Popeye says “Eat more spinach!”

With the new year coming up, I’m sure everyone is contemplating “eating healthier” as a resolution. That isn’t my resolution, but I do want to eat more calcium-potassium-vitamin rich foods. Enter spinach. Ok, so I didn’t actually plan to make a dinner with spinach, we just happened to have a ton of it that needed to be used. But, I really do want to eat more calcium-potassium-vitamin rich foods, so this was a win-win, right? Anyway…

One of my favorite go-to dinners is rice with tomato sauce and cheese, and usually chicken – think chicken parmesan but over rice. In a pinch, I’ll eat this without the chicken. What can I say, I really like tomato sauce and cheese. Some time ago I had a tomato sauce dish similar to what I like to eat but with spinach and cheese, so I decided to try to replicate that. Let me tell you, the results were absolutely delicious. Then to give it more substance for J, I added 2 fried eggs on top. He was super skeptical about eggs with tomato sauce, but loved it as soon as he tasted it – he should just learn to listen to me 😛 The sauteed spinach is sort of an adaptation of Ina Garten’s garlic spinach recipe.

Sauteed Spinach with Tomato Sauce & Cheese

(I know, it needs a better title, I’m working on it)

1 1/2 pounds spinach leaves (rinsed well; or for a time saver, purchase it triple washed and ready to eat)
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons chopped garlic (~6 cloves)
salt (start with about 1 teaspoon, add more to your taste)
ground black pepper (start with about 1 teaspoon, add more to your taste)
1 15oz can tomato sauce
parmesan (any form works – I just used grated because that’s what I had)
cheddar cheese (shredded)
red pepper flakes (optional)

If your spinach is not pre-washed, rinse it well in cold water to make sure it’s very clean.
In a large frying pan or dutch oven, heat the olive oil, butter, and garlic, saute over medium heat for about 1 minute, but not until it’s browned. Add all the spinach, the salt, and pepper to the pot, toss it with the garlic and oil, cover the pot, and cook it for 2 minutes. Uncover the pot, turn the heat on high, and cook the spinach for another minute, stirring with a wooden spoon, until all the spinach is wilted. Lower the heat to medium and sprinkle liberally with parmesan and stir. Pour in the entire can of tomato sauce, as well as another healthy sprinkling of parmesan, salt, and pepper. Stir to incorporate all the ingredients. Stir until the tomato sauce begins to bubble. You may want to add more parmesan, salt, and pepper, depending on your taste. If you wish to add the red pepper flakes, add them now. (I personally don’t think these are necessary, as the dish is flavorful enough, but J loves everything spicy so I tested it out – it’s fine but not necessary).

Serve hot over white rice, and sprinkle with cheddar cheese. The heat from the sauce should melt the cheese. If you wish to make this dish more substantial, top with a fried egg per person.

Alternatively, you can put the sauce in an oven-safe dish and top with cheddar cheese, then let it bake for about 12 minutes (or until the cheese is bubbly and melted) at 350 degrees F.

I think this is a pretty tasty way to eat your spinach. This recipe easily made enough for four people, but J and I obliterated it between the two of us last night – both of us skipped lunch, don’t judge! lol.






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