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Turkey Meatball & Spinach Soup

In Soups and Stews On January 25, 2016 0 Comments

Here’s a delicious soup that’ll keep you warm in the next few months. This meatball and spinach soup is made with ground turkey but you can use beef, lamb or pork. Fresh spinach and some carrots are added to the broth – this makes it low-cal and healthy.

Prep time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

1 pound ground dark turkey meat, beef, lamb or pork
1/2 cup grated onion (brown or white)
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 large carrot, peeled and minced
1/3 cup finely chopped flatleaf, Italian parsley
3/4 teaspoon salt
Dash grated nutmeg (optional)
8 to 10 cups chicken broth
6 cups chopped, fresh spinach or chard (or a combination of both)
Salt, to taste

1. In a large, glass or porcelain bowl, combine the ground meat, onion, egg, 3 tablespoons of the minced carrots, parsley, salt and nutmeg.

2. Mix with a fork or with your hands (you can use plastic cooks’ gloves to mix with hands) until mixture is uniform.

3. Shape and form meatballs to measure 1-1/2-inches in diameter; set the meatballs aside on a large platter.

4. Meanwhile, in an 8-quart sauce pot, bring the chicken broth to a boil.

5. When the broth boils, gently drop the meatballs into the broth, taking care to avoid hot splatters.

6. Bring the meatballs to a boil and cook them on medium-high heat for approximately 20 minutes.

7. After 20 minutes, cut into one meatball to check doneness. If meat is still pink, cook the meatballs for an additional 5 to 7 minutes.

8. When meatballs are cooked through, add the spinach and carrot pieces to the soup.

9. Cook the soup for an additional 4 to 5 minutes or until the carrots are crunchy-tender.

10. Taste the broth. If needed, add salt, to taste.

11. Serve the soup with your favorite bread.
Text and Photograph ©2016 Nancy DeLucia Real

Organic Spinach & Onion Heat

In Vegetables On September 15, 2015 0 Comments

Need to kick up organic spinach so that it tastes awesome?


First, add some “heat” to onions by sautéing them with fresh chiles in extra virgin olive oil. Next, toss in the spinach. In minutes, you’ve created a hot and spicy side dish for meat, poultry or fish. Alternatively, enjoy Organic Spinach with Onion Heat atop some toasted Italian bread.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4

2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 brown or white onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 fresh, red or green hot chile, sliced
12 ounces organic, baby spinach leaves, washed and spun-dry
salt, to taste

1. In a 12-inch skillet, heat the oil on medium-high setting.

2. When oil is hot, add the onion and chile; stir-fry until onion is translucent and light golden.

3. Toss in the spinach leaves.

4. Using tongs, gently mix to bring the onion slices to the surface of the spinach.

5. Stir-fry, constantly mixing with tongs, on medium-high heat just until the spinach has wilted and barely looks cooked.

6. Add salt, to taste. Serve immediately.
Text and Photograph ©2015 Nancy DeLucia Real

Leprechan Pudding Cake

In Cakes & Cupcakes, Holidays On March 7, 2013 0 Comments

For Saint Patrick’s Day this year, I feel like cake – but a healthy kind. Along the lines of carrot cake, I decided to use a neutral vegetable that would also serve as a natural colorant. You got it – spinach!

The end result is a moist cake with a texture as smooth as pudding. Moms – when your little Leprechans eat this delicious cake, they’ll have energy to play for hours. Just be sure to serve this cake early in the day – lol!

Prep time: 15 to 20 minutes
Bake time: 25 to 35 minutes
Makes One 9-inch round cake

2/3 cup thawed spinach, packed (thaw a package of frozen spinach first, drain it and then measure)
2 large eggs
1/3 cup cold water
1-3/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/4 cup vegetable oil (safflower or sunflower preferred)
1/2 cup milk (whole or 2% milk fat)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)
Candy sprinkles (nonpareils)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9-inch springform or regular cake pan; set aside.

2. In a blender, purée the spinach with 1 egg and 1/3 cup water until mixture becomes creamy and uniform. If needed, add 1 to 2 more tablespoons water until spinach mixture is uniform. Set aside for later use (you will only need 1 cup of this spinach mixture).

2. In a 1-quart bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

3. In a stand mixer or in a 4-quart mixing bowl using a hand mixer, beat together 1 cup of the spinach mixture, sugar, cream cheese, vegetable oil, milk and vanilla.

4. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients and beat until batter is smooth.

5. Pour the batter into prepared pan.

6. Place the pan on a rack positioned in center of oven.

7. Bake the cake for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, insert a knife in center of cake. If knife comes out clean, the cake is done. If not, bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes and test doneness again.

8. If needed, bake for an additional 5 minutes.

9. Cool Leprechan Cake completely.

10. Mix 1 cup confectioners’ sugar with 2 to 3 tablespoons milk to make a glaze. Pour it over cake and decorate with candy sprinkles.

Text and Cake Photograph ©2013 Nancy DeLucia Real

Emilian Spinach Pie (Erbazzone)

In Pizzas, Savory Tarts & Quiches On May 13, 2010 3 Comments

Popularized in the Middle Ages, the culinary tradition of making savory pies continued throughout the Renaissance (1400’s to 1500’s). Nobility would be served pies filled with meats, poultry and fish at dinner and at banquets. Other varieties were made with spinach or chard. In the northern region of Emilia Romagna in Italy, cooks would go out to the “orto” or garden and pick these leafy plants.  The leaves were combined with cheese, eggs and herbs and cooked in pastry shells.

This Renaissance pie or “erbazzone”, derives its name from “erba” (Italian for “grasses” and “plants with stalks”). In this day and age, my yummy Emilian Spinach Pie can be served at lunch with a green salad or as an appetizer at dinner time.

Prep time: 20 minutes (with ready-made pie pastry); 45 minutes (with Pate Brisee)
Bake time: 30 minutes
Makes: One 9-inch pie

Two readymade pastries for one 9-inch pie
One recipe for Pate Brisee, found in this website’s Recipe Category “Pastry for Sweet & Savory Pies”

1. Roll out 2 readymade pie pastries for a 9-inch pie (according to package directions). Alternatively, use one  Pate Brisee recipe (found in our Recipes under Pastry for Sweet & Savory Pies.

2. Set the rolled-out pastries aside.

3. Butter a 9-inch pie plate and set aside. Gently fit one pastry sheet into the plate and trim edges to a one-inch overhang. With a fork, make random holes in pastry and set it aside.

2 pounds fresh spinach, boiled (drained and cooled) and finely chopped
2 pounds frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 small white or brown onion, finely chopped
1 large leek, white parts only, finely chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (about 3 to 4 ounces)
3 large eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
1 to 1-1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Dash each ground pepper and nutmeg
1 egg yolk mixed with 1 teaspoon cold water (for egg wash)
One 9-inch pie plate

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

2. Melt the butter in a 14-inch skillet set over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion and leek; stir fry until onion is clear.

3. Combine the onion mixture and the spinach in a large porcelain, glass or stainless steel bowl.

4. Stir in the cheese, eggs, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper and nutmeg until mixture is uniform; transfer the spinach filling to pastry-lined pie plate.

5. Top the filling with second pastry sheet, trimming it to a one-inch overhang. Pinch and seal the edges.

6. With a fork, make random holes over top of sealed pie and brush with egg wash. Cover and seal pie edges with one-inch aluminum foil strips.

7. Transfer pie to a rack placed in center of preheated oven.

8. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil during last 5 minutes of baking.

Serve warm.

Text and Photographs ©2010 Nancy DeLucia Real