Thursday, February 9, 2012

I Am What I Am

If you grew up anywhere between the 40's thru 70's (and possibly a few of you from the 80's) then you are most likely familiar with Popeye the Sailor Man...if you are under the age of 20 you probably think Popeye is synonymous with chicken and biscuits. We'll forgive you. The real Popeye ate his spinach and being secure in who he was/is proudly stated, "I am what I am" without apology. I like his take-it-or-leave-it attitude. He's one of my hero's and not just because of his big guns and ability to save Olive Oil from Brutus...though those are nice additions to his persona. He ate his spinach and enjoyed a pipe before it was frowned upon. He's up there with King Kong, John Wayne and yes, Ronald Reagan, with my list of real men...even though King Kong and Popeye aren't really real...speaks to the reality of the shape our men are in if a giant computerized monkey and an animated character can muster more bravado than the average bloke. How we, as a nation, got to where we are is another post for another time on probably an entirely different forum. 'Cause we're here to talk about good eats, sweet treats, and humorous moments in motherhood. So...enough about societal breakdown...let's talk about spinach. Full of iron, high in fiber, and low in calories with zero fat (on it's own), we should be packing this stuff onto our plates like there's no tomorrow. That is easier said than done. We have to liven it up a little, make it more loveable. Here is a lower-fat version of creamed spinach. All the flavor and deliciousness at just about 95 calories a serving - if you are able to think of 1/4 cup as a serving. Since portion control is not my strong suit, I'm sure my serving size topped out at about a cup and half...oops.

Creamed Spinach

4 (10oz.) bags of fresh spinach
1 1/3 cup low fat cottage cheese
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. pepper

Place spinach in a steamer basket and set in large pot containing 1-2 inches of boiling water. Cook, covered until spinach is bright green and just beginning to wilt, about 3 minutes. My steamer basket does not hold a terribly large quantity, so I had to steam each 10 oz. bag individually. Since it cooks up really quickly in 3 minutes or less, this was no biggie. If you are single or just cooking for 2-3 people, you may want to cut the recipe in half. Using tongs, remove spinach from steamer basket, squeezing to remove excess liquid. Allow to cool about five minutes, or until you can easily chop without burning yourself. Coarsely chop each batch of cooked spinach and set aside.
Combine all remaining ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and puree. Add 1/4 of the spinach and puree. Combine this mixture with the remaining chopped spinach in a large nonstick skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring occaisonally, untill heated through.