Monday, August 3, 2009

Frozen Spinach, a Nutritional and Budget Bargain For the Pantry

I've professed my love for pasta many times on this blog! Tonight, while cooking dinner I added frozen spinach to my sauce, something I do regularly, and I thought I should share the tip. Tonight, I made ground turkey and spinach marinara with a spaghetti. It's really simple and you can throw it together in 30 minutes.

Spinach is a highly nutritious food, providing fiber, vitamin C, and folic acid for only 45 calories per cup! Many times kids request marinara pasta, but adding chopped frozen spinach takes the nutritional factor up to a higher level.

Fresh spinach is fantastic for pasta or side dishes, but it can strain a family's budget. Chopped frozen spinach is less than $2.00 for a 16-oz bag where I shop and no cleaning required! I opt for the pesticide-free version at Trader Joe's. The easy thing is that I just put in the sauce frozen and let it work directly into the sauce! This particular brand seems to have less water than others I've tried. Other brands may need to be thawed in the microwave and squeezed dry with a clean dishtowel or sturdy paper towel.

Practical and Delicious Uses for Frozen Chopped Spinach:
  • Egg Frittata or Quiche: use defrosted, drained spinach in eggs for a Florentine-inspired egg frittata or quiche with shredded mozzarella cheese and sun-dried tomatoes. Serve for breakfast, lunch or dinner with roasted potatoes and fruit.
  • Spinach-Parmesan dip from Cooking Light made with yogurt and fresh basil. I served it with fresh cut veggies.
  • Creamy Spinach-Feta dip from Cooking Light I made this earlier this summer and served with pita chips and veggies for a family get together. It was delicious!
  • Ground Turkey and Spinach Marinara: Cook ground turkey with chopped onion and add garlic, dried oregano, basil, crushed red pepper and salt. Add frozen spinach and stir until thawed and then add a can/jar of marinara. I prefer the Trader Joe's all-natural marinara sauce because it's lowfat and lower sodium. Serve over spaghetti or any pasta.

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