Saturday, August 18, 2007

No more spinach...

Growing up I loved watching Popeye the Sailor and had a videotape of a few different Popeye cartoons that I would watch over and over. But however many times I saw him squeeze open that can of spinach and swallow it in one big gulp, I could not be convinced that spinach was something to be enjoyed. So growing up I never ate spinach.

In fact, I never had spinach (unless I'm suppressing some horrible memory) until about 5 months ago when my mom brought over a salad to dinner one day that had baby spinach in it. And I liked it. From then on I was hooked; in salads, sauteed as a side dish, stuffed into meat, and the list goes on and on. Spinach is a very versatile vegetable.

The first thing I ever made with spinach was stuffed chicken. And Thursday night, that's how I prepared my leafy green vegetable. Last time I had made spinach stuffed chicken, the filling had ricotta cheese in it. I had also thought about mixing it with feta cheese, but since I was already making au gratin potatoes, I didn't want to have cheese in the chicken, too. So I went with something simple, as usual, and put together what seemed right to me.

Spinach Stuffed Chicken
  • 4 oz frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 3 oz plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder (approximately)
  • dash of ground nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 boneless/skinless chicken breasts (mine were about 4-5 oz each)

Preheat oven to 375.

Mix together first five ingredients.

Put each piece of chicken between sheets of plastic wrap and pound until 1/4" thick. Justin actually does this step for me and uses a small cast iron skillet.

Divide mixture evenly between pieces of chicken, spreading evenly over entire breast. Roll each piece up, jelly-roll style, and place seam side down in a baking dish and place in the oven for 45 minutes.

I told you it was simple. Despite the minimal ingredients, this chicken was great and the filling would be a great base to add more yummy things to. The only thing Justin told me about this chicken, other than it was really good, was that this was the last time we were having spinach for awhile. That was the third night in a row that dinner had consisted of chicken and spinach, and he does not want to get kidney stones. Now this knowledge of spinach causing kidney stones does not come from any medical background, but from an episode of Reba where Brock gets kidney stones from eating too much spinach. Of course, spinach does contain large amounts of oxalate which reduce the body's ability to absorb calcium and can lead to kidney stones. Blah, blah, blah...