Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Greek Spinach Pie

Sorry but I hit the wrong button and posted this before it was finished. I'm not even sure what I did. Yes, it's one of those days!

You know something is good when your husband is making noises while he is eating. As long as there aren't any scary facial expressions, it's usually a good sign. It was validated when he said you have to post this on your blog - it's blog worthy...as he gets up to go get another slice.

I've been experimenting with almond flour and I have to say, it is very versatile. You can hardly tell this crust is made with almonds rather than flour. It's buttery and crumbly with a really nice flavor. You could use this crust with sweet stuff too - leave the garlic out though! Obviously you could substitute a regular crust for this recipe. 

The flavors in this pie are unbelievable. The feta just explodes in your mouth. I hope you'll give it a try. You'll love it!

Greek Spinach Pie

3 cups blanched almond flour
1 clove garlic, minced
1 egg
4 tablespoons butter, cold and diced
1/2 teaspoon salt

4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
8 oz. fresh spinach, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
5 eggs, whisked
2 tablespoons butter or coconut oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. To make the crust, butter a pie plate. In a mixing bowl, add all the ingredients. Use your hands or a pastry cutter to mix the butter in. Your goal is to have a nice small crumb mixture. Take this mixture and press it into your buttered pie plate. Bake this for 30 minutes or until the pie crust is just starting to brown.

In the meantime, saute your onion and spinach in butter or oil until wilted and the onions are soft. Add salt and pepper. In a bowl, add your feta and oregano to the eggs and season with salt and pepper. When the spinach is done, add your garlic and turn off the heat. Add your sauteed spinach mixture to the egg mixture. Stirring quickly so you don't scramble your eggs. Pour into your baked pie shell. Bake for 40 minutes or until the eggs is cooked through. Let sit for 5 minutes when done and then cut into 12 slices. (8 carbs per serving)

If you prefer a less garlic flavor, saute your garlic with the onion. 

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Party Meatballs

Did someone say party? Where? You're going to want to have a party just so you can have these meatballs.

The Superbowl is around the corner and even though San Francisco lost, I'll still be watching. They were so close...oh well, maybe next year.

I thought I'd give you some recipe ideas (another one is coming) in case you're planning a party or just having a few friends over. Here is the simplest recipe ever that everyone will devour. Take some pre-made meatballs, barbecue sauce and some apricot jelly and walah, you have really yummy meatballs and who doesn't like meatballs, especially those swimming in a sweet tangy sauce.

Trust me, your guests won't be able to stay away from these so make plenty.

Party Meatballs

1 pkg (1 lb, 4oz) frozen meatballs (you can always make your own but just in case you're busy - do the semi-homemade thing)
1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce (I used Bull's-Eye Original BBQ Sauce)
1 10oz jar Apricot Jelly (I used Smucker's Simply Fruit)

In a bowl, mix the barbecue sauce and the jelly. Add your frozen meatballs to the crock-pot and pour the sauce over them. Stir to coat all the meatballs. Let it cook on high for 2 hours and then turn it down to low for an hour. When you're ready to serve them just keep it on low or warm and allow your guests to spoon them up warm out of the pot. Serve with toothpicks. 

Tip: I like to brown my meatballs a bit before I put them in the crockpot or dutch oven. In a large saute pan, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and when hot add your frozen meatballs. Let them brown on each side a bit and then add them to your crockpot and add the rest of the ingredients.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Arugula

It's not often that I promote products on my blog but every now and then I find something that is really good and I just have to share it with you. I actually should do this more often since I do have my go-to-favorites. Here's one of my latest finds - Pasta Prima 100% Natural Butternut Squash Ravioli with no preservatives or artificial ingredients.

This ravioli is perfect for a fast and easy meal. It's stuffed with butternut squash, sweet potato, bread crumbs and a few different cheeses. The package also contains a Parmesan and herb flavor placket so if nothing else, you can boil up the ravioli which takes 5 minutes and then mix in the flavor packet. 

