Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing

Spinach Salad is an easy meal absolutely full of flavor! Fresh spinach leaves are tossed with crisp bacon, fresh mushrooms, parmesan cheese and toasted almonds to create this delicious salad. To finish it off it is topped with a tangy warm bacon dressing!

Serve this simple salad as is or top with sliced Chicken Breasts for the perfect meal.

A prepared spinach salad with all the toppings in a white bowl.

Whether you are looking for a lighter meal or simply want a break from the same old salad routine, this spinach salad with bacon recipe does the trick! It’s easy to put together, with so many endless variations! We’ve kept this salad recipe basic enough to master, but with endless opportunity to make it your own!

What to Put in a Spinach Salad

Aside from the spinach, lots of spinach salad recipes can have sliced, hard-boiled eggs, any kind of cheese, or even sliced or dried berries like cranberries or strawberries. Even thinly sliced pears would work in this recipe.

The real star here is the warm spinach salad dressing! It is the key to balancing the salty flavor of the bacon with the tender taste of spinach and the crunch of the almonds. Add the rest of the ingredients and you’re ready to serve!

Pan with bacon drippings and all other Spinach ingredients on the sides surrounding it.

How to Make Spinach Salad

Making a spinach salad starts with a base of crisp, freshly washed spinach! From there add in the toppings and cover with the perfectly balanced dressing!

  1. Cook the bacon pieces until they’re crisp. Remove the bacon and continue to cook the drippings on low.
  2. Add the minced shallot (or diced red onion, if you prefer) and cook until tender. Toss in the sliced garlic clove and cook another minute.
  3. Combine with the remaining dressing ingredients and simmer one minute. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until everything is incorporated and smooth.

Now pour the dressing over the spinach leaves and toss gently, making sure each leaf is lightly coated. Top with the sliced mushrooms, onion, toasted almonds and fresh parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

To toast almonds: Saute in a pan over medium heat until they just start to get fragrant then cool on a paper towel. Toasting nuts burns off the oil and keeps them crunchy. Be sure they are completely cooled before adding to your recipe!

What to Eat with Spinach Salad

A nice crusty loaf of garlic bread and a glass of crisp white wine are all you need to round out this elegant salad. But a small grilled chicken breast or baked portion of fish helps make this a heartier entrée!

More Spinach Recipes

Spinach Salad

Crisp spinach is tossed in a homemade dressing, with bacon, mushrooms, onions and toasted almonds!

  • 2 bunches fresh spinach (washed)
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1/2 small red onion (sliced)
  • 1/2 cup almonds (toasted)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parmesan cheese (shredded, optional)

Dressing

  • drippings from bacon
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot (or onion)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Wash and dry spinach. Place in a large bowl and set aside.

  2. Cook bacon until crisp.  Remove from pan and set aside reserving drippings.

  3. Turn bacon drippings down to low and add shallot. Cook 2-3 minutes or until tender. Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute more.

  4. Add red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and sugar. Simmer 1 minute. Whisk in olive oil until the dressing is smooth.

  5. Pour warm dressing over spinach and toss. Top with remaining ingredients and serve immediately.

REPIN this Delicious Salad!

Spinach Salad shown in a white bowl with loads of bacon, sliced egg, red onion and of course spinach.

Warm spinach salad is a fun twist on a classic spinach salad recipe! Crisp spinach, mushrooms, bacon and parmesan are tossed in a warm dressing made from the bacon drippings! Mmmm! Toss on some toasted almonds and it is complete! #spendwithpennies #spinachsalad #warmbacondressing #salad #maindish #summersalad
Warm spinach salad is a fun twist on a classic spinach salad recipe! Crisp spinach, mushrooms, bacon and parmesan are tossed in a warm dressing made from the bacon drippings! Mmmm! Toss on some toasted almonds and it is complete! #spendwithpennies #spinachsalad #warmbacondressing #salad #maindish #summersalad

Strawberry Spinach Salad

finished strawberry spinach salad

Strawberry Spinach Salad is a personal favorite and definitely a crowd pleaser!  This recipe starts with a bed of fresh spinach and ripe juicy summer strawberries topped with creamy avocado, cheese, thinly sliced onions and some deliciously sweet candied pecans.

Toss this salad with the quick and easy homemade white balsamic dressing below or your favorite balsamic vinaigrette for the perfect summer meal. Strawberry Spinach Salad in a red bowl

A Perfect Summer Lunch

Strawberry Spinach Salad salad makes a perfect summer lunch or even a great side dish with grilled chicken or fish!

I use spinach for this recipe but it’s great with your favorite crisp lettuce. Strawberries are add the perfect juicy sweet, if you have blackberries or raspberries or even  mandarin oranges, toss them in too!

We add in thinly sliced red (or white onions) for a little bit of spice and some deliciously sweet candied pecans (the best). Finally, rich creamy avocado and either goat cheese or feta are sprinkled on top for the perfect salad of crunchy, creamy, salty and sweet.

