Saturday, December 29, 2007

Spinach bars

The Recipe:

3 eggs
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup skim milk
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
2 boxes frozen chopped spinach (10 oz. each), defrosted, squeezed dry
1 lb. Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
1 small onion, chopped

Preheat oven to 350. Whisk eggs, milk, salt, baking powder, flour and several grinds of pepper in very large bowl. Add onions, spinach and cheese; mix well with a rubber spatula.

Spray a 9x13" glass baking dish with pan spray. Spread spinach mixture into it. Bake for 40 minutes or until the top is a nice shade of golden brown. Let cool for a minimum of 10 minutes before considering cutting. (I usually cut into 48 squares.)

The Story:

I had something quite like these at an office party many years ago. When I saw the recipe, I was appalled at the amount of butter and fat in it. This version, while still a little heavy with all that cheese, is much lighter. (Really, it is!) You can certainly use low-fat cheese too.

Whenever I make these, they're a hit. They're good hot, warm, or cold out of the fridge. I often wrap 2 or 3 for the kids' lunch bags.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Ginger pecans

The Recipe:

5 cups pecan halves
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp water
2 tsp canola oil

Preheat oven to 325. Spread nuts evenly in two half-sheet pans (rimmed cookie sheets) and toast in oven until lightly brown, about 12 minutes, switching the pans halfway through. Meanwhile, combine the sugar, salt and ginger in a small bowl.

Mix the honey, water and oil with a silicone spatula or a wooden spoon in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until it boils. Add the pecans and stir over medium heat until the liquid has evaporated, about 3 or 4 minutes. Pour out into a large bowl and toss with the spiced sugar mixture. Spread out on parchment or silicone pan liners to cool. Try not to eat too many now, they really are better when cool.

The Story:

Easy and tasty; my favorite kind of food. These are a variation on a recipe from Martha Stewart's Hors D'Oeuvres Handbook- a very handy cookbook.

I saved jelly jars all year and have been filling them with these nuts to give away to co-workers and neighbors this holiday season. A nice change of pace from the ubiquitous plate of holiday cookies.