Photo / Sheila Lennon
I've been playing with this versatile, easy recipe that's rich enough to satisfy a crowd and, if there are leftovers, it's even better the next day. It's fine with just mushrooms, or add sun-dried tomatoes to give it a bite. The cheese makes its own delicious browned crust. (This is not quivery like a quiche, since there's no milk or cream in it.)
You might add scallions or leeks, substitute (lightly steamed) broccoli for the spinach, or use 1/2 pound of cheddar and 1/2 pound of other cheeses (leftovers from your cheese plate). Double the spinach if you want it to be more like a spinach pie. Feel free to improvise -- the cheese will hold it all together.
Spinach & Cheese Squares
1 lb fresh baby spinach
1 oz. dried porcini mushrooms or 4 oz. fresh mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (optional)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 tablespoons melted butter
6 eggs, beaten
16 ounces cottage cheese or ricotta
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 pound sharp Cheddar cheese (or half Cheddar and half other cheeses), coarsely grated
1/4 cup sherry wine (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Drain spinach well; the drier the better.
Photo / Sheila Lennon
Bring about 2 cups of water and sherry to a boil in a saucepan and add the dried mushrooms and sundried tomatoes. Blanch for 2-3 minutes, then let sit for at least 10 minutes to absorb the liquid. Drain.
In a heavy soup pot large enough to fit all the spinach, sauté onion and garlic in 2 tablespoons of the melted butter till translucent.
Add spinach, stirring it down till it wilts, then drain. Add mushrooms and sundried tomatoes, eggs, cottage and cheddar cheeses, flour and the remaining butter and mix. Season with pepper.
Pour into prepared dish and bake for 1 hour. Serves 8 to 10.
Note: Use more water and sherry when reconstituting the mushrooms if you want to spin off a flavorful addition to soup. I've added the excess sherry-mushroom water to overly-carroted turkey soup and it cut the sweetness, much improving it.
The Kansas City Star newspaper shared these three recipes as part of a package on New Year's Eve appetizers but I like them for game food. Enjoy the Beer Cheese Fondue, Crab and Cheese Puffs and Sausage Swirls.
BEER CHEESE FONDUE
Makes about 21/2 cups fondue
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon dry mustard
3/4 cup beer
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic, finely minced
4 strips bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled
1 green onion, chopped
Suggested dippers (see tip)
Combine cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese in a large bowl. Sprinkle with flour, mustard and cayenne; toss to coat cheese evenly with flour; set aside.
Combine beer, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic in a 3-quart heavy saucepan. Heat over medium heat until beer begins to boil. Reduce heat to low. Gradually add cheese, in small portions, stirring until melted. Stir in bacon. Heat, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes or until melted and smooth. Stir in green onions. Transfer to fondue pot and keep warm while serving.
Cooking tip: If fondue becomes too thick, thin with a small amount of warm beer. For a stronger flavor, use dark ale or beer.
Serving tip: Suggested dippers can include crusty baguette, cubed; boiled small new potatoes; lightly steamed vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower or asparagus; cubed fully cooked ham or sliced smoked sausage; crisp bread sticks; pretzels; rye or pumpernickel bread, cubed; whole, trimmed mushrooms
Per 1-tablespoon serving: 52 calories (71 percent from fat), 4 grams total fat (2 grams saturated), 11 milligrams cholesterol, 1 gram carbohydrates, 3 grams protein, 78 milligrams sodium, trace dietary fiber.
CRAB AND CHEESE PUFFS
Makes 6 to 7 dozen puffs
1 (6-ounce) can crab, well-drained
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup finely minced shallot
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves
Dash freshly ground pepper
1 cup water
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
Combine crab, Cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, shallot, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, tarragon and pepper in a mixing bowl. Stir to combine; set aside.
Combine water, butter and salt in a 4-quart saucepan. Heat over high heat until water boils and butter melts. Remove from heat and immediately stir flour into hot water mixture in pan. Beat briskly with wooden spoon until mixture makes a ball and leaves the sides of the pan. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. (If saucepan is not coated with nonstick coating, beating the eggs is easily done with a portable electric mixer. If nonstick coated pan is used, beat very vigorously by hand using a wooden spoon.) Mixture should be glossy and very smooth. Stir in crab mixture. Drop, by very small teaspoonfuls onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets, about 1-inch apart. (Do not make large puffs; one level teaspoon will make a nice, appetizer-size puff.) Bake 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 10 minutes or until golden. Serve warm.