Overhead view of a strawberry spinach salad with avocado

Sweet and Tangy

All of that lovely fresh summer produce is topped off with a quick and easy homemade white balsamic vinaigrette. It’s easy to shake up and the perfect combination of sweet and tangy! While I prefer this salad with the balsamic dressing, you can also use a Poppy Seed Dressing or your favorite vinaigrette!

White Balsamic Vinegar is something I have been adding to dressings since my friend, Chef Matt first served me a dressing with it!

So… What is White Balsamic Vinegar?

White balsamic vinegar is very similar to regular balsamic vinegar however it is made with a different grape and isn’t aged as long as a traditional balsamic vinegar.  It’s slightly sweeter and has a little bit less tang or bite than a darker vinegar making it the perfect addition to salad dressings and other dishes where balsamic may be overpowering.

Pouring dressing over a strawberry spinach salad.

Combine the Dressing

To create a vinaigrette dressing you will want to add the ingredients to a jar and shake to combine.  If you happen to have a hand blender, you can also emulsify the dressing (which is blending it so the texture thickens).

Emulsifying liquids sounds fancy but it’s not hard at all, in fact, it’s how mayonnaise is made! Simply add all ingredients except the olive oil into a jar,  blend with your hand blender while drizzling the olive oil in as slowly as possible while blending.  Because I eat this salad so frequently, I usually just shake everything in a jar to make it quick and easy.

To slice the red onions, I use a vegetable peeler making them extra thin!

Close up photo of strawberry spinach salad in a red bowl.

The Perfect Added Touch

The candied pecans are one of my favorite parts of this salad.  They do take a little bit of time to make but I usually make a huge batch and they keep in the cupboard for a couple of months to add to salads, top desserts or even just to snack on. It’s totally worth the effort to make them! You can find my favorite candied pecan recipe here! If you don’t have the time or don’t have pecans on hand, you can certainly substitute toasted almonds.

Toasting any type of nuts (such as almonds) adds amazing flavor and just takes a couple of minutes!  Place the slivered almonds in a non stick pan over medium heat.  Stir occasionally until the almonds are fragrant and lightly browned.  Cool completely.  You can do larger batches of the almonds and once cooled store in a dry place for up to a couple of months!  (They’re great on desserts, salads, Chinese food and more)!

More Fresh Salads

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Strawberry Spinach Salad is a personal favorite and definitely a crowd pleaser!

  • 10 oz fresh cleaned spinach
  • 2 cups strawberries (hulled & sliced)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onions
  • 2/3 cup candied pecans (or 1/2 cup toasted almonds)
  • 4 oz goat cheese or feta
  • 1 avocado diced
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

WHITE BALSAMIC DRESSING

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons white balsamic
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Mix together all dressing ingredients and set aside.
  2. Dice avocado and toss with lemon juice.
  3. Combine remaining salad ingredients in a large bowl.
  4. Drizzle with dressing and serve immediately.

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I've made this SO many times this week! It's the best! Strawberry Spinach Salad is a crowd pleaser! This recipe starts with a bed of fresh spinach and ripe juicy summer strawberries topped with creamy avocado, cheese, thinly sliced onions and some deliciously sweet candied pecans. Toss this salad with the quick and easy homemade white balsamic dressing below or your favorite store bought balsamic vinaigrette for the perfect summer meal.
I've made this SO many times this week! It's the best! Strawberry Spinach Salad is a crowd pleaser! This recipe starts with a bed of fresh spinach and ripe juicy summer strawberries topped with creamy avocado, cheese, thinly sliced onions and some deliciously sweet candied pecans. Toss this salad with the quick and easy homemade white balsamic dressing below or your favorite store bought balsamic vinaigrette for the perfect summer meal.

Ham and Spinach Frittata! (Brunch or Dinner)!

Ham and Spinach Frittata is a snap to assemble, quick to bake, and can be adapted to add in your favorite fillings! We love making homemade frittata for Sunday brunch, but it’s easy enough to be a weekday breakfast too (or even dinner)! 

Frittata is a very versatile recipe and you can add any combination of ingredients you’d like! This easy frittata recipe can even be made into spinach frittata muffins for a make ahead breakfast on the go! It’s easily made ahead and reheats well. Just add a side of home fries!

Spinach Frittata cut and ready to be served.

What is Frittata?

Like a quiche recipe, frittatas are egg-based recipes, but frittatas are crustless, which makes them perfect for people following a gluten free, Paleo or even a Keto diet (if you skip the potatoes). Both low carb and healthy! It’s similar to an omelet but can be easily scaled to serve a lot of people.

The other difference between a quiche and a frittata is the ratio of egg/dairy; a frittata only has a bit of dairy.

