Wednesday, June 8, 2011

First Love

Once upon a time I considered dinner sauteed spinach with store-bought tomato sauce over pasta.  It was pretty much the only thing I knew how to cook.  And spinach is definitely high up there as one of my favorite green leafy vegetables.  It's taken a back seat in recent years due to my love of kale and arugula but spinach will always be my first love. Before I cooked, I sauteed.  And I loved it.  It's about time I cooked with spinach again.  Spinach, I've missed you...

Recently, I made two delicious, creative and vegetarian spinach dishes that I think you guys will love.

First: Spinach and Mushroom Deep Dish Pizza. 
For months, I've had "deep dish pizza" written in my notebook, but haven't gotten around to making it. I finally did and I'm not sure I will go back to regular pizza again. Aside from it being difficult to get the dough into the cake pan, it was pretty easy to make and delicious to eat : )

Anyway, I knew I wanted to make a deep dish pizza with spinach and mushrooms so I asked Google.  After going through several recipes, I found one that sang out to me: Florentine Deep Dish Pizza from Kentucky Home, adapted from Rachael Ray. It combined my love of mushies (especially Shitakes- those things make any meal AWESOME) and creamed spinach. 

I should also mention that before I cooked and fell in love with all things veggies, I considered Frozen Creamed Spinach from Birds Eye my go-to "cooked" vegetable.  
Eeek.  Now being older and wiser, I know I don't need to microwave that stuff anymore when I can make it just as easily with real ingredients. The ingredients inside this package are a little scary: Spinach, Half and Half (Milk, Cream), Milk, Butter (Cream), Onions, Water, Contains Less than 2% of Food Starch Modified, Salt, Sugar, Corn Oil, Hydrolyzed Corn Gluten, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Dextrose, Spice, Onion Powder.

Florentine Deep Dish Pizza
Inspired by Kentucky Home

3 Tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 pound shitake mushrooms, sliced
salt and pepper
2 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon of minced garlic
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 cup milk (I used whole because I had it)
Freshly grated nutmeg
1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry in a clean kitchen towel
1 pound store-bought pizza dough, halved
1 cup + 1/4 cup of shredded Italian Fontina or Provolone cheese ( I used an Italian Mix)
Preheat the oven to 425F.  Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of the EVOO.  Add the mushrooms and saute until golden brown.  Season them with salt and pepper, then remove to a plate.  Lower the heat to medium-low, then add the butter to the pan and melt.  Add the garlic and stir for 1 minute, then sprinkle the flour into the pan and whisk for a minute.  Whisk in the milk and season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add drained defrosted spinach into the mushrooms and sauce.  Remove from the heat. Roll out 1/2 of the store bought pizza dough to form a round that is large enough to cover the bottom and sides of a 9 inch cake pan.  (this was tricky!!) Lay the dough in the pan and use a fork to form the dough on the bottom of the pan. Fill the dough with the mushrooms and spinach mixture and top with Italian Cheeses.  I ended up doing this twice (two layers) and I still had leftover filling (more on that in a minute). Bake in the over for 30-45 minutes until the edges and bottom of crust are golden brown.
Then slice up the pizza and enjoy it with a side salad.  
Creamed spinach in a deep dish pizza?  Yes, please.
With the leftover dough, I made the cutest deep dish mini pizzas in cupcake holders.  But I forgot to take pictures : (  Oops!

Second: Greek Spinach Burgers.
Another recipe with frozen spinach, I made these Greek Spinach Burgers again, originally inspired by Baked Bree.

If you have a leftover bag of herb stuffing mix from Thanksgiving, this is your recipe to use it up!  You mix that with feta cheese, spinach, eggs and seasoning and grill them up and you have a tasty vegetarian burger.  I like to add Store-bought tzatziki sauce on mine as well.
Served with a side salad and sweet potato fries, that's dinner in twenty minutes right there : )
Spinach will always be one of my favorite vegetables.  And frozen spinach is such a time-saver : )

My first love with running will always be the track.  I'm not able to get to a track nearly as much as I would like due to where I live and work so I do most of my speed on the treadmill. I haven't worked out since my 5K on Saturday and I've been itching to get in a good speed workout.  I'm lucky I was able to break away for a bit today because work has been crazy! It was a good workout, gearing me up for the NYRR New York Mini 10K on Saturday.  Yep, heading to the big city this weekend with Becky to run the race and hang out with lots of blogger friends (as well as besties Debbie and Dana of course : ). 
If you are running the race, let me know, let's meet!

