The other day, C was very enthusiastic about helping make dinner. We got through steps one and two and he was done. Such is life with a 3-year old. Especially this kid. But this recipe is cheap, super easy, very healthy, and a kiddo can help all the way through it. So give it a try!
I have no idea where this recipe came from.
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large red bell pepper
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 cans canillini (white kidney) beans (I used Great Northern beans this time and they were fine. Just make sure it’s a white bean.)
- 1/2 bunch fresh spinach
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup water (I might make this a whole cup of chicken broth next time, seeing as I have a lot to use.)
- black pepper, to taste
- Parmesan cheese
I opened the cans of beans and handed them over to C, who dumped them into the colander and was very excited about rinsing them with the sprayer. I finished the job and shook most of the water out of them. I invited him over to the island to help with the chopping of the red pepper and he declined. (Read: He didn’t want to help anymore because he was upset I wouldn’t let him spray more.) Hmm… Wasn’t that just one step he made it through?
My plan was as follows: He would wash the pepper, I would cut off the top, he would clean the inside, I would julienne it, he would chop pieces with his chopper and scoop the pieces off the cutting board. I was also planning on letting him cut the spinach with me (his hand on the knife, my hand on his hand), mincing the garlic with our garlic press, and measuring in the chicken broth and pepper.
As it was, I added the oil to the deep skillet along with the chopped red pepper and minced garlic. It cooked for about 4 minutes; I stirred it occasionally to keep the garlic from browning. Then came the beans and the chopped spinach. (You can also use a thawed and squeezed package of frozen spinach, but I find fresh to be so much easier to do – and cheaper. I keep it in a bunch, wash it as best I can, then use my chef’s knife and cut right through the bunch. Doesn’t really matter how big the pieces are as they cook down to almost nothing.) I do the spinach in 2 batches, letting the first cook down before adding the rest. Chicken broth, water, and pepper were added and the mixture was brought to a boil. I lowered the heat to medium and let it boil for 5 minutes or until the liquid had evaporated/thickened. And that’s it!
We love this with fresh ground pepper and Parmesan cheese on top of each portion and cornbread alongside. Next time, I think I’ll add another can of beans and the full bunch of spinach, adjusting the other ingredients accordingly. My boys ate so much that I was feeding them out of my own bowl!