How to Cook a Frittata – There are a different ways to make a frittata, one being to cook the eggs stovetop until almost set and then broil/bake to cook the top. However, I find it easier just to bake frittata in the oven.

Ingredients for a ham and spinach frittata recipe

How to Make Frittata

This spinach frittata recipe is a cinch because…well, eggs! Eggs are the perfect base for anything whether it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Here’s how you make a frittata:

  1. Preheat the the oven.
  2. Cook your add-ins in an oven proof pan (potatoes, ham, spinach, and green onions).
  3. Whisk eggs, milk, and seasonings and pour over the add-ins. Top with cheese.
  4. Bake until the eggs are set, about 10 to 12 minutes. For a crispy top, broil for about 1 to 2 minutes.

Cool for about 5 minutes before serving to make sure the eggs are set and the cheese is perfectly melted! It’s simple to make and tastes great!

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A cheesy slice of spinach frittata baked and ready to serve.

Creative Add-Ins

You can mix and match the ingredients for this easy frittata! Fresh or frozen spinach can be used in this recipe! Cook your add ins (except cheese of course) and bake in the oven! Whatever is in the fridge and pantry can be tossed into a frittata from potatoes and leftover spaghetti to Roasted Butternut Squash, steamed broccoli or even Grilled Zucchini!

Swap out the cheddar cheese (or add some crumbled feta or goat cheese). Why not try a spinach mushroom frittata or a spinach feta frittata? Cheese is an excellent compliment to eggs, any way you look at it!

Can You Freeze Frittata?

A frittata keeps for a few days in the fridge and reheats beautifully! It’s perfect to make ahead for lunches but it’s also great to put between a couple of slices of bread for lunch!

If you’d like to keep it longer than that, you can freeze a frittata. Freezing egg-based dishes is easy. Make sure the frittata is fully cooled and then portion as desired and place in freezer containers or freezer bags. Egg-based dishes are easy to reheat in the oven or microwave.

This spinach frittata recipe doesn’t disappoint when it comes to simple in every way!

Ham and Spinach Frittata

This ham and spinach frittata is a snap to assemble, quick to bake, and can go anywhere in a moment’s notice! Perfect for a Sunday brunch or a weekday breakfast. 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 lb baby potatoes (sliced)
  • 1/2 cup diced ham
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh spinach (torn (or 1/2 cup frozen spinach))
  • 2 green onions (sliced)
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese (divided)
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a 10″ skillet. Add potatoes and 2 tablespoons water. Season with salt and pepper and stir. Cover and cook over about 10-15 minutes or until softened.

  3. Stir in ham, spinach, and green onions until hot and spinach is wilted.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine eggs, half and half, dry mustard and seasonings. Pour over potato mixture. Top with cheese.

  5. Bake 10-12 minutes or until eggs are set. Broil 1-2 minutes.

  6. Remove from the oven and cool 5 minutes before cutting. Serve warm.

We love this homemade ham and spinach frittata recipe for an easy brunch. It's a delicious and simple easy frittata recipe that everyone loves! #spendwithpennies #hamandspinachfrittata #frittata #spinachfrittata #easyfrittata #breakfastrecipe #breakfast #brunch
We love this homemade ham and spinach frittata recipe for an easy brunch. It's a delicious and simple easy frittata recipe that everyone loves! #spendwithpennies #hamandspinachfrittata #frittata #spinachfrittata #easyfrittata #breakfastrecipe #breakfast #brunch

Tomato Tortellini Soup (in about 15 minutes)

Tomato Tortellini Soup recipe only needs about 15 minutes to cook, making it a delicious, family friendly meal that saves both time and money! We love making homemade tomato soup on busy weeknights. Just create the tomato soup, add the tortellini, and top it with cheese and basil. It’s that easy!

Our weeknights are usually pretty busy so I’m always looking for meals that quick and easy. A comforting bowl of tortellini soup with a fresh salad is the perfect meal!

A bowl of tomato tortellini soup garnished with parmesan cheese and basil.

I have partnered with Progresso™ to bring you this easy belly warming recipe.

Tomato Tortellini Soup

Tomato soup is my daughter’s absolute favorite meal and I mean, what’s not to love?  It’s delicious and the perfect lunch or dinner…  and ready in just minutes! We love adding things like fresh croutons, a dash of cream, bacon, or of course, tortellini! It’s great served with grilled cheese roll ups or a fresh caesar salad.

Tortellini soup is super versatile add in your favorite proteins,  to create a sausage tortellini soup or chicken tortellini soup! Stir in handful of spinach before serving. Feel free to add whatever you have on hand – from peppers, to macaroni noodles, mushrooms, or onions!

A pot of tomato soup with tortellini and tomatoes

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How To Make Tomato Tortellini Soup

To make this easy tortellini soup recipe:

  1. Combine all of the tomato soup ingredients in a saucepan. Bring it to a boil,  reduce heat, and simmer for 8 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the tortellini.
  3. Blend the soup mixture using a hand blender.
  4. Stir in the cream, and simmer for another 5 minutes adding tortellini in the last minute.

