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Tag: baby spinach

Hoppin John- A New Year’s Eve Tradition

December 31, 2013

I was doing an article for the patch for New Years. My editor told me something about a tradition in the South called Hoppin John. I had never heard to the dish or the tradition and decided to do some research.

Turns out it is a dish made with rice and beans. It is to be eaten at midnight, New Year’s eve to bring good luck. The idea is to eat poor that night and eat rich the rest of the year.

Sounded good to me. As I read a bit more, I noticed it is usually made with some pork product and is served with some Southern style greens. I started thinking and decided to make mine with pancetta. I added some onions, garlic and green peppers to that. I also added dried thyme and made it mine by adding- yes, you guessed it- smoked paprika. I sauteed the mixture and added a can of black eyed peas, the rice and chicken broth. Once the rice was almost cooked, I added a lot of baby spinach.

I decided to make this into a one pot meal and healthy. Since traditionally the dish is served with greens, I decided to add mine right into the rice and beans.

The result was a delicious and quick comforting dish. Definitely make this for New Year’s Eve to ensure good luck for the rest of the Year- and Happy New Year to you and your family!

  • ½ cup pancetta, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ½ green pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 15 1/2 ounce can of black eyed peas
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 6 ounces baby spinach

Heat a saucepan with the pancetta and olive oil. Saute on medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the thyme, onion, garlic and green pepper. Saute for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes and paprika. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the black eyed peas and mix well. Add the rice and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cover the pan half way. Simmer for 10 minutes and cover all the way and lower the heat. Cook for another ten minutes and turn the heat off. Let it sit for ten minutes and add the spinach, stirring constantly. Serve immediately.

Quick Garlicky Spinach

July 8, 2013

I love the creamed spinach at steak houses but it has loads of calories. I make my spinach usually just with a bit of olive oil and garlic- it does the trick for me.. I will sometimes add a splash of half and half to the creamy effect. It is a great, quick side to make…

  • 8 cups baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Salt

Heat a large frying pan with the olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté on low heat for a minute. Add the spinach and sauté on medium heat till the greens have wilted. Add salt and serve.

Chicken and Rice with Spinach

May 27, 2013

This is a super quick, healthy dish- oh, and it is a one pot meal. I feel like taking a bow to the applauding audience- yes, I realize no one is applauding- but I feel like they should.

It was one of those days when I had no time and no ideas swimming around in my head. I took out two chicken breast from the freezer and in order to make it really simple, I spiced them with salt and garam masala. Garam masala is made with any where between 5 to 15 spices- depending on who is making it. Since I make my own, it is super flavorful, filled with cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.

I sauteed the chicken pieces and then used the same pan to cook onions and garlic and more garam masala. I added some tomatoes, chicken broth with the rice and tossed in a whole bag of baby spinach.  I sliced the chicken pieces and introduced it to the rice and spinach and came up with a wonderful dish.

The busy day ended with a well-balanced, one pot meal and I had only one pot to clean after making the dinner- perfect.

Make this rice dish when things are crazy and you have no time to spend in the kitchen….

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add the chicken breast and sprinkle salt and 1 teaspoon garam masala. Cook on high heat for 2 minutes and flip to the other side. Sprinkle salt and the remaining garam masala and cook for another 2 minutes. Take out and keep aside. The chicken will not be cooked through. It will finish cooking with the rice. Cool the chicken for 10 minutes and cut into ½ inch slices and keep aside.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup tomato sauce or pureed tomatoes
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 5 ounces baby spinach

Heat the same saucepan and add the one tablespoon olive oil. Add the onion, garlic and garam masala. Saute on medium high heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the salt and tomato sauce. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the rice and sauté for a minute. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cook on high till bubbles begin to form on the surface. Add the spinach, lower the heat, and place lid on saucepan. Cook for 15 minutes or till the rice is cooked. Turn the heat off and add the chicken pieces on top and place the lid back on. Leave the saucepan covered for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Make sure the chicken pieces are cooked through. Mix the rice with the spinach and chicken well before serving.

Spinach with Mustard Seeds

March 18, 2013

This is a delicious side dish to make with any kind of meal- especially an Indian meal. It is quick with not too many ingredients….

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Healthy Vegetable Scramble

February 19, 2013

Healthy Scramble I like starting my day with a healthy breakfast.

I bought a carton of egg whites and decided to pair some up with a regular egg.

I sauteed up some veggies as well. My fridge is filled with peppers, mushrooms, spinach, zucchini, and sprouts. I decided to use some mushrooms, peppers and spinach. I cooked them with a tiny bit of oil. I used the non-stick pan so it doesn’t take too much fat to cook the vegetables. I mixed up the egg whites and egg with salt and added it to the non-stick pan.

It is a delicious breakfast with a very large cup of coffee- perfect way to start the day…

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 to 2 cups baby spinach
  • ½ cup yellow or red pepper, sliced
  • 3 to 4 cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • ¼ cup low fat, shredded cheese
  • 1 teaspoon extra light olive oil

Beat the egg and egg white in a small bowl. Add the salt and cheese and mix well. In the meantime, heat a non-stick frying pan and add the oil. Add the spinach, peppers and mushrooms. Saute on medium heat till the mushrooms have cooked down- about 5 minutes. Lower the heat and add the egg mixture. Mix well and turn the heat off as soon as the mixture begins to set. Serve immediately.

Shrimp and Spinach Risotto- Latin Style

February 7, 2012

Shrimp and Spinach Risotto A Latin style risotto, you ask? Well, why not?? Risotto is one of our favorite things to eat and I am always trying to make it in new and different ways incorporating new ingredients every time. Risotto is made with Arborio rice which is a thick grained rice. It is white rice and thus processed- the key is to use the best ingredients one can find while making risotto and eat it in moderation. Usually risotto is finished with cream, butter and cheese making it quite heavy. It can be made lighter and healthier by using good olive oil and a moderate amounts of cheese.

This risotto is a bit different from the Italian variety. I decided to use some Latin flavors… so, I marinated the shrimp with some smoked paprika, garlic powder and salt. I then sautéed some shallots and garlic. I added the rice, kidney beans. I cooked the risotto with chicken broth and added fresh baby spinach. The addition of all these yummy ingredients make this risotto quite light and very delicious. The key to making light dishes is to boost the flavor factor- in this case, it is the delicious marinated shrimp.

Try this dish next time you want to have a delicious, healthy and different risotto- try this one..
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Lentils with Baby Spinach

January 23, 2012

Lentils with Baby Spinach Here is another vegetarian dish. This could be almost a one pot meal. All you need is some brown rice or quinoa.. well, those are the healthy options. One could also serve this with a rice pulao with lots of cumin and sautéed onions. Either way, this is a delicious dish that is very simple to make and very nutritious.

I love combining the orange and the yellow variety- the names of the lentils are below (actually I am not very good at remembering lentil names .. so I recognize them by color and shape). Anyway, I love combining the two and cooking them with a bit of garlic. I usually cook the lentils in water, but they can be made with chicken or vegetable broth.

Once the lentils are tender and cooked, I added baby spinach to the mix. I finished the dish with a tempering of cumin and mustard seeds.

It is one of my staples, especially when I don’t have a lot of time to cook…
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