my favorite things: recipes

Halloween 2005 spread featuring Peggy Boren’s Famous Spinach Balls

I like recipes. I am trying to get back into the habit of cooking, and I like reading recipes to prepare. Of course, reading recipes keeps me from cleaning my kitchen and doing the dishes that have crowded my sink for the last few months weeks. Such is life, and such is sloth.

But I feel that I have motivation and inspiration to cook. Cooking is fun, and it’s cheaper than dining out or ordering in. Also, I have a deadline. I’m having Thanksgiving dinner with Nite and Jeff this year at Nite’s place. While they’re providing the bulk of the meal (you can order a complete Thanksgiving dinner from Whole Foods, which they did two years ago), their guests — me, Jon, Alissa, Elisa, and another friend of Jeff’s whose name escapes me — have been asked to provide a side, dessert, or a beverage.

Immediately, I thought of the two recipes below. Delicious, fortifying, and shared by two of the nicest people I know. And while I’ll be participating in this year’s Thanksgiving parade, I shouldn’t have too much trouble making one or both of these delicious treats as my contribution to the holiday meal.

First, we have “Peggy Boren’s Famous Spinach Balls” from my former roommate (and owner of the fabulous organizing business Simplicity Works) Molly Boren. Peggy, if you haven’t already guessed, is Molly’s mom. Molly was a great roommate, and a great party co-host. We had two really great parties during our roommate tenure:

  1. a Halloween party where everybody dressed up as someone or something that died a notorious or tragic death (think: Cleopatra, Eazy-E, Terri Schiavo, and Malcolm X!)
  2. “Total Eclipse of the Heart” (yes, this party had a title) an 80’s themed Valentine’s Day party where I made a cake in the shape of Pac-Man.

I’ve asked Molly for this recipe about three gazillion times, but I never remember if it’s in e-mail somewhere or on a post-it. When I asked for it this last time she said:

I keep this in my phone for just this sort of occasion! No need for anything in return; you are helping achieve my life’s mission of spreading spinach balls throughout the world.

Peggy Boren’s Famous Spinach Balls

  • 4 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 2 boxes (20 oz total) frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup melted butter (can use less)
  • ½ cup grated parmesan
  • ½ cup grated cheddar
  • ½ tsp. garlic salt
  • ½ tsp. thyme
  • 2 c. ground herb stuffing mix
  • dash salt
  1. Combine all ingredients.
  2. Form into walnut-sized balls.
  3. Refrigerate balls, separated on cookie sheet, 30 mins. to 1 hr.
  4. Bake 20-25 mins. at 350.

Unused balls can be frozen, then baked for 25-30 mins. at 350.

I don’t remember how many balls this recipe makes, but it makes a lot. It’s perfect for parties or for one or two people snacking over the course of, say, a week. Molly would put these out on a tray with a ramekin or small bowl of ketchup. Plain or dipped, they are remarkable and popular. If you see these, move fast!

Rozi Bhimani is a lawyer, a wife, a mother, a runner, the person who got me into “The Amazing Race”, and fellow shoe fiend. She and my friend Andrew have been together for 10 years (!) and celebrated five years of marriage this past August. They have a 3 year old son, Nathan. I have to confess that when I first met Rozi over ten years ago, when Andrew brought her to the Hyde Park apartment I shared with our pals Jacinda and Andrea, that I was pretty, well, not sober. It’s not like I was vomiting into a bucket at 10 in the morning, but let’s just say I went from feeling mellow to pretty mortified. Rozi didn’t seem to notice, care, or judge about this, and I have loved her ever since.

Rozi and Andrew have me over for dinner occasionally, and everything I’ve eaten from their kitchen has been delicious. This broccoli, cheese, and rice casserole from her aunt, Lynn Arnsdorf, is a standout. When I asked Rozi for the recipe, she replied:

Ok, I will share, but you have to promise not to be grossed out! I fear you will never eat this again….(also, I typically swap out for low fat options….fat free mushroom soup and low fat cheese whiz; I’ve tried this with brown rice too but it’s not as good; and, i regularly forget the butter and that seems ok too; basically, this recipe is indestructible).

The recipe was to me not gross but thrilling in its simplicity — just six ingredients, and you don’t even have to cook the rice beforehand — and it’s quality. It is just so good and filling, perfect for serving to friends, and therefore made for family dinner, Thanksgiving dinner, and any other dinner you care to have.

Lynn Arnsdorf’s Broccoli, Cheese, and Rice Casserole

Heat the following in a large saucepan:

  1. ¼ cup butter
  2. 1 small jar of Cheez Whiz (use half of the 13 oz. size)
  3. 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  4. 1 package of frozen chopped broccoli

Once mixed together, add some chopped onion (1-2 tablespoons) and 2 cups of Minute Rice (uncooked). Mix and pour into 1.5-2 quart casserole dish. Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Okay, enough blogging for today. I’ve got some cooking to do.


1 Comment

Filed under food & drink, friends

One response to “my favorite things: recipes

  1. Hey the recipe sounds quite delicious and i am sure gonna give it a try but i have a question can we do it without eggs is it possible. i wanna know it. Thank you.

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