Monday, November 9, 2020

Joey's Creamed Spinach and Potato Casserole


 I was recently trying to think of something interesting to do with a basic creamed spinach recipe. Yes, of course, I love it just as it is, with its delicious cream sauce, and the onions and garlic, but I wondered what else might go in with it. In my family, 2 little boxes of frozen chopped spinach wouldn’t go very far, so I was thinking of what else I could add to it, to stretch the dish and make it go a little further.
 Then I thought of my Dad. It was always a running joke that whenever any of us brought friends home for dinner, my Dad would tell my Mom “I guess you’d better throw another potato into the pot!”  I thought “Ah! potatoes! of course!”
So that’s what I did. Just some par-boiled potatoes, added to your basic creamed spinach, baked into a casserole, and now you’re ready to feed an army. It’s quite economical too, because it doesn’t cost all that much and fills a lot of bellies.
 Then I thought, ooo this would make the perfect addition to a Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner, just as an alternative to the usual mash. Why not? It’s always  nice to have a variety!
 Even if it’s not Thanksgiving, keep this recipe in your back pocket and serve it up with some baked chicken or a roast beast. Super delish!

3 lbs red potatoes, peeled and sliced to bite sized pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
4 tbs butter
2 (10oz) boxes frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
4 tbs flour
2 cups milk
1 cup cream or half and half
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of nutmeg
1-2 cups mozzarella cheese

Place potatoes in a large pot with enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. You want to simmer them until they’re almost cooked through, but not quite. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large sauce pot, sauce the onion with the butter. Add the spinach and garlic and continue to saute. Let any excess moisture evaporate, then sprinkle the flour over all. Give it a good stir until there flour coats everything for a good minute or two.Add the milk, cream, grated cheese, salt and pepper, and nutmeg. Stir all together until it thickens. Add your potatoes to the pot, and stir to combine well.
Pour into a 13x9 casserole dish. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake in a 350 oven for about 30-40 minutes or until bubbly.

Instead of peeling and slicing the potatoes, you can just use baby potatoes and cut them in half. The skins are tender enough that you don’t need to peel them!
To remove the most moisture from your thawed spinach, place a clean tea towel flat on the counter. Plop your drained spinach onto the towel in one mound in the center. Gather all four corners of the towel together, making a little bundle of spinach. Now twist the bundle until it squeezes out all of the excess water. You’ll be amazed at just how much more water can be extracted!
If your sauce pot is not big enough to accommodate adding the potatoes to it, just toss everything in a large mixing bowl before transferring it to the casserole dish.
When adding the nutmeg, you only want just a tiny pinch. It’s a classic addition to any cream sauce, but you don’t want it to come out tasting like egg nog. Just a tiny pinch is enough!



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