Tag Archives: spinach

From that Ledge

“Sausage” and Spinach Stuffed Shells

Stuffed Shell Stuffing

I’m finally back in the kitchen, and hoping to stay upright and cooking for at least the next week or so…but we shall see how that plan goes!  I’ve been spending some of my down time going thru old cookbooks and recipe notes, keeping track of all the new things I want to try.  That’s one of the best parts of spring, all the new produce showing up at the markets – and being in a new city that also means checking out new to me markets!  The spinach in today’s recipe is one of those finds, as are some carrots that wound up going straight in to my belly via dip instead of soup – but that’s okay!  The spinach turned the stuffing a fantastic spring green color, and it worked perfectly with the Italian sausage and the simple sauce – perfection 🙂

From that Ledge

Serves: Serves 5-7


1 box of jumbo shells

1 tbsp olive oil

3 cloves garlic, diced

1 cup vidalia onion, diced

2 tofurkey sausages (Italian style) - sliced

1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese

2 cups spinach, well rinsed and dried

1 spring fresh thyme

1 spring fresh rosemary

1 1/2 cup of your favorite red sauce

1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded


  1. Cook the jumbo shells per box instructions - rinse with cold water and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a large skillet and cook the onion, garlic, and tofurkey sausage until brown. Place in blender along with the ricotta cheese, spinach, and herbs and puree well.
  3. Preheat oven to 425. Lightly coat a 9x13 baking dish with 1/4 cup of your red sauce.
  4. Use a teaspoon to gently stuff the shells and place them in a single layer in the baking dish, placing them as close together as possible to prevent them from tipping over. Cover with the remaining sauce, and top with the shredded cheese
  5. Bake for 35 minutes, or until cheese has slightly browned and sauce is bubbling.
  6. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving - Enjoy!

Normally I try to take a picture of the finished dish, but in this case the finished dish doesn’t look different from any other picture of stuffed shells.    The stuffing would also work great inside of ravioli, or as part of a vegetable lasagna!  This is a dish all about the filling, which is why I focused on that for my picture.  I’m also sending this over to /52weeksofcooking for their soy challenge, and this will probably be the last soy dish on here for a bit since we are still on a low soy diet.  However there’s nothing wrong with an occasional treat!

Perfect Storm

Vegetable Quesadilla


Ignoring the random snow we had yesterday (none of which stuck), I think it might be safe to say that spring is finally here!  I am ready for the ground to thaw so that I can start clearing out all the old beds and start figuring out my plan for this year.  As far as gardening goes this year is going to be a pot garden, since there is no established garden at our new place and I have no idea what areas of the yard will get the right amount sun – with the exception of the patio.  The few flower beds in the front of the house are home to a few types of ivy, both poisonous and non, so odds are nothing new will get planted there until I know the nasty stuff is gone.  However the first step is going at least a week without frozen precipitation.  Today’s recipe is wishful thinking in that it features all the vegetables that I’m hoping to grow in my garden.   From tomatoes to spinach to red onion – this cheesy treat is packing with the good stuff!

Spring Vegetable Quesadilla

Serves: Yields 2 10inch quesadillas

Serves 2-3


1/2 cup shredded cheese (for non-dairy be sure to use a "meltable" variety)

1/4 tsp cayenne powder

1/4 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp chili powder

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 10 inch tortillas

1/2 cup grape tomatoes, quartered

1/2 red onion, diced

1 cup pre-soaked black beans, well rinsed

1 jalapeno, sliced and deseeded (optional)

1 cup spinach, shredded (make sure it's super dry)

1 cup kale, shredded (make sure it's super dry)


  1. In a medium bowl mix the shredded cheese/"cheese" with the cayenne powder, ground cumin, chili powder, and minced garlic. Set aside
  2. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Place a tortilla on the skillet and cook for 2 minutes before flipping. Place 2 tbsp of cheese on the tortilla, then layer with half of the tomatoes, spinach, kale, onions, and black beans. Place another 2 tbsp of cheese then top with another tortilla. Use a panini press or smaller skillet to weigh down the top of the quesadilla.
  3. Cook for 5-7 minutes, until lightly brown, and then gently (carefully!) flip to the other side. Repress the quesadilla and cook for a final 5-7 minutes.
  4. Remove to a plate and allow to cool for 2 minutes before cutting up with a pizza slicer. Serve as is or with sour cream, salsa, and/or quacamole.


Avoid place two quasadillas in the same skillet as uneven cooking can result. For those of you with multi-tasking skills use two front burners to prepare two at a time!


I’ll always be a fan of dishes that allow for easy seasonal switches.  Garden overflowing with zucchini?  Toss them in!  Growing three types of tomatoes?  Add them all!  I decided to stick with the spring greens but look forward to trying a summer variety in the coming months.  With that in mind I’m sending this over to the amazing Ren and her  Simple and in Season April blog challenge, which is being hosted by Michelle who blogs over at Utterly Scrumptious  I can’t wait to see all the early Spring treats everyone will be sending in!!!