A bowl of homemade tomato tortellini soup

How To Store This Soup

The tortellini in this soup can get soggy if you have leftovers so we leave it on the side and always combine just before serving.

If you’d like to freeze this soup, add the cream once heated and defrosted (and freeze the tortellini separately). Serve this easy recipe with 30 Minute Dinner Rolls or crusty bread for dipping and a big fresh Easy Italian Salad.

Tomato Tortellini Soup

This Tomato Tortellini Soup takes just 15 minutes making it the perfect weeknight meal! Quick, easy and totally cheesy, my whole family loves this soup!

  • 2 cups fresh tortellini ((meat or cheese filled))
  • 1 cup fresh chopped spinach ((uncooked) optional)
  • Fresh Basil for garnish

Tomato Soup

  • 28 oz diced tomatoes (canned with juice)
  • 2 cups Progresso™ Chicken Broth
  • 2-3 teaspoons sugar (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 cup heavy cream

OR

  • 2 cans Progresso™ Vegetable Classics Tomato Basil Soup
  1. Combine all soup ingredients in a saucepan except cream. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 8 minutes. 

  2. Meanwhile, cook tortellini according to package directions. Add chopped spinach to the boiling water 30 seconds before the tortellini is finished. Drain well.

  3. Blend soup mixture with a hand blender. Add in heavy cream and simmer an additional 5 minutes.

  4. Stir in tortellini and spinach if using.

  5. Place in serving bowls and top with fresh basil and parmesan cheese if desired.

Tomato tortellini soup is an easy 15 minute recipe that is perfect for busy weeknights. This easy creamy tomato soup recipe is made with canned tomatoes for a quick meal! #spendwithpennies #tortellini #tomatotortellinisoup #soup #tomatosoup #tortellinisoup
Tomato tortellini soup is an easy 15 minute recipe that is perfect for busy weeknights. This easy creamy tomato soup recipe is made with canned tomatoes for a quick meal! #spendwithpennies #tortellini #tomatotortellinisoup #soup #tomatosoup #tortellinisoup

Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breast

Stuffed Chicken Breast is one of our favorite easy dinner recipes. This chicken has a delicious cheesy spinach filling and is wrapped in smoky bacon then baked until tender and juicy. 

We love serving stuffed chicken breast on a bed of rice, or alongside some scalloped Potatoes and asparagus. It’s a delicious and versatile dinner that my family loves!

A baking dish full of spinach stuffed chicken breast with the front one cut in half.

How to Make Stuffed Chicken Breast

Stuffed chicken breast wrapped in bacon looks like you fussed for hours but it’s not hard to make. Here’s how to make spinach stuffed chicken:

  1. Butterfly the chicken breasts (see below for details).
  2. Create the filling and cool completely.
  3. Add filling to butterflied chicken.  Add cheese.
  4. Close the chicken, wrap with slices of bacon and secure with toothpicks.
  5. Bake until juicy and golden (165°F).

How To Butterfly A Chicken Breast

Whole, skinless chicken breasts can be quite thick. When making this stuffed chicken breast recipe, you’ll want to use an easy technique called “butterflying”.

To butterfly means to cut in half horizontally (not all of the way through, but most of the way) just like I do in my Bacon Wrapped Chicken.  Open the breast up, kind of like a book. When done correctly, the breast looks similar to a butterfly with open wings – hence the name.  Here’s how I do it:

  • Hold the thinner end of the chicken breast with a paper towel, or with the tines of a fork (skinless raw chicken can be slippery).
  • Using a sharp knife with a thin blade (a filet knife is great if you have one), slice through horizontally most of the way through. Leave about 1″ towards thicker end intact.
  • Open the chicken breast (like  a book) and using a meat mallet, pound to an even thickness according to your recipe.

Bacon wrapped stuffed chicken breast fresh from the oven in a baking dish.

Stuffed Chicken Breast

The ingredients in this spinach and cheese stuffed chicken breast are pretty simple and quick to prepare!

Spinach for Stuffed Chicken: I most often use fresh spinach but of course you can Fresh Spinach for Frozen and vice versa. If you’re using frozen spinach, thaw it thoroughly first and take up a handful and squeeze out the water before mixing it with the cream cheese. If you’re using fresh spinach, cook it first.

Cheese for Stuffed Chicken:  I love the combo of spinach and Swiss cheese (plus swiss tends to holds up well when baked) but you can use any cheese you like! Feta is also a great option. I use garlic and herb cream cheese for flavor but plain works as does any flavor you like!

How Long To Cook Stuffed Chicken Breast

Baked stuffed chicken breast should be baked in an uncovered roasting pan for 35-45 minutes in a preheated 375°F oven. Chicken breasts can vary from 5oz to 10oz in size so I always use a thermometer to make sure it reaches the poultry-safe cooked temperature of 165°F (the perfect temperature for any Baked Chicken Breasts.

