Greek Almond Macaroons - Ergolavi or Amygdalota Gluten-free

You can find these cookies at the sweet shops all over Greece. I always loved them, and wanted to make them. Since I can't find them in North America, the closest recipe I came up with, tasting anything close to these cookies, were the coconut macaroons that I used to make every Christmas while we were in Canada. When a neighbor in Greece told me that the only thing these cookies needed were some egg whites, ground almonds and sugar, ...well then, I had to try to make them on my own. With a little of experimentation I perfected the recipe ingredients and here they are: the Greek Almond Cookies or Ergolavi (I have no idea where the name "Ergolavi" came from, and I don't think anyone in Greece does either*) or Amygdalota (meaning made from almonds) as they are called in Greece. They are easy to make and they are gluten free. Enjoy!

Makes 27 servings approximately 1.2 oz each

3 cups finely ground almonds - pulverized
1 2/3 cups sugar
3 egg whites
½ tsp vanilla
1¼ cup slivered almonds

Melted butter for the cookie sheets and the palms of your hands to roll the cookies -- about 6 tbsp.

Beat the egg whites with the sugar. Add the pulverized ground almonds, and vanilla. Mix well together. Grease 2 cookie sheets generously with butter. Also, grease your palms with butter while shaping the cookies. Shape them into 1 1/4" balls. Roll in slivered almonds. Place on cookie sheet far apart. Cookies will spread.

Before they go in the oven

Bake at 325° F oven for 20-25 minutes till the edges are brown and they are firm to the touch. Remove from the oven. Let them cool before removing them from the pan, and place them in an airtight container or they will dry out.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1.097 oz (31.1g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 134
Calories from Fat 67
Total Fat 7.4g
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 6mg
Total Carbohydrates 15.6g
Dietary Fiber 1.8g
Sugars 13.0g
Protein 3.6g

Ready to serve!  Enjoy and Merry Christmas!


*Note: If anyone looking at my website knows where the name "Ergolavi" has come from, please feel free to email me or put it in the comments below.



If you try this recipe and like it please comment below. If you like what you see on this blog, feel free to follow it and share with your friends.  If you have any questions post them in the comments box.



Gluten free Oatmeal Cookies with Craisins and Walnuts

As the holidays are upon us, we rush to finish our Christmas shopping and our baking. When a big snowstorm hits us, we await anxiously for it to pass so that we can finish our shopping. Some of us welcome the onset of a snowstorm that might leave us home-bound. On those days, we take out our baking pans and begin experimenting on recipes. That’s how I came up with this Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookie recipe. I had this recipe in my files along with some of my other old recipes that I have kept over the years. This time I wanted to try making them with gluten free flour. I substituted regular flour with King Arthur gluten free all-purpose flour. I added dried cranberries (craisins) and chopped walnuts. The cookies turned out full of flavor, chewy and crunchy. They go well with coffee or tea during an afternoon break, or as a morning treat. Enjoy!

Gluten free Oatmeal Cookies with Craisins and Walnuts

Makes 30 servings approximately 1.4 oz each

½ cup butter + 6 tbsp. butter melted
½ cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar firmly packed
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1½ cups King Arthur gluten free all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
3 cups Quaker oats old fashioned (the ones you cook)
1 cup craisins (dried cranberries)
1 cup walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F. Melt the butter. Combine the butter with the sugars in a bowl till creamy. Add the eggs and the vanilla and beat well. Combine the gluten free all-purpose flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together. Add to the mix and blend well. Add the oatmeal, the craisins, and the walnuts. Blend well together.

In a greased cookie sheet or lined with wax paper cookie sheet, drop the dough by 1 tablespoon. I used an ice cream scooper. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes till the edges are browned. Remove from the oven and wait to cool before removing from the pan.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 serving (40.4 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 166
Calories from Fat 78
Total Fat 8.7g
Saturated Fat 3.7g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 25mg
Sodium 124mg
Total Carbohydrates 19.7g
Dietary Fiber 1.3g
Sugars 7.2g
Protein 3.1g






Baklava with walnuts and almonds and its History

The History of Baklava

Many will argue about the origins of Baklava. Greeks will attest it’s their own creation. Turks will say that the Greeks claimed it since it was perfected while Greece was under the Ottoman Empire for 400 years. Lebanese will make their own version of baklava by using an array of nuts like pistachios, walnuts, cashews or pine nuts. In other areas, they will use dough with eggs, or plain dough, unlike the “phyllo” dough. Greeks perfected the use of dough by inventing the “phyllo” dough, paper-thin sheets of dough (“phyllo” in Greek means “leaf”). A baklava recipe with the use of syrup with rose water and cardamom and a filling variety of nuts will most likely be from the Arab countries. The use of syrup with cinnamon and cloves with walnuts and almonds filling will be from the Balkan countries.

Even with all these declarations, it is believed that it was the Assyrians who came up with this dessert in 8 B.C. Greek seamen travelling to Mesopotamia, brought it to Athens and eventually they perfected it by developing the “phyllo” dough. Baklava reached the kitchens of the Byzantine Empire until its fall in 1453 A.D. Under the Ottoman Empire, baklava was served to the Pashas and the very rich. Eventually, the dessert reached the western world and was brought to America by Greek immigrants, or as others might say, by Turkish or by Lebanese immigrants. I’d like to believe that it was the Greeks who brought it to the Western world and since the Greeks perfected the paper-thin dough, I’d say it’s more of a Greek origin than any other.

There are areas in Greece that they use olive oil instead of melted butter to make baklava. I remember my mother and grandmother making baklava while I was young and they used clarified butter. The butter was made from pure cow’s milk. The color of the butter was white and not yellow like the butters we see here in the US. The ingredients, of course, were more organic back then.

I’ve seen and tasted many versions of baklava while here in the US. I tried the pistachio filled baklava, baklava drizzled with chocolate, baklava with pecans, but I’m partial to the Greek baklava with walnuts and almonds, or just plain walnuts as I remembered it from my childhood. This version of baklava is the way my mother and grandmother used to make with the only difference that I added the chopped almonds to the filling. I still use butter to brush between the phyllo dough sheets.

This is also a very traditional dessert to make during the Christmas holidays and Easter. With the Christmas holidