Spinach and Cheese Bake by Gene
This is a Vegetarian Recipe
There is a no-meat in this recipe. It is rich in protein from the eggs and from the cheese. The dish includes spinach which also has some protein. More importantly, spinach is rich in Vitam A and C. If your store carries baby spinach like ourlocal store here in town, this is even richer in nutrients. A recent study showed that no harm comes to baby spinach that is stored in plastic containers in the light for 9 days. But you should be sure that what you buy looks really green and crisp. We prefer to store the spinach in a crisper in our refrigerator.
- 3 eggs, medium
- 20 oz spinach, We use two fresh bags.
- 4 oz cheddar cheese, grated
- 1 Cup cottage cheese
- 1/4 Cup Butter, Softened
- 2 Tablespoons Flour, All Purpose
- Kosher Salt, To taste
- Pepper Fresh Ground, To Taste
- You will want to wash your spinach and remove the stems. You don't have to remove the stems but I don't like the texture. If you have a big steamer, step two will be easy. If you do not have a large steamer, continue to reading in steep two how I steam my spinach..
- I use a large stock pot with some water in the bottom. I then place a small microwave proof bowl in the bottom of the pan. The water in the stock pot can be the height of the bowl. I use a microwave proof dinner plate to place over the bowl. This is what will hold the spinach out of the water as it steams. Put the stock pot on a burner of your stove over medium heat. Allow the water to boil to make steam and this will cook the spinach.
3.) Steam the spinach to the proper consistency. I leave the spinach a little on the crispy side. I do not really fully cook it because when it is baked, it will continue to cook and soften. Remove the spinach from the heat and, with a strainer in your sink. pour out the spinach and water. Be careful of the steam as you do this and do not get burned. Allow the spinach to cool so you can easily handle it.
Place the cooked spinach in a medium bowl to large bowl. This is going to be your mixing bowl. It is alright if the spinach is somewhat warm. Make sure the spinach is not so hot you can get burned from it.
After you have placed your spinach in the mixing bowl. Now add the right amount of Cottage cheese, Cheddar cheese, Butter, eggs, Flour, Salt, and Pepper and mix thoroughly. I sometimes use sea salt, and sometimes use Kosher salt, but you can use whichever you have. I always try to not use too much salt, this way everyong can add the salt to their liking at the table.
I usually prefer to add an extra layer of Sharp cheddar cheese to the top of the mixture once it is in the baking dish ready to be baked. This adds flavor but in addition bakes to a nice golden brown which is appetizing.
I use an 8 x 8 baking dish that I rub all over with olive oil to prevent the egg from sticking. By using an 8 X 8 baking dish like I do the unbaked mixture will fill the baking dish appproximately one and a half inches deep. [As it bakes, the pan will become more full.]
Add cheese topping
Final serving method.
This will produce a wonderful crispy golden brown cover which adds to the flavor when served. You certainly could make variations of this with other hard cheeses like Asiago, Edam, Fontina, and Gouda. There is also no reason you couldn't do a mix of hard cheeses.
According to Real California Milk website a hard cheese should have a very firm texture. I have thought about substituting Riccotta cheese for the cottage cheese but I am afraid it might make the Spinach Bake sweet.
I check the dish during the baking time. If the cheese is golden brown it is usually done. You can also poke with a toothpick or fork and it should come back with nothing on it except maybe a little cheddar cheese.
I let the finished dish sit just a minute and then cut it in squares. This is definately best served hot. If the Spinach and Cheese Bake is your main course you will want to cut larger pieces. The servings look really nice on a plate with some fruit or fruit salad. We often have a side dish of fruit with our entrees even if it is just a small portion.
8 X 8 Dish
I like to use the eight inch by eight inch dish because once we have eaten what we want for our meal, I have a cover that works so nicely to preserve the moisture while the left over is stored in the refrigerator. You could also use the new press'n Seal type of wrap. I prefer the dish with a lid as we don't normally eat everything at one sitting. This dish is excelent if you reheat for your next meal.
Sometimes we have aome kind of beef to go along with the cheese bake. It all would depend on what you like as a meal.
Now go ahead and make this delishious dish for a meal today. We bet that you will be amazed at how easy it is to make, and have tonight with whatever you are prepairing.