Potato Spinach Soup

Between Christmas and New Years, my parents, youngest sister, and I were trying to use up items in their refrigerator, and were tired of leftovers and all of the heavy food that we’d have for the holidays.  One day, as the snow was falling, as the temperature was about to drop into the horrendous sub-zero Minnesota winter days, I looked through the cupboards and found some potatoes, cheese, cream cheese, and all the necessary ingredients except for spinach, and decided to throw together this recipe from the Minnesota Homegrown Cookbook.  It made six servings, which was a delightful amount for us to have without excessive leftovers and we were able to enjoy it with some ham sandwiches, based on other things that were in the refrigerator.  As we are now in Iowa, where it has again reached subzero temperatures, this recipe jumped out to me as something I wanted to be able to share with anyone looking for some respite with things you may have in your refrigerator and cupboards.

Potato Spinach Soup

Potato Spinach Soup

3 c potatoes, diced
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp lemon pepper
1 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped, or 1/2 tsp dried
1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped, or 1/2 tsp dried
1/4 c fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 lb fresh spinach, chopped
2 oz cream cheese
1/2 c grated parmesan cheese
1/2 c grated cheddar cheese

Put 5 cups hot water in a large saucepan.  Add the first seven ingredients.  Simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.  Add water if needed.  Add the rest of the ingredients.  Heat and stir until cheese is melted.  Salt and pepper to taste.

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Blackberry Spinach Salad

Summer is here!  With that, it’s salad season and I found several recipes I had written down for salads in one location or another.  This (very simple) recipe for blackberry spinach salad ended my day with some brightness and cheerfulness after several days of eating a quick meal here or there and whatever I could so glamorously shove in my mouth to either a) stay awake or b) provide some brief sustenance.  Then, as I planted my garden and saw the lettuce and spinach starting to appear, as well as some blackberry bushes I planted last year, I remembered this recipe and knew I wanted to put it together the next night.

Blackberry Spinach Salad

Blackberry Spinach Salad

3 cups baby spinach, rinsed and dried
1 pint fresh blackberries (or substitute strawberries, etc…)
6 ounces crumbled goat cheese
1 green onion, sliced
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional)

In a large bowl, toss together baby spinach, blackberries, goat cheese, green onion, and walnuts.  Serve with balsamic vinaigrette dressing

Spinach Tortellini Soup

onionsSo, last time I posted, it was about the turkey stock we made from the turkey we made last month. A couple days after we made it, I used the stock to make a soup which had become quite famous at my last workplace. I don’t think I’ve ever blogged about this before, but one of the most amazing women I ever met used to make Spinach Tortellini Soup every time someone on the floor had a birthday. I would make Garlic Bubble Bread to accompany it and we would feast in the break room over the lunch hour. There were never any leftovers, partially because the soup is addicting, and partially because once someone heard that is what we were eating, everyone would come in.

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Penne, Spinach, Asparagus, and Cashew Salad

It’s been the first week of summer here on campus.  With commencement last weekend, now we are celebrating the summer by writing annual reports, cleaning our offices, and developing programs we dreamed of doing this year and are excited to have in place for next year.  Yesterday, our division had some great end-of-year celebrating by spending the afternoon doing a service project in Cedar Rapids.  After it was over, we had a potluck and as I’m doing another round of preparing to move, I planned my contribution by looking at what was left in my pantry!  I made Penne, Spinach & Asparagus Salad, a recipe I found on the Epicurious site, originally from Bon Appetit magazine.  I love asparagus, almost as much as I love other springtime flavors, so before it’s out of season, I thought I should take advantage of cooking with this spring vegetable!
Penne, Spinach, Asparagus, and Cashew Salad
1 ½ lb asparagus spears, ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 ½ lb whole wheat penne
1 Tbsp plus ½ c olive oil
¾ c sliced green onions
6 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp soy sauce
6 oz baby spinach
1 c salted, roasted cashews, coarsely chopped
Cook asparagus in large pot of boiled salted water until just tender, about 3 minutes.  Using slotted spoon, transfer asparagus to small bowl.  Coo.  Add pasta to same pot and cook until just tender but still firm to bite.  Drain well.  Transfer pasta to very large bowl.  Toss with 1 Tbsp oil.  Cool.
Blend ½ c oil, green onions, vinegar and soy sauce in blender until smooth, about 2 minutes.  Pour over pasta.  Add asparagus, spinach and cashews; toss to coat.  Season with salt and pepper.