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Archive for the ‘Greek’ Category

easyspanakopita

I had some great feta in the fridge and ever since I starred a few spanakopita recipes in my Google Reader I had been craving it. I went back to read the recipes I starred and realized there was no way I would have time to make them on a weekday. Working with the phylo dough was going to be extremely time intesive. Not something I want to tackle when I don’t get home until 7 p.m. and it’s all I can do to feed us by 8 or 8:30.

So off I went in search of “easy” spanakopita recipes. I checked one of my favorite blogs for Greek inspired food, Elly Says Opa!, and sure enough she had a Cheater Spanakopita recipe. The real time saver is that this recipe uses puff pastry instead of the phylo dough.

We loved these spanakopitas. While they weren’t quite the real deal, they definitely got the job done for a quick dinner. I served them with a big Greek salad and it made a nice vegetarian meal. This recipe makes a ton of spanakopitas but the leftovers were great for lunch. During dinner we also talked about how great these would be for an appetizer at a party.

Easy Spanakopita
(Recipe source Elly Says Opa!)

Ingredients:

2 sheets puff pastry (one box), thawed
Olive oil
1/4 cup onion, diced
fresh dill, to taste (omitted, dill is my least favorite herb!)
2-3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 lb fresh spinach (about 1 bag)
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
2 eggs, divided
salt and pepper

Directions:

Remove puff pastry from freezer and follow directions on box for thawing. We let ours sit at room temperature for about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add onions and saute until they begin to get tender and translucent. Stir in the spinach and then turn off the heat. Let the spinach wilt down a bit (but not completely, you still want it to have a little life).

Roll the puff pastry dough into a square, making it slightly thinner. Cut each sheet into 9 equal squares by making 2 horizontal cuts and 2 vertical cuts.

Transfer spinach mixture to a bowl. Add in feta, dill, parsley and salt and pepper. Beat one egg and add to mixture. Stir well.

Spoon about 1 to 2 tablespoons of the spinach mixture in each puff pastry square. Bring the 2 opposite sides together to form a triangle and press with your fingers to seal. Place on a baking sheet. Beat the second egg and then brush the tops of the triangles with the egg. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until golden.

Yield: 18 spanakopita triangles

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Greek Night with Keftedes

greeknight

We love Greek food and were really craving it tonight. There is an amazing Greek restaurant a couple blocks from our house that we love. Unfortunately, after the holidays we’re on a bit of a budget so we decided to have our own Greek feast at home.

One of my favorite blogs for Greek food is Elly Says Opa! There was a post of her top 30 of 2008 in my Google Reader today and I starred this Greek meatball recipe. It was perfect for tonight.

I served the meatballs with Greek salad, wild rice and hummus with pita bread. It was a great dinner and we have plenty of leftovers. I’ll be making this again for sure!

Keftedes (Greek Meatballs)
(Recipe source Elly Says Opa!)

Ingredients:

1 slice of bread
milk
1 lb lean ground beef
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 an onion, finely diced or grated
2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
1 heaping tsp. dried oregano
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp. salt
freshly ground pepper, to taste
flour, for dredging
olive oil, for pan frying

Directions:

Place slice of bread in a bowl and pour milk over. Allow bread to soak up milk as you are prepping other ingredients. Squeeze the bread to get rid of some of the milk, and then discard the remaining milk, keeping just the soggy bread.

Add the beef, egg, onion, garlic, oregano, parsley, salt and pepper to the bread. Mix everything together, careful not to over mix.  Then, shape into meatballs–any size you want. Mine were around 1-1 1/2 inch around.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add some olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Dredge the meatballs in flour, shaking off the excess. When the oil is hot, add meatballs and pan fry until cooked through (working in batches, if necessary). Mine took around 4 minutes per side, flipping halfway through.

I placed them on a plate lined with paper towels to drain before serving.

Greek Salad Dressing
(Recipe source my parents)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, pressed or finely minced
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a jar. Shake and chill. This recipe can be cut in half or quartered for smaller serving.

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Greek Pasta

We love anything with Greek flavors and have tried several variations of Greek pasta. Usually we find that something seems to be lacking but I think we’ve finally found one to stick with. This was delicious and came together really quickly. The flavor was great and you can definitely play around with the ingredients and try different substitutions. For example, I forgot to buy kalamata olives at the store and we had green in the fridge. Rather than omit olives, I decided to throw the green in and it worked great.

Greek Pasta
(Loosely adapted from Mediterranean Pasta in Minutes, Tyler Florence)

Ingredients:
1/2 box of penne pasta (or your choice)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into strips
1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 8 1/2 oz can quartered artichoke hearts in water
1/3 kalamata or green olives, pitted and halved
1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (divided into 1/4 and 1/4)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Follow cooking instructions on box for pasta.

Heat a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat (depending on your oven). Add olive oil and heat until shimmery. Add chicken strips and cook until they start to brown, about 5 minutes. Add diced onion and garlic and saute for about 3 more minutes, until onion begins to look translucsent. Add in artichoke hearts, olives, diced tomatoes, basil and oregano. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Reduce heat and cook on low until heated through. Stir in 1/4 of feta cheese and remove from heat.

Place cooked pasta in a large bowl. Pour chicken mixture over pasta. Top plated dishes with remaining feta cheese.

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