Let’s talk about SIDES. I was the vegetarian daughter in a family of meat-eaters, and for decades, at holidays, I was asked if I could “just pick it out,” NO, and I went through an entire Engagement Reception Dinner with my boyfriend and his family in Cleveland eating NOTHING. Dish after dish went by, it was coinciding with my 30th birthday, I will never forget the shitstorm that was my birthday and their wedding, which ultimately ended in divorce cumulatively for all of us.
Later, I met and fell in love with a French man. For our first picnic, he ordered “tongue” from the deli. I had never even heard of this, but came to know the French will eat every bit of the animal. He didn’t finish it, a day later, my refrigerator was SCREAMING from death aromas.
Things have changed, and so many more have embraced vegetarian alternatives. That is GOOD NEWS.
I have been creating SIDES to compensate for the meaty table for as long as I can remember, so I am happy to offer so many that I have found over the years. Here’s the first, but there will be more. Hat tip, Cooking Light.
Creamed Spinach Mushroom Recipe:
4 teaspoons canola oil, divided
8 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms (I used regular)
1 (10-ounce) package baby spinach
1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
3/4 cup fat-free milk
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
pinch salt and pepper
dash of nutmeg
2 1/2 ounces low-fat cream cheese (I used cheddar, 2 oz., didn’t have cream cheese)
1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil; swirl to coat. Add mushrooms; cook 6 minutes or until liquid evaporates. Remove mushrooms from pan. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add spinach; cook 1 minute or until spinach wilts. Remove from heat.
2. Recipe says heat a Dutch oven over medium heat, but I put a regular Calphalon saucepan to use. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil; swirl to coat. Add shallots and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Combine milk and flour, stirring with a whisk. Add milk mixture, salt, pepper, and nutmeg to pan; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook 3 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly. Add cheese; stir until cheese melts and the mixture is smooth. Add mushrooms and spinach to milk mixture, and toss gently to coat.