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Friday, 27 January 2017 14:04

Flex Cooking muscles using spinach

Written by 

 I’m a little disgusted with this unpredictable 2017 winter weather, so I looked in the Farmers’ Almanac to find what I could find, and what did I find but a call for all home cooks to submit entries for the publication’s recipe contest.

Send your original spinach recipe and you could win up to $250. That could make this crazy winter weather more palatable.

Your mom (and Popeye) always told you to eat your spinach, and with good reason — spinach is a nutritional powerhouse, especially when eaten raw or cooked lightly.

The Farmers’ Almanac wants your best original recipes, using spinach as the main ingredient.

All recipes become property of Farmers’ Almanac. Winning recipes will be printed in the 2018 Farmers’ Almanac and online. Entries must be received by Feb. 15. Winners will be notified by mail.

You must verify that your recipe is original and that you are not a professional cook or baker. Submit them online at FarmersAlmanac.com.

In the meantime, here are a couple of recipes to whet your appetite.

Spinach phyllo roll-ups

— Adapted from an Athenos Foods recipe.

Makes 30 appetizers

1 egg, beaten

1 package (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well drained

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

8 oz. cream cheese

4 green onions, finely chopped

15 sheets frozen phyllo dough (14-by-9-inch), thawed

1/3 cup butter, melted

Mix eggs, spinach, feta cheese, cream cheese and onions until blended. Brush one phyllo sheet lightly with butter; top with two more phyllo sheets, lightly brushing each layer with some of the remaining butter. Place remaining phyllo sheets between two sheets of plastic wrap until ready to use, set aside.

Spread 1/5 of the spinach mixture along one short side of phyllo stack. Fold in long sides of phyllo, roll up from one short side to make log. Repeat with remaining phyllo sheets and spinach mixture to make four additional logs. Brush logs with remaining butter. Make small cuts in tops of logs at 1-inch intervals.

You can make these ahead and freeze at this point: Place in large freezer-weight, resealable plastic bags or wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Freeze up to three months.

When ready to bake, remove desired number of logs from freezer. Refrigerate, tightly wrapped, several hours or overnight until thawed. Unwrap, then place on baking sheet. Bake in 375 F oven 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool five minutes. Transfer to cutting board. Use serrated knife to cut each log into six slices.

Stuffed eggplant

Serves 4

1 eggplant, cut into eight thin slices lengthways

2 Tbsps. olive oil

2-3 cloves garlic, crushed

12 oz. fresh spinach

1 cup ricotta cheese

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. oregano

Salt and pepper to taste

1-1/2 cups tomato sauce

2 Tbsps. butter, melted

1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs

1/4 cup dried Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 375 F. Brush both sides of the eggplant slices with oil, then lay on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle with garlic. Bake for 15 minutes until tender and pliable.

Meanwhile, put the spinach in a large colander and rinse with a kettle of boiling water to wilt. Cool, then squeeze out the excess water, so that it is dry. Chop and mix with the ricotta, nutmeg, oregano, salt and pepper.

Dollop a spoonful of the cheesy spinach mix in the center of each eggplant slice, fold over to make a parcel and lay, sealed-side down, in an ovenproof dish.

Pour prepared tomato sauce over the eggplant. Combine melted butter, breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese and sprinkle on top. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes u

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