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As we settle into the long, cold, dark days that come with the final slog through winter, we — your pals from The Hairpin and The Awl — will be bringing you some of our favorite casserole recipes (and crockery recommendations).
This spinach casserole is eaten at just about every big family meal on my mom’s side, and I’m pretty sure that some people might be breaking plates in revolt if it weren’t on the table. We never get sick of it, ever. It’s a veggie dish that works as a meal or a side (there are some vegetarians in my family, hence its ubiquity), and it comes from my grandma Marty, who never turned her nose up at a recipe from the back of a Campbell’s can, or was ever out of Lawry’s. So, you know the type — homegirl loves a casserole. And it gets some greenery into your comfort food, but it’s not low fat or healthy in any way, so that probably cancels it out.
2 bags raw spinach, or 2 packages frozen chopped spinach (I used bagged because I’m an overachiever like that)
16 oz tub of cottage cheese (do NOT use non-fat cottage cheese, because that is nasty and tastes wrong. Don’t eat it. 4% is the MOST delicious, but 2% can work for this recipe if you insist)
Approx 1 cup cheddar cheese cubes
Approx 10 small (1cm square) butter chunks (I told you, not low fat)
3 tbsp flour
S and P
1. Wilt your spinach in a little bit of boiling water in a large pan. Drain it in a colander and press out the extra liquid with the back of a wooden spoon. Or thaw and drain, if using frozen.
2. Mix the spinach with the cottage cheese, eggs, cheddar cubes, half the butter chunks, and flour.
3. S and P at will.
4. Pour mixture into a baking pan.
5. Dot the top wantonly with the rest of the butter chunks (is “butter chunks” not the best phrase/image/notion EVER? I want to name my firstborn Butter Chunks. Butter Chunks Walsh).
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until bubbly and cheesy and oozy. I actually had to leave mine in for longer and jack up the heat 10 degrees cause I got a LITTLE too crazy with the butter chunks. Team Butter chunks! Fist pump!
So basically, it’s like quiche, but it’s NOT, it’s spinach casserole! (It’s more spinach-y and less eggy/creamy than a quiche.) Serve as a side to chicken, steak, fish, etc., or make a meal of it with a baked potato and salad. Or it also goes well with rice. Stand in the kitchen picking the crusty cheesy parts out of the corners of the pan with your fingers. Shove it INTO the baked potato and eat it with your hands (I did this once when I was six and was subsequently scolded for my hideous table manners, at which point I retired to my bedroom in a huff to beat my fists against my bed, crying “NOBODY LOVES MEEEE!!!” That’s how serious this spinach casserole is). Bring it to a potluck and impress your friends. Eat it the next day cold (even more delicious). I’ve been wanting to experiment with extra goodies and other flavors in this one — balsamic onion and feta? Mushroom and mozzarella? It’s hard to argue with the classic, though. It’s easy and delicious, and I highly suggest you incorporate it into your rotation. Beware its siren call, however, as it may take over your family like it’s taken over mine.
Katie Walsh is serving Pioneer Woman realness.