When done, allow your spinach and cheese stuffed chicken breast rest for several minutes before serving (to firm up the cheeses and let the juices settle).

Sliced stuffed chicken breasts full of spinach and cheese on a bed of rice.

Baked stuffed chicken breast is classic comfort food. Serve spinach stuffed chicken breast with a fresh Kale Salad, Easy Oven Roasted Potatoes (or Mashed Potatoes) and your favorite veggie side dish!

More Chicken Recipes

Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breast

Stuffed chicken breast is one of our favorite recipes ever. This bacon wrapped stuffed chicken breast is stuffed with Swiss cheese and spinach, then baked until tender and juicy.

  • 8 oz fresh spinach leaves
  • 2 oz swiss cheese (or mozzarella)
  • 2 tablespoons spreadable cream cheese (herb & garlic flavor * see note)
  • black pepper
  • 4 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
  • 8 slices bacon
  • cajun seasoning (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

  2. Chop spinach and place in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Stir until wilted. Add cream cheese and stir until melted and creamy. Cool completely.

  3. Butterfly chicken breast (so you can open it like a book) and pound to 1/2″ thickness.

  4. Divide the spinach mixture over each and close chicken around the spinach. Wrap each breast with 2 slices of bacon and secure with toothpicks. Season with cajun or chicken seasoning if desired.

  5. Bake on a pan for 35-40 minutes. 

If you don’t have flavored cream cheese, add a pinch of garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste.

remove

These spinach stuffed chicken breasts are wrapped in bacon and oven baked until tender and juicy. We love making this chicken dinner on busy weeknights! #spendwithpennies #chickenbreasts #chickenbreast #stuffedchickenbreast #spinachstuffedchickenbreast #baconwrappedchicken #baconwrapped #bacon
These spinach stuffed chicken breasts are wrapped in bacon and oven baked until tender and juicy. We love making this chicken dinner on busy weeknights! #spendwithpennies #chickenbreasts #chickenbreast #stuffedchickenbreast #spinachstuffedchickenbreast #baconwrappedchicken #baconwrapped #bacon

Comforting, Quick Italian Wedding Soup!

Spoonful of italian wedding soup

Italian Wedding soup is a hearty, classic soup made on the stovetop! This recipe comes together quickly for the perfect weeknight meal! 

Add some 30 Minute Dinner Rolls or a big piece of crusty bread and a fresh salad to round out the meal!

Ladle of Italian Wedding soup overtop of a white pot

This time of year, soup is a go-to meal for us.  On a bone-chilling cold night, there’s nothing better than wrapping both hands around a warm, steaming bowl of soup!  Normally we go for a hearty minestrone or loaded potato soup, but lately I’ve been getting requests for a classic Italian Wedding soup.

For dessert, we love to add Tapioca Pudding or Creamy Rice Pudding, both also perfect to warm you up from the inside out.

Why is it Called Italian Wedding Soup?

Ever wonder how it gets its name? I always thought maybe it was a traditional meal served at Italian weddings, but in actuality, it has nothing to do with a real wedding.  The name actually comes from the way the flavors combine, like a happy marriage!

What Pasta is Used in Italian Wedding Soup?

Traditionally, acini di pepe pasta is used, which looks like little pearls.  If you can’t find that pasta, ditalini or orzo pasta could be used.

My local grocery store had the acini di pepe pasta right in the dried pasta aisle.

Overhead of white bowl filled with Italian wedding soup

How Do You Make Italian Wedding Soup?

Italian wedding soup is such a simple soup to make. The part that takes the most time is making the meatballs.  You can use any combination of ground meat you like.  My favorite combination is either pork and beef or all chicken.  I like to brown the meatballs in the soup pot, to add tons of extra flavor!

  1. Prep meatballs and brown.
  2. Soften onions, carrots & celery. Add herbs and seasonings.
  3. Stir in broth and pasta and cook until pasta is tender.
  4. Add spinach and serve.

Can You Use Frozen Meatballs?

Sure can! I like to make double the meatball recipe and freeze the other half, but when I don’t have any pre-made meatballs, I reach for my favorite bag of frozen meatballs!  Just make sure you’re using the small meatballs.

Closeup of apoonful of Italian wedding soup with a bowl of soup in the background

Can You Freeze Italian Wedding Soup?

Absolutely!  For the best results, I like to freeze the soup before adding the pasta.  Then when you’re reheating the soup, go ahead and add the pasta.

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Italian Wedding Soup

Hearty and classic, this easy stovetop Italian Wedding soup comes together quickly and is perfect for any weeknight meal!

