What’s the best bargain in the frozen foods aisle? Want to guess, or shall I just tell you? OK, I’ll tell you. It’s frozen spinach in the little 10-ounce box. Tada!
Spinach makes me think of Popeye the Sailor Man. Every time he found himself in a perilous situation, he’d rip the top off a can of spinach, chug it down, and beat up the bad guys with his bulging forearms. The spinach was magical, like it was … a superfood.
Now, we all know dark leafy greens actually are superfoods, and spinach is one of the most nutrient-dense of all foods. It’s a great source of iron and other minerals, cancer-fighting antioxidants and vitamins A and K, which are important to bone health. It’s good to note that cooking spinach increases access to nutrients. We should be eating more of this, right?
However, have you ever sauteed a huge mound of fresh spinach only to watch it wilt down to nothing? The major benefit of buying frozen spinach is having someone else do the wilting first, then pass the savings on to you.
Let’s do a price comparison between fresh and frozen spinach, shall we?
One pound (16 ounces) of fresh spinach cooks down to 1 1/4 cups drained, which is equal to one (10-ounce) frozen package. At the time of writing (and at various stores in the Pacific Northwest), one (8-ounce) bag of fresh spinach costs between $3 and $6, and a 10-ounce box of frozen spinach costs between $1 and $2 dollars.
Here’s the deal: It’ll take two 8-ounce bags of fresh spinach to equal 10 ounces frozen. That’s $6 to $12 fresh compared to $1 to $2 frozen. So it’s definitely cheaper to buy frozen, and that’s a big bang for your buck.
But frozen spinach isn’t just a great bargain, it’s also incredibly versatile. You can use it in pretty much any recipe that calls for cooked fresh spinach. Just don’t go tossing it in your salad. That’s just weird.
Instead, try dumping a box into your next soup or stew, add some to smoothies, into casseroles, hide some in meatloaf or burgers, add some to your favorite pasta dish, or use it as a topping for your morning eggs.
And if you’re in the mood for a delicious protein-filled dish to sneak some extra greens into your diet, you’ll love this recipe for crustless Easy Cheesy Spinach Pie.
EASY CHEESY SPINACH PIE
Yield: 6 pieces
Total Time: 50 minutes
1 box (10 ounce) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained
1 container (16 ounce) cottage cheese
2 cups mozzarella or Italian blend cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
See optional ingredients below.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9-inch pie plate or spray with cooking spray. Defrost spinach and squeeze dry by wringing in a clean kitchen towel, then set aside.
In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs then add all the remaining ingredients, mixing until blended.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pie plate and bake for 40 minutes or until the center is set.
If you want to dirty a skillet, you could saute and add any (or all) of the following optional ingredients: 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1/2 cup chopped red peppers, or 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms.
So next time you’re browsing the frozen food aisle, remember: For a superfood that won’t break the bank, go for the spinach. It’s not just for Popeye anymore!
Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is the penny-pinching, party-planning, recipe developer and content creator of the website Divas On A Dime — Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous! Visit Patti at www.divasonadime.com and join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Email Patti at email@example.com
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