Meals for One
In some ways this is a strange time for me to start a food blog. While it seems my family has always been busy and meals have been erratic for years, I just sent my middle child off to college and now I have even fewer mouths to feed at dinner time. In fact my husband often misses meals and my youngest son, who still lives at home, is frequently grabbing a quick bite between football and other activities and eating at odd hours. Quite often these days I find that I am eating dinner alone. Sometimes I eat leftovers or fast food but there are times when I want to eat something fresh and healthy and home cooked, though it is always nice if the preparation is easy.
One of my favorite easy meals involves little more than a bag of spinach and a can of chickpeas. When I am hungry and in a hurry but want to feel that I am nurturing my body with natural vitamins and calcium I am always glad to find that bag of spinach I picked up at the market waiting for me in the refrigerator.
Spinach with Chickpeas
2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 15-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 clove garlic
1 bag fresh spinach, washed
½ fresh lemon
curry powder or cumin (optional)
Heat a tablespoon or so of olive oil in a large skillet. Open the can of chickpeas. Drain and rinse. Add the chickpeas to the skillet. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper. Add a little curry powder or cumin if you like. Continue cooking over medium heat until the beans are warm and toasty, two minutes, or longer if you like them a bit nuttier. Remove from heat and transfer the chickpeas to a plate.
Heat a bit more olive oil in the skillet and when it is hot add a pressed clove of garlic and stir for one minute. Then gradually add the fresh spinach. Turn and stir, adding more as room allows until the whole bag has been added and all of the spinach has wilted. If the spinach begins to stick or get dry, sprinkle with a few drops of water and continue cooking. When all of the spinach has wilted squeeze half a lemon across the leaves and stir, then add the chickpeas back to the pan. Combine and stir until the chickpeas are warm again then remove from the heat. Served with toasted pita bread, or ‘Tandoori Naan’ from Trader Joe’s.
I find this to be a simple and healthy quick meal. If you have a heartier appetite it would be great served with rice, orzo or couscous. It also makes a nice side dish.