Creamed Spinach and Mushrooms (lite)

It was a tough day here.  Managing a sick pup right now.  Fortunately yesterday I had already planned a steakhouse dinner for tonight.  Comfort food of the variety that I rarely indulge in.  And this tastes like a lot more of an indulgence than it really is.  Exactly what I needed.  Something that tastes like comfort food that I don’t have to feel guilty about eating.

From Saturday’s farmers’ market shopping I had 1/2 a bag of spinach, some shiitake mushrooms and a little asparagus left.  I peeled the asparagus for last night’s Flounder Wrapped Asparagus, but I couldn’t bear to throw away those lovely strips so I saved them for tonight and tossed them into tonight’s creamy mixture.  I made a few other adjustments as well.  I used low fat buttermilk instead of regular milk.  The buttermilk adds a nice tangy flavor and some richness so I reduced the amount of cream cheese.  And I used finely diced sweet onion instead of scallions.  I just don’t keep scallions in the house.

This is a simple dish, but it has a few steps.  You do have to saute the mushrooms and the spinach first.  Then you make the cream sauce in a separate pot.  It’s a simple white sauce with some cheese added.  Just be sure that you whisk the flour into the milk to create a slurry.  That makes it so much easier to avoid lumps in your sauce.  And do stir constantly.  If you don’t the flour will burn and the sauce will taste burned and bitter. Once you pull the sauce together you just dump the vegetables in and mix.  Honestly you could make about 1/2 this amount of sauce.  It’s good, but there’s too much of it, which didn’t occur to me until I’d already dumped the spinach and mushrooms into the pot.  If you’re unsure add the sauce to the vegetables a little at a time until you have the ratio you want.

Of course I have to offer some kudos to Greenway Beef for the steak.  It’s the most flavorful ribeye I’ve ever eaten.  Just amazing.  I could have cut it with a butter knife.  Nothing on it but some garlic salt and pepper and a little olive oil to keep it from sticking to the grill.  Thanks Clark family!

A couple of tips for pulling this meal together.  Take everything out of the fridge at the beginning – beef, vegetables, cream cheese and buttermilk.  That way things will be at room temp by the time you’re ready to use it.   Turn on the grill.  Do all your chopping, measuring and make the slurry.  Put on the steak.  Saute the spinach and mushrooms.  Turn the steak.  Saute the garlic and onions.  Pull the steak off the grill to rest.  Make the sauce.  There you have it.  By the time the sauce is finished the steak will have rested enough to cut it.  Everything ready together for serving and no time wasted.

This is as good as anything you’ll get at a place like Morton’s.  And you can control the salt, fat, portion size and calories – not to mention the cost!  Next time you feel like a steakhouse dinner give this a shot.  I bet you could even get your kids to eat spinach like this!

Good? Definitely.
Easy? Eh, probably short of ‘easy’ but not too bad.
Good for company? Yep.
Special shopping? Nope.

Creamed Spinach and Mushrooms

Ingredients

4 teaspoons canola oil, divided
8 ounces sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 (10-ounce) package baby spinach
1/3 cup finely chopped onions
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Dash of nutmeg
1 1/2 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese

Directions

1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil; swirl to coat. Add mushrooms; cook 6 minutes or until liquid evaporates. Remove mushrooms from pan. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add spinach; cook 1 minute or until spinach wilts. Remove from heat.
2. Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil; swirl to coat. Add onions and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Combine milk and flour, stirring with a whisk. Add milk mixture, salt, pepper, and nutmeg to pan; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook 3 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly. Add cheese; stir until cheese melts and the mixture is smooth. Add mushrooms and spinach to milk mixture, and toss gently to coat.

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