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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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                      12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

                      12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

                      Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

                      But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

                      I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

                      Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

                      1. Nuts

                      The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

                      Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

                      Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

                      Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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                      2. Blueberries

                      Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

                      When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

                      3. Tomatoes

                      Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

                      4. Broccoli

                      While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

                      Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

                      Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

                      5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

                      Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

                      The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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                      Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

                      6. Soy

                      Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

                      Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

                      Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

                      7. Dark chocolate

                      When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

                      Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

                      15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

                      8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

                      Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

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                      B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

                      Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

                      Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

                      To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

                      9. Foods Rich in Zinc

                      Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

                      Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

                      Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

                      10. Gingko biloba

                      This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

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                      It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

                      However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

                      11. Green and black tea

                      Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

                      Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

                      Find out more about green tea here:

                      11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

                      12. Sage and Rosemary

                      Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

                      Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

                      When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

                      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                      Reference

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