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10 Delicious Recipes Made with Frozen Spinach

10 Delicious Recipes Made with Frozen Spinach

If you have a package of frozen spinach that’s been sitting at the back of your freezer for a while but you have no idea what to do with it, here are a few recipes that you can try out. By all means, feel free to experiment with them and customize them to suit your own leanings; these are just a few suggestions of how you can use the stuff.

Just as a note, ensure that the spinach is thawed out before you use it. Yes, that’s pretty much common sense, but it’s best to mention it anyway.

Smoothies

spinach smoothie

    For those of you who like to toss some greens into your smoothies, frozen spinach is pretty much ideal: you don’t have to worry about it wilting in your fridge, and you can even divide it into handy portions ahead of time so you can just defrost it and pop it into your blender when you’re making your favourite drink.

    If you’ve never added spinach to a smoothie before but would like to see what it’s like, try this combination: In your blender, combine 1 cup of chopped frozen mango, 1/2 a cup of frozen spinach, 1 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger, 1 tablespoon of fresh mint, and 1 cup of coconut milk. Puree that until it’s all blended well, and drink while still cold. This is a perfect smoothie for breakfast or as a refresher after a workout.

    Spinach Risotto

    spinach risotto

      Rather than cutting and pasting, let’s just send you to the original risotto recipe here. Once you’ve followed all the steps and your risotto is nearing completion, add 1 cup of drained, chopped frozen spinach and stir it in well until it’s warmed through and incorporated into the rest of the dish.

      Colcannon

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      colcannon

        This quintessential Irish dish is usually made with cabbage or kale, but it’s just as easy (and delicious) made with spinach instead.

        Peel 2 or 3 large russet potatoes and cut them into 1-inch cubes. Add them to a saucepan, cover with water, add a bit of salt, and simmer over medium heat until they’re fork-tender. While they’re simmering, drain a package of frozen spinach (about 2 cups’ worth), chop it very finely, and sautée it in 2 tablespoons of butter on medium heat for a minute or two. Add 1/3 to 1/2 a cup of milk, and keep simmering until the milk bubbles. Remove from heat, and set aside.

        Drain the cooked potatoes, pour them into a large bowl, and mash them thoroughly. Add the spinach mixture and combine thoroughly. Feel free to add a bit more milk and/or butter if you feel that they’re needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and eat while it’s warm. Leftovers can be made into patties and fried for breakfast the next morning.

        *Note: For a vegan version, use Earth Balance (or other vegan margarine) and soy milk instead of the dairy. 

        Vegetarian Crock Pot Lasagna

        lasagna

          Set this to cook in your crock pot before you leave the house to go run errands/take the kids to school, etc., and you’ll have an incredible dish waiting for you when you get home. We’re going to go for the quickest, easiest version available since few of us have much time to spare (or mental fortitude) first thing in the morning.

          Drain a package of frozen spinach and mix with a container of ricotta cheese. Season with salt and pepper ’til you’re happy with the taste. Take a jar of your favourite pasta sauce (store-bought or homemade) and spoon enough of it into the bottom of your crock pot to cover it well. Put down a double-layer of dry lasagna noodles, breaking them as needed to make them fit. Slather the noodles with a layer of the spinach/cheese mixture, and lay a single layer of dry noodles on top of that.

          Coat those in sauce, and top them with the vegetables of your choice: sliced mushrooms, eggplant, or zucchini all work really well in this. Top that with a bit more sauce, and add another layer of noodles. Guess what goes on top of that layer? More of the spinach and cheese mixture, topped with a final double-layer of noodles. Coat these with a thick layer of sauce, grate some mozzarella on top, and add some cracked pepper. Turn your crock pot on LOW and cook for 5-6 hours.

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          Artichoke and Spinach Dip

          artichoke and spinach dip

            Have there been any parties since 1950 in which this dip hasn’t been present? Probably not, and with good cause: it’s freaking amazing.

            Preheat your oven to 350F. Drain 1 can of artichoke hearts and either put them through a food processor until they’re finely chopped, or mince them by hand. Scoop that into a bowl and add 1 package of spinach (thawed, drained, and chopped finely), 1/2 a cup of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons heavy cream, 1 cup of shredded mozzarella, and half a cup of parmesan cheese. If you like your dip garlicky, add 1/2 a teaspoon of raw, minced garlic. Blend all of these together, add salt/pepper to taste, and pour the mixture into a greased baking dish. Bake 20-25 minutes until it’s all bubbly and gorgeous, remove from the oven, and then hide somewhere with a bucket of tortilla chips or pita wedges so you can keep it all for yourself.

            Spanakopita

            Spanakopita

              It sounds like a fussy dish that requires a lot of work, but this Greek snack is actually super-easy to make. Cut phyllo pastry lengthwise into 2 or 3 long strips per sheet, and use a pastry brush or spatula to slather olive oil all over it. Drain a container of frozen spinach, chop it up finely, and mix it with a tablespoon of minced onions, and about half a cup of feta cheese. Season with salt and pepper, and adjust the onion/cheese if you think it needs a bit more.

              Place a heaping tablespoon of the spinach mixture in one corner of a phyllo sheet, and fold the bottom over to create a triangle. Keep folding back and forth in those triangle formations until you have a multi-layered triangular pocket of pastry with the spinach mix nestled happily in the centre.

              Stuffed Mushroom Caps

              stuffed mushroom cap

                If you’re ever at a loss for something to bring to a potluck party, just make a batch of these little guys and you’re set.

