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This spinach dish was named after Madeline Noland Reymond of Louisiana, who thought to add a roll of Kraft Jalapeno cheese to her mother-in-law's creamed spinach, and serve it to her bridge club.  Little did she know that this would become a famous recipe worldwide.  Even people that basically dislike spinach will eat this.  Here's a lighter healthier version.

Spinach Madeleine Lite

2 pkgs. frozen chopped spinach
3 Tbsp. olive oil, butter or non-hydrogenated margarine
2 Tbsp. chopped onion
2 Tbsp. chopped celery
2 Tbsp. flour
1/2 C. evaporated milk
1/2 C. spinach liquid
2 tsp. minced jalapeno pepper (optional) Note # 1
6 oz. Lite Velveeta cheese cut into small pieces
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. black pepper
3/4 tsp. garlic powder
ground red pepper to taste (optional)
salt to taste (optional)  Note # 2

Cook spinach according to pkg. directions.  You can boil, steam or microwave, it makes no difference.  Drain well and reserve 1/2 C. cooking liquid.

Heat olive oil or butter in a skillet (non stick is easiest).  Add chopped onion and celery and sauté over medium heat until soft but not brown.  Stir in flour. Remove from heat for a few moments until mixture cools slightly.  

Combine milk and 1/2 cup cooking liquid.  Stir into flour mixture and return to heat.  Cook until a "gravy" forms, stirring constantly.  Add cubed cheese, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper and garlic powder.  Continue to cook and stir until cheese melts.  Stir in the cooked spinach.  Taste, and if desired, add red pepper and salt to taste.

This is a very versatile dish.  Serve as a vegetable side dish, or as a dip for appetizers.  You can also pour into a buttered casserole, sprinkle well with a mixture of bread crumbs and grated Parmesan cheese, and bake at 350º F. for 25 minutes.  It actually improves if refrigerated overnight, and can be frozen as well.  Experiment! It can be used with other vegetables as well, like broccoli.

Note #1:  Fresh minced jalapenos are called for but you can use pickled jalapenos and mince or put through a garlic press.  I use a small piece as I don't like it too hot, nor will many children.

Note #2:  I find salt unnecessary in this recipe; the cheese has plenty of salt,  but add some if you wish.

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