Most of my generation moms grew up watching Popeye – The Sailor and so were introduced to spinach very early and would not mind consuming it since Popeye did so and he could manage getting over any trouble. Sadly, our kids don't know Popeye as he is taken over by the likes of Chotta Bheem and Doraemon, such a pity!
Anyways, leaving aside the entertainment quality woes, what is more worrisome is how to feed Spinach to kids? Spinach – the higly recommended vegetable for kids and which, ironically, kids hate the most :-)
Well, Nabeel is no different and the question hounded me for quite some time now. I know most moms resort to the convenient Palak Paneer recipe but it hardly works. Nabeel loves paneer and so he would look forward to the Palak Paneer being made but when it was time to eat, putting his fine fishing skills to use the paneer was picked out of the green gravy, wiped onto the roti and bitten into. Duh! The palak was right there in his plate staring at me.
I wasn't giving up so easily and tried a couple of other Spinach recipes which failed too. Finally, what came to my rescue was this super easy Spinach Pie Recipe which I have named Popeye Pie. The intention in naming it so it to familiarize Nabeel with the forgotten Popeye – his mom's first hero (wink wink) and the famous Spinach stories.
So, the said pie is any mom's dream food for her child. It is loaded with vegetables apart from spinach, can be made without much preparation, has good carb's to keep the energy flowing and can also be enjoyed cold thus making it an ideal lunch box recipe.
Be creative, add and subtract vegetables as per your kid's preference. Vegetarians, the chicken can be omitted without affecting the taste so you can try this recipe too. Replace the chicken with paneer, soy chunks or any other chunky ingredient you prefer (some more pasta maybe). To make the dish cheesier, have a grated cheese layer between the spinach and potato layer. Again, if you do not prefer giving bread to the child then use rotis instead; however, the top layer won't be as crunchy with the replacement.
Enough of reading let's get to some cooking, shall we?
Popeye Pie Recipe
A. For the Spinach sauce
1. 1 cup wilted Spinach
2. 3 tablespoon plain cheese spread
3. 1 tablespoon milk
4. 1 medium green chilli
For The Crust
1. 4 bread slices
2. 1 tablespoon peeled garlic cloves
3. 2 teaspoon chilli flakes
4. Salt to taste
1. 1/4th cup small pasta, uncooked
2. 150 grams boneless chicken breast
3. 1/4th cup corn
4. 1/4th cup diced capsicum
5. 1 medium boiled and peeled potato
6. Butter for cooking
7. Mixed herbs as per taste
8. Salt as per taste
Step 1: Blend all the ingredients for the Spinach sauce together, cover and keep aside.
Step 2: Grind all the ingredients for the crust to a coarse mixture as shown in the picture. Cover and keep aside.
Step 3: Boil enough water to cook the pasta. Once cooked, drain, refresh and keep aside. Use only small shaped pasta to match with the vegetable size. I used the one pictured below. You can use big pasta like penne or fusilli and cut it once it's cooked.
Step 4: Dice the chicken breast and cook it in a non-stick pan with 1 tablespoon butter, salt and mixed herbs. Remove the chicken and keep aside.
Step 5: In the same pan sauté the remaining vegetables, except potato.
Step 6: In a clean bowl mix the corn, capsicum, chicken, pasta and the spinach sauce together. Season the mixture with salt and herbs, if required.
Step 7: Take the baking dish, and layer the spinach and vegetable mixture.
Step 8: Thickly slice the potato and layer. If adding extra cheese, then do so between the spinach and potato layer.
Step 9: Top with the bread mixture and put small dollops of butter on the bread layer.
Step 10: Bake the Popeye Pie in a hot oven for 10 minutes or till the crust forms.
Serve hot or cold.
Hope this works for you too. Do you have a special Spinach recipe that your kids adore? Then please share it in comments.
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Till then, Love Being a mommy!