I have the biggest trouble getting my little one to eat green vegetables and they’re really hard to “hide” in other foods. The last time we had spinach, which was on her request, it ended up being thrown across the room. You see, Little Missy has this book called “Little Pea” by Amy Krouse Rosenthal about a little pea in whose world you eat candy for dinner and veggies for dessert. Only this Little Pea hates candy. But he begrudgingly eats it to get his dessert of spinach. We read this book several times a day and Little Missy talks to Little Pea, telling him he needs to eat his dinner to grow big and strong, and if he doesn’t eat his dinner, we won’t get dessert (oddly enough she hasn’t internalized the message in the book). So, when she requested spinach for dinner one night, I wasn’t all that surprised and was a little hopeful that she was finally getting the point of the book. I decided to make a quick creamed spinach. Like really quick, you heat up frozen spinach and mix in Laughing Cow cream cheese wedges, at a 1 cup of spinach to 1 cheese wedge ratio. No need to wring out the spinach as the moisture combines with the cream cheese to make a light sauce. It sort of looked like the spinach in the book, which had the appearance of soft serve ice cream (perhaps that’s why Little Missy is a little obsessed with it). Well, I don’t think I need to fill you in on the details, as you already know it was unceremoniously flung across the room. So we were back to square one with the spinach thing.
Recently I was thumbing through my copy of Double Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld and came across a recipe for Bacon and Egg Cups. It’s basically eggs mixed with cauliflower puree baked in a tortilla cup. I decided to take a risk and make this using spinach instead. It’s a breakfast food, but there’s no reason you can’t make this for lunch or dinner. In fact, I made this for dinner and would you believe Little Missy enjoyed it so much she asked for it again for lunch the next day? Ironically, Little Missy is not familiar with Dr. Seuss’ book, because she just can’t sit through more than a few pages of it before losing interest, so I can’t bump up her interest in this dish with the help of Sam I Am… Well, maybe that’s not such a bad thing. I prefer Missy to eat stuff because she likes it and not because of some book. Here is my recipe for Green Eggs and Ham (or Spinach Egg Cups), adapted from Seinfeld’s:
Spinach Egg Cups (makes 4)
Non Stick cooking spray
4 fajita sized whole wheat tortillas (no bigger than 8 inches)
1 large egg
½ cup liquid egg whites (or 3 large egg whites)
½ cup spinach puree
4 slices bacon, chopped (use your favorite, whether it’s vegetarian, turkey, uncured, nitrite free, etc)
½ cup shredded cheese (again use your favorite and change it up to change the overall flavor)
Handful of chopped tomato and scallions for topping
- Preheat oven to 350F. Spray 4 cups of a muffin pan with cooking spray. Fold each tortilla to create a cup shape and press into each muffin cup. This may take some practice. Start by folding in half and then creating at least 2 pleats to make a cup. You’ll have to play with it a little to get it to sit in the muffin tin.
- To make the spinach puree, microwave about a cup of frozen chopped spinach until hot. Wring out the excess water and puree in a mini chopper. If you don’t get the water out, it’ll separate as you bake the cups and make them soggy. You can use the spinach as is too, but it blends in with the egg more smoothly if it’s pureed and at least in our household that seems to be an important factor when it comes to eating it or not. You may get more than the ½ cup or spinach you need, just reserve the rest for something else.
- In a bowl, whisk the egg and egg whites and stir in the spinach. Season with salt and pepper if you wish. Pour the mixture into each tortilla cup. Sprinkle with the chopped bacon and cheese. Bake uncovered for about 20 minutes until the egg is cooked and the cheese has melted and browned a little. If you use larger tortillas and their edges stick up, keep an eye on the oven to make sure the edges don’t burn.
- Top with tomatoes and scallions and serve with your favorite egg condiments. Be careful when serving these to children as they will be hot in the center. I recommend cutting in half or quarters for children. They can then easily eat the pieces by hand.