4 cup pine nuts (or walnuts)

Stir the garlic into the oil and spread it over the risen crust dough.  Over the oil sprinkle the mozzarella.  The layer on the spinach, mushrooms, parmesan and pine nuts.

Pop the pizzas into a 375 degree oven and cook it for 15 to 20 minutes until the cheese is melty and the crust is browned around the edges.  Eat it hot from the oven.  Oh yumm.

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Beef Tenderloin with Apricot & Olives

IMG_7678Hi all– A few days before Christmas the Fed Ex man came to my door with a huge white styrofoam box.  What on earth?  Did Larry order something mysterious?  I slit it open and it turned out to be packed goodies from a steak/meat company– A Christmas gift to us from my mom!  You have to admit she’s great at imagining gifts we’d love.

So I tucked it all in my freezer and have been doling out this luscious meat a bit at a time.  This week I tried a new recipe that I’ve had in my file forever, just waiting to test it out.  And it turned out to be just right with the tender, juicy Christmas gift tenderloin–the briny olives and sweet sauce that begged to be sopped up with a sturdy chunk of bread. Delish!

BEFF TENDERLOIN WITH APRICOT & OLIVES
1 cup white rice
1/4 cilantro, chopped (or your favorite herb)
1 pound beef tenderloin, cut in friendly chunks
splash of olive oil
salt & freshly ground pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tab. tarragon vinegar (or whatever vinegar you have on hand)
1 cup apricot preserves
1 cup mixed good olives*
6 oz. bag of baby spinach

Cook the rice according the instructions on the bag.  Set aside in the pot to keep it warm.

While that’s cooking, heat the olive oil in a skillet and then drop in the chunks of beef. As  it’s browning liberally salt and pepper the meat.  Cook on high for just about 5 minutes until the pieces are browned but still medium inside (please don’t overcook the meat like I usually do!).  Remove the steak from the pan.

In the meat juices cook the garlic a minute or two.  Then add the vinegar and preserves.  Cook about 3 minutes more.  Then add in the meat, olives and and spinach.  Stir on the heat just until the spinach starts to wilt and the meat is warmed though– only a minute or two.

Stir the cilantro into the cooked rice and serve of the rice an meat on the same platter– Be sure to scrape all the lovely apricot sauce out of the pan!  Makes 4 polite servings.

*I have to admit I’m a bit of an olive snob (blame it on all those olive filled years we lived in Spain!).  I don’t mind buying store brand products or shopping at the most affordable store in town.  But when it comes to olives, splurge!  Please don’t buy those salty hard ones in the jar.  Thank you.