…but it won’t choke Stymie! 😉
How can you not love the “Little Rascals”? (Go on, take less than 20 seconds out of your day to bring a smile to your face!)
I’ve been on a bit of spinach kick lately, and for our New Year’s Day celebrations, I decided to try out a new recipe for Spinach Artichoke Gratin from a recipe in my glycemic Index cookbook.
The total antioxidant capacity of artichoke flower heads is one of the highest reported for vegetables. Cynarin, an active chemical constituent in Cynara, causes an increased bile flow. The majority of the cynarin found in artichoke is located in the pulp of the leaves, though dried leaves and stems of artichoke also contain it. It inhibits taste receptors, making water (and other foods and drinks) seem sweet.
This diuretic vegetable is of nutritional value because of its exhibiting an aid to digestion, strengthening of the liver function and gall bladder function, and raising of the HDL/LDL ratio. This reduces cholesterol levels, which diminishes the risk for arteriosclerosis and coronary heart disease. Aqueous extracts from artichoke leaves have also been shown to reduce cholesterol by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase and having a hypolipidemic influence, lowering blood cholesterol. Artichoke contains the bioactive agents apigenin and luteolin. C. scolymus also seems to have a bifidogenic effect on beneficial gut bacteria. Artichoke leaf extract has proved helpful for patients with functional dyspepsia, and may ameliorate symptoms of IBS.
When I saw the recipe for Spinach Artichoke Gratin, I just had to give it a go, and I’m pleased to say it may an absolutely yummy accompaniment to our New Year’s Day ham. 🙂 It comes together easily and is rather like having spinach-artichoke dip without the chips.
Spinach Artichoke Gratin (Makes 6 to 8 servings)
- 2 packages (10 ounces each) frozen spinach, thawed and WELL DRAINED
- 1 package (8 to 10 ounces) frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and separated (halve them if you like)
- 2 cups (16 ounces) reduced-fat or fat-free cottage cheese (I used reduce fat)
- 2 eggs or 1/2 cup egg substitute
- 4 1/2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided (Vegetarians — use a vegetarian substitute or another cheese of your choice)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 or 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- Dash of coarse ground black pepper and ground nutmeg, to taste
- Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly spray a shallow 1 1/5 to 2 quart baking dish with cooking spray.
- In a food processor or blender, process cottage cheese, eggs, 3 tablespoons of the cheese, lemon juice, pepper, and nutmeg.
- Thaw and drain/dry frozen spinach and artichoke hearts.
- In a medium to large bowl, stir together spinach and cottage cheese mixture.
- Spread half of spinach/cottage cheese mixture in dish.
- Top with artichoke hearts.
- Spread remaining spinach/cottage cheese mixture over artichoke heart layer.
- Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
- Bake, covered, for 25 minutes. Remove cover and bake until bubbly and cheese is slightly browned, another 15 to 25 minutes.
- Refrigerate leftovers.