Meatballs

  • 8 ounces ground beef
  • 8 ounces ground pork
  • 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 3 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

Soup

  • 1 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion (minced)
  • 2 large carrots (peeled and diced)
  • 2 stalks celery (diced)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 9 – 10 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup dried acini di pepe pasta
  • 5 ounces chopped baby spinach
  • shredded Parmesan cheese (for serving)
  1. Add all meatball ingredients except olive oil to a large mixing bowl.  Gently mix until fully combined.  Shape into small meatballs, about 1 inch in diameter.

  2. Heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil in large dutch oven over medium high heat.  Add about half the meatballs and cook about 3 minutes per side, turning to brown all over.  Transfer to plate. Repeat with remaining meatballs.

  3. Add 1 Tablespoon olive oil to the same dutch oven and reduce heat to medium low.  Add the onion, carrots and celery and cook 5 minutes, until softened.  Add garlic and cook 30 seconds, or until fragrant.  Season with salt, pepper, and dill.

  4. Add wine and deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits.  Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.

  5. Add pasta and meatballs to the pot and cook 8-10 minutes, until pasta is tender and meatballs are cooked through.  During the last minute of cooking, add spinach and let it wilt.

  6. Serve hot, sprinkled with shredded Parmesan cheese.

We just love with this hearty Italian Wedding Soup made easily on the stovetop! It's the perfect weeknight meal. #spendwithpennies #soup #easyrecipe #italianwedding #stovetop #easylunch #easydinner
We just love with this hearty Italian Wedding Soup made easily on the stovetop! It's the perfect weeknight meal. #spendwithpennies #soup #easyrecipe #italianwedding #stovetop #easylunch #easydinner

5 Minute Spinach Dip

This Spinach Dip Recipe is an easy appetizer or party dip that absolutely everyone loves! A rich and creamy base is mixed with tender spinach leaves, water chestnuts and green onions for the perfect party mixture.

Serve this cold spinach dip with chips, crackers or garlic baguette or use a loaf of bread as a bowl!

Easy spinach dip served with bread

A Quick Dip Recipe

Spinach Dip has always been a favorite of mine, I could eat this stuff by the truckload! This version is pretty well known for good reason.

As much as I love a good hot Spinach Artichoke Dip, this cold spinach dip has been a staple on my party tables for as long as I can remember.  It is so fast to make and doesn’t require any cooking.

Simply stir and refrigerate.

What to Serve with Spinach Dip

This is not a baked spinach dip, it’s served cold and often in a “bread bowl” which is so good!

Simply select a loaf of crusty bread, hollow out the middle (save the bread in the middle) and fill it with the spinach dip before serving. Any of the bread that was in the  middle can be cubed for dipping (and of course as the dip is low, the bowl itself is perfect for tearing off pieces and dipping too)!

Spinach Dip is also great served with crackers, tortilla chips, bread or veggies as dippers too!

Spinach dip ingredients ready for mixing the best spinach dip recipe

How to Make Spinach Dip

  • Creamy Base: This dip is so easy to make! I start with mayonnaise but using light or low fat dressing or even miracle whip works perfectly in this recipe. When adding sour cream, I often replace it with no fat Greek yogurt and to be honest, you can’t tell the difference. I love to make spinach dip with Greek yogurt because it really cuts the calories and fat but nobody can tell the difference!
  • Spinach: This recipe uses frozen chopped spinach but you can replace frozen spinach with fresh spinach. Simply cook it down and squeeze it dry.
  • Add Ins: Water chestnuts add great crunch and texture to this spinach dip. If you don’t have them on hand, you can substitute diced celery or even bell peppers.
  • Seasoning: The quintessential seasoning for this dip is Knorr Vegetable Soup mix (Lipton makes one as well). It is the perfect seasoning and adds lots of color and flavor.

If you’d like to make this spinach dip without soup mix, you can add in your own seasonings and herbs! I’d suggest either a homemade ranch seasoning mix or garlic powder, onion powder, parsley, salt and pepper with finely diced red bell pepper and a bit of shredded carrot.

A bowl of easy spinach dip

Can You Freeze Spinach Dip

Yes, spinach dip can be frozen. While it’s usually fine, depending on the type (brand and low fat etc) of dressing you use plus the dairy, it can be a bit watery when defrosting. If that’s the case, line a colander with paper towel/cheese cloth and let it sit for a little bit to drain any liquid.

Leftover Spinach Dip is perfect to spread on sandwiches, make into a grilled cheese, add to creamy chicken casseroles or pasta sauces or to turn into a delicious Spinach Artichoke Dip Pasta Salad!

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Spinach Dip Recipe

A simple creamy spinach dip recipe perfect for any party!

  • 10 oz frozen chopped spinach (1 package)
  • 1 cup mayonnaise or dressing (low fat or regular)
  • 2 cups sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
  • 1 package dry vegetable soup mix (1.4 oz)
  • 8 oz water chestnuts (canned, drained)
  • 3 green onions (chopped)
  1. Defrost spinach overnight in the fridge or in the microwave. Squeeze dry.

