Need a quick tasty dish to bring to a Christmas party? Well, we happen to have one ready for you to try. Since it’s made with spinach, it’ll make people think they’re eating healthily, but, to be honest, all the cheese will counteract any health benefit of the spinach. Of course, during the holiday season, we should all indulge — at least a little bit. Just so you know, there’s a reason we give you two possible names for this dish.
We think the best name for this dish is spinach brownies, but we’ve learned over the years that, if you present someone with that moniker, a few people will latch onto the idea of brownies (the sweet kind with chocolate) mixed with spinach and not want to eat them. Spinach squares, though, are often just gobbled right up. Let’s scratch up a batch.
This recipe comes from one of our favorite cookbooks: Home Cooking: Recipes from Four Generations of Cooks, filled with family recipes and put together by a family member (thanks, MAP). So, no, you won’t be able to buy a copy. The recipe itself was provided by R&R, although we did change it to use all-purpose flour instead of self-rising flour.
As we said above, this recipe originally called for self-rising flour (which we never have), so we changed it to use all-purpose flour (we always have that), baking powder, and salt. We always try to use the best eggs possible for all our baking, those from free range hens. We might not notice a difference, but those hens (and the small business owner who raises them) will. And that’s important, too. For the cheese, Cheddar is always good; we used a sharp Cheddar, but don’t be afraid of experimenting with other hard cheeses, too. Think Gruyère, Comte, or even a mix of several cheeses. A good blue cheese added to the mix would be also be tasty.
Procedure in detail:
Drain spinach. Although most frozen spinach has very little water in it, it never hurts to drain it a bit. And even squeeze out a bit more water if you can. We just dump the spinach into a colander set it over a bowl (or even just set in the sink, if we aren’t using it) and let it drain.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Mix dry ingredients. Place the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and give it a god whisking to mix thoroughly. Congratulations; if you didn’t know it, you’ve just made a cup of self-rising flour. Sorry if we took the mystery out of your favorite self-rising flour.
Add eggs. Rather than beat the eggs in a separate bowl — you can do that if you wish, or you can try our little trick — we made a well in the center of the flour, a small bowl if you will, and cracked the eggs into that. Then we gave them a good whisking, trying not to incorporate too much of the flour. Saves a bit on cleanup and makes it seem as if making these is even easier.
Add remaining liquids. Pour in the melted butter and the milk. Another little tip — if you have a microwave, melt the butter in a microwave-safe measuring cup, add the butter to the mix, then use the same measuring cup for the milk. Once added, give everything a stir until it’s a batter-like consistency.
Add remaining ingredients. Stir in the pecans, onion, cheese, and spinach. Just stir enough so that everything is coated with batter; you don’t need or want the mixture to be too uniform. Once mixed, scoop or scrape it into a 9×13- inch baking pan.
Bake. Slide into the oven and bake 25 to 35 minutes, or until bubbly and golden brown.
Cool. Let cool, then slice into squares.
It’s a good thing we don’t make these all that often, because we could easily eat the whole pan in a day. After all, what’s not to like? There’s a lot of cheese, so that’s good. There’s spinach, so you can fool yourself into thinking you’re getting a good helping of vegetables at the same time. Plus, they’re easy to pick up and eat right out of hand. Trust us, if you make this for a potluck, they’ll be gone. Five stars.