Look how cute it is. 

You should be able to find it in your local grocery store in the refrigerated area where the fresh pastas are located. I was able to find this at my local Safeway store. But if you can't find this brand, try another brand of ravioli. 

I decided to add an arugula salad to the ravioli and some walnuts to the sauce for some crunch. Delicious! You could serve this with a piece of chicken or some fish or on it's own. And you can buy a few packages and keep them in your freezer until you need them.

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Arugula

1 package Pasta Prima Butternut Squash Ravioli
1 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 bag of arugula, washed and dry
Shavings of Parmesan

Boil butternut squash ravioli according to the package directions. While ravioli is cooking, add the arugula to a small bowl, add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Mix well. In a frying pan and over medium to low heat, add the butter and the rest of the olive oil. When hot, add the walnuts and the seasoning packet from the ravioli. Mix well and simmer on low. When ravioli is ready, add the ravioli to the frying pan and mix well with the seasoning. If too thick, add a bit of the starchy cooking water from the ravioli. To serve, place ravioli on the plate and top with dressed arugula. Add some shavings of Parmesan to the top. Serves 2. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Everyday Salad Dressing

I hope you have the day off today for Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. I know I never have when I've been working but my husband does, I think for the first time ever. It seems a little soon after the holidays to have a break but I'm certainly not complaining. Maybe we could add another holiday between President's Day and Memorial Day. It's such a long stretch without a break.

I've spent the day looking at paint colors for our main bathroom. It's a small room without any windows and it's painted a dark green. Somehow I have to infuse a little light and I'm hoping I can do it with paint. Who knew it would be so hard to find the perfect paint color. I went a few weeks ago and brought home two little sample cans to try. I was going to test them, they were going to be perfect and I was going to get the bathroom painted by the end of the next day. Right! I get them on the wall and yuk! That's not the color on the little paper swatch. After bringing two more samples home, I think I'm getting close. Maybe.

Do you eat lots of salads? I go through phases. I get sick of them if I eat too many but we do have them quite often. I have a favorite salad which I make a lot and will share here one day soon and then I make a basic green salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.... I have gotten into the habit of making my own dressing. I do keep a bottle of purchased dressing on hand for emergencies or if I have company and someone doesn't like what I'm making.

I encourage you to try and make your own. If you buy really good oils and vinegars, you can't help but come up with something tasty. They really are simple to make and so worth the effort in that you can make them taste like you want and even better, you know what's in them. Feel free to add chopped garlic, shallot or herbs to this recipe. If you like it sweeter, add more honey. If you like it with more bite, add more Dijon. Make it the way your family will eat it.  

Everyday Salad Dressing

2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon honey
2 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 Tablespoon vinegar (I use either champagne or white wine vinegar)
3/4 cup Oil (Olive oil or vegetable oil, whatever you like)
Salt and Pepper

Combine everything but the oil and mix well. Then add the oil slowly and shake to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. To use less dressing, dress the entire salad at once by adding a couple of tablespoons to the salad mix in a large bowl. Mix really well - your clean hands work great for this. Start slow, you can always add more. Plate each salad and add your garnish - really good with some nuts like pumpkin seeds and if you really want it to look good, sprinkle with some parsley. Store the rest of the dressing in the frig for the rest of the week.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Ground Turkey, Bacon and Vegetable Stoup

My husband and I have been swapping colds for a week. We have finally declared a no kissing treaty for a few days so we can beat this bug. I haven't quite gotten a full blown cold, just enough of one to give me a fuzzy head and sinus issues. 

Because of our slightly weakened state we decided to stay in on Friday night and take it easy. I thought soup sounded nice and soothing for both of us. My favorite soup is a bit on the heavier side using polish kielbasa but it's so good and one of these days I'll post it for you. I thought I'd try and use a similar base but make it a bit healthier using ground turkey and nitrate free bacon. I can definitely declare it a success. You know it's good when you can't wait to eat it for lunch the next day, and the next, and the next day. It has a ton of flavor and it's heavy enough to fool your belly into thinking it just had a decent size meal. Try this on a cold night when you need something warm in your belly. It will satisfy the pickiest of eaters. 

