Sunday, January 2, 2011

Veggie of the Month: Spinach

Spinach is a very healthy vegetable.  It is rich in vitamins and minerals. It is concentrated in health promoting phytonutrients -  beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.  It also contains flavonoids to provide you with antioxidant protection.

Spinach also contains health-supportive nutrients called glycoglycerolipids. Recent studies have shown glycoglycerolipids can help protect the lining of the digestive tract from damage related to unwanted inflammation.

When you are buying spinach be sure to pick leaves or packages of spinach where the leaves are vibrant in color.  They will have greater concentrations of  vitamin C.

Spinach is easy to incorporate in our diets.  Instead of putting lettuce on your sandwich or hamburger, put spinach.  Throw some  baby spinach leaves in your salad.    Put some chopped spinach in your scrambled eggs.  Make a side dish with spinach.

Here is a recipe for a Three Cheese Spinach Bake I made for New Year's Day.  It was delicious.


                            Three Cheese Spinach Bake

Ingredients:

½ cup seasoned breadcrumbs
4 eggs
1-cup milk
1-teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon white pepper
Small pinch of salt
1 ½ pounds fresh spinach steamed and chopped
2 cups cottage cheese
2 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese
½ cup shredded Gruyere cheese

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease an 8x8-baking dish.  Coat the bottom and sides of the baking dish with the breadcrumbs.  Save any excess crumbs for later. 
3. In a medium mixing bowl beat together the eggs, milk, onion powder, white pepper and salt.
4. To the egg mixture add the spinach, cottage cheese, white cheddar cheese, any remaining breadcrumbs, and ¼ cup of the Gruyere cheese.  Stir until well mixed.
5. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.  Top the spinach mixture with the remaining Gruyere cheese.
6. Bake for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
7.  Cool for ten minutes.  Cut and serve.


Makes 9 servings

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