I am a proud farmer’s daughter. I grew up alongside a young apple farm, and for a time it was even named after me! Sora Orchard (My middle name/Korean name). It has been a huge part of my life and my identity and all that jazz. Anyway, one of the many perks is always having fresh fruits and veggies around, either from our farm or from neighbors. The other day, my dad told me to take some spinach with me to LA (living here until the end of August). I went out back to find a box the size of a mini fridge full of spinach. Taking half of it in a giant bag (the size of the giant brown bags from grocery stores. I forgot to take a picture of the bag, but trust me when I say it was as big as a medium-sized child), I had to figure out what to do with it.
Option 1: eat salad until I die
Option 2: eat nothing but spinach until I turn into Popeye
Option 3: Blanche and freeze it all to buy time because deciding right now is too much pressure
I went for option 3. Thankfully, blanched/boiled spinach downsizes a lot, so now I have a manageable amount of frozen spinach. Today, I broke out the frozen spinach and some other various odds and ends to make a casserole! My first one, so this is all sorts of exciting.
Baking was my first love, but I think I have more of a cooking personality, where you can literally just throw a bunch of stuff together and if it smells good, it’ll probably taste alright. Sometimes I feel like measuring is so passé. Anyway, here’s what I did:
– Half a white onion, sliced
– Olive Oil – about 2 tbs (two bloops)
– Cooked Chicken – a lot, like if you took your two fists and put them together, about that much. (bigger fists = more chicken!)
– Thawed Spinach – a lot, because I have lot of spinach to go through. Probably a little more than the chicken measurement
– bowtie pasta – a 6x6x2in block (these were leftover noodles, and this is vaguely the size of the tupperware container they were crammed into)
– Trader Joe’s Tomato Basil Sauce – probably around 2-3 cups. Enough to generously cover everything with sauce, but not enough to have sauce pooling at the bottom.
– Grated Parmesan – if you made a bowl with your hands, about that much. I just had a hunk of parmesan in the freezer, because my mom didn’t know what to do with it so she gave it to me. I’ve been waiting a long time for this moment to actually use it for something.
– Fresh Thyme: maybe about 20 sprigs (strip the stems and only use the leaves)
Preheat the oven to 400. Mix the onions and the olive oil in the baking dish and put them in the oven to cook for a bit. You probably want a medium-large sized pyrex, depending on how large your fists are (I used two small baking dishes, because that’s all we have in the apartment)
Mix the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl ( minus about half the parmesan and a few sprigs of thyme), and add the onions after they get a little more translucent and maybe brown on the edges. Mix in the onions and then put the mixture in the baking dish(es).
Top with a layer of parmesan and sprinkle some thyme on top for presentation (I’m a slave to appearances, unless I feel like wearing pj’s…which is often)
Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 400 for about 20-30 min (as long as it takes for me to take a shower. I like long showers)
Uncover and bake for another 10-15 min for the cheese to get bubbly
Take out of the oven, take several photos for snapchat/instagram/facebook/text to parents, and then enjoy while watching Supernatural.
Here’s the vague inspiration for this recipe. I sort of looked it through, got the general idea, and used what I had around.