March 26… Popeye the Sailor Man’s favorite day!

March 26… Popeye the Sailor Man’s favorite day!

| March 20, 2020
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Popeye will be a very happy sailor on March 26 as it is National Spinach Day! Popeye, a muscular American cartoon character, was created by Elzie Crisler Segar and first appeared in a Kings Features comic strip in 1929.  Popeye would down a can of spinach to build up his strength.

He knew what he was doing as spinach is one of the best sources of iron, plus being an excellent source of calcium, folic acid, fiber, protein, calcium and vitamins A, C and K.

Spinach is native to central and southwestern Asia, though it is thought to have originated in Persia. The name is derived from the Persian word for “green hand.” A member of the beet family, it is loaded with cancer fighting antioxidants and improves cardiovascular and gastrointestinal health. It was the first vegetable that was frozen and sold commercially by Clarence Birdseye in 1930.

On March 26, 1937 the spinach growing community of Crystal City, Texas erected a statue of Popeye in recognition of the positive effect he had on the spinach industry, as spinach sales skyrocketed when the comic strip debuted.

Spinach is delectable in salads and on pizza plus it makes great lasagna and dips. Mix this vegetable with eggs and cheese for a wonderful breakfast or brunch dish.

Spinach-Egg Casserole

2 tablespoon butter
8-10 oz. fresh spinach
¼ cup chopped onions
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
4 eggs
Mozzarella cheese

Saute onion and garlic in butter until tender, add spinach and saute until spinach just begins to wilt (do not overcook). Put in medium casserole dish and spread to cover bottom of dish. Sprinkle cheese over spinach. Beat eggs and pour on top. Take fork and twist to gently mix ingredients in casserole dish. Top with more cheese. Bake in 350 degree oven for approximately 25-30 minutes or until eggs are set and cheese is browned. Cut into pieces and serve with fresh sliced tomatoes and buttered toast.

One favorite appetizer at gatherings (when we can have gatherings again!) is a Spinach-Artichoke Dip. It is easy and delicious.

Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip

1 15-oz. can artichoke hearts (not marinated)
1 10-oz. package chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 small jar pimento, drained and chopped (optional)
4 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
¼ teaspoon garlic salt
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
½ cup ripe pitted olives, chopped

Drain artichoke hearts and cut into small pieces. Add remaining ingredients and mix. Spoon into sprayed 1-quart glass casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve warm with tortilla chips.

We need to be more like the strong, invincible Popeye during this virus outbreak and eat nourishing meals.  Have this appetizing, versatile vegetable often and make spinach one of your favorite dishes.

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