Pie-Style Spanakopita

20160110_170847-1.jpgcourtesy of Skinny Mom

This is one of those dishes that I have loved since I was in college. I went to an International Festival in Muncie, IN of all places and fell in love with the Greek cuisine. I really like Baklava, but the Spanakopita Triangles (little phyllo dough pillows stuffed with feta, spinach, onions) just stole my heart and my palate.

Later, when I moved to MN, I stumbled across the Spanakopita casserole, which was basically the same ingredients, except easier to make. I didn’t have to spend hours perfecting rolling everything into tiny triangles, instead the time from prep to my mouth was considerably decreased. That makes a happy Megan!

And then I came across this recipe, promising less calories and fats of the original recipe, with less prep time as well. Booyah!

Ingredients:

  • 10 oz. fresh spinach (or frozen)
  • 5 scallions (white end of the green onion), minced
  • 2 green onion stalks, chopped
  • 1 cup part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/3 cup fat-free feta cheese crumbles
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, snipped
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 10 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. In a large frying pan, add half of the spinach and cook on low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally
  3. Add the remaining spinach and stir occasionally for another 5 minutes.
  4. Spray a 9 inch pie pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  5. In a large bowl, combine ricotta, feta, dill, egg, scallions, green onions, lemon juice and salt. Mix well.
  6. Add spinach to mixture, and mix together well.
  7. Lay 1 sheet of phyllo in prepared pie pan and allow it to extend over the rim. Lightly coat with cooking spray.
  8. Repeat with 4 more sheets of phyllo, placing corners at different angles and lightly coating each sheet with cooking spray.
  9. Press down the dough to form the shape of the pan.
  10. Spread spinach mixture over the dough in the pan.
  11. Carefully layer the remaining sheets of dough as previously done on top of the spinach mixture.
  12. Roll excess dough around rim of pie pan, creating a pie crust.
  13. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.
  14. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Cucumbers, artichoke hearts, and olives, oh my! – lunches this week

One word, YUM!

My mouth was watering the entire time I was making this salad.  C’mon on lunch time!
wpid-20150719_152617-1-1.jpg

adapted from Naturally Ella

Mediterranean Chickpea Saladwpid-20150719_152121-1.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 15 oz can chickpeas
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes,  quartered
  • 1 cucumber,  diced
  • 1 cup artichoke hearts,  diced
  • 1/2 cup sliced kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup freshly minced parsley
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Juice from one lemon
  • 1/4 parmesan cheese,  shredded

Instructions:

  1. Chickpeas in a large bowl.
  2. Add all ingredients through almonds.  Gently mix.
  3. Drizzle olive oil and lemon juice over salad.
  4. Serve with cooked quinoa or pita.

tamale pie

Tamale Pie

I just want to say this is one of those recipes that I love to make, but forget I have until I dive deep in the recipe stack.  I love the ease of making the polenta. I love the way the chili and the salsa dance together, exploding in a Mexican bliss in my mouth!  Ayiiiiiiee!

To make this vegetarian,  omit the turkey and use meatless chili.

serves 6wpid-20150613_174258-1.jpg

Ingredients:

for polenta

  • 6 cups of water
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 3/4 cups yellow cornmeal

for tamale mix

  • 2 cups low calorie prepared chili (I used Amy’s Organic)
  • 1 cup corn salsa (I used World Market Sweet Corn Salsa)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 lb ground turkey, browned

Instructions:

for the polenta

  1. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large sauce pan.
  2. Add sea salt.
  3. Gradually whisk in the cornmeal.
  4. Reduce heat to low and cook until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender, whisking constantly (About 15 minutes).
  5. Turn out and spread evenly in a 9 x 13 baking dish.
  6. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

for the pie

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Spray 8 x 11.5 baking dish with cooking spray.
  3. Brown the ground turkey into crumbles.  Drain thoroughly.
  4. Using 6 polenta squares that have been sliced lengthwise to make 12 pieces,  layer the bottom of the baking dish with polenta.
  5. Evenly spread prepared chili over polenta.
  6. Evenly spread the browned, crumbled turkey over the chili.
  7. Evenly spread the salsa over the turkey.
  8. Use the remaining polenta slices to layer on top of the salsa.
  9. Evenly spread the cheese on the top.
  10. Bake in oven for 30 minutes.
  11. Serve immediately.

greek orzo salad with spinach, feta, and tomatoes

Greek Orzo Salad with Spinach, Feta, and Tomatoes wpid-20150531_175758-1.jpg

slightly modified from garden grazer

Ingredients

(for the salad)

  • 1 lb. Orzo pasta
  • 6 oz fresh baby spinach
  • 1 lb. cherry tomatoes
  • 6 green onions
  • 8 oz feta cheese
  • 1/2 jar sliced greek kalamata olives

(for the dressing)

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried basil

Instructions 

  1. For the dressing, combine the vinegar,  garlic,  and basil.  Slowly add olive oil, whisking to combine.
  2. Cook the orzo in salted water, according to package.
  3. Meanwhile, halve tomatoes,  slice the green onions, and roughly chop spinach. Place in large bowl.
  4. Add olives. Toss gently to mix.
  5. Drain orzo and immediately add to large bowl of spinach. Toss gently. The heat from the orzo will lightly wilt the spinach.
  6. Pour the dressing on top, toss to combine.
  7. Add feta and toss gently.
  8. Eat immediately or refrigerate to serve cold.