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Make More Creamed Greens than You Think You Need (Your Dinners Will Thank You)

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There’s no better way to deal with an overload of sturdy greens—especially those one might call "limp"—than to cook them down. All the better if this is done so with cream.

And once you’re given your greens a second lease on life, those creamed greens needn’t remain a side; they can be turned into all manner of hearty main dishes. For starters, make triple or even quadruple the amount of creamed greens you normally would, following the first two steps of this recipe.

Penne with Creamed Greens and Pancetta
Penne with Creamed Greens and Pancetta

Then, use it in these meals throughout the week, taking comfort in the fact you’re one step closer to dinner (and all the creamed greens you could ever need).

  • An easy pasta sauce. Blend the creamed greens into a sauce and toss with cooked pasta. (You can use whatever shape you like, however we prefer penne rigate.)

  • A bed for eggs. Add the creamed greens to sauté pan and, using a spatula or spoon, create wells to crack eggs into. Add the eggs, season with salt and pepper, and cover the pan until the whites are set. Serve with hot, buttered toast.

Strata with Sausage and Greens
Strata with Sausage and Greens
  • An easy galette filling. Use your creamed greens in a galette with other vegetable stragglers (we're looking at you roasted carrot remnants) in your fridge. Don't forget the cheese!

  • Make a strata: Cube some stale bread and mix it with the creamed greens in a buttered casserole dish (along with other optional, but highly encouraged, additions like grated cheese, sautéed onions, and chopped, fresh herbs), and pour a blend of lightly beaten mixture eggs and milk over everything. Let it hang out in your fridge overnight, and bake the strata the next day.​

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  • A creamy quiche. Creamed greens make for an excellent quiche (or frittata!) filling. Your eggs will never be happier.

  • Add them to soup. Stir creamed greens into soups and stews shortly before serving for rather luxurious add-in.

  • A bean salad, of sorts. Make a big batch of lentils or beans and stir in your creamed greens. Add shaved Parmesan, if you like, and maybe some toasted, chopped walnuts, too. Serve the beans alongside a protein (like roast chicken, pork tenderloin, or baked tofu) or just top them with a poached egg or two.

  • Meatless meatballs. Add enough breadcrumbs and lightly beaten eggs to your creamed greens until everything begins to stick and come together. You can also add crumbled feta and chopped herbs like in this recipe here. Form the mixture into patties​ or balls, and fry until golden brown on all sides.

  • Not your normal pie! Tuck the creamed greens into your favorite pizza dough (or follow this recipe which uses a yogurt-enhanced dough) and form into hand pies or calzones. You can also add chopped, fresh herbs like cilantro, dill, and parsley and chopped scallions to the creamed greens for a brighter, definitely more herbaceous filling.

How do you turn creamed greens into a meal? Tell us in the comments!

Automagic Spring Menu Maker!
Automagic Spring Menu Maker!

Tags: Weeknight Cooking, Make Ahead, Meal Plan, Dinner, Faster