Healthy Comfort

This one goes out to my vegetarians and spinach lovers.

Let me start with saying that there once was a time that I did not eat red meat (for whatever reason, just was not a fan). But in the last year I found myself enjoying the occasional kobe beef slider, corned beef and cabbage, and even cheeseburger (oh my how the times have changed!).

That said, there are still days when I just feel like nixing out the meat and relying on vegetables for cooking. Not only is it a good way to use up produce sitting in the fridge, it’s a great way to get in your vitamins! (Colorful plate=nutritional plate)

On this chilly fall night, I came home from a long day of work and the gym craving some comfort food. Now I know what you’re thinking, comfort food must mean I went for the macaroni and cheese. But being that I’m trying to be better about using the groceries I purchase, and that I wanted to stick to something a bit healthier that particular evening, I searched the fridge.

Sitting there is a unopened bag of fresh baby spinach, head of garlic, and a cup of grape tomatoes that were likely on their way to the trash soon. I go to the cupboard and see some wheat penne pasta (around 2 cups) and some good olive oil. The wheels in my head start churning and I think, comfort food….a pasta dish…but using what I have.

And voila, Sautéed Spinach with Garlic and Grape Tomatoes over Wheat Penne. I know this does not sound overly complex, gourmet, or detailed, but it was exactly what I needed on this cold Thursday night and took less than 20 minutes. It was delicious, flavorful and hit the spot perfectly.

So if you need a quick meal that is healthy and comforting try this out. Who knows, maybe it may even get Popeye to put down the can of spinach and pick up a fork …

Sautéed Spinach with Garlic and Grape Tomatoes over Wheat Penne

Ingredients:

1 bag of baby spinach

4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 cup grape tomatoes, chopped in half

1 tablespoon italian seasoning (basil, oregano, parsley)

1 teaspoon garlic powder ( I know we put in garlic, but trust me)

salt and pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

1- 2 tablespoons fresh grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping

1/2 lb of wheat penne pasta cooked al dente ( I used about 2 cups)

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a  large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until just starting to turn brown. Add in the spinach and mix around, until all the spinach is wilted. Add in the grape tomatoes, italian seasoning, garlic powder and a little salt and pepper. Turn down the heat to medium and cook for another 3 minutes, checking for salt and pepper to taste.

Turn off the stove and take the sauté pan off the heat, add in the parmesan cheese and stir the mixture. Drain the wheat pasta and add in to the spinach mixture, mixing everything together. Serve with more parmesan cheese and fresh grated black pepper.

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