Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Spinach "Souffle" and Riso Verde

I realized I still had leftover egg whites from the most recent banana cream pie I had made.  If I had been smart and 1) combined the leftover egg whites from all my pie-making escapades last week and 2) had been careful to make sure I didn't get any yolk in one of the batches of egg whites (egg whites won't stiffen up if there's even a smidge of fat--i.e. egg yolk--in them) I would have made an angel food cake.  I adore angel food cake...
That said, with the original egg whites, we just had some very healthy scrambles last week and with the three most recent egg whites, I thought I would try and do a quick, healthy version of Stouffer's frozen spinach souffle.  If I had had more time, I probably would have made the riso verde (see recipe and notes below), but I think this was a pretty good (and guilt-free!) substitute!

Spinach Souffle
(makes about 2 servings, feel free to double all the ingredients except for the egg whites--up that to four--to make a bigger batch)

6 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and extra water squeezed out
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons half and half
1/4 cup Italian blend shredded cheese
3 egg whites, beaten until stiff
cooking spray
grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Combine spinach, seasonings, half and half and shredded cheese.  Fold in egg whites and transfer mixture to small baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Sprinkle top with grated Parmesan. Bake for about 20-30 minutes or until souffle is browned and no longer "jiggly."
(or, if you're in an even bigger hurry, microwave on high for 2 minutes and then finish off in the oven for about 5 more)

The inspiration for the above recipe was this Riso Verde.  I think the original recipe came from one of my mom's friends.  I loved this as a kid and have recreated it many times since then.  It's very rich and has a lot of room for nutritional improvement (I have experimented quite a bit by reducing the amounts of butter and cheese), but this is pretty close to it's indulgent glory.

Riso Verde (Green Rice)  Serves 6-8

1 8 oz. package frozen chopped spinach thawed and drained (can substitute broccoli, if preferred)
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped parsley
4 cups cooked white rice, cooled
4 oz. grated Parmesan cheese
8 oz. shredded Swiss or Monterrey Jack cheese
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 eggs, separated

Beat egg whites until stiff.  In a separate bowl, stir together egg yolks, cheeses, seasonings, onions and spinach.  Add rice and stir until well-combined.  Fold in egg whites just until combined.  Pour into greased baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes and top is lightly browned.

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