Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Spinach Challenge.

This post is going to contain a lot of food. And a lot of spinach. My biceps are Popeye status. (Literally. I have macho bicep muscles after Calorie KO today).

For those of you who aren't up to speed, earlier this week I mentioned that my roommate dared me to eat an entire bag of frozen spinach in one day. So today, I attempted to do just that.

For breakfast, I made an oatmeal smoothie. You are probably wondering what I mean.

I mean I literally blended oatmeal into a smoothie. Check it out.

I mixed 1/4 cup oats with 1/2 cup water and 1 tablespoon chia seeds and kept it in the fridge overnight.


This morning, I cooked the oats in the microwave for about two minutes.

Then I blended the oats with almond milk and 1/3 bag frozen spinach. I also added a handful of frozen blueberries and 1 teaspoon almond butter.


What a ridiculous idea.


And yet, it was actually kind of tasty. I really enjoyed the texture. In terms of taste, it wasn't as sweet as I would have liked it to be, but that's because I used 1/3 bag of spinach. Next time, I'll definitely increase the number of blueberries, or maybe add a frozen banana.

It was so thick, that I ate most of it with a spoon.

I had to eat my lunch on the go today. No better way to incorporate my lunch-time spinach than by making a sandwich! A grilled spinach and cheese sandwich, that is.

I thawed a little less than 1/3 bag of frozen spinach in the microwave and layered it on a slice of Ezekiel bread with some fresh sliced mozzarella. 


Side note: if you plan on doing this, I advise you to squeeze the water out of the spinach before making this sandwich. About four hours after making this sandwich, I opened it to find that the bread had nicely absorbed the water. Soggy sandwich...meh.

So after my "interesting" breakfast and lunch, I decided I wanted to do something fancy for dinner. 

Spinach Gnocchi with Reduced Balsamic and Garlic Basil Red Peppers

Let's start off with the gnocchi. 

Ingredients:
  • 2/3 cup + 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 bag frozen spinach
  • 1 egg yolk (I used egg substitute instead)
  • 1/3 cup shredded parmesan (or ricotta cheese)
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • salt/pepper to taste

Thaw the spinach in a pan with olive oil.


Add the egg, spinach, and cheese to a large bowl.


Mix, then gradually mix in the flour.


The dough becomes quite sticky, but still soft.


Transfer the dough onto a floured surface. Roll the dough into cylinders.


Chop the cylinders into smaller pieces. You may have to re-form the dough into smaller ovals.


Cook the dough in salted, boiling water for five minutes. I would recommend fitting at least 6 or 7 pieces in the pot at a time, but not so many that the dough pieces stick together.


Using a slotted spoon, take each piece out carefully and place on a non-stick sprayed pan.


At this point, you can choose either to leave the gnocchi as is, or bake for a few minutes at 350F for a more firm and crispy texture.

Next: balsamic reduction! I got the idea to do this from Jessica's balsamic gnocchi recipe.

Heat 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar on medium heat until it begins to boil. Immediately turn it down and let it simmer for 8-10 minutes.


Let it cool. It then becomes a nice and tangy syrup!


Lastly (for additional veggies), saute 1/2 chopped red pepper, fresh basil, and garlic in olive oil.


Combine the gnocchi and red peppers on a plate and drizzle a generous amount of balsamic on it.


If you ever want to treat yourself to a fancy dinner, just make this. Save some money and some calories. :)


So. Incredibly. Delicious.

And if you were wondering, I didn't eat all of the gnocchi that I made. Hence, I did not actually eat an entire bag of spinach today, but I must say I got pretty close. If we want to quantify, I must have eaten 5/6 of the bag. Close enough, right?

Plus, now I get to eat leftover spinach gnocchi for dinner tomorrow. Success!

1 comment:

Alyssa said...

....or you can just start the whole process over tomorrow! ;)

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