I called it a stoup (term created by Rachel Ray) as it's a bit heavier than a soup but lighter than a stew. 

Ground Turkey, Bacon and Vegetable Stoup

1 lb. ground turkey
1/2 package thick cut bacon, diced - I used nitrate free
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
3 medium size potatoes, cut in 1/2 - 1 inch dice. I used Yukon Gold
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes
2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 cups chopped kale
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Seasoned Salt seasoning
1 cup Pecorino cheese, grated
1/4 cup parsley, chopped for garnish
Salt and pepper

In a large pot on medium high add diced bacon and cook until bacon is crispy. Remove bacon from the pot, leaving the grease. Add ground turkey and season with salt and pepper. When turkey is almost cooked through add onion, carrots, celery, garlic and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for another 5-10 minutes. Add potatoes and kale. Stir to combine. Add the diced tomatoes, chicken broth, garlic powder, seasoned salt and stir to combine. Put lid on and let it all cook for about 15 minutes. Add vinegar and stir. Taste broth for seasoning. Add salt and pepper if needed. When potatoes are soft, the soup is ready. Add soup to a bowl and garnish with crispy bacon, Pecorino cheese and parsley. Serve hot.

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken with Braised Red Cabbage

We had a great holiday this year. I'm so thankful for everything I have, especially my family and friends. It's not often enough that I slow down to think how good I have it and how lucky I am.

We were in Oregon this year at my brother's gorgeous home. You can see the unbelievable view from their house below. My parents were there and we had so much fun together cooking, laughing and eating. We never go hungry and always vow to come home and be good so we can lose the 2-3 pounds we gain. I am crazy in love with my niece and nephew and have so much fun with them. I think we all go through a few days of withdrawal after it's all over. 

It's sometimes hard to come home and get back into the swing of things. To remedy this I thought it seemed like a good time to bring out the slow cooker. Throw some meat in a pot with a little liquid and in a few hours a delicious dinner is ready. So nice! You smell dinner cooking and you suddenly remember that you don't have to worry about what's for dinner tonight. That's a good thing.

This dish obviously would be good with rice or potatoes, even polenta. But to save on carbs, I served it with braised red cabbage. I added the recipe below in case you want to try it. I also found this teriyaki sauce at Trader Joe's for only 5 carbs. Can't beat that!

Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken

1 pkg chicken cut up, legs, breasts, thighs, skin removed
4 tablespoons cornstarch
Salt and pepper
1 bottle Teriyaki sauce 
3 tablespoons grated ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons honey
6 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Heat a large skillet over high heat. Salt and pepper each piece of chicken. Then dredge each piece of chicken in cornstarch and pat excess off. Place in hot skillet and brown on each side.

In a slow cooker or dutch oven, add teriyaki sauce, honey, garlic, ginger and mix well. Add browned chicken. Cook on low for 5 hours or high for 3 hours. 

Serve with brown or white rice and garnish with green onion and slivered almonds. Serves 6.

Tip: If you're doing this in the oven, low is around 200 degrees and high is 300 degrees. Just make sure your chicken reaches 165 degrees before you eat it if your not sure. The chicken should fall off the bone though after cooking for 3-5 hours.

Adapted from Rachel Ray

Braised Red Cabbage
1 head of red cabbage, sliced finely
2 tablespoon safflower oil
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup chicken stock
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoon white vinegar
Salt and pepper

In large saute pan over medium heat, add oil and butter. When hot add cabbage. Add salt and pepper and stir to combine. Let cook for about 5 minutes on medium and then turn down the heat to medium/low. Add chicken stock, soy sauce and let cook for about 20 minutes, stirring often. When almost done, add vinegar and check for seasoning. The cabbage is ready when the liquid is gone, the cabbage is soft and wilted and slightly glazed. Serves 4.