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Weekday go-to dinners

I am trying to come up with some new ideas for fast, healthy and relatively inexpensive weekday dinners. Yeah, I know, choose 2...

I'll start:

Spinach Squares (modified from Recipes for a Small Planet)
2-3 eggs
6 Tbs. flour
1 lb. cottage cheese
1/2 lb. grated yellow cheese (I use about half that!)
pinch salt (I omit)
1 pkg. fresh spinach (I use Trader Joe's frozen)
wheat germ - optional (I don't like the sweet taste)
1/3 cup milk

Beat flour and eggs in a VERY large bowl. Mix in everything else. Sprinkle w/wheat germ and pour into greased (I use pan spray) baking dish. (I double the recipe and use a disposable half-steam pan.)

Bake at 350 for 45 min. Needs more like an hour to 1:15 if doubled.

The doubled recipe served with a pot of rice fed 3 teenage boys and 2 adults last night. That translates to 8-10 portions.

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  1. Can I use a bottle of sauce, or is that cheating? If not ...

    2 packages extra firm tofu, 1" cubes
    1 can pineapple chunks
    1 bag frozen red, green, and yellow pepper mix from Whole Foods
    1 bag frozen spinach or fresh spinach or some chopped broccoli or chopped bok chok
    1 bottle World Harbor Sweet Sour Sauce or 1/2 bottle Soy Vey Island Teriaki

    Mix everything together in a casserole dish and bake at 375 for about 15 minutes.

    Serve with rice.

    7 Replies
    1. re: mamaleh

      Pasta with fresh salmon, (or cheese, or leftover meat or fish). Use 1/3 lb fresh salmon for 2 people.

      Heat water for ziti or similar pasta. This recipe is for 2 but it multiplies to the size of your family.
      While the water is heating, make a quick marinara sauce from a good brand of boxed or canned tomatoes and an onion. (use 14 oz. tomatoes and one small onion for two people) - I don't usually used jarred marinara, but it seems as though you could.
      Slice salmon into strips ~1/3" thick as you cut it from the skin. Toss together with marinara and cooked ziti. It will begin to turn opaque very quickly.
      When it does quickly toss in 1 bag baby spinach, and toss until spincah is thoroughly coated. it will wilt even as you are transferring the meal onto plates (use pasta bowls if you have them.) Grind fresh pepper over each serving. Use 1 bag spinach for every 2 servings. It is the wonderful way spinach tastes when it is hot but not really cooked that makes this special.

      You can sub cheese or leftover meat or fish for the fresh salmon. But you have to use fresh, baby spinach.

      It reheats well for lunch in the office microwave the day after.

      1. re: AdinaA

        I buy the frozen salmon at Costco. I assume that would be ok?

        It's cute that so far all 3 recipes have spinach. Makes sense, this way I don't have to make a separate vegetable.

        Thanks AdinaA!

        1. re: SoCal Mother

          I don't see why not. As long as the spinach is fresh. Fresh and frozen spinach are just not the same vegetable.

      2. re: mamaleh

        Mamaleh, NOTHING is cheating! This is not a cooking contest, this is real life!

        Would the Kikoman terikai work? It's slightly less expensive because I can get it at Target.

        Thanks!

        1. re: SoCal Mother

          I don't know why it would not work. I would probably add more pineapple and its juice to sweeten it up a bit.

        2. re: mamaleh

          Looks great and I've got all the ingredients in the fridge... definitely going to try it next week.

          Do you defrost the vegetables or use them frozen?

        3. Obviously not a full meal but I enjoy this Spinach Egg Drop Soup recipe, from Food & Wine Magazine:

          5 cups low sodium chicken broth
          3 inch piece fresh ginger (2 inches thinly sliced, 1 inch peeled and julienned)
          1 tsp white pepper
          2 eggs (lightly beaten)
          2 cups fresh spinach

          Bring the broth to boil with sliced ginger and 1/2 tsp of the white pepper. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes, then strain out the ginger slices. Add the julienned ginger and bring back to a boil. Lower heat and stir in eggs, breaking into strands. Cook 30 seconds, then add spinach and remove from heat. Season with salt and remaining white pepper to taste.

          It's fast, relatively healthy, and cheap (recipe as written shouldn't cost more than $4). If you're not a huge ginger fan, definitely cut down the amount in the recipe because it is a strong ginger flavor as written.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ysteichman

            More spinach???? Sounds yummy though.

          2. What's "yellow cheese?" I make something similar, but with a bag of (defrosted) frozen spinach, veggies left from another meal, and whatever flavorful cheese is in the fridge - brie, parm, pepperjack...

            2 Replies
            1. re: cheesecake17

              I think the reference is to american 'cheese'

              1. re: weinstein5

                No!!! I use shredded mozzarella. The original recipe called for "hard cheese." I said yellow cheese as opposed to cottage cheese and not anything too spicy. Somehow I think that 1/2 lb (the original amount) of brie would be a bit too too...