Tag Archives: spinach

Barley with Brussels Sprouts & Edamame


After a weekend of indulgences, I could feel my body craving some real, whole foods. The cookbook Clean Slate from the editors of Martha Stewart Living has become our clean eating go-to when we feel like we need to hit the reset button in the kitchen. All of the recipes we’ve tried have been delicious, easy to execute, and because it’s clean eating, the number of ingredients is always minimal. I even enjoyed the recipes we made during our cleanse earlier this year, I just got sick of eating carrot & dill soup 3 days in a row. We made this Barley with Brussels Sprouts & Edamame  for dinner last night and I’ll be eating it for lunch today. It’s light but still filling, which is perfect for today’s 90-degree temps. It’s also easy enough that I was able make the entire dish while chatting on the phone with a friend! Now that’s a double whammy.


Barley with Brussels Sprouts & Edamame adapted from Clean Slate

Serves 4


16 oz quick-cooking barley (I used this one from Trader Joe’s)

12 oz frozen shelled edamame

2 tbsp coconut oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 inch fresh ginger, peeled & minced

1 lb Brussels sprouts, stems removed and roughly chopped

12 oz baby spinach

crushed red pepper flakes

1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the barley and cook about 15 minutes until tender. Add the edamame to the pot in the last 5 minutes of cooking. Drain and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until just fragrant, about a minute. Add the Brussels sprouts and saute until just caramelized and tender, about 10 minutes.

3. Add the remaining tbsp oil to the pan and add in the spinach. Toss until wilted. Add in the barley and stir until combined. Season with salt and crushed red pepper flakes.



Cleanse Day 3 & Carrot-Spinach Soup


Someone has had it with Martha…

We’re in the home stretch of our “clean eating cleanse” and we are feeling…hungry. All of the recipes have been quite tasty, but I definitely feel like I need something more to sink my teeth into. Like the Beet Slaw & Arugula Salad for lunch is delicious, but I wish I had some quinoa in there to hold me over throughout the afternoon, clementines and nuts can only go so far. Or this Carrot-Spinach Soup, which is surprisingly flavorful despite the short list of ingredients, but could really use some shredded chicken or a crusty piece of whole-grain bread to sop up the broth. I have to admit, I caved and had a cup of coffee yesterday afternoon – I’d been getting bad headaches and just couldn’t take it anymore. But besides that minor slip, I haven’t been craving my usual culprits – grilled cheese at work, sweets after dinner – I really just want some whole proteins and healthy carbs. So far, I wouldn’t say the past few days have been life-changing, but I do feel they’ve helped to reset my system after a month-long holiday binge. While I hope to incorporate the principles of eating clean, unprocessed foods into our daily routine, I will definitely not deprive myself of wine, coffee, or cheese after this cleanse – in moderation of course.


Carrot-Spinach Soup adapted from Clean Slate

makes 6 servings


3 tbsp olive oil

2 yellow onions, diced

14 carrots, peeled and diced

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 tbsp kosher salt

1 lb green beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

16 oz baby spinach

1 handful fresh dill, chopped

juice of 3 lemons

1. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Add the onions and cook until tender, about 6 minutes.

2. Add the carrots, turmeric, and salt. Pour in 10 cups of water. Bring to a boil and simmer until the carrots are tender, about 20 minutes.

3. Add the green beans to the pot and cook for 2 minutes more.

4. Add the spinach, dill, and lemon just before serving. Cover the pot for a minute or two until the spinach is wilted, then serve.

Baked Turkey & Spinach Sliders

Hi friends! Sorry for the brief hiatus! As you might remember, I started a new job at HelloFresh last week, so it’s been a busy, albeit very exciting, past couple of days. With week 1 under my belt and a better handle on my new schedule and responsibilities, it feels good to be getting back into a routine, especially getting back in the kitchen!


Between goodbye lunches and dinners with Benchmarc friends, ice cream at JP Licks in Boston, and more celebratory drinks and ice cream at Ample Hills Creamery in Brooklyn (ahhh-mazing!!), it’s been an indulgent past two weeks. After finally getting around to organizing my recipe box, I came across a recipe from Bon Appetit that I ripped out a while ago for Turkey & Spinach Sliders. I knew these would be a versatile bring-to-work lunch and a welcome detox after my recent celebrations.


To make these even healthier, I baked them in the oven instead of frying in oil, which also cuts down on active cooking time – win! After all the heavy eating and drinking, I’m looking forward to breaking out my trusty lunchbox again and chowing down on these as a healthy weekday lunch!


