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!


  • 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


  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.

Cheesy Mashed Potato Casserole


Slightly adapted from Teaspoon of Spice

Do you ever feel like you’re in a rut? You keep making the same thing, the same day every week? For us,  we have Sunday steak. This meal usually consists of a steak, my husband grills, and either a salad for me or Brussels sprouts.  He usually has a baked potato! We live life on the wild side!

So,  when I placed this casserole on the table instead of our regulars, dinner got a little exciting. Okay,  maybe it wasn’t exciting for my husband (he’s more the “this food in front of me is sustenance.  If it tastes good,  then bonus for me” kind of guy). But,  for me,  I was venturing on a bold new adventure in Sunday night dinner. Boldly standing tall and proclaiming “We shall have variety in our food”. And then we dined!

There are a few reasons I really like this recipe:

  • Lower calories  – 195 per serving (6 servings total)
  • Easy to make – literally took me about 40 minutes from start to table.
  • Cheesy,  cheesy, cheesy


  • 2 lbs Yukon gold or other yellow potato
  • 3 cloves of garlic,  sliced
  • 3 oz fat-free cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup Panko
  • 1 Tbsp chopped chives


  1. Peel and quarter potatoes.  (Can leave skin on, if desired)
  2. Place potatoes and garlic in large stock pot, and then cover with cold water.
  3. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook potatoes until they are tender,  about 10 – 15 minutes.  Drain all but 1/4 cup of water from potatoes.
  4. Return potatoes to the pot,  setting the reserved liquids off to the side for later use.
  5. To potatoes,  add cream cheese,  yogurt,  and half of the cheddar cheese. Using a potato masher,  mash potatoes to the consistency desired.
  6. When mashed,  stir in salt,pepper, and about 3 to 4 Tbsp of the reserved potato water.
  7. Turn potatoes out into a 1 1/2-quart baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Gently and evenly spread potatoes in dish.
  8. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes.
  9. While potatoes are baking,  mix Panko and remaining cheese until well combined.
  10. Remove potatoes from oven and heat broiler to high setting.
  11. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture on top of potatoes and broil for 3 to 5 minutes (taking care not to let them burn).
  12. Top with chives.

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Apples



  • 11/2 lbs Brussels sprouts
  • 4 bacon slices
  • 1 Braeburn apple, peeled and diced
  • 2 Tbsp  minced shallots
  • 1 garlic clove,  minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp  salt
  • 1/2 tsp  pepper
  • 1/4 cup freshly shaved parmesan or Romano  cheese


  1. Cut Brussels sprouts in half, and cut into shreds.
  2. Cook bacon in large skillet over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towel. Reserve 3 Tbsp of drippings in skillet. Crumble bacon.
  3. Sauté apples,  shallots, and garlic in hot bacon grease over medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Stir in vegetable broth and next 3 ingredients, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of skillet. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Add Brussels sprouts; saute for 8 to 10 minutes until sprouts are crisp-tender. Top with shaved cheese and crumbled bacon.

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


(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


  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.

Happy Memorial day and cheesy bacon ranch roasted potatoes

Happy Memorial day!  I hope you all had a great day and ate some wonderful food.  These cheesy bacon ranch roasted potatoes are becoming one of my husband and my favorite side dishes (tonight it was a side to a New York strip steak off the grill). By the way,  he is the grill master of this house.

courtesy of Cooking Classy



  • 6 slices of bacon,  cooked and crumbled
  • 2 lbs russet potatoes, scrubbed and rinsed, diced into 3/4 in. pieces. (About 7 cups)
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese,  shredded
  • Light Ranch dressing, recipe below
  • 2-3 green onions,  white parts discarded, greens chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a 9 x 13 casserole dish with cooking spray.
  2. In large mixing bowl, toss potatoes with olive oil,  salt,  and pepper.
  3. Turn out potatoes into casserole dish. Make sure they are evenly arranged.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, then remove from oven and toss (using a metal spatula works best to get any potatoes unstuck from dish)
  5. Return potatoes to oven and bake another 20 minutes.
  6. Remove and toss once more. Return to oven and bake until golden and edges are crisp,  about 15 minutes.
  7. Evenly sprinkle potatoes with cheese and bake another few minutes, until cheese is melted.
  8. Remove from oven and drizzle with ranch dressing, top with bacon and green onions. Serve immediately.

Ranch Dressing

In a small bowl, mix 6 Tbsp plain greek yogurt, 2 Tbsp olive oil mayonnaise, 4 Tbsp milk,  1 tsp lemon juice, 1 1/2 tsp dried parsley, 1/4 tsp dried dill, 1/4 tsp onion powder, 1/8 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp pepper. Mix well.

decadent creamy chicken alfredo lasagna

Decadent Creamy Chicken Alfredo Lasagna


Prep time: 35 minutes

Bake time: 55 minutes

Servings: 8


  • 9 dried whole grain lasagna noodles
  • 2 (10 oz.) jars of your favorite alfredo sauce
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 3 cups chopped,  cooked chicken breast
  • 1 (10 oz. ) pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 jar of roasted red sweet peppers,  drained and chopped
  • 1 cup Italian blend cheese, shredded


  1. Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. Cook noodles according to package.  Drain, and rinse with cold water.
  3. Meanwhile,  in a large bowl, combine both jars of Alfredo sauce, lemon juice, and black pepper. Stir in chicken,  spinach,  and red peppers.
  4. Lightly coat a 13 x 9 casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  5. Arrange 3 cooked noodles in bottom of dish.  Top with 1/3 chicken mixture. Repeat layers twice. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
  6. Uncover,  sprinkle with shredded cheese.  Bake, uncovered for 10 minutes.
  7. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.