Creamed Greens

November 19, 2012 - Written by Diana

This recipe is a great way to use up greens – any kind of greens for your Holiday dinner. My market bag not only has greens in the form of collards, kale, chard, spinach, but there was bok choy last week and we even have greens on root vegetables – beet, turnip and radish.  What to do with all of those greens.  Cream them up.  When we were little my grandmother made creamed spinach with the frozen spinach and mushroom soup.  This is my version – using all different types of steamed greens, and leeks.  As a plus I took the bok choy – the greens were steamed and the more sturdy white part was sauteed in the oil along with the leeks for extra flavor. My version uses a roux and also chevre instead of cream of mushroom soup.

My husband said he never had creamed greens or spinach, usually he had the canned spinach.  I never liked canned, and frozen is okay, but nothing is as good as fresh, even if you are cooking it up. However, if you are creaming your greens, you can use frozen – stay away from canned.  It’s just not nice at all.

It takes a lot of greens to make a casserole dish of creamy greens, so what ever you have, it’s not enough.  I used 1 bok choy, a big bunch of turnip leaves minus most of the stems, beet greens minus most of the stems, and a small bag of spinach greens for this one .   Last night we had this with steak and brussels sprouts. Steak and creamed greens were leftover, so I used them a second day for a leftover second meal.  Instead of steak, chicken would work just as well for Thanksgiving leftovers. My husband and son gobbled it up both days.

Day One:

Creamed Greens

Creamed Greens
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All different greens used in a creamy sauce as a side dish, for a holiday dish or to go along with any meal.
Recipe type: Side dish
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Serves: 8
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 whole leek
  • Greens - enough to fill a soup pot
  • 2 oz chevre
  • 2 cups milk
  • nutmeg
  • all spice
  • 2 tbs flour
  • salt
  • pepper
  1. Pull stems off of the greens.
  2. For Bok Choy, Swiss Chard, Kale - those with thicker stems, aside to saute with the leeks.
  3. In a large pot, steam the greens.
  4. In a Frying pan add the oil and heat.
  5. Slice up the onions and stems to about 2 in in length.
  6. Add the onions and the stems to the hot oil and let caramelize.
  7. When the greens are steamed, drain let cool so that you can squeeze the liquid out without burning yourself.
  8. After the onions and the stems are soft and caramelized, add 2 tablespoons of butter and melt.
  9. Add 2 tablespoons of flour and whisk.
  10. If it seems thin, add another tbs of flour slowly.
  11. Whisk in 2 ounces chevre.
  12. Add in slowly the two cups of milk.
  13. Grate nutmeg and all spice into the sauce.
  14. After squeezing the water out of the spinach, chop the spinach up to bite size portions.
  15. Stir the spinach into the pan with the sauce. If it seems too thick, add in some milk.
  16. Put the spinach and sauce into a casserole dish and place in oven at 350 for about ten minutes.

Sprinkling the top with parmesan cheese would be a great touch (but at 1000 mg of sodium per tsp out of our range).


Day Two:

The second night, I sliced up the steak into thin bite size portions – you could easily substitute turkey.  I used the leftover greens, but added more sauce  and put it all over some pasta, macaroni tonight, because it’s what I had.  Flat noodles would go well too.

Creamy Steak and Greens over Pasta

Leftover Creamy Steak and Greens Over Pasta
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Using the Creamed Greens from the dinner before, and leftover meat (we used steak, but chicken, pork or sausage would work), create a second meal over pasta.
Recipe type: Main Dish
Serves: 4- 6
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1 tbs flour
  • 2 cups milk warmed
  • leftover greens
  • leftover meat
  1. In a saute pan, melt the butter, then add the flour and stir well. Add in the milk and warm.
  2. Slice the meat into 2 in by 1 inch by 1 in slices. Add the creamed greens and the meat. Warm through, let thicken and if it is too thick add milk until it is the right consistency to pour over pasta.
  3. Cook pasta according to directions, drain.
  4. Place pasta in a Serving dish, pour the creamy greens mixture over top and serve.

Sprinkle parmesan or toasted pine nuts over top right before serving.





Orzo, Asparagus and Garlic Scapes in Garlic Scape Pesto

May 29, 2012 - Written by Diana

What to eat when it’s hot outside ? A salad with pesto as the dressing is better than mayo or heavy dressings and parts of it can be made ahead of time to be combined sometime later before you eat.  Both my husband and my son enjoyed this for dinner, my husband loved it so much he finished off whatever was leftover that same evening.

I received garlic scapes in my market bag and used it in the pesto and the salad itself, chopping it into pieces about one to two inches in length.  I cut the asparagus and the leeks to the same size as the garlic scapes (though they weren’t used in the pesto).  I prepared this again with more asparagus for our Memorial Day family gathering, but I have broccolini that would work well and so would fresh peas.

