I was inspired to think about eating old-school by this recent article by my friend and colleague Janet Helm. Her list of nutritious foods that should not be forgotten included sun-dried tomatoes and Romaine lettuce. I would like to add a few more of my grandmother’s favorites: Homemade applesauce, canned beets, black olives, frozen boxes of spinach, cottage cheese (on Janet’s short list – but deserves another mention) and tomato juice. And in the entrée category of old-school eats, a blue plate special of meatloaf and creamed spinach tops my list!
Creamed Spinach is made from frozen boxes of spinach – which are economical, nutrient bonanzas. Not only does the thought of blanching and freezing all that spinach myself make my head tired, but we also know frozen foods are picked at the peak of freshness and then flash frozen; so all those spinach antioxidants are preserved. All this for about $2.00 a box! The Creamed Spinach recipe I served was brilliantly made-over by the Meal Makeover Moms and it’s delicious. Upon seeing it on the table, my four-year-old asked to “try it tomorrow.” But after tasting it, she was asked for seconds.
In these days of Meatless Monday, meatloaf has certainly lost some respect. Yet, meatloaf packs a powerful package of nutrients of which most women and kids don’t get enough: Zinc and iron are just two. Living in Illinois we are blessed by an abundance of wild game; so venison is plentiful which is why I developed this recipe for Venison Meatloaf. Venison is delightful in a meatloaf because it’s very lean (and very few drippings collect in the bottom of the pan.) So you could use very lean ground beef instead – however you would miss the delicious way the flavorful venison pairs with the apples and the earthy horseradish. Either way, making a blue plate special a little healthier never goes out of style.