Barb's Cheese and Swiss Chard Squares
Chard in the Ground
A Delicious Way to Use Swiss Chard
This is one of our favorite autumn and winter dishes for whenever it's cool enough to use the oven in comfort. It's fast and easy, as are most of my favorite recipes. Assembly takes little time once the chard is cleaned and ready to go. You can substitute spinach for the chard. I just happened to have an abundant supply of the rhubarb chard in my garden.
Before you start, make sure you have an 8" by 12" shallow baking dish or pan. You will also need a bowl of at least four quarts. It's more important to make it larger in diameter than deep, as you will see later on. A blender is handy for making bread crumbs, but you can use packaged crumbs, or even wheat germ if you have it on hand. And it's nice to have a blender to make your crumbs and a food processor to grate your cheese.
Grease Your Baking Dish
Before you start, grease your baking dish.
Whenever I open a package of butter, I save the wrapper and usually it has just enough butter left on it to grease a pan. If not, just use shortening or other solid fat. You can also spray with Pam.
Have you ever cooked with chard?
Before I started growing chard, I never had tried cooking with it. Then I discovered it could be a substitute for spinach in many recipes, and spinach was much harder for me to grow. My husband first tried this when I used spinach and loved it. He thinks he doesn't like chard, but he raved about this today. In this recipe, he can't tell the difference. Sometimes a good disguise is a great way to introduce your family to a food they might not think they like. I think I fooled him because I cut off the tough red stems, and it's these he doesn't like.
Have you ever served chard to your family?
Do you have the equipment that will make preparing this easier?
No one has to have all the things below in order to make this recipe, but having the right gadgets can sure make life in the kitchen easier. I lived for years without these things, but now that I do have them cooking is more fun, takes less time, and is easier on my arthritis. I actually got the food processor because a physical therapist told me I needed to stop doing so much hand chopping and grating and other sorts of motions with my hands because of a neck problem.
For me, a salad spinner has become a must. I used to try to dry greens on towels, but the leaves never got as dry as in a spinner, and it took much longer. Now it's just rinse, spin, and use. If you make a lot of salads, you will never regret having bought a good salad spinner. This one got the best reviews, but you might want a larger one if you cook for more than two. I like the long handle, since the one I have (a cheap plastic model) has to be held down against my body while I'm spinning.
Ingredients for Chard and Cheese Squares
Assemble your ingredients for your cheese and chard squares.
If you assemble everything ahead of time you will find out if you are missing anything. Nothing is worse than having half your ingredients mixed and realizing something important is missing.
- 3 eggs
- 6 tablespoons whole wheat flour (you can use white or rye flour if necessary.)
- 2 cups cottage cheese
- 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
- 1./2 teaspoon salt
- 1 pound Swiss or other chard leaves (Spinach may be substituted) I used red (rhubarb) chard, which is not to be confused with rhubarb itself, which has poison leaves
- Enough bread crumbs to cover the surface of your baking dish. I used my blender to crumb one long slice of sourdough garlic bread, and that was just right. It made about a cup.
Getting the Chard into the Mixing Bowl
Preparing your cheese and chard squares
First get your ingredients ready to use.
Crumb your bread to make the bread crumbs if you need to, and grate your cheese. I normally grate more than I need and store it in one-cup portions in the freezer, so today I just pulled two packages from the freezer.
Break eggs into large bowl --- at least four quarts. Beat them with fork or wire whisk until smooth and yolk and white are well mixed. Add whole wheat flour, cottage cheese, grated cheddar cheese, and salt. Now you can work on the chard. See directions for getting chard ready below. It's a gradual process that you begin after the egg mixture is already in the bowl.
Picture shows the bowl with the egg-cheese mixture at the bottom where you can't see it. The chard I've started to tear up is on top.
How to prepare the Swiss Chard to go in the egg mixture.
Getting the Chard Ready to Mix
Get out your salad spinner. Rinse your chard (or spinach) and remove the tough stems if there are any. I just rip the leaf down along the stem and put the large pieces in the salad spinner. When the spinner bowl gets full, spin the chard leaves until dry and then keep doing each batch until you've done it all. After each load, tear into bite sized pieces and empty into egg/cheese mixture in bowl. Then spin the next load until everything is torn in pieces and in the bowl. As you see, the first bowl I used was too small to mix the ingredients once the bowl was full.
You Need a Large Enough Bowl
I had to dump the contents of the bowl into a bigger bowl.
You can skip this step if you started with a large enough bowl.
It would have been impossible to toss the ingredients in the first bowl without spilling most of them.
Getting the cheese and chard squares ready to go into the oven. - Now is the time to preheat your over to 350FClick thumbnail to view full-size
Swiss Chard is nutritious
What to Serve with Barb's Cheese and Chard Squares
Since there are plenty of greens in this tasty main dish, you will probably want to serve with a salad that features other types of vegetables. We served this with Barb's Favorite Carrot and Raisin Salad, which I invented just to go with this. It is shown in the picture beside the cheese and chard square on my plate. It would also be good with Serbian Tomato Salad. Whichever salad you choose, you will probably also want to serve a crusty loaf of your favorite bread. Enjoy!