  2. Chop water chestnuts and combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix well.

  3. Refrigerate at least 2 hours prior to serving

  4. Serve with bread, crackers or vegetables for dipping.

Easily Substitute Fresh Spinach for Frozen

Here’s how to substitute fresh spinach for frozen. Fresh spinach can be substituted for frozen once you understand how to calculate the substitution!

Commercially frozen spinach is usually chopped then boiled or blanched and flash frozen, resulting in the kind of texture that goes well in soups, spinach dips, casseroles and egg dishes.  Now you can make your own at home and freeze it (or use it fresh in recipes requiring frozen spinach).

Fresh and frozen spinach ready for making spinach dip recipes

Frozen Spinach

Most varieties of frozen spinach come in 10 oz packages and needs to be drained once it’s thawed because it will produce a lot of water. A 10 oz package of frozen spinach is the equivalent about a 1 pound bunch of fresh spinach.

If you’re buying fresh spinach, it’s wise to buy more than you think you’ll need because some bunches will need the stalks trimmed off and that will decrease the weight before cooking.  A good rule of thumb is fresh spinach cooked down equals about a cup and a half, which is roughly the equivalent of a 10 oz frozen package.

Frozen Spinach vs Fresh

Fresh spinach is more fibrous but will cook down considerably and needs to be drained once it’s cooked down. The nice thing about cooking down fresh spinach is that you know it is 100% fresh and you can season it any way you want to while it’s cooking down. Fresh spinach works best in salads or sautéed as a side dish like Creamed Spinach.

The easiest way to cook down spinach is to cut the spinach into small pieces and give it a quick cook in a non-stick pan. After the spinach has cooked down, remove from heat and scoop into a colander so the excess water can drain out and cool enough to be able to handle it. 

Fresh spinach leaves to be chopped and frozen to use in recipes

How To Substitute Fresh Spinach for Frozen

Like many dips, you’ll need a package of frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry. Frozen chopped spinach is a great choice, it’s easy to use and perfect for dips but if I have fresh spinach to use (or don’t have frozen handy) I substitute fresh spinach for frozen spinach.

You will need, just one ingredient… 1 lb of fresh spinach.  This will look like a lot of spinach but don’t worry, it reduces to approximately 1 1/4 cups or so.

Fresh spinach chopped and stems removed for making homemade frozen spinach from scratch

How To Prepare Fresh Spinach For Dips

  • Remove any long or tough stems.
  • Place the fresh spinach in a large non-stick pan for over medium high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until the spinach is cooked through (3-4 minutes).
  • Cool slightly. Place spinach on a cutting board and chop.
  • Using your hands, squeeze as much liquid out of the spinach as possible.  Separate (or fluff it up) and use as directed in your recipe.

This is a great method to use fresh spinach instead of frozen but it’s also great to use if your spinach is ready to expire.  Simply follow the instructions above and then freeze the cooked and cooled spinach in a freezer bag for future use.

Our Favorite Spinach Recipes

How to Make Frozen Spinach

This recipe replaces 1 package of store bought frozen spinach.

  • 1 lb fresh spinach
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  1. Wash spinach and spin to dry in a salad spinner (or dab dry).
  2. Remove any long or tough stems.
  3. Place the fresh spinach in a large non-stick pan with olive oil over medium high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until the spinach is cooked through (3-4 minutes).
  4. Cool slightly. Place spinach on a cutting board and chop.
  5. Cool completely and use in place of frozen spinach in your recipe as directed or freeze in a medium sized freezer bag.

Most recipe will require the spinach to be defrosted and squeezed dry before adding to the recipe.

Cheesy Ranch Spinach Dip Recipe

This Cheesy Ranch Spinach dip recipe is packed with spinach and peppers and fully loaded with delicious ranch flavor!  It can easily be prepped ahead of time for a delicious dip perfect for any party!

We love Buttermilk Ranch Dressing and as much as I love a traditional Spinach Artichoke Dip, sometimes we like to switch it up which the flavor of ranch!

Cheesy Spinach Dip Being Scooped

I have partnered with Hidden Valley Ranch to bring you this amazing dip!

The Perfect Spinach Dip

This a great hot spinach dip recipe, loaded with flavor from both fresh spinach and ranch seasoning mix! We are big veggie lovers in our household! While I do love a traditional cold spinach dip recipe, there’s really nothing quite like a hot bubbly cheese dip out of the oven!

Adding diced peppers to this dip makes for great flavor! While I used fresh spinach in this recipe, of course you can substitute frozen chopped spinach as well! Be sure to squeeze it to drain well. This Ranch Spinach dip recipe is packed with spinach and peppers and fully loaded with flavor!

Baked Spinach Dip With Ranch and Cheese

How to Make Spinach Dip

This dip is easy to make and has so much great flavor! Here are a few tips to make sure you have spinach dip perfection!