Come and Get It

Super Greens with Polenta

Super Greens with Polenta

I’ll admit it, I was a strange child.  From a rather young age I greatly enjoyed vegetables (especially greens) and was known to trade away my lunch time sweets for carrot sticks – which I’m sure my classmates enjoyed.  That’s not to say I would always pick a healthy treat over something sweet, but it made the challenge for this week a bit more challenging than normal.  For /52weeksofcooking this week we are to cook with an ingredient we didn’t enjoy as a child, and that doesn’t leave me with much.  Many commonly avoided vegetables weren’t served in my house and the few things I remember avoiding as a kid I still don’t eat: cottage cheese, tapioca pudding, porridge, and meat.  Luckily my hubby was more of a “normal” child and gave me a rather large list of foods: broccoli, spinach, brussel sprouts, kale, cabbage, and anything spicy.  So essentially anything green, which gave me lots to work with.  I decided to pick a variety of greens, toss in some chickpeas, and serve everything over some baked polenta.

Super Greens and Polenta

Serves: Serves 4-5


1 tbsp olive oil

3 cloves garlic, diced

1 sweet onion, diced

1 tsp thyme

1 tsp rosemary

1/2 cup Greek yogurt (So Delicious or dairy), at room temperature

1/4 cup milk (coconut or dairy)

3 cups spinach, chopped

3 cups kale, chopped

2 cups swiss chard, chopped

2 cups chickpeas, presoaked and well rinsed (or 1 15.5 oz can)

Pepper to taste


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large dish saute pan over medium heat, then add in the onion and garlic. Cook for 7-10 minutes, then add the herbs and stir for one minute.
  2. In a small bowl mix together the milk and yogurt, then stir in to the herb and garlic mixture. Slowly begin adding in the greens, being careful to not crowd the pan. Once the greens have slightly wilted, add the chickpeas then turn heat to low and cook for 10 minutes.
  3. Season with some black pepper and Serve!

While I’m not sure which of us any future children might take after, it’ll be interesting to see where they fall when it comes to green food.  Tho worst case scenario I can always sneak it in…

An Animal

Blue Cheese Spinach Orzo

Blue Cheese Spinach Orzo

Last week I mentioned how my awesome SRC partner had a blue cheese orzo recipe on her blog.  FINALLY my garden cooperated and I had all the ingredients needed for this delectably cheesy dish.  It’s probably a good thing this wasn’t my SRC pick for July as I made more than a few changes to this dish in order to make it work better for my family.  I kept with the basic roux but added some additional spice and complexity to the dish, mostly for fear of the cheese being too overpowering (not that my better half with take issue with that).  I also upped the veggies in an attempt to resolve some of the guilt that comes with eating that much amazingly delicious but oh so not healthy blue cheese.

Blue Cheese Spinach Orzo

serves 4-5


1 1/2 tbsp butter

1 1/2 tbsp flour

1/2 cup skim milk

1/4 tsp cayenne powder

1 tsp pepper

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 vidalia onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, diced

2 sprigs fresh thyme, diced

5 basil leaves, diced

2 cups orzo (pre-cooked)

2 cups spinach, well washed and loosely torn

1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved


  1. Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook until a light caramel color, then slowly whisk in the milk. Bring to a low simmer then begin adding the cheese. Season with the two types of pepper, then cover and set aside on low heat.
  2. Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 7-10 minutes, the garlic should be golden and the onion translucent. Add the fresh herbs, cook for an additional 2 minutes and then add to the cheese sauce.
  3. Cook the orzo according to directions on the pot, drain and return to the hot pot. Stir in the cheese, then mix in the spinach. Season to taste with additional pepper (if needed)
  4. Serve hot topped with the fresh tomatoes.

I can easily see this dish converting a non-blue cheese person to the light side as the hint of blue cheese is there but it’s not overpowering.  Instead everything happily blends together in cheesy harmony!  We enjoyed the orzo as our main dish but would also be a great dish for a potluck as it carries well, simple to double (or triple!) and could easily be converted for a slow cooker.

Told Me To

Vegetable Lasagna

Vegetable Lasagna

Greetings!  Hope everyone had an excellent 4th of July – and is now having a great weekend.  Summer is finally starting to arrive, and the sun is finally shining.  My garden isn’t as far along as it was last year but thankfully the local farmer’s markets aren’t having those issues.  This layered treat is essentially a lasagna without the lasagna, just squash and other delicious vegetables.  I kept things nice and simple and focused on vegetables that are currently in season, also making this the perfect Simple and in Season recipe!

Vegetable Lasagna

Serves: Serves 3-4


2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, diced

1/2 vidalia onion, diced

8 basil leaves, chopped

1/2 tbsp fresh thyme

3 roma tomatoes, diced

1/2 lb spinach, well washed and loosely torn

2 Zucchini, cut lengthwise

2 straight yellow squash, cut lengthwise

3 beets, grated

2 cup baby bella mushrooms, halved

2 beefsteak tomatoes, sliced

1 cup ricotta, divided

1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated


  1. Heat the olive oil a small sauce pan over medium heat, add the garlic and onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add the diced roma tomatoes along with the spices. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 and lightly oil the bottom and side of a 9x9 dish
  3. Meanwhile, place a single layer of squash/zucchini and top with a quarter of the grated beet along with 1/4 cup of ricotta cheese followed by the spinach, mushrooms, and a layer of the beefsteak tomato slices. Build another layer and then top with half of the tomato sauce before making the final two layers.
  4. Top with the remaining sauce along with the grated cheeses. Cover the dish in tin foil and then bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for a final 10 minutes.

I’m looking forward to doing this again in a few weeks with vegetables from my own garden but until then I’m lucky to have so many great farms just down the road.  Hopefully the sun will continue to shine and the temperatures will stay up as I can’t wait to start enjoying tomatoes and eggplant that are as local as local gets!