Tag Archives: cottage cheese

Spanakopita

2 May
Spanikopita

Spanakopita

My sister made this wonderful authentic Greek dish for the family one night when she was here visiting last week. It was so much fun being able to snap some photos while she explained every step of the recipe and demonstrated the “technique” of this dish. This recipe came from her boyfriend’s mother who hailed from Greece, Zora St. Martin (her Greek maiden name was Zaharias, she married a French Canadian). Zora died about two years ago at age 88, and had a successful catering business in Newport, NH. Before she passed on she wrote down the recipe for her son, which I have shared below. As a bonus, she also included the recipe for Tiropita, which is similar to Spanakopita but doesn’t have spinach.

Spanakopita and Tiropita Recipes

Spanakopita and Tiropita Recipes

The first thing my sister said before making this was to correct my pronunciation of the dish. I’ve been saying it wrong all these years! It is span-uh-KOH-pih-ta, NOT span-uh-koh-PEE-ta. This also makes a very large amount. She said whenever they cook this at home, they wrap up individual packages to give to friends. They actually have friends calling them asking them when they are going to make it again, it is that good! This also makes a wonderful breakfast or brunch. It took us a few days, but we ate every last bit of this! My sister also found some cute little lamb chops on sale at the store, which she marinated in soy sauce, honey, and red chile flakes and grilled them up as a nice “side” to the Spanakopita. Thank you Molly for an awesome dinner!

Spanakopita

1 package Filo (Phyllo) dough, thawed in refrigerator
3 10-ounce packages frozen spinach, thawed
1 bunch green onions
Handful of fresh dill sprigs
16-ounce container cottage cheese
24-ounces crumbled Feta cheese
6 well-beaten eggs
2 sticks melted butter (1/2 pound)

Spanakopita Ingredients

Spanakopita Ingredients

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the thawed spinach in a colander and squeeze out as much liquid as possible with your hands. Literally grab bunches of the spinach and wring it out like a wet washcloth. My sister demonstrated this beautifully:

Squeezing the Water Out of the Spinach

Squeezing the Water Out of the Spinach

Chop the green onions…

Chopping the Green Onions

Chopping the Green Onions

then mix them thoroughly with the spinach in a large bowl.

Mixing the Onion and Spinach

Mixing the Onion and Spinach

Mince the dill, then add to the spinach mixture along with the cottage and Feta cheeses and the beaten eggs. Combine thoroughly.

Spanakopita Filling

Spanakopita Filling

Brush a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with some of the butter. Layer 5 or 6 Filo sheets in the bottom of the pan, including up the sides.

First Layer of Filo Sheets

First Layer of Filo Sheets

Press in 1/4 of the spinach mixture in an even layer.

First Layer of Spinach Mixture

First Layer of Spinach Mixture

Layer 3 or 4 more sheets of Filo, then coat with butter evenly with a brush.

Brushing the Filo with Butter

Brushing the Filo with Butter

Repeat layers of spinach, Filo, and butter. The top layer should be at least 5 or 6 sheets of Filo. Pour any remaining butter over the top and brush around.

Brushing the Last of the Butter Over Top

Brushing the Last of the Butter Over Top

Bake in the preheated heated oven for 45 minutes until the top is golden-brown. If it starts to get too brown you can lightly cover it with a piece of foil. After 45 minutes, turn oven down to 350 and bake for 15 more minutes. Remove from oven, and let sit for about 15 minutes before serving.

Spanakopita Out of the Oven

Spanakopita Out of the Oven!

While the Spanakopita was resting, these pretty babies were thrown onto the grill for a few minutes on each side.

Marinating Lamb Chops

Marinating Lamb Chops

Dinner is served!

Spanakopita and Lamb Chop Dinner

Spanakopita and Lamb Chop Dinner

 

 

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Keema ~ A Taste of India

11 Apr
Keema  ~ A Taste of India

Keema ~ A Taste of India

About six years ago my employer decided that hosting an Indian Cuisine potluck would be a good idea for some newly hired employees from India who were training at our local office for an extended period of time. At that time, I had zero experience with Indian cuisine, so had asked one of the new hires for a recipe I could make for them. The next day I was handed a photocopy from an unknown cookbook. It was titled simply “Keema.” I made it for the potluck and remember it was a hit! But then it remained forgotten in my loose-leaf recipe archive (read “mess”) until last week.