On to the Speed this one from my running club and Becky did it yesterday. I had to condense my Warmup and Cool-down since I went at lunch. As always, my goal is to get faster with each interval.
.50 mile warmup- 6.0
1200 (5:53) - 7.5-7.6 (7:53 pace)
400 rest (6.0)
1000 (4:45) - 7.6-7.8 (7:38 pace)
400 rest (6.0)
800 (3:46) 7.8-7.9 (7:34 pace)
400 rest (6.0)
600 (2:47) 8.0-8.2 (7:27 pace)
400 rest (6.0)
400 (1:41) 8.5-9.0 (6:46 pace)
.50 mile cooldown- 
4.50 miles 40:47
That was a toughie!  But I'm glad I did it!  Speed Workouts will always be my favorite part of training.  That and gossipy long runs where you just chat the whole time and the miles just ease by. But speed work brings me back to what made me fall in love with running to begin with: track.

What's your favorite part of training?  
And for my foodies- Do you have a favorite green leafy vegetable?


  1. I'm not a spinach person really, although I'll eat it when it's mixed with something yummy... and both those look really good! Way to go on the training. :)

  2. Holy crap this all looks AMAZING. So you are bringing these foods to NYC, yes? ;)

    Can't wait to see you this weekend!

  3. Deep dish pizza with spinach sounds incredible! I love spinach - I put it in everything. The pasta with spinach and store bought sauce cracks me up because when I first got a kitchen I made that all the time too :) And the burgers look wonderful, as always.
    Love that speed workout! I was thinking of doing something like that today but ended up doing a fartlek instead. Great splits, Lizzy! I have a feeling you're going to surprise yourself in the 10k this weekend!

  4. Swooning over BOTH recipes. I LOOOOVE spinach. I've been eating about two cups a day at lunch and then all I can fit at night. Of course kale is up there too. I just can't find it as readily.

    Florida Coastal Cooking

  5. Those spinach burgers look awesome!!

  6. Did you know that deep dish pizza is my all-time favorite pre-run fuel? This summer, Friday night is pizza night! Your version looks better than any pie I buy.

    And that workout was tough, but so good! I'm learning to embrace speedwork, but nothing is better than long run gossip. I think I need a long run today!

  7. Yes! Speed workouts are without a doubt my favorites too :) Great run today.

    Ugh spinach was the first thing that sparked my morning sickness so we're currently taking a break!

  8. While I can't completely agree with you about speed workouts (I try to embrace them but it's out of necessity, not love), I am with you on the love for spinach (and mushrooms!). Both of these recipes sound amazing!! I am bookmarking the deep dish pizza. My sister got me a breadmaker for my birthday and I've been wanting to make my own pizza dough with it ever since. So now I have a great pizza recipe to go with it. Can't wait to try this!

  9. I love that you confessed to heating up the frozen creamed spinach, we all live and we learn, right?? That pizza looks delicious, I've never attempted a deep dish pizza before, but I've always wanted to! You've inspired me :) Have so much fun in NYC! I am on my way there now, unfortunately only for 24 hours though and then I'm off to my reunion. :)

  10. that deep dish pizza is out of control!!!

    I bet you miss Gretchen a ton at work! we thought she deserved a night out and a cocktail :)

  11. That pizza almost looks like a quiche... yum! I have been itching to do some speed work too, your workout above might be just what I need... hopefully I make it out alive, it looks tough!

  12. i want to make those veggie burgers! or maybe you could make them for me.... will you make them for me?.. ok thanks.

  13. I'm running the Mini too!!! Also, I want to eat that ENTIRE pizza right now please. Just found your blog and am now a follower :)

  14. Ah, you've come so far with your veggies! These look awesome. I miss cooking. And you :)

  15. I love spinach! It can be in anything and I just adore it. I am running the mini 10k tomorrow too. Already got my shirts and they are cute this year.