Per puff, based on 6 dozen: 26 calories (61 percent from fat), 2 grams total fat (1 gram saturated), 18 milligrams cholesterol, 1 gram carbohydrates, 1 gram protein, 25 milligrams sodium, trace dietary fiber.
Makes 16 appetizers
1 puff pastry sheet, thawed (1/2 of 17.3-ounce package)
3/4 pound bulk pork sausage, uncooked (see tip)
1 cup shredded Cheddar Jack cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped black olives
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Unfold pastry on lightly floured surface. Roll into a 10-by-12-inch rectangle. Carefully spread sausage over the surface of the rectangle to within 1/2- inch of all 4 edges. Sprinkle with cheese and black olives. Starting at the long side, roll up jelly-roll fashion. Press edges to seal; refrigerate roll several hours before slicing.
Using a serrated knife, carefully slice the roll into 3/4-inch slices. Place cut-side down, approximately 1 1/2 inches apart, on a jelly-roll pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and sausage is done.
Cooking tip: To avoid tearing the puff pastry, take the sausage out of the refrigerator so it comes to room temperature before assembling the recipe.
Per appetizer: 201 calories (75 percent from fat), 17 grams total fat (6 grams saturated), 22 milligrams cholesterol, 7 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams protein, 232 milligrams sodium, trace dietary fiber.
I love spring rolls, egg rolls, any rolls with a cold beer at game time. Here's
It’s easy to these easy finger foods, thanks to San-J’s Thai Peanut Sauce, a blend of peanuts, garlic and San-J’s premium Shoyu soy sauce.
Vietnamese Spring Rolls Recipe
8 ounces fresh raw medium shrimp, deveined and tails removed
8 large round rice paper wrappers
8 ounce package rice vermicelli noodles, cooked according to package instructions
1 large carrot, julienned thinly
3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
4 leaves Romaine lettuce, chopped
½ cup San-J Thai Peanut Sauce
Directions: In a small saucepan, poach the shrimp until pink throughout. Drain and cool. Cut each shrimp in half lengthwise and set aside. Fill a large bowl with warm water. Dip one wrapper in the warm water for 10 seconds to soften. Drain the wrapper of excess water and place it flat on a cutting board. In a row across the center of the wrapper, place 2 shrimp halves, a handful of vermicelli, carrots, basil, mint, cilantro and lettuce, leaving about 2 inches uncovered on each side. Fold the uncovered sides inward, then tightly roll the wrapper. Repeat with the remaining rolls to make 8 rolls total. Heat the San-J Thai Peanut Sauce, if desired, by placing the sauce in a microwaveable bowl and heat on medium for 1 minute. Makes 4 appetizer servings.
Florida Shrimp Cocktail
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon fresh hot pepper, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
2 pounds 16-20 count shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cups honeydew melon, cut in 1-inch pieces
2 cups diced mango
Over medium-high heat in a large skillet, combine honey, paprika, hot pepper and salt. Add shrimp and simmer 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are opaque. Remove shrimp, reserve and chill honey mixture. On wooden skewers, alternate shrimp with melons and mangoes. Place in a glass container and pour honey mixture over the skewers. Refrigerate and serve cold.
Recipe adapted from Wild American Shrimp
The Egg Nutrition Board shared some recipes for the incredible edible egg. These look yummy.
Marvelous Mushroom Devils
6 hard-cooked eggs
1/4 cup low-fat dairy sour cream or plain low-fat yogurt
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mushrooms
2 tablespoons minced green onions with tops
Fresh mushroom slices, optional
Fresh dill sprigs, optional
1. Cut eggs in half lengthwise.
2. Remove yolks and set whites aside.
3. Mash yolks with fork.
4. Blend in sour cream and seasonings.
5. Gently stir in mushrooms and onions.
6. Refill whites using about 1 tablespoon yolk mixture for each egg half.
7. Garnish with mushroom slices and dill sprigs, if desired.
Makes 6 servings