I had obviously adapted it the first time around, as it had scratch outs, scribbles, and additions and substitutions written all over it. This time around, I decided to search it out on the internet. There are so many variations of Keema that I felt I had good liberty to basically “redo” it again to my family’s tastes as they are today. My new remake got two thumbs up from the family! My only regret was not buying some cottage cheese to serve on the side, as it makes a refreshing accompaniment to the meal. Since this made way too much for one meal, I went straight to the store the next day and bought cottage cheese for the leftovers. No leftovers were thrown out, I am glad to say!

This is traditionally made with ground lamb, but I used ground beef as a substitute, but you could use either one or a combination of the two. Make sure you use at least a 12-inch skillet, as this makes a LOT! Feel free to halve the recipe.

Keema

1 to 1 1/2 pounds ground beef or lamb
3/4 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced (about 2 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons garam masala (I used dried Mild Curry #512, according to the bulk bin I bought it from)
1 teaspoon salt or Mrs. Dash table blend
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 heaping tablespoons of tomato paste
1 1/2 cups homemade or low sodium beef broth
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
1/2 cup frozen peas
Lime wedges, for garnish
Chopped cilantro, for garnish
Cooked rice, for serving
Cottage cheese, for serving

Ground Beef and Onions

Ground Beef and Onions

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the ground beef or lamb with the chopped onion until evenly browned. Drain off any grease. Stir in the garlic and cook for about a minute more, then add the spices and combine.

Spices Added to Ground Beef Mixture

Spices Added to Ground Beef Mixture

Add the the rest of the ingredients except the frozen peas and garnishes. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. In the last five minutes, add the frozen peas and cook until heated through.

Keema Ready to Serve

Keema Ready to Serve

Serve over a bed of rice, with a squeeze of lime, and cilantro. Please add cottage cheese to the side as a lovely, refreshing side.

Keema

Keema

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Baked Ziti and Sausage in a Creamy Cheesy White Sauce

18 Aug
Baked Ziti and Sausage in a Creamy Cheesy White Sauce

Baked Ziti and Sausage in a Creamy Cheesy White Sauce

It is really difficult to take a photo of a casserole dish that looks good. And it is really, really difficult to take one when the only chance you had to grab a shot was when there was just a wee portion of it left. That being said, I have this fantastic recipe to share for you of this pasta dish my husband made earlier in the week. Paul is a hero. I’ve been working overtime for the past week and he has cooked every single night! And I’m not talking mac and cheese out of the box or take-out pizza either. Homemade food. Comfort food. Lovely fresh salads with tomatoes and chives from our garden. And this casserole. I just LOVED this meal and ate the leftovers until it was gone, gone, gone.

p.s. After last night’s dinner of grilled New York steak, baked potato, and garden salad, I squeezed the recipe out of him. I would only make minor changes to this if I made it. And I DO plan on cooking this myself when I crawl out of the weeds.

Baked Ziti and Sausage in a Creamy Cheesy White Sauce

2 1/2 cups uncooked Ziti pasta
1/2 pound ground hot Italian sausage
1/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash regular blend
Ground black pepper to taste
2 cups milk (he used 1%)
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 egg
2 cups cottage cheese (he used 4%)
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (he used low fat)
Hungarian paprika, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain, and set aside. In a skillet, brown the sausage until cooked through thoroughly, drain, and set aside.  In a saucepan, melt the butter and add the garlic. (For future versions, he thought adding some chopped onions and mushrooms at this point would be excellent.)  Stir in the flour, Mrs. Dash, and pepper. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly, until smooth. Bring up to  a slow boil, and continue whisking until thickened. Take the pan off the heat, then stir in 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese. In a large bowl, add the cooked pasta and pour the cheese sauce over it and stir to coat.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, add the egg, cottage cheese, parsley, the other 1/4 cup of Parmesan, and more Mrs. Dash and black pepper, to taste. Layer about half the pasta/cheese mixture in the bottom of a 2-quart casserole dish sprayed lightly with oil. Pour the cottage cheese mixture over it evenly. Now mix the sausage in with the rest of the pasta then layer that evenly over the casserole. Top with the Mozarella cheese, and shake the paprika evenly over the top, to taste. My husband used a lot of it, which I liked!  Now bake the casserole for 35 minutes or so, until hot and bubbly.  Creamy, comforting food for the weary. ‘Nuff said.

