Stuff It With Spinach — Fall Fest

Let’s talk spinach. It’s the green at the center of family dinner dramas and the barrier to many kids’ elusive desserts. More often than not, kids just don’t want to eat their spinach. And if we’re getting down to it, who can blame them? When spinach exits the freezer as a rock-hard rectangle and is defrosted into a soggy mess, who’s going to be down for a side of that?

Now that we’ve made it to October, things start to look up for spinach because each leaf is crisply in season.

We’re all about the classics like Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip. But sometimes you have to level with the little ones, the picky eaters and the greenaphobes sitting around your dinner table. Who knows, maybe incorporating spinach into their lives little by little could mean straight Creamed Spinach this time next year. When you want to savor this green — and satisfy the whole family — look to Food Network’s spinach-stuffed recipes to make everyone happy.

If a recipe asks for the frozen kind, go ahead and swap in the fresh stuff. This time of year there’s no need to defrost. Go for baby spinach to reduce stem clipping, too. That way, spinach can melt into your meals in the best way possible.

To stuff veggie with veggie, go for Paula Deen’s Spinach Stuffed Zucchini or Rachael Ray’s Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Portobellos.

For a hearty, comforting meal, make Rachael Ray’s Spinach and Mushroom Stuffed Chicken Breasts by blending the green, mushrooms, ricotta and Parmesan into a savory filling. Or prepare an Italian rendition with Pork Chops Stuffed With Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Spinach (pictured above) by Giada De Laurentiis.

Speaking of Italian, Giada’s Shells With Crispy Pancetta and Spinach come with a creamy butter-garlic sauce that fuses the pasta and filling together, while her Cheese and Spinach Pastry Pockets are an ideal appetizer or game-night snack.

And who doesn’t love stuffed peppers? Rachael Ray brings this week’s in-season produce into her Stuffed Peppers With Beef, Rice, Spinach and Cheese — which, might I add, are perfect for freezing.

Looking for more kid-friendly recipes that aren’t of the stuffed nature? Try Grilled Cheese With Spinach and Pancetta, Turkey and Spinach Taquitos, Fusilli With Spinach-Nut Pesto and more.

Your kids might not realize there’s spinach in their dinner, but you will.

FACT: According to HGTV Gardens, we have a tendency to harvest the leaves when they are medium-sized or baby because we avoid the larger leaves that often tear significantly when picking, washing and bagging.

Talk to us: What’s your favorite way to eat spinach? Tell us in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag: # fallfest.

More spinach recipes from family and friends:
Jeanette's Healthy Living: Skinny Hot Spinach Dip
And Love It Too: Grain-Free Spinach Pie
Virtually Homemade: Three Onion Dip With Spinach
HGTV Gardens: Garden-to-Table: Spinach
Thursday Night Dinner: Spinach Ice Cream
Delicious Lean: Spinach Leaf Roll Ups
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