  • Use a hand mixer to combine the cream cheese, this makes it softer and easier to scoop.
  • Squeeze all of the water you can out of the spinach.
  • Change the cheeses to your favorites, a bit of gruyere or cheddar are great in this recipe.
  • Low fat or light products can be used in this recipe.
  • Make up to 48 hours in advance and refrigerate. May need a bit of extra cook time if it’s chilled.

Make Ahead Spinach Cheese Dip

Not only is it perfect for any gathering,  this spinach dip recipe can actually be prepared a day in advance and put it in the oven just before serving!

Either take it out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking or add a few minutes extra bake time.

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Ranch Spinach Dip Recipe

This Ranch Spinach dip recipe is packed with spinach and peppers and fully loaded with delicious ranch flavor!

  • 2 bunches spinach (washed)
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onion
  • 1/2 cup diced red pepper
  • 1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch Mix
  • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese (divided)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

  2. Wash and roughly chop spinach. Place in a non-stick pan over medium heat until cooked. Cool completely. Once cooled, squeeze as much liquid as possible out of the spinach.

  3. Combine cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise and ranch mix with a hand mixer until fluffy.

  4. Fold in remaining ingredients except 1/2 cup of mozzarella and spread into a 2 quart casserole dish. 

  5. Top with remaining cheese and bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes or until hot & bubbly.

You can follow Hidden Valley on Facebook,  Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter or check out Hidden Valley online for lots of great recipes and inspiration!

This Cheesy Ranch Spinach dip recipe is packed with spinach and peppers and fully loaded with delicious ranch flavor!  It can easily be prepped ahead of time for a delicious dip perfect for any party! #Dips #HolidayAppetizers #Holidays #Spinach
This Cheesy Ranch Spinach dip recipe is packed with spinach and peppers and fully loaded with delicious ranch flavor!  It can easily be prepped ahead of time for a delicious dip perfect for any party! #Dips #HolidayAppetizers #Holidays #Spinach

Creamed Spinach

Creamed Spinach side is a wonderful addition to any holiday meal and the perfect side for any weeknight meal! It’s quick, easy and delicious!

We often serve this creamed spinach recipe with Pork Tenderloin or a juicy steak but to be honest, I love it spooned over Mashed Potatoes too!

A white serving dish full of colorful creamed spinach.

From Spinach Artichoke Dip to Spinach Pinwheels, I love the combination of sweet spinach and a creamy base.

What is Creamed Spinach?

Creamed spinach is a side dish often served with steaks or even Oven Baked Chicken Breasts. This recipe is a delicious combination of tender sweet spinach in a creamy sauce (and has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid)!

Creamed Spinach starts with fresh spinach (although you can use frozen), stems removed and chopped. I prefer the flavor of fresh spinach as it has a more delicate flavor. For four servings of creamed spinach you will need 1lb of fresh spinach. It will look like a huge mountain of spinach but it cooks down to a very small amount!

While it may not be traditional, the addition of cream cheese makes a the sauce rich and creamy and turns this into the go for seconds kind of creamed spinach!

Fresh spinach piled on a silver baking sheet prepped and ready to make creamed spinach

How To Make Creamed Spinach

What makes this creamed spinach recipe a stand-out? This easy side dish recipe is easy to make, full of flavor and reheats well!

  1. Remove stems from spinach and chop.
  2. Cook spinach in a pan 3 minutes, drain.
  3. Heat sauce ingredients and seasonings.
  4. Stir in spinach and serve.

If you are using frozen spinach, be sure to thaw and squeeze dry so your dish isn’t watery! For fresh spinach, a good rule of thumb is to chop about 16 ounces of trimmed spinach to equal a standard 10 package of frozen spinach. Remove any tough stems before chopping.

Sauteed spinach being added to a pan of simmering cream sauce to create a delicious creamed spinach side dish

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Creamed Spinach

This easy creamed spinach side is a wonderful addition to any elegant holiday meal, a neighborhood potluck or even a holiday work function. 

  • 1 lb fresh spinach
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup onion (minced)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 oz cream cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • black pepper to taste
  1. Wash and dry spinach if using fresh. Remove any tough stems and roughly chop.
  2. Cook spinach in a pan with olive oil over medium heat until wilted and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Remove from pan and place in a strainer to drain.
  3. Add onion and butter to the pan and cook on medium low heat until onion is softened. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer while stirring until smooth. Simmer 1-2 minutes or until thickened.
  4. Squeeze any excess moisture out of the spinach. Add back to the pan and stir to combine. Heat through and serve.

Fresh spinach can be substituted with 10oz frozen chopped spinach

 

Creamed spinach is a delicious side dish for just about any meal. We love how easy it is to whip up this delicate and delicious side! #spendwithpennies #spinach #creamedspinach #veggies #creamy #sidedish