Baked Ziti and Sausage in a Creamy White Sauce 2

Baked Ziti and Sausage in a Creamy White Sauce

Additional notes: I would use 1 cup milk and 1 cup homemade chicken broth instead of all milk for the sauce for a richer flavor. I also liked his idea of adding onions and mushrooms.  Last, I’d probably mix everything up in one bowl instead of doing the layering thing to save both a bowl and time.

Spinach Ricotta Meatloaf Roll with Hasselback Potatoes

5 Nov
Spinach Ricotta Meatloaf Roll with Hasselback Potatoes

Spinach Ricotta Meatloaf Roll with Hasselback Potatoes

As I was preparing this, my husband asked what I was making and when I told him, he called his buddy up and told him he was going to forgo watching Monday Night Football with him because “my wife is cooking this incredibly great-looking meal!” Now how nice is that? Of course, that did make me a little nervous as I pretty much made this up and winged it. You see, I made spinach lasagna the other night (recipe here) and I had the remainder of the ricotta cheese tub left over. That stuff is expensive, and the prior time I made lasagna it went bad in the fridge so I wanted to come up with something that used ricotta. But I also didn’t want it to be an Italian dish since we just had the lasagna.  I searched for spinach ricotta inspired meals, and found an old recipe that stuffed it into meatloaf but called for BBQ sauce both in it and on top. For some reason that grossed me out but it did give me the inspiration to stuff my mom’s meatloaf instead. I also wanted this dish to be as little on the spicy side, so added Cajun seasoning to the meatloaf, and added crushed red pepper to the spinach. Lastly, I took the opportunity to make Hasselback potatoes for the first time since I had a bunch of room leftover on the baking sheet. The verdict? Another keeper recipe to put into rotation, yeah!!!

Spinach Ricotta Meatloaf Roll

1 meatloaf recipe, uncooked (I used this one: Mom’s Meatloaf)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 9-ounce bag fresh spinach, chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 cup low-fat Ricotta cheese
1 cup non-fat cottage cheese
1/4 cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup ketchup
Black pepper

Meatloaf Before Rolling

Meatloaf Before Rolling

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread and form the uncooked meatloaf into about a 9 x 13 rectangle on a piece of wax paper or foil on a large baking sheet. I had to use foil because when I went to us the wax paper, there was only a three-inch piece left of it. DOH! Set aside and in a bowl mix the three cheeses. Spread the cheese mixture evenly over the meatloaf and set aside again. In a large heated skillet,add the olive oil, onion, and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, then add the chopped spinach in batches until it starts to wilt and you have room for more. Once all the spinach is in the pan, add the red pepper flakes and stir to combine everything. Pour the spinach mixture into a colander and squeeze as much moisture out of the spinach as you can. I put my hand into a sandwich bag and just pressed down on it real good. Now spread the spinach mixture evenly over the cheese. This next part I had to have my husband help with since two hands are needed and I’m still in a finger splint for several more weeks. Slowly lift the wax paper or foil from the short edge and start rolling the meatloaf like a jelly-roll. When we got just near the end, we turned the meatloaf 180 degrees on the pan so it would fit better.  Spread the ketchup over the top of the roll and grind lots of black pepper over the top. Next prepare the potatoes (recipe below) and add them to the baking sheet. Bake for one hour, then remove and let sit for 10 minutes to firm up the meatloaf. The meatloaf kind of cracked open while cooking so next time I plan on making the initial base size a littler smaller so that the outer layer is thicker.

Hasselback Potatoes

There are so many versions of this recipe out there so this is mine that I cobbled together. The dish is named after the Hasselbacken restaurant in Sweden from whence it was conceived and served. I have no clue how close to the original version mine is.  But they were sure tasty— and pretty!