Garlic scapes are substituted for garlic in this dish, I used it in the pesto and the salad.  They are the seed heads that shoot up among the garlic, cutting the scape off is supposed to lead to a bigger head of garlic.  While you are patiently waiting for your garlic to grow, you can cut off your scape and substitute it in your recipes.


Orzo, Asparagus and Garlic Scapes in a Garlic Scape Pesto
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A cold pesto and pasta salad.
Recipe type: Pasta Salad
Serves: 4-6
  • Bunch Parsley
  • Bunch Oregano
  • 2 Garlic Scapes
  • Bunch Basil
  • ¼ cup Pine Nuts divided
  • Olive oil
  • Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 8 oz dried Orzo
  • 8 Asparagus stalks
  • 4 Garlic Scapes
  • 2 Leeks
  • Pine Nuts
  • Grated Parmesan
  1. Place all Pesto ingredients into a food processor or magic bullet.
  2. Drizzle olive oil in and pulse.
  3. Check to see if the pesto is the right consistency - it should be loose enough to toss with salad and coat the pasta, but not too loose that it will just slide right off.
  4. If it isn't loose enough add more oil and pulse again.
  5. Cook Orzo according to package directions.
  6. Slice the garlic scapes, the asparagus and the leeks.
  7. The leeks will need to be rinsed again so that all of the dirt and sand is removed.
  8. Drain pasta and the vegetables and toss together.
  9. Toast Pine Nuts and add to the Pasta
  10. Toss the pesto with the pasta salad.
  11. Sprinkle Parmesan, salt and pepper and toss again.
If it is a side, it will serve more than if it is the main dish. To make ahead, keep pasta and veggies separate from the pesto because pasta will absorb the oil. Combine right before using.


I’m adding a note here that I’m entering this pasta salad as my entry for Culinary Smackdown – Battle Salad.  Come visit and see the entries.


Rutabaga Au Gratin with Leeks and Sage – Battle Spherical

March 28, 2012 - Written by Diana

So many spherical things, what to do, what to do, spherical ingredient, or spherical dish?…  I had to decide quickly because the month was winding down for this month’s Culinary Smackdown – Battle Spherical.  Rutabaga, mango, oranges.  Are oranges too round to be spherical?  Is a lime more spherical?  Looking up sphere – it has to be perfectly round, well, then mango isn’t spherical, or lime, but the rutabaga was pretty darn round (Drat – now I remember that I forgot a photo of a rutabaga before so that you could see how round it was.

My son’s friend was over and asked what I was peeling and I told him it was a rutabaga – similar in taste to a turnip.  It is a swede turnip, or a yellow turnip and a cross between a turnip and cabbage.  The skin is thin, but difficult to peel because it’s so big and round.  I just used a big knife to skin it.  Then I sliced it thinly and cut the slices into pieces.  Since this is a play on another classic – potatoes au gratin, think of the slices to be similar in size to that.  Instead of onion, I thinly sliced a leek plus chopped up fresh sage from the herb bed outside.

I made a cheese sauce and threw in different types of ends of cheeses but also shredded some in between layers of rutabaga and cheese. One of my favorite things to do with the ends of cheeses is to throw it into a cheese sauce or into a grilled cheese panini .

This is my entry to Battle spherical and if it helps Destiny – the friend’s girlfriend who also stayed for dinner thought I was the clear winner ( though she wasn’t considering any of the other great entries). This Culinary Smackdown thing is challenging but fun.

Rutabaga Au Gratin with Leeks and Sage - Battle Spherical
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An au gratin recipe that uses rutabaga's and leeks instead of potatoes and onions.
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 6-7
  • 1 large rutabaga
  • 1 large leek
  • 2 large handfuls of sage
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 1½ cup milk
  • nutmeg
  • 1 cup shredded cheese for sauce
  • ½ cup shredded cheese for layers
  1. Thinly slice rutabaga and leek.
  2. Chop sage to flake size.
  3. Butter glass pan or casserole dish.
  4. Layer rutabaga, leeks, sage, grated cheese, salt and pepper
  5. Then a second and third layer.
  6. In a separate saucepan, melt butter, whisk in 2 tbs flour and keep whisking until incorporated.
  7. Whisk in a half a cup of cold milk and thicken over heat slowly while whisking.
  8. Add the other cup of milk and whisk and heat slowly to let thicken.
  9. Grate ¼ of a whole nutmeg into sauce.
  10. Slowly add cheese while whisking to create a smooth cheese sauce.
  11. Pour over top of Rutabaga layers, grate cheese over top.
  12. Put into oven at 350 for about 30 minutes covered with foil, then another 5 - 10 to brown cheese on top.
Use real whole nutmeg and grate it yourself - so much better than pre grated. Don't use bags of pre-grated cheese - it contains a substance to prevent caking and doesn't melt as well as grating your own cheese.