Budget Eats – Baked Spinach with Cheese
I’ve been inspired recently to get back into cooking, and most often it’s a bit of an experiment. When I was at university I truly enjoyed making meals and budget eats specifically, but with the goal of maximizing taste. I stumbled upon a great cook book recently when I was at the library, Vegetables from an Italian Garden, which has basic to complex recipes using Italian inspired fresh vegetables.
There a decent quantity of spinach recipes in this book and I decided to go with a pretty simple one. It also happens to be a pretty affordable option too. Baked spinach with cheese sounded great but also had a very short list of ingredients, which meant I didn’t have to go out and buy anything either.
Given the time of year, and what I had available, canned whole tomatoes was the best option. Keep in mind, you can buy these on sale for $1 or less. Bunched spinach is also an absolute bargain as well and I used about a bunch and half given what I already had on hand. I also used dried spices given the season, I would have preferred fresh but dried fit in better with the inexpensive ingredient theme.
After doing a quick blanch of the spinach and getting the remainder of the ingredients together in a separate bowl I followed the instructions and got everything together in a pyrex dish. To top everything off I subbed in parmigiano reggiano instead of pecorino cheese. The idea is to use a hard cheese when making this for some flavour, but work with what you have. Even an old cheddar would work as well if necessary.
After cooking for 15 minutes instead of the 10 minutes the book suggested, the dish was done. I split it into 3 servings and gave the parents a try. It passed the dad test, who is honestly the toughest critic of them all.
Overall cost of the dish – likely less than $1 per serving. I split this into 3 servings.
Ease of cooking – Beginner
Would I make this again – Yes!
For next time I’m thinking of layering spinach, tomatoes, spinach, tomatoes and then the cheese on top. Also cooking the tomatoes a bit with garlic and onions before baking could also add some additional flavor. This would work as a great side dish or an excellent veggie only- light meal.
I have a feeling this will the be the first of many budget eats blog posts, so keep your eye out for more recipes in the future.