Baked Turkey & Spinach Sliders adapted from Bon Appetit

makes 4-5 servings


1 lb ground turkey

6 oz baby spinach, chopped

4 scallions, thinly sliced

1 garlic clove, minced

3/4 tsp ground cumin



whole wheat mini burger buns or dinner rolls

whatever toppings you like!

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil and spray with cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, mix together ground turkey, spinach, scallions, garlic, and cumin. Season with salt and pepper. Form into 12 1/2-inch thick patties.

3. Place patties on the baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes until turkey is cooked through. Serve on dinner rolls with pickles, onions, or whatever other toppings you like!

The Tie That Binds: Green Chile Enchiladas

I’ve been eating a lot of Mexican food lately. I ate guacamole Friday, Saturday and Sunday last weekend. Not that I’m complaining. Mexican food, guacamole especially, is delicious.


Maybe it’s that Mexican food is so agreeable with summer weather? Avocados, lime, tacos, Corona. That just feels like summer, right? So when I had some gal pals over for dinner last week, Feed Me Phoebe‘s Green Chile Enchiladas were the perfect fix.


My love affair with enchiladas began back at the now-closed Canyon Cafe in Westborough, MA. My friend Traver and I would gorge ourselves on enchiladas and tortilla chips, then continue feasting on her favorite combination of melted Velveeta and salsa while we watched reruns of Laguna Beach.


Though my metabolism is no longer that of my 18 year old self, my love of enchiladas still burns fervently in my heart. Thankfully, this riff on enchiladas is relatively light on the dairy and loaded with lots of fresh vegetables.


Our Mountain Dews now replaced with beer, and nixing that post-dinner Velveeta in light of our now 25 year old metabolisms, there’s nothing like bonding over a good enchilada.

Green Chile Enchiladas adapted from Feed Me Phoebe

serves 4-6


2 tbsp olive oil

2 medium summer squash, small diced

1 large shallot, thinly sliced

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

5 oz baby spinach

8 oz shredded cheddar-jack cheese mix

16 oz salsa verde

8 oz fat-free plain Greek yogurt

10 6-inch corn tortillas

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large sauté pan. Cook shallot and squash until tender and beginning to brown, 5-7 minutes. Add the tomatoes and continue to cook until they’ve softened and have released some of their juices, 3-4 minutes. Stir in the spinach, cooking a few minutes more until just wilted. Remove from the heat and set aside.

3. Meanwhile, combine salsa, yogurt and 1/4 cup water in a medium bowl. Whisk until smooth.

4. Ladle half of the sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Add half of the cheese to the squash mixture and stir to combine. Spoon a few tablespoons of the filling into the center of each tortilla (I like to warm them up in the microwave between 2 damp paper towels for a minute to make them more pliable). Roll and place seam-side down in the baking dish.

5. Pour remaining sauce over top of the tortillas and sprinkle remaining cheese on top.

6. Bake in the oven 20-30 minutes until the cheese is bubbly, melted and beginning to brown. Serve warm. Keeps well as leftovers, too!

Chicken & Spinach Stuffed Portobellos

Call me materialistic or superficial, but I like things that come in pretty packages. Sure, I want the surprise on the inside to be just as nice, but the packaging on the outside totally adds to the excitement and anticipation of what’s to come. For example, after opening my gifts from Santa on Christmas morning I still used to dutifully put everything back in the boxes and was careful not to untie the ribbons, so I could slide them back on, making it look as though it were Christmas all over again.

Just as I like jewelry or clothes to come in pretty packages, so do I with food. Don’t get me wrong, I love a messy burger or a sloppy casserole, but there’s something about a neatly presented dish that really tugs at my inner neat freak. These Chicken & Spinach Stuffed Portobello mushrooms are like the perfectly wrapped present just screaming to be open, or eaten. The meaty portobellos are sturdy enough to house the heaping pile of chicken, spinach and tomato sauce without falling into a crumbly mess. It’s a satisfying, well-rounded meal in one little package – it’s just too bad I can’t rewrap this one and eat it over and over again, like I do with my Christmas presents!

Chicken & Spinach Stuffed Portobellos

makes 4 servings


4 large portobello mushroom caps, stemmed and gills scooped out

olive oil

kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

1 small yellow onion, diced

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 lb chicken sausage, casings removed (mine had feta & sun-dried tomatoes in it, but use whatever kind of sausage you like)

1 10-oz box chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained

1/3 cup plain dried bread crumbs

1 egg, beaten

1/3 cup jarred marinara sauce

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place mushroom caps upside down on the pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 12 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the oven, turn right-side up and continue cooking another 10 minutes. Set aside and turn down the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Meanwhile, heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and cook until the onion is just translucent, 6-7 minutes.

