Spinach Pie and Dismissing Healthy Recipes Unnecessarily (and my paranoia)

Hi everyone. A few things to follow up on before we get into the meat of this blog: In a recent blog, I wrote that I was self conscious about people seeing the intimate contents of my recycle bins in front of my house. Well, guess what? A father from my daughter’s school across the street stopped me this morning and said, “I see you drink a lot of seltzer.” “Huh”? I said. “Oh, I saw a lot of bottles in your recycle bin”. Paranoid? I think not!

Also, I did receive a new Calphalon wok after sending them my old, peeling one, so if you feel your pans are damaged, it is worth sending them in for an exchange.

O.K., so a reader wrote this comment after reading my low carb, low fat, crustless quiche recipe and I think many of you may be able to relate :

“I’m lovin the blog but I must confess that when I hear low fat cheese in a recipe it makes me not want to make it….cheese is fat, plain and simple right? There’s tasty fat and non tasty fat. Really, how many calories am i going to save using untasty fat? When I cook I mostly just want to make something most people will really love. I need the love!!!!! Angie”

Thank you for your honesty, Angie! I agree that if a recipe looks too healthy, I am often turned off. It makes me feel like I will be unsatisfied and deprived and I do not like to feel either. Instead of dismissing a recipe that may have other appealing attributes besides the unpleasant low fat cheese, for example, how about taking a second to think, “Hmmm, how can I change the cheese to full fat or at least mix it with full fat cheese to make it healthy AND appetizing?”

She brings up another good point about wanting our guests to enjoy what they’re eating so we will be a “success” in the kitchen. That is the challenge of healthy cooking and we will only be able to achieve that goal if we experiment enough to find something that is both tasty and healthy. Start with the type of foods you like, (Chinese? Indian? Greek?) and modify the fattening, less healthy recipes until you like what you are eating. Then you will be giving your family, your guests and yourself the gift of healthy food and you will receive much praise. The love, I can’t guarantee but it will come eventually I hope!

Here is a healthier version of Ina Garten’s Spinach Pie which is a great Breakfast, lunch or dinner. Enjoy!

Spinach Pie:
# 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (approx. 2 onions)
# 2 tablespoons Earth Balance Spread or olive oil
# 1 teaspoon kosher salt
# 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
# 1 1 lb packages frozen chopped or whole leaf spinach, defrosted and drained
# 3 extra-large egg, beaten
# 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
# 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional)
# 3 tablespoons dry plain breadcrumbs
# 1/4-1/2 lb feta cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
# 1/4 cup pine nuts (pignoli)


1. Preheat the over to 375 degrees.

2. In a medium saute pan on medium heat, saute the onions with the olive oil until translucent and slightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the salt and pepper and allow to cool slightly.

3. Squeeze out and discard as much of the liquid from the spinach as possible. Saute with a little olive oil or Earth Balance. Put the cooked spinach into a bowl and then gently mix in the onions, egg, nutmeg, Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, feta and pignoli.

4. Butter an ovenproof, 8-inch baking pan and pour the spinach mixture into it. Bake for 1/2 hour-40 minutes, until knife comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Serve at room temperature.


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