It just occurred to me that I haven’t given you any new recipes in a while. So, since it’s springtime and everything is bursting with vivid green freshness here, I thought of the cool, deep green of spinach. Here are some tasty recipes for your whole family’s dining pleasure…

If you’re looking for even more ideas for healthy and tasty meal options for your family, check out The 30 Day Meal Plan here.

Perhaps the superfood most associated with growing up strong and healthy is spinach. While the health benefits of spinach are legendary, getting your kids to eat it takes some effort. Its vibrant color and hearty leaves make it suspicious fare, despite the fact that it is bursting with nutrition and has a mild, versatile flavor. Spinach may have gotten a bad rap because for a long time the only way anyone served it was out of a can – how mushy, stinky and unappealing. However, there are so many delicious ways to let your family reap the nutritional benefits of fresh spinach. Here are four can’t-miss meal ideas:

Choco-Spinach Smoothie

Get the morning off to a great start with this energy-packed breakfast drink. The cocoa helps to mask both the flavor and the color of the spinach so you’re kids won’t think twice before they slurp it down.

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients into a blender and pulse for about 30 seconds, or until thoroughly combined. Add more almond milk to reach desired consistency.
  2. Serve in a to-go mug for a great breakfast on busy mornings.

 

Creamy Spinach Dip

Every kid loves dip, and this one disguises the goodness of spinach in a creamy, gooey sauce. Toasty sourdough bread makes this an irresistible treat. For an even healthier choice, skip the bread and use raw veggies for scooping up this delicious dip.

Ingredients:

  • 1 10 ounce box frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 cup non-fat sour cream, or Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 teaspoons dried onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 14 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 round sourdough bread loaf
  • Your favorite raw vegetables such as bell peppers, celery, or broccoli, etc. (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F (175C).
  2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except the bread and set aside.
  3. Slice a thin layer off the top of the bread. Hollow out the bottom piece of bread, leaving a 1/2-inch thick shell.
  4. Cut removed bread into 1 inch cubes. Arrange bread cubes in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet.
  5. Broil 6 inches from the heat for 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown, stirring once. Keep warm in a cloth-covered basket.
  6. Place bread shell on an ungreased baking sheet. Fill with the spinach dip. Bake shell, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes or until heated through.
  7. Serve with bread cubes for dipping.
  8. If you prefer to leave out the bread, skip steps 3-7. Place dip into a glass baking dish instead of the bread shell and bake as directed above.
  9. Arrange large pieces of raw veggies on a platter around the hot dip for serving.

Lasagna Roll-Ups

This is a fun alternative to regular lasagna, and the spinach is well hidden inside layers of noodles and cheese. Serve with garlic bread and a small salad, and watch your kids scrape their plates clean.

Ingredients:

  • 1 16 ounce box lasagna noodles
  • 1 pound Italian sausage, ground
  • 4 cups spaghetti sauce
  • 1 16 ounce container ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 10 ounce box frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • Extra mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses for topping

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F (190C).
  2. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions, then lay them flat on a sheet tray to cool.
  3. In a large pot, brown sausage, and then drain off excess fat.
  4. Add spaghetti sauce to pot with sausage and heat through.
  5. Mix cheeses, spinach, garlic, eggs and pepper in a medium bowl.
  6. Cover the bottom of a 9”x13” baking dish with a thin layer of spaghetti sauce.
  7. Spread 2 tablespoons of the spinach and cheese mixture onto a lasagna noodle, and roll up.
  8. Place in pan on top of sauce. Continue with remaining noodles until the pan is full.
  9. Top with remaining sauce and extra cheese, if desired.
  10. Bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes, or until golden and bubbly.

Spinach and Bacon Quiche

Even if your child can spot a leaf of spinach from across the kitchen, the aroma of bacon is sure to get them to the table. Traditionally served as a brunch item, this can easily become a light supper option as well. If you prefer to eliminate the calories contributed by the pie crust, just pour the filling into an empty pie pan and bake as directed. You can then call it a frittata instead of a quiche if you wish. It is delicious either way.

Ingredients:

  • 8 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 teaspoons pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly ground
  • 1 cup chopped fresh baby spinach, packed
  • 1/2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled*
  • 1 1/2 cups Swiss cheese, shredded
  • 1 pie crust, fitted to a 9-inch glass pie plate
  • 1 cup dry kidney beans, for blind baking the crust

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F (175C).
  2. Cover pie crust with aluminum foil, and spread beans in a layer over top.
  3. Blind bake crust for 10-12 minutes, or until edges are light brown.
  4. Combine the eggs, milk, pepper and nutmeg in a food processor or blender, and mix well.
  5. Layer the spinach, bacon and cheese in the bottom of the pie crust, and then pour the egg mixture on top.
  6. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until the egg mixture is set.
  7. Cool for 5 minutes, and cut into 8 wedges.
  8. Serve warm or at room temperature.

These recipes are so healthy and easy – the picky eaters in your house are sure to love them at first bite. To get a whole month’s worth of easy, mouth-watering and healthy meal ideas conveniently planned out for you, take a look at the 30 Day Meal Plan right now.


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