Tag: spinach

Labor-Inducing Spinach Artichoke Dip

Just kidding. Sort of.

While there’s no scientific evidence that a particular food can jump-start labor, my water broke within one hour of eating this dip.

Adapted from Slate’s “You’re Doing it Wrong,” I threw this together for Thanksgiving. At 33 weeks pregnant, my husband and I made the short drive to Houston for the holiday. My 94-year-old grandmother lives there, and some other family drove in from Arkansas.

We left Austin with the uncooked dip in tow, compression stockings squeezed onto my swollen legs. I napped most of the way (Aside: I have a superhuman ability to fall asleep anywhere, anytime, within moments. It’s great for me; not so great for whomever I’m roadtripping with).

We exchanged hugs and a few jokes about whether my grandmother’s or my ankles were more swollen, and then the seven of us sat down with paper plates of dip, veggies, pita chips and Panettone bread. We’re not the kind of people to postpone eating for decorum’s sake.

I sat on a scratchy old, yellow chair with my legs stretched out in the living room, talking with my big sister. Something must have registered on my face, as she suddenly asked if I was okay. I nodded, and excused myself. I can only describe the feeling as unexpected dampness.

Surprise! I’ll leave out the details, but suffice it to say my water broke on that ragged yellow chair while my husband was jogging and my dad was sleeping. A few phone calls and we headed to a Houston ER.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Houston hospital! This is about four hours after eating dip. If I’d known it would be the last I could eat for 20 hours, I’d have consumed the entire pan.

My big sister graciously blotted up the poor chair, and grandmother is still none the wiser. Our son was born at 6:30 a.m. the Friday after Thanksgiving. No word yet on whether he likes spinach.

So if you’re pregnant and feeling ready to pop, why not give this recipe a whirl? Or just make it to enjoy; it’s easy and delicious.

8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 3 lemons
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper – to taste
Salt and black pepper
2, 15-oz cans marinated artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

Heat the oven to 450°F. Put the cream cheese, Parmesan, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and crushed red pepper in a large bowl. Season with salt and black pepper, and stir to combine. Stir in the artichoke hearts, spinach and mozzarella. Transfer to an 9×13 pan or a gratin dish and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Serve warm with crisp crackers and crunchy veggies.


Breakfast on the Fly

To quote a friend, “It’s just one of those weeks.” Crazy busy at work, with late nights and early mornings. Add in my 6.15am workouts and this lady is running on fumes and caffeine. BUT, I also know that I require good, quality food to keep up my energy and meet deadlines without turning into the grumpy hungry hater monster.

Breakfast – while standing at the bus stop.

Enter the incredible, edible egg! Here’s my fast as lightning breakfast on the fly:

– 1 egg, cracked into a microwave safe bowl

– fresh spinach- dash of water

– 1 TBS pesto

– 1 TBS goat cheese

– wrap, any flavor

Whip the egg and water and pesto, top with spinach.  Microwave for 2 minutes. Slide cooked contents out onto wrap. I’m using a rye wrap here, but anything works, also flatbreads.  Smear goat cheese on the wrap and roll up, burrito style. Grab a napkin and race out the door! In less than 4 minutes, using ingredients that are easy to keep on hand, I get a breakfast that fills me up and keeps me focused. Until at least 10.30am, which is now. Hello, Luna bar…

Dressing Up Spaghetti

Perhaps one of the best things about cooking is realizing which flavors  blend together. I often take a basic recipe then add a pinch of this, a shake of that, until it ends up better – more intense flavors, more depth, and yes, prettier.  I admit this experimentation is not always successful (as noted by my failed habanero-chili salt-whiting fish experiment earlier this week). But I’d say I’m at least 75% from the free throw line.

Following a P90X workout, this adult version of chicken spaghetti hit the spot:

1 box thin spaghetti

Chicken Spaghetti with Spinach

1 tomato, diced
1/4 cup or so dry red wine
1/2 cup frozen spinach
1 jar marinara sauce
1/4 cup dried garlic chips
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp garlic sea salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 oz. goat cheese
2 sage leaves, finely chopped
Olive Oil

Heat a medium- large skillet over low heat. Add olive oil and garlic chips. Throw in 2 chicken breasts, salting and peppering each side, turning every 3 minutes or so. You want a golden brown sear on each side, with garlic chips sticking to the chicken. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil with 1 tsp. of salt added.

When the chicken is 3/4 way cooked (it’s okay to cut it to gauge doneness), either remove chicken from pan or leave in pan and cut it into 1/2 to 1/4 inch strips. Add diced tomato, marinara, wine, red pepper flakes and garlic sea salt. Heat thoroughly, stirring occasionally.

Add pasta to boiling water and follow directions to cook al dente. For the final 5-7 minutes of pasta cooking, add frozen spinach and chopped sage to the marina sauce pan, breaking it up and stirring as it dethaws. (There’s no reason to dethaw in advance unless you like steaming piles of wet spinach on your counter.)

Drain pasta, return it to pan. Serve noodles with a ladle of sauce and dollop of goat cheese. If you’re feeling fancy, stick a sage leaf in the goat cheese for effect. Viola!