Sunday, February 21, 2016

Popeye Was Right, Spinach Packs a Punch!

   Has never been tastier!
If you ever watched Popeye (or just lived on planet Earth), then you already know that spinach will make you big and strong.  Well, Spinach is good for you, but just how good is it?
   Spinach has the highest concentrations of nutrients, fat burning compounds, vitamins and minerals to protect and heal the body. It contains a wide array of proteins, protective photo-chemicals and healthy bacteria.  Spinach really is a nutritional powerhouse, containing large amounts of vitamins K, A, and C, folate, magnesium, calcium and iron.

   The folate in spinach helps to lower the risk of dementia and cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke. Folate also reduces the risk of colorectal, ovarian, and breast cancers and helps stop uncontrolled cell growth, one of the primary characteristics of all cancers.
   Spinach contains a carotanoid that kills prostate cancer cells, and it also prevents the cells from multiplying.  The vitamin C and beta-carotene in spinach help protect against colon cancer and aids in  fighting inflammation, making them integral components in the prevention of dementia, especially in older adults.
   Spinach is loaded with vitamin K (one cup of cooked spinach provides over 1,000% of the recommended daily amount!), which builds strong bones by helping absorb calcium.
   Spinach is also rich in lutein, which protects against macular degeneration, eye disease, and it helps keep artery walls clear of cholesterol buildup.
   Finally, there is the Popeye complex (well, that's what I like to call it!)... Spinach helps to build cleaner muscles and tissues, aid your digestive system function and more effectively protect you against disease and illness.
   Because fresh spinach is just so awesome, it should be a daily staple in your diet.  Every grocery store, year round, no matter where you live, carries spinach.  So you have NO excuses not to be adding some to your menu!  You'd be hard pressed to find a more nutritionally and culinarily sound green. So do your body a favor and aim for a few ounces -- raw, sauteed, or lightly steamed, every day.

- Sneak it in... Add a handful of fresh spinach to your next fruit smoothie or juice. It'll change the color but not the taste.

- Spinach is highly susceptible to pesticides, so stick to organic.

Spinach Quiche
1 Tbl Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
10 ounce spinach, Chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
4 oz package feta cheese , crumbled
4 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
1  pie crust, deep dish, unbaked
2 eggs
3 egg whites
1 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste

1- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
2- Saute garlic, onion, and mushrooms in evoo until lightly browned.  Stir in spinach.
3- Place vegetables, feta and cheddar cheese in crust. Season with salt and pepper.
4- Whisk together eggs and milk. Pour into the pastry shell, allowing egg mixture to thoroughly combine with spinach mixture.
5- Bake in preheated oven for 40 - 50 minutes, until set in center. Allow to stand 10 minutes before serving.
6- Enjoy!

Creamed Spinach Stuffed Tomato
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fennel, thinnly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lb baby spinach
2 Tbl parmesan cheese, grated
4 large beefsteak tomatoes
1- Saute fennel in evoo, add garlic, season with salt and pepper and saute until translucent.
2- Add spinach and heavy cream to the garlic and fennel and cook until spinach is wilted and add parmesan.
3- Preheat broiler.
4- Trim the tops off tomatoes and scoop out the seeds. Stuff tomatoes with creamed spinach broil to lightly brown.
5- Enjoy!

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