Lolly's Spinach Casserole

Sunday, January 17, 2010





Sunday, January 17, 2010

After a phone call Friday evening that Lolly Shaver had passed away, I was determined to make an ode to her. I visited Lolly on New Year's Eve after making an appointment to go by and see her. Christmas Eve she made the announcement that she was receiving hospice care after over 13 years of fighting ovarian cancer. Our visit was easy and really beautiful as we watched, from her bedroom full of windows, a family of deer passing by along the hills. Her husband Wes would come in and check on our visit from time to time and it was brought up about how much I adore this recipe. She smiled and was surprised that I remembered, step by step, the making of her Spinach Casserole. She laughed as she remembered making it a few years ago with one of Wes' sisters, who dumped out the liquid used to make the sauce, and said, "well, that's just how it was". And that visit was refreshing and sad of course, as I realize now that was the last time I saw her. She got out of her bed to hug me as I continued having no luck fighting back the tears, and said, "this is what it is, I'm fine. Thank you for doing what you do, it's wonderful. I love you". I thought, my goodness, even in her condition knowing she would succumb to cancer, was still making statements like that.

One more Kleenex here and I'll post this fabulous recipe. It will have to replace the easy spinach recipe I made on Thanksgiving in this blog. This is just two more steps to the super high fat and easy casserole I made for Kara's Thanksgiving feast. Today at her funeral (Tuesday, January 19), I was amazed at the graveside service, that our church pastor said this past Sunday, she wanted it to be only 5 minutes without a tent and astro turf. It was beautiful and perfect. Lolly was a Christian, wife, mother, librarian, artist, gardener, grandmother and my friend. She, Wes and Grac came to Jackie and I's wedding in Oklahoma City 17 years ago. I loved her grace, sense of humor and above all, her love of family. I miss her.

An ode to Lolly, Lolly's Spinach Casserole

2 packages frozen spinach, thawed, reserving all the liquid
4 T. butter
4 T. flour
1 C. spinach liquid, or more for smoothness
2 T. chopped onion
1 package Jack Jalapeno cheese, cubed
1 T. Celery Salt
1 T. Worcestershire
1 T. Garlic Salt
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 C. Bread Crumbs, I used Progresso Seasoned Crumbs today

In a small pan, melt the butter and cook the onions until soft. Then add the flour and spinach liquid and cook making the sauce smooth out into a sauce. Then add the cheese and seasonings and top with bread crumbs and bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

I made this Sunday as a side for Harmon and Jeanie's birthday dinner, Kara and I split the menu. I made Blackened Salmon, this spinach, roasted new potatoes and Kara made two loaves of wonderful homemade bread and creme brulee. For an appetizer snack, which Jeanie doesn't care too much for appetizers, I made an olive tapenade with goat cheese on toasts.

I am proud to say I own a watercolor of Lolly's of the Smith farm that will be her legacy in my home.

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