spinach

Spinach and Fresh Oregano & Feta Quiche

Spinach and Fresh Oregano & Feta Quiche

I have the most lovely neighbor down the street! She is so generous and often brings me extra food, ingredients, tea and other goodies. I am so lucky! One thing she brought me was some extra feta cheese.  I just love this kind of cheese, it has such a delicious flavor, especially along with spinach and oregano- a kind of Greek quiche. 

I had a fun time adapting a quiche recipe that I had to create a lovely one that is perfect for spring! It is so amazing to have for breakfast, brunch or even dinner! 

I was very inspired by the amazingly beautiful oregano plants that have been growing for some time out in my garden. I am amazed that it keeps on growing and producing lots of delicious oregano for lots of my dishes. 

I hope that you enjoy this quiche with your friends and family very soon. 

Spinach and Fresh Oregano and Feta Quiche: 

Serves 6

1 gluten free pastry shell- pastry recipe below

1/2 cup butter

3 garlic cloves, chopped finely

1 small onion or half of a large onion, chopped finely

6 ounces chopped fresh spinach

1 tablespoon or more fresh oregano, chopped

8 ounces feta cheese 

salt and pepper

2 whole eggs

2 egg whites

1/2 cup whole milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

1. Make the gluten free pastry shell (recipe below), place in freezer and set aside while you are making the filling. 

2. Preheat the oven to 375F (190 C) 

3. In a large Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic in the butter until translucent. Add in the spinach and saute until until reduced down- about 4-5 minutes. Drain the spinach mixture in a colander and squeeze out some of the extra liquid. Set aside to cool. 

4. When the spinach mixture is cooled, place it into a medium bowl and mix in the feta cheese, fresh oregano and season with salt and pepper. Make sure to taste the mixture to make sure it is seasoned enough. Place the spinach cheese mixture in the bottom of the pastry lined pie pan. 

5. In another medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and heavy cream. Pour into the pie pan. Stir to combine the spinach/cheese mixture and the egg/milk mixture. 

6. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-45 minutes or until set in the center. Let the quiche stand for 10 minutes until slicing and serving. 

GF Pastry Dough: 

1 1/4 cups brown rice flour blend (see recipe below) or use a gluten free flour blend 

1 tablespoon organic sugar

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons coconut oil (heaping tablespoons) 

1 large egg

2 teaspoons lemon juice

Ice water

1. Mix together the brown rice flour blend (or use a packaged gluten free flour mix), 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum and salt in the bowl of a large food processor. Add in the 6 tablespoons coconut oil and process until the mixture is a coarse meal. 

2. In a separate bowl with a small wire whisk or fork, whisk together the egg and lemon juice. 

3. Slowly pour the egg-lemon juice mixture into the food processor and pulse. Add small amounts of ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough is moist and clumps together. 

4. Gather the dough into a ball and flatten out into a disk. Wrap the disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour. Then, roll out between plastic wrap or parchment paper. Press the rolled out pastry into the pie shell and flute the edges.  Put the pie shell into the freezer for about 20-30 minutes before baking. 

Brown Rice Flour Blend: 

6 cups brown rice flour

2 cups potato starch

1 cup tapioca flour

Mix together in a bowl with a wire whisk. You will have extra for another baking project later. 

Citrus Spinach Salad

citrus spinach salad

Now that spring is officially around the corner I am loving bright colors that I am seeing in the daffodils outside and in the the new spring greenery starting to emerge. I have recently started to experiment with and get more creative with making new and interesting salads. I love this new salad because of all of the bright colors and flavors in it. Each bite provides a bit of tang, crunch and a bit of sweetness from the oranges and pineapple. 

This salad is great to serve with a light curry coconut chicken that I served to my clients last night for dinner and with many other dishes. Yum! I hope that you put together this salad soon and enjoy it! :) I can also see this being a show-stopper at an upcoming Easter or Mother's Day Brunch! 

 

Citrus Spinach Salad: 

6-8 small servings

 

1 cup pineapple pieces, thinly sliced

1 cup satsuma oranges, peeled and cut into small pieces

3 cups chopped red cabbage

4 cups chopped spinach (I buy a box of organic baby spinach and cut up the leaves) 

Combine all of the above ingredients in a large bowl, then  pour the dressing on top, toss the salad and add more freshly ground pepper on top. 

Dressing: 

1/3 cup sesame oil

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper + more for topping the salad

1/2 teaspoon brown mascobado sugar or honey

 

Whisk all of the ingredients together in a medium bowl. Then, dress the salad prior to serving. 

If you love this recipe, check out more in my cookbook on Amazon: 

https://www.amazon.com/Recipes-Cheery-Life-Trista-Ainsworth/dp/1367622603/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1488574847&sr=8-1&keywords=recipes+for+a+cheery+life

Spinach, Onion and Garlic Cheese Gorditas- A Great Vegetarian Dinner!

spinach onion and garlic cheese gorditas

These gorditas remind me of the evenings I spent as an exchange student in Mexico. In Mexico people usually eat a larger main meal around 2-3 in the afternoon. Then, around 7-8pm there is a bit of a snack. Sometimes it is just a simple sandwich or quesadilla at home, but then on a special night we would go out to get some street food. One of the foods I loved were some delicious gorditas. There would be lots of different fillings and it was fun to watch the ladies make them quickly and cook them on big griddles on the sidewalk. That was always a special snack to have at night. 

