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Try adding spinach into every meal of the day

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Posted: Tuesday, March 4, 2014 11:05 am

Well I am on a Spinach kick — so I am sharing the amazing ideas and benefits with all of you!

Spinach — Wow this incredible vegetable has so many good qualities and benefits; chopped, julienned, blended or eaten raw. Spinach offers a good source of protein, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, folate, manganese, iron, calcium and potassium. It’s great for vision, skin, bones, brain and nervous function. Wow, what an amazing Veggie — you just gotta love it!

It nourishes eyes, strengthens bones, it’s anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant too.

Spinach has vitamins A, B2, B6, C and K. Really, how incredible and one cup has nearly 20 percent of RDA dietary fiber which aids in digestion, helps prevent constipation, maintains low blood sugar and is known to curb overeating. Some suggestions for use — add spinach to many of your meals at breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Breakfast — Smoothies, omelets, eggs benedict

• Smoothie — Frozen banana, 1 cup frozen berries, green tea steeped and cooled, handful of spinach, and the frozen fruit aids in not needing as much ice which makes for a more flavorful drink. Put it all into the blender, whizz and enjoy. You can also add Protein powder.

• Eggs — Stir fry it up with some olive oil, salt and pepper, a little sliver or two of garlic and put it on an English muffin and add a fried egg. You can add some melted cheese or a cheese sauce made by making a Rue (melt butter and add flour and then add in some grated cheese and mix to melt until smooth). Shake on some hot sauce. Green and red make an amazing addition.

• Add it into your omelets for flavor and color.

Lunch — Sandwiches and add a smoothie with your sandwich for an extra punch — no pun intended!

• Sandwiches — Use spinach instead of lettuce or you can roll it in a tortilla that has been spread with cream cheese. Top with Spinach, thin sliced tomatoes and turkey or any meat or cheese you prefer then roll up and slice either in pinwheels or just in half and enjoy.

Spread a slice of good crusty bread with a cream cheese that is a mix of cream cheese , goat cheese, garlic, thyme, parsley and Salt and Pepper). Top with thin sliced cucumbers and spinach. Slice and enjoy!

Dinner — Add to any course

• Soup — Add to chicken noodle, Minestrone, cream of spinach or cream of corn with some julienned spinach on top.

• Salad — Along with your regular lettuce, add spinach or substitute it with all Spinach. I like to do spinach and arugula.

• Lasagna — I like to add spinach in the layers of my lasagna.

• Meatloaf — Add some spinach to your family recipe of meatloaf for an added flavor, some color and health benefits too.

• Pasta — I really like to add spinach to my pasta. I will just add olive oil and garlic to a pan, add a few handfuls of spinach that I have julienned, stir fry it quickly, then mix into a bowl of pasta with either a marinara sauce and meatballs or julienned in a garlic olive oil sauce with a quick squeeze of lemon and zest or white garlic sauce, some sautéed shrimp on top and sliced cooked zucchini.

• Rice — Make your favorite rice and add some fine chopped spinach. While the rice is hot, mix it in and then grate on some Pepper Jack cheese and salt and pepper, mix all and put into a casserole pan, then into the oven for about 10 minutes to melt the cheese or you can make the rice and then throw it all back into the pot you made the rice in originally. Mix all and enjoy. I like this idea with chicken and meat. Another twist for your rice dish can be adding Jack cheese and sprinkling in some dill for a little different taste idea. I like the dill with fish.

• Vegetable — Grate some zucchini and finely chopped spinach, cook all in a fry pan with 2 teaspoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil and one small clove of garlic diced fine. You can grate in some Parmesan cheese at the very end when ready to serve. Sometimes I will add a few tablespoons of hot water to the spinach while it is cooking to kind of steam cook it too.

I hope you enjoy using spinach in all of these new ways and experiment with it yourself. It has such amazing benefits that we should all try and use this vegetable so much more.

Shelly Guantone was raised in the Oakland Hills and lives in Lodi with her husband, Nick Guantone. They have three children and three grandchildren. She and her husband own and operate Guantonio’s Mobile Wood Fired Oven.

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