A lighter version of Creamed Spinach

This is a fabulous recipe to get your family to eat spinach and enjoy it as well.  It is a lighter version of the creamed spinach one would find at a great steak house.

I am thrilled to make this because it is one of the few ways I can get everyone in the family to eat a vegetable.

I have included some tips below the posted recipe which will help make this a successful side dish for your family!

Creamed Spinach and Leeks  
Recipe courtesy Oxmoor House AUGUST 2011
Yield: 5 servings (serving size: 1/2 cup)

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups fat-free milk
  • 1 ½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Cooking spray
  • ½ cup thinly sliced leek
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (16-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
  • ¼ cup (2 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

  1. Place flour in a bowl large enough to hold the milk.
  2. Slowly, add milk to the bowl while whisking to incorporate the flour and milk well.
  3. Set the milk mixture aside
  4. Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
  5. Coat pan generously with cooking spray.
  6. Add leek and garlic; sauté 2 minutes or until tender.
  7. Add spinach, and sauté 1 minute.
  8. Slowly stir in milk mixture; cook 2 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring occasionally.
  9. Add cream cheese, salt, and pepper to spinach mixture in pan, stirring until smooth. Cook 1 more minute.

ENJOY!

RECIPE TIP 1:  Often I feel it is okay to omit or substitute an ingredient if you don’t have it onhand but I would urge you to make this one as written.  I sometimes will make this when I have everything in the house but the leek.  It is good if you substitute onions for the leek but it is best with the leek.    So, at least the first time you make it, make sure to add a great big leek to your grocery list.
If you have never bought a leek and don’t know what you are looking for, ask the nice person in the produce section where to find it or just locate the vegetable that looks like a giant scallion.

RECIPE TIP 2:  After all this talk about leeks, I feel obligated to give you the best tip I have read about preparing them.  Here is info found online on RealSimple.com

The Best Way to Clean Leeks

This member of the onion family adds a deliciously pungent note to soups and sautés. Its downside? As the plant grows, gritty soil gets trapped between its layers. Here’s how to get it out of every crevice.

Step 1: Cut off and discard the dark green leaves an inch or so above the white part of the stalk (the greens are bitter and tough). Then trim and discard the roots. Halve the remaining stalk lengthwise, then cut into pieces of the desired size.
Step 2: Fill a bowl with cold water, add the cut leeks, and swish them around a few times. With your hands loosely cupped, lift the leeks out of the bowl and place them on a plate or work surface. (the grit will remain behind in the bowl.) Discard the water and grit. Fill the bowl with fresh water and repeat until the water is clear.

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