If you would like to learn about lots of amazing health benefits you can get from spinach, here is a great article to check out! 

https://www.cookingdetective.com/33-amazing-health-benefits-of-spinach/

I have brought the gordita back here for dinner, lunch or a snack. I decided to make a yummy spinach filling as well. These may be made with mozarella cheese, a Mexican cheese or a dairy free cheese. 

Spinach, Onion and Garlic Cheese Gorditas: 

Makes about 8 gordita

Gorditas: 

2 cups dry masa flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/3 cups water

1. Mix thoroughly together the masa mix, salt and water until you form a soft, uniform dough. 

2. Form patties that are 3-4 inches wide. 

3. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the gorditas for about 4 minutes each side. Make sure each side is fully cooked and golden brown. 

4. Once all of the gorditas are cooked, take a knife and make a slit halfway through the gordita to form a kind of pocket for the spinach  & cheese filling. 

Filling: 

2 cups finely chopped spinach

1/2 onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

olive oil

salt/pepper to taste

Mozzarella cheese (1/2-3/4 cup, shredded) 

1. In a skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. 

2. Saute the onion and garlic until soft. Then, add in the spinach until cooked and soft. Season with salt and pepper. 

3. Into each gordita pocket, put 1-2 tablespoons or so of the spinach mixture in. Put in 1-2 tablespoons of cheese into the pocket as well. 

4. Place all of the filled gorditas on a plate, place them in the microwave and microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until all of the cheese has melted. Serve immediately and enjoy! 

If you enjoyed this yummy gluten free-vegetarian entree recipe, pass it on to a vegetarian friend! 

Trista

 

Mexican Chicken Albondiga Soup with Pinto Beans

mexicanchickenalbondigasoupwithpintobeans

 

I love how my son calls this soup- "Irresistible Soup!" That really warms my heart! This is such a delicious play on chicken soup. In Spanish "albondiga" means meatball, and the meatballs in this soup are so, so yummy! I remember when I was visiting some friends in Mexico, they were so excited for me to make my grandma's Swedish meatballs for them for dinner. They were so thrilled with the yummy "albondigas" when I made them in their home. I know that this soup will bring the same joy to you with a little flavor of Mexico. 

I had a lot of fun playing around with this recipe, revising it to be gluten free, and it is also naturally dairy free! That is wonderful! I love the combination of mild green chilis, pinto beans and flavorful chicken meatballs in this soup. 

And, as my son says- it is so irresistible, it will disappear fast! 

I hope that you enjoy a bowl of this amazingly delicious and healthy soup soon on one of these cold winter nights! 

Note: You can use canned organic pinto beans instead of soaking/cooking the dried beans ahead of time. This is a great shortcut! Enjoy! 

Mexican Chicken Albondiga Soup with Pinto Beans

1 cup dry pinto beans, soaked & cooked in chicken broth or 1 cup canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained

6 ounces ground chicken (3/4 cup) 

1/2 cup cooked and cooled brown rice

3 tablespoons mild canned green chilis, chopped + extra for the soup (one small can) 

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 large egg

kosher salt, ground pepper

olive oil

5 + cups chicken broth + water

1 leek, (white and light green parts only, chopped finely)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup cooked brown rice + cooked pinto beans from above

1/2 cup peeled and finely chopped carrots

1 cup (packed) baby spinach

Note: Use these seasonings according to your taste. I use about 1 teaspoon each of the garlic powder, chili powder, cumin and kosher salt. But, adjust according to how spicy you like your soup. 

garlic powder

chili powder

cumin

kosher salt

ground pepper

1.  Prepare the beans: If you are cooking your pinto beans from scratch from dry beans: Soak the cup of beans overnight in a bowl with water covering the beans. Store in the refrigerator. In the morning, drain the beans and place them in a large saucepan. Add in enough chicken broth to cover over the beans. Bring the mixture to a boil. Then, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 2-3 hours, or until the beans are tender. Set the beans aside. 

2. Make the meatballs: In a medium bowl, combine the ground chicken, spices, rice, egg, green chilis, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Form small to medium meatballs. Heat oil in an electric skillet, then brown the meatballs on both sides. They will finish cooking in the soup. 

3. Add olive oil to a large saucepan. Heat the oil. Then, add the leeks. Cook, stirring often until the leeks begin to soften. Add the minced garlic, cook for about a minute. Add the chicken broth and 2 cups of water. Stir in the cooked rice, carrots and beans. Add in the extra garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Season according to your own taste.  Bring the mixture to a boil. Simmer for about 8 minutes. Add the meatballs to the soup and the extra green chilis from the can. Simmer for about 3 minutes until the carrots are cooked through. Add in the baby spinach and cook until wilted.

Serve while hot and enjoy!!