Weekend Cooking Inspiration

Weekend Cooking Inspiration- Rainbow Chard, Greens Casserole, Spinach Mushroom Lasagna Rolls, and Shepherd’s Pie

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It’s getting cold so I’m really enjoying cooking. I love the smell of things sizzling and baking- plus it warms up my apartment. I like to light a few candles while I cook- it’s nice to be able to see the warm flickering glow of a fire even without a working fireplace.

Above are some of my fresh and local finds from last week. Gigantic rainbow chard (the leaves remind me of something prehistoric), long island leeks, and fresh spinach from upstate. Greens are gorgeous this time of year, and dirt cheap.

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First I made this. It’s my special greens casserole that I like to make. I’m not a big fan of greens, but the fella loves them and I know they’re good for you. This is my favorite way to prepare them, they come out creamy and decadent tasting. I don’t use a recipe, but it’s always delicious. Here is the basic idea of the recipe, feel free to riff:

2 bunches rainbow or swiss chard

2 bunches spinach

3 leeks

2-4 (ish) cups of either almond milk, regular milk, or half and half

1-2 cups parmesan, finely grated

2-8 cloves garlic (depends on what you like)

a few tablespoons olive oil (or you could use butter)

toss in some salt

a bit of flour

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Clean the greens, and slice everything (make sure leaves are a reasonable bite size – discard any large veins).
  • Grate parmesan, anywhere between 1-2 cups. Set aside.
  • Take the celery looking part of the swiss chard, leeks, and garlic if you’re using any, and saute for about 10-15 minutes in olive oil. Gradually add in spinach, stirring and letting it cook a little- then gradually add in chard leaves cooking for maybe 7 minutes.
  • Set all greens mixture aside in an oven safe pan (I have used pyrex and dutch ovens, both work well).
  • Mix grated parmesan into greens mixture, evenly. Toss in some salt now too if you like.
  • In separate saucepan pour in whatever milk you’re using, I think for this amount of greens I used maybe 3 cups almond milk. Heat it slowly until bubbling, then gradually whisk in a few tablespoons of flour, combining carefully. This won’t look very thick, don’t worry- it thickens a lot in the oven.
  •  Now pour the milk into the greens casserole dish. There should be about 3/4 inch of spinach rising above the milk you pour in, so that should help you judge the amount.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes. Done!

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Believe it or not, I still had leftover spinach after making my greens casserole. So I made these awesome little lasagna rolls.

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They were stuffed with sauteed mushrooms, spinach, garlic, and ricotta- but you could really put anything in them. I think next I might try a broccoli pesto filling, the broccoli has been looking especially good lately!

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Lastly, I made shepherd’s pie! I’d like to point out right now that there is a difference between shepherd’s pie and cottage pie, the former being made with lamb and the latter containing beef. Lamb is fairly expensive so I load mine up with lots of veggies to stretch it out. I finally had the forethought to photograph it as I was putting the mashed potato topping on so that you can see all the goodness- but of course I finished topping the whole thing and then baked it.

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