Since it’s February, #SundaySupper is celebrating Heart Health Month with a menu of dishes that your ticker and tastebuds will thank you for. I know we all love rich and creamy, hearty foods, but our heart will love us back if we make a vegetable side dish that is just as creamy and delicious as the original, but lighter and healthier, like my Lightened-Up Creamed Spinach.
Lightened-Up Creamed Spinach
Heart health is an important thing to me. My dad had a heart attack at a young age. My aunt needed quadruple bypass in her late forties. We pretty much all have high cholesterol. Yes, even me. I was about 25 years old when I found out I had high cholesterol – a thin twenty-something who worked out regularly, ate pretty decently, never had more than a few glasses of wine a week, and has never so much as taken one puff of a cigarette. I tried to get it down without medication, and it didn’t budge one point.
So I try my best to ensure that my family has pretty good eating habits, because clearly genetics aren’t working in our favor. No, we aren’t perfect. I loves me some ice cream, we order pizza, the boys do get cookies as a treat. In general, though, I think we do OK.
However, the funny thing about being a food blogger is that so many times you think you need to come up with something new and amazing, and occasionally over-the-top. But that’s not really how we eat everyday. There are a bunch of things that I don’t really have a recipe for that I’ve made over and over for years, but because it’s such a staple I’ve never deemed it “blog-worthy”. It’s just “Tuesday night dinner”. Every once in awhile, it dawns on me that you might like to know one of my simple staples. You know, things like Salsa Egg Tacos and Hawaiian Scrambled Eggs and Slow Cooker Lemon Herb Roast Chicken that make frequent appearances on our dinner table.
Lightened-Up Creamed Spinach au Gratin is my quickie version of the decadent steakhouse side that requires just a few basic ingredients and a few minutes to make a delicious side dish that’s so much lighter than the original. My “tricks” – a little light cream cheese and really good quality parmesan cheese, so flavorful that you only need a little to pack a big punch – make it so creamy and cheesy that it even gets The Hubby and boys to happily munch down their dark leafy greens. That’s a win for this mom!
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And get the rest of today’s Heart Healthy menu at the bottom of this post!
What are some of your dinnertime staples?
Lightened-Up Creamed Spinach au Gratin
A quick, healthier version of the decadent steakhouse side dish that's just as creamy and delicious.
- 1 teaspoon olive oil (plus additional for ramekins or casserole dish)
- Two 6 oz. bags baby spinach
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 oz cream cheese (I used light cream cheese)
- 2-4 Tablespoons parmesan cheese
- 400 5-7 minutes, or broiler 2-3
- Preheat oven to 400°F or light your broiler. Coat four small ramekins or one casserole dish with olive oil or cooking spray. Place ramekins or casserole dish on a baking sheet.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add half the spinach, salt, a few grinds of pepper, nutmeg, and cream cheese, and top with the remaining spinach.
- Cover and allow to wilt for 3 to 5 minutes. Uncover, stir to melt and evenly distribute the cream cheese. Cook for another few minutes to allow any excess moisture to evaporate.
- Divide the spinach and creamy sauce between the ramekins or pour into the casserole dish. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake at 400°F for 5-7 minutes or broil for 2-3 minutes, or until bubbling and lightly browned.
Here’s a few more of my family favorite simple sides…
- Browned Butter Whipped Butternut Squash
- Basic Roasted Cauliflower
- Herbes de Provence Oven Sweet Potato Fries
And the rest of today’s Heart Healthy #SundaySupper recipes…
Better for you breakfasts:
- Apple Pie Oatmeal by Cosmopolitan Cornbread
- Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Scones by Brunch with Joy
- Create-Your-Own Overnight Oatmeal by Rhubarb and Honey
- Orange, Mango, Lime & Ginger Smoothie by The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Pear Bran Muffins by Magnolia Days
- Stovetop Fruit & Honey Granola by What Smells So Good?
Jump start your health with these appetizers and snacks:
- Almond Crusted Chicken Nuggets by Momma’s Meals
- Chipotle Black Bean Dip by Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen
- Lemon Aioli with Spring Vegetables by Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
- Mala Baked Tofu Bites by Palatable Pastime
- Parmesan Pistachio Kale Chips by The Texan New Yorker
Soups that’ll win your heart:
- Asian Soba Noodle Broth Bowl by Hip Foodie Mom
- Kale, Spinach, and Bean Soup by Ruffles & Truffles
- Mushroom Quinoa Soup by Pies and Plots
- Quinoa Chickpea Soup with Roasted Garlic & Veggies by Sue’s Nutrition Buzz
- Turkey and Black-Eyed Peas Soup by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
Veggies, Sides, & Salads your heart will thank you for:
- Collard Greens with Cumin and Paprika by Nik Snacks
- Salmon Caesar Salad by Casa de Crews
- Kale Roasted Beet Salad with Honey Balsamic Dressing by Noshing with the Nolands
- Lightened-Up Creamed Spinach au Gratin by Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Roasted Teriyaki Green Beans and Mushrooms by NeighborFood
- Salmon Salad Niçoise by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Seasoned Spinach & Bok Choy by Nosh My Way
- Spinach Berry Salad by Country Girl in the Village
- Sweet & Smokey Cauliflower Salad by Take a Bite Out of Boca
- Winter Citrus Salad with Avocado-Basil Dressing by Foxes Love Lemons
Healthy is the center of attention in these main courses:
- Baked Eggplant Parmesan by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Celeriac Noodles with Mushroom Ragu by The Joyful Foodie
- Gluten Free Roasted Chicken and Kale by Gluten Free Crumbley
- Heart Healthy Salmon Bento by The Ninja Baker
- Lemony Grilled Chicken by Peaceful Cooking
- Moroccan Salmon Tagine by Curious Cuisiniere
- Olive Oil-Poached Salmon with Pickled Cherry Salsa by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- One Pot Mexican Quinoa by Have Fun Saving
- Oven Baked Tilapia Tacos by Sew You Think You Can Cook
- Piperies Yemistes me Pligouri – Bulgur Stuffed Peppers by Food Lust People Love
- Salmon with Mango Salsa by Cooking Chat
- Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Quinoa Bake by Food Done Light
- Vegetable and Ginger Congee by eating in instead
- Vegetarian Cuban-Style Black Beans & Rice by MealDiva
- White Bean, Corn, Tomato and Rice Skillet by Family Foodie
Staying healthy doesn’t mean giving up desserts!
- Baked Figs with Vanilla and Honey by Happy Baking Days
- Caramelized Pear Tart by PancakeWarriors
- Cherry-Blueberry Trifles by The Life and Loves of Grumpy’s Honeybunch
We heart wine.
- Wine Pairing Recommendations for Heart Healthy #SundaySupper by ENOFYLZ Wine Blog