3 to 4 Russet potatoes
2 to 3 tablespoons butter or substitute
1 to 2 tablespoon olive oil
2 to 3 teaspoons minced garlic
2 to 3 teaspoons Italian style breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

I pretty much eyeballed all those amounts for the number and size of the potatoes. The measurements don’t have to be exact for this. First, wash and scrub the potatoes. Go find yourself two chopsticks and place them lengthwise on both sides of a potato. Slice the potato thinly down to the chopstick, which will prevent the potato from being cut all the way through. In a small bowl, add all the ingredients and microwave for one minute. Stir to mix well. Baste the butter mixture on top of the potatoes, spreading the slices out and making sure to push the butter in between each slice. Place the potatoes on the baking sheet with the meatloaf and cook as directed above. Since we live at high altitude the potatoes were not quite done when the meatloaf was, so I put them in another pan to cook longer and bumped up the heat while the meatloaf rested. Next time I think I’ll microwave the potatoes for a few minutes to give them a head start.

Easy Low-Cal Spinach Lasagna – A Hit with the Family!

13 Apr
Plated Spinach Lasagna

Voila! Plated Spinach Lasagna

So where have I been since Easter Sunday, you ask? (OK, maybe not…lol) Well I have been sipping supper through a straw the past several days after having my tongue biopsied for a “suspicious” white patch under my tongue. NOT something I would EVER put on my bucket list of things to do again, that I can tell you. Thankfully tongues are quick to heal, and after a couple of days of excruciating pain, (mitigated by one day of happy pills – blech, do not like taking those…) I am once again on the road to recovery. Still waiting on biopsy results, but I’m pretty sure they’ll come back OK, both the dentist and oral surgeon said they were not alarmed but thought with my recent bout of skin cancer it better get checked out.

Chopped Spinach and Mozzarella

Chopped Spinach and Mozzarella, ready for the rest of it...

I still need to eat fairly soft foods, so thought a spinach lasagna would do well for me if I ate teeny bites on one side of my mouth. The thing is, I had to work at the office today so I strategically planned this all out. I stopped by the store on the way home and bought a few items I would need to add to what I had in the fridge and pantry, then set to it straight away when I got home. One of my strategies was to try the no-boil noodle method, and I’m not talking buying the no-boil noodles, but using the dried regular ones straight out of the box.  It was a fantastic hit with the family, and my daughter had a friend over spending the night and she also approved! I was very happy with how this turned out, and it’s a low-cal version too! Great flavor, great texture, great all the way around.

Low-Cal Spinach Lasagna

1/2 pound lean burger
8 oz. fresh mushrooms, finely diced
1/2 small onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Black pepper to taste
Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb
1 1/2 jars of spaghetti sauce, (32 oz.) any kind, or homemade
2 cups low-fat shredded mozzarella cheese
2 1/2 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped
1/2 cup non-fat cottage cheese
1/2 cup skim milk Ricotta cheese
2 eggs, whisked in a cup or bowl
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
8 0z. dried lasagna noodles
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Pizza blend cheese

Cooked Lasagna

Cooked Lasagna

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. (I did 370 due to high altitude, I was worried about the noodles not cooking all the way.) In a large saucepan, brown the burger with the mushrooms, onion, garlic, pepper, and Mrs. Dash. Drain off any fat and add the spaghetti sauce. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Set aside. In a large bowl, add the Mozzarella, chopped spinach, cottage and Ricotta cheeses, whisked egg, and garlic powder. Mix well. Line the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan with half the noodles. Spread half the sauce over the noodles. Next spread all of the cheese spinach mixture over that. Place another layer of noodles on top of that then spread the rest of the meat sauce over. Pour the half cup of water over the lasagna and around the edges then swirl the pan around to make sure it gets spread evenly underneath. Cover tightly with foil and cook in the oven for 1 hour. Remove from oven, remove the foil, and sprinkle the last two cheeses over top. Return to oven uncovered until the cheese melts, about 10 to 15 more minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes, then dig in!

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