Posts tagged baguette

Finals Edition #2: Spinach

Spinach is one of the foods on our “brain list” this week.  It’s packed with vitamins and long-term memory aids.  Unfortunately for many people, this green tends to need a lot of help when it comes to the taste department.  It’s really great in salad, and for a light spring dish, mix it with strawberries and the dressing I used over the fruit salad from yesterday’s post.  It also works easily in sandwiches or omelets.  But if you’re looking for something a little more comforting than just a salad (go ahead, reward yourself for that all-nighter you pulled), try this hot spinach and artichoke dip.  It’s cheesy and delicious, especially with bread or tortilla chips.  For a healthier option, try it with vegetables like red peppers strips.  It’s easier than it looks, but it does take some time, so make it on a night you have a little free time to relax and de-stress.  We used the recipe for Applebee’s version of the dip, which can be found on RecipeZaar.  

You’ll need:

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare the alfredo sauce and make sure you keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t burn.
  3. Thaw the frozen spinach using the defrost option in the microwave, unless it’s already thawed.
  4. Mince and chop the garlic, shred the cheese and soften the cream cheese.
  5. Chop the artichokes.  A good easy way to do this is rinse and drain them then put them back in the can and using a knife, mash them up in the can.
  6. Combine all the ingredients into a medium sized bowl and stir everything together, or if you have a food processor use it: it really helps in breaking up the artichokes
  7. Once the ingredients are thoroughly combined, transfer the mixture to a baking pan.  I used an oven-safe bowl which worked just as well, it’s up to you how you want to serve the dip.
  8. Sprinkle some of the remaining parmesan over the top of the mixture.
  9. Cook at 350 for 25-30 minutes, or until the cheese is crispy brown and melted.
  10. As soon as you put the dip into the oven, slice up the baguette (if that’s what you’re having it with), lightly drizzle each slice with olive oil and sprinkle black pepper and a little shredded parmesan over each. Put the bread into the same oven for about 12-15 minutes.  It’s best if you time it so they’ll come out at the same time.
  11. Let both cool before serving.

Here’s the visual guide:

 

Prepare the alfredo sauce

 

Thaw the frozen spinach

 

Rinse, drain and chop the artichokes

 

Combine all the ingredients and mix together

 

Transfer the mixture into an oven-safe bowl or a dish

 

Slice the bread and prepare with olive oil, black pepper and cheese

 

Put both into the 350 degree oven

 

Leave the bread in for 12-15 minutes, and the dip for 25-30 minutes

 

Other great spinach and artichoke dips to try:

Paula Deen’s recipe at the Food Network: a little on the Spicy side

A recipe with red pepper in it at About.Com

A bunch of different spinach and artichoke dip options from Kraft Foods

Finals week snack suggestion:

Trail mix! Nuts a great source of B-vitamins, which fight against stress.  They’re pretty high in fat though (don’t worry healthy fat), so stick to smaller portions, about 1/4 cup or so.  Almonds, pistachios and walnuts are all good for your immune system.  Mix in some Honey Nut Cheerios (or another cereal) to mix it up and add a little sweetness.  This is a great snack you can make a lot of and then throw in a bag to bring with you on the go.

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Who said leftovers had to be the worst part?

I hate leftovers.  Hate, hate hate.  But when you’re living on a low budget and don’t have time to create a show-stopper every night, you occasionally do have to turn to them, and in this case, it’s actually a pretty great alternative.  Since i make the bruschetta recipe that I shared with you in my last post so often, I figured I’d follow up with a way to use the leftover bruschetta for lunch or dinner the next day.  It’s an easy open-faced chicken and bruschetta sandwich, and it’s almost as good as eating it fresh!

You’ll need:

  • The leftover bruschetta
  • If you have leftover french baguette (a decent sized chunk), then you’re all set; otherwise you might want to go buy some (it’s cheap!) or use another type of bread you have in your kitchen.
  • Shredded mozzarella or parmesan cheese (you probably have this leftover as well): about a tablespoon or two
  • Grilled chicken breast.  I usually have a lot of leftover chicken, which is why this recipe works out perfectly, but if you don’t you’ll need one boneless breast
  • Black pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • olive oil

Directions:

  1. If you don’t have leftover chicken that’s been prepared already, you’ll need to either grill or saute it in a pan, and using Italian or Balsamic dressing would be your best bet.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Slice the chunk of baguette in half and lightly coat each side with olive oil.
  4. Sprinkle garlic salt and black pepper over each piece.
  5. Layer on the shredded cheese, covering the entire surface of each piece, but don’t over-do it, otherwise the bread will take longer to crisp
  6. Place the two slices of bread on a baking sheet separately (see picture below) in the oven for about 15-17 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the edges are a crispy golden brown.
  7. When the bread is done, take it out and give it a minute to cool before adding the toppings.
  8. First layer on the bruschetta (you can add it to one side or both sides of the bread, depending on how hungry you are).
  9. Then add your sliced grilled chicken: thin slices work the best, since it’s already a pretty hefty sandwich. 
  10. If you’d like top it off with some black pepper or parsley, but not too much, since the bruschetta already has a lot of spices in it.


And that’s all!  If you already have all the leftovers, it’s a zero-cost meal.  Enjoying the sandwich with a salad makes for a healthy option: you’ve got your greens and protein covered.  Not too mention it’s delicious and will keep you full for the rest of the day.  Enjoy!

Here’s a picture step by step:

The short and sweet ingredients list:

Slice the baguette evenly:

Brush with olive oil and sprinkle black pepper and garlic salt, then add the shredded cheese:

Throw the bread in the oven at 375 for about 15-17 minutes:

When it’s out, give it a few minutes then add the bruschetta topping and grilled chicken (sorry this picture is blurry!)

Now you’re ready to serve, here’s the finished product:

Looking for some other recipes to incorporate leftovers into?  Check out these great resources:

TheLeftoverChef.com: just like it sounds, tons of great leftover recipes

A leftover recipes index from TerisKitchen.com

One of my favorite websites that shares recipes using leftovers to save time (perfect!)

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