Let’s face it. Not every night around here is as nutritious and delicious as I would like. Sometimes, pasta and ready-made marinara sauce is the best I can do. But, I have a secret ingredient that makes me feel better and even tastes good: spinach.

Before you wrinkle your nose at this leafy green, try it fresh. I stock a bag of spinach in the fridge at all times and use it by the handful in just about any dish. And since it cooks so quickly, I can add it only to the dinners of kids who will eat it.

Below are a few ways I add fresh spinach to our meals. I’m would be very wary of using frozen spinach in any of them.

1. PASTA: One of my quickest dinners is to toss pasta into individual bowls. I pour the sauce on top, straight from the jar, and add a few leaves of spinach. Mix it up and pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds. The leaves will wilt and taste delicious. Or, try the following dish that takes a little more time.

3T butter
1 onion or shallot
3 cloves chopped garlic
3 handfuls of fresh spinach
cup sliced mushrooms
2T fresh chopped basil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Saute the onion or shallot in butter for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, spinach and mushrooms and saute until soft. Turn off the heat and add the basil, salt and pepper. Best over angel hair pasta.

2. BURRITOS: See my burrito post for the recipe. Once all the ingredients are prepared, I add a handful of spinach into the hot beans and rice. The spinach will wilt in the heat.

3. SPINACH SALAD: I use spinach leaves for salad greens, with some tomatoes and sunflower seeds on top. Even better with feta cheese. Drizzle a vinaigrette on top.

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