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                Preheat your oven to 350F. Take a dozen or so button mushrooms and pull the stems off. Wipe the tops clean with a dry cloth and then place them on a lightly greased baking sheet. Drain a package of frozen spinach, mince it very finely, and spoon it into a medium-sized bowl. Add in 1 cup of breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup of grated cheese (Fontina works amazingly well here), a pinch of thyme, and salt/pepper to taste. Beat an egg and add that to the bowl, then stir all ingredients until they’re well mixed.

                Fill each mushroom cap with this mixture, and then bake them for about 25 minutes until the mushrooms are tender and the filling is heated through. Crack pepper on top and serve warm.

                *Note: You can make an even simpler version of this by making a box of instant stuffing and adding the chopped spinach and a bit of cheese to it to use inside the caps.

                Spinach Omelette

                spinach omelette

                  This is one of those fabulous breakfast dishes that never goes out of style. To prep, just thaw a few tablespoons of frozen spinach, drain them well, and chop very finely. Mix this with 2-3 tablespoons of cheese, such as feta, chèvre, grated cheddar or gouda, or even brie. Season with salt and pepper.

                  For a single serving, crack 2 eggs into a bowl and beat well with a bit of salt and pepper. Feel free to add a dash of cayenne or Tabasco sauce if you like things spicy. Heat a small dab of butter in a non-stick pan (over medium heat), and stir it around with a spatula. When the butter begins to bubble, pour in the eggs and let them cook for a couple of minutes, pushing slightly on the edges with your spatula. When the edges of your omelet are firm and a light golden brown, sprinkle the spinach mixture on one side and use that spatula to fold the other side over to make a pocket.

                  Let this cook on low heat for a minute or so to allow the cheese to melt, and serve immediately.

                  Tomato, Spinach, and Tortellini Soup

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                  spinach soup

                    Soup one of the easiest dishes to make, and this one is perfect for a quick meal after work or school.

                    Sautee one small onion in a bit of olive oil until it turns translucent. Add about 6 cups of stock (vegetable or chicken—your choice), 2 chopped tomatoes, 1 cup of drained canned chick peas, and 1 cup of drained, chopped spinach. Simmer this on medium heat for about 5 minutes, and then add a couple of handfuls of fresh or frozen tortellini, and crank the heat up a bit. When it gets to a rolling boil, turn it down to low and simmer until the pasta is tender.

                    Season with salt and pepper, and feel free to adjust the flavours to suit your own tastes by adding things like a tablespoon of chopped fresh basil, or some grated Parmesan cheese. If you’re not feeling well, add some cayenne pepper or sriracha for a warming kick.

                    Creamed Spinach with Croutons

                    creamed spinach

                      Although the thought of creamed spinach might scare a few people off, this is actually a really lovely side dish that’s quick and simple to make, and is perfect for using up bread that might be going stale.

                      Take a few slices of bread, cut them into cubes, toss them with butter, salt, garlic powder, and a bit of pepper, and bake them at 350F until they’re golden. Set them aside. Drain and press 2 cups of frozen spinach, chop it finely, and then sautée it in butter with about a tablespoon of minced onion until the onion goes translucent. Add a pinch of nutmeg, a light splash of lemon juice, and a bit of salt/pepper. Remove from the heat, and stir in a few tablespoons of sour cream. If it seems a bit too thick, add milk a tablespoon at a time until it’s a consistency that you like. Serve with the croutons sprinkled on top as an accompaniment to grilled chicken, or roast beef.

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                      Catherine Winter

                      Catherine is a wordsmith covering lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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                      Last Updated on August 20, 2019

                      How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

                      How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

                      Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

                      Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

                      I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

                      You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

                      Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

                      When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

                      I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

                      Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

                      Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

                      Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

                      1. The Inner Critic

                      This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

                      • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
                      • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
                      • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
                      • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

                      The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

                      Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

                      2. The Worrier

                      This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

                      The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

                      3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

                      This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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                      This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

                      The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

                      4. The Sleep Depriver

                      This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

                      The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

                      • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
                      • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
                      • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
                      • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

                      How can you control these squatters?

                      How to Master Your Mind

                      You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

                      Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

                      There are two ways to control your thoughts:

                      • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
                      • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

                      This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

                      The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

                      Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

                      For the Inner Critic

                      When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

                      You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

                      For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

                      You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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                      “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

                      If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

                      • They rile up the Worrier.
                      • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
                      • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
                      • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
                      • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

                      Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

                      Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

                      For the Worrier

                      Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

                      Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

                      You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

                      • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
                      • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                      • Muscles tense

                      Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

                      If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

                      Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

                      “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

                      Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

                      If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

                      Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

                      Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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                      For example:

                      If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

                      “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

                      Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

                      “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

                      Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

                      For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

                      Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

                      The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

                      • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
                      • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                      • Muscles tension

                      I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

                      Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

                      Breathe in through your nose:

                      • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
                      • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
                      • Focus on your belly rising.

                      Breathe out through your nose:

                      • Feel your lungs emptying.
                      • Focus on your belly falling.
                      • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

                      Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

                      Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

                      One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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                      Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

                      For the Sleep Depriver

                      (They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

                      I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

                      Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

                      1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
                      2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

                      When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

                      From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

                      For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

                      If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

                      You can also use this technique any time you want to:

                      • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
                      • Shut down your thinking.
                      • Calm your feelings.
                      • Simply focus on the present moment. 

                      The Bottom Line

                      Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

                      You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

                      Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

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                      Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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