3. Push the onion mixture to the edges of the skillet and add the chicken sausage to the middle of the pan. Cook, breaking up into bits with the back of a wooden spoon, until the chicken sausage is just browned and cooked through.

4. Add the spinach to the skillet and stir to combine with the chicken and onions. Remove from the heat to a medium-sized bowl and allow the mixture to cool slightly.

5. Add the breadcrumbs and beaten egg to the chicken sausage mixture. Stir gently to combine, but do not over mix. Scoop out the mixture to evenly top each of the 4 mushroom caps.

6. Spoon enough marinara over each filled mushroom to liberally cover the top.

7. Spray a glass baking dish with cooking spray and place the mushroom inside. Bake 15 minutes until the mushrooms, filling and tomato sauce are warmed through.


Mini Spinach & Ham Frittatas

I’ve always been a cereal-for-breakfast kinda person. It’s quick, easy, and just so simply good (I like to alternate between Barbara’s Puffins and Trader Joe’s Vanilla Almond Crunch). But recently while training for a half marathon, my daily bowl of Puffins just hasn’t been enough to hold me over until lunch. Rather than refill my bowl, I decided it was probably smarter to up my protein intake at breakfast. Enter, the egg.

I love eggs (i.e. this bacon, sweet potato & egg salad), but I usually associate eggs with boozy brunch or on a bagel as a hangover cure, not a light and quick weekday breakfast. But these mini frittatas are the perfect solution. I’ve long been a fan of frittatas; they’re a great make-ahead dish that can be enjoyed hot, cold or at room temperature, which makes for perfect leftovers. Making the frittatas mini by cooking them in a muffin tin makes them even more portable and easy to eat during the morning rush. I’ve been enjoying these for breakfast after my morning workouts, but they would also be a cute and easy option for brunch with friends!

Mini Spinach & Ham Frittatas

makes 12 mini frittatas


8 eggs, beaten

2-3 slices ham, roughly chopped

1 bunch spinach leaves

1 tsp olive oil

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray.

2. Heat olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the spinach and cook until it is just wilted, about 5 minutes.

3. In a medium bowl, gently combined the beaten eggs with ham, spinach, salt and pepper. Ladle into the muffin tin. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the frittatas puff up and the eggs are cooked through. Serve warm, cold or at room temperature.



Fresh Start: Tomato, White Bean & Hearts of Palm Salad

Ah, it feels good to be back! The last time I blogged at The Daily Bite it was still sundress and sandal weather. While we’re not quite there yet, the recent milder weather at least feels like we’re on our way. Which is why it feels right that my blog should get a fresh start and a major facelift with the new and improved Cooking with Cara! For returning readers, thanks for coming back! Newbies, welcome and I hope you enjoy following along (and maybe even recreating) some of my cooking and eating escapades in New York City.

In light of changing seasons and new beginnings, today I bring you a light and fresh Tomato, White Bean & Hearts of Palm Salad with Basil Vinaigrette. This makes for a great brown-bag lunch or a side salad at dinner. It only requires about 10 minutes of prep, so make your vinaigrette, wash and chop your vegetables ahead of time (as in the pictures below), and you can throw lunch together in less than 5 minutes for the whole week.

Tomato, White Bean & Hearts of Palm Salad

makes 5 servings


20 oz baby spinach

2 pints grape tomatoes

1 can cannelini (white) beans, drained and rinsed

1 can hearts of palm (reserve some of the juice to store them in during the week)

Basil Vinaigrette

makes 4-6 servings, depending how much you use


2 cups fresh basil leaves

1 large garlic clove

3 tbsp white wine vinegar

6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

kosher salt, to taste

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Begin by washing your tomatoes and cutting them in half. I left some of the smaller tomatoes whole.

2. Drain the hearts of palm, but reserve some of the liquid to keep moist if eating later. Cut hearts of palm in half lengthwise, then crosswise into little half moons.

3. To make the vinaigrette, combine basil, garlic and vinegar in a food processor or blender. Drizzle in olive oil until it has a vinaigrette-like consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. To assemble the salad, layer spinach in the bottom of your tupperware (or plate if eating now). Top with beans, tomatoes and hearts of palm. Bring the basil vinaigrette in a separate tupperware container (so the spinach doesn’t get soggy), and drizzle over the salad just before serving.