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FM Week, Day 4: Spinach & Feta Snack Bites & A Can’t-Miss Video

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Welcome to Day 3 of Farmers Market Week on Smart Cookie! What makes this time of year so delicious is the cornucopia of good-quality fresh fruits and veggies available at farmers markets and roadside stands. So, all this week, I’ll bring you a new recipe loaded with fresh produce. It’s all leading up to a big fresh produce recipe round-up on Friday. Check out the rest of this week’s posts: Raspberry-Lemon-Coconut Trifle on Monday, Sauteed Basil-Parmesan Brussels Sprouts, Corn, & Cherry Tomatoes on Tuesday, and Double Cheese Sweet Potato Fries on Wednesday.

As I mentioned in the video below, I’ve been trying to cut out as much sugar and processed junk as possible in an attempt to be the healthiest I can be. My actual meals were already pretty darn healthy, but my main problem lies in snacking. Man, do I get myself into some trouble there. I just have such a hard time getting from meal to meal, not to mention my natural tendency to want to eat every second of every day.

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I had to be realistic here; I knew I couldn’t quit snacking completely. So instead, I needed to craft healthy, junk-free snacks delicious enough to curb my cravings and keep me from seeking out sugar and salt-laden decadence. When it comes to healthy goodness, you really can’t get any better than making food yourself. This way, you’re in complete control of what’s going in, and there are no preservatives or junk involved.

These Spinach & Feta Snack Bites will keep you from putting your hand in the chip bag or going full-on Cookie Monster on a package of Chips Ahoy. They’re golden brown and crunchy outside with a tender, savory filling. Each bite is bursting with the bright flavor of fresh basil, plus the salty tang of feta cheese. I strategically chose parmesan and feta as the cheeses for these bites because they’ve got powerful flavor that goes a long way. You can use less of them but get way more taste than you would from other cheeses.

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These little guys might just be as addicting as popcorn or French fries, but the good news is, they’re endlessly more satisfying and nutritious. You could eat a whole bag of potato chips and not feel the least bit satisfied, but just a few of these spinach-packed puppies will fill your tummy and calm those nasty cravings. They’re delectable, cheesy, and made for snacking.

Put down those Oreos and get in the kitchen. You can have a piping hot batch of my Spinach & Feta Snack Bites ready in no time, and with no effort. I bet you never knew spinach could taste this good. Thank goodness I have leftovers; this post made me crave more!

P.S. You don’t want to miss the how-to video. Even if you couldn’t care less about how these are made, you’ll get a kick out of my cat getting her head stuck in a tissue box.

A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. You can use kale instead of spinach, if you like.
  2. You can also switch out the rice for quinoa.
  3. Make a big double or triple batch of these then freeze some for later.
  4. Add red pepper flakes for some heat.
  5. Serve with marinara or alfredo, use them as a salad topper, serve ‘em as a side to soup, or replace meatballs in your spaghetti dinner.
  6. Fresh is key – fresh herbs and fresh spinach.
  7. Get more healthy Smart Cookie recipes here.

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Spinach & Feta Snack Bites
By The Smart Cookie Cook

Yield – about 20 bites

Ingredients:

  • 9 oz. fresh spinach
  • 1 tbsp. fresh chopped basil
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • ½ cup egg substitute like Egg Beaters
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • ½ cup crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese
  • ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Place the spinach and basil in a food processor and pulse until it starts to break down. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the rice, egg substitute, flour, salt, garlic, feta, and parmesan and stir until well combined. Make sure the flour is broken up and there are no visible clumps.
  4. Transfer back to the food processor and pulse until everything is finely chopped and comes together.
  5. Form mixture into balls of about 2 tablespoons-worth. Mixture will be wet. Place on tray and bake 30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with marinara sauce or enjoy plain.

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Colleen Bierstine

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