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Pat’s Pantry: Popeye the Sailor Man’s favorite food

By Pat Mills

Spinach was introduced in the 10th Century. In 1533, Catherine, queen of France, fancied spinach so much that she insisted it be served at every meal. The United States is the world’s second-largest producer of spinach. Enough history lessons. I find that I use spinach a lot in cooking. This spinach bacon quiche is good for breakfast, supper or anytime. – Pat

Spinach bacon quiche

4 eggs
2 cups of milk
1-¼cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
¼ cup finely chopped onion
4 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground mustard
¼ teaspoon paprika
1 package (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1 unbaked pastry shell (9 inch)

In a large bowl, beat eggs; whisk in milk, 1 cup cheese, onion, bacon, salt, mustard and paprika. Add spinach. Pour into pie shell. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Yield: 6 servings. Note: this made a lot and I use 2 unbaked pie shells.

Spinach garlic soup

1 package (10 oz) fresh spinach, trimmed and coarsely chopped
4 cups of chicken broth
½ cup shredded carrots
½ cup chopped onion
8 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup butter or margarine
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup whipping cream
¼ cup milk
½ teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

In a 5-qt. Dutch oven, bring spinach, broth and carrots to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat; cool to lukewarm. Meanwhile, in a skillet, sauté onion and garlic in butter until onion is tender, about 5-10 minutes. Add flour; cook and stir over low heat for 3-5 minutes. Add to spinach mixture. Puree in small batches in a blender or food processor until finely chopped. Place in a large saucepan. Add cream, milk, pepper and nutmeg; heat through but do not boil. Yield: 4-6 servings.

Make-ahead spinach
manicotti

1 carton (15-oz) ricotta cheese
1 package (10-oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1-1/2 cups (6-oz) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
¾ cup shredded parmesan cheese, divided
1 egg
2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
2 jars (28 oz each) spaghetti sauce with meat
1-1/2 cups water
1 package (8 oz) manicotti shells

In a large bowl, combine ricotta, spinach, 1 cup mozzarella, ¼ cup parmesan, egg, parsley, onion powder. Pepper and garlic powder. Combine the spaghetti sauce and water; spread 1 cup sauce in an ungreased 13 x 9 x 2-in baking dish. Stuff uncooked manicotti with spinach mixture; arrange over sauce. Pour remaining sauce over manicotti. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and parmesan. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until heated through. Yield: 6-8 servings.

Spinach cheese bake

3 tablespoons butter or margarine
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups milk
2 cups (8 oz) shredded process American cheese
1 package (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1-1/2 cups soft breadcrumbs
3 eggs, lightly beaten
½ teaspoon garlic salt
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon pepper

In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt butter; blend in flour until smooth. Cook and stir for 1-2 minutes. Gradually stir in milk; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in cheese until melted. Add spinach, breadcrumbs, eggs and seasonings; mix well. Spoon into an ungreased 1-1/2 qt. baking dish. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until lightly browned. Yield: 6-8 servings.

FOOD FACTS

• To prevent the fat from splattering when frying sausage, try flouring them lightly.
• To avoid fresh-baked bread from getting moldy, try wrapping the bread in waxed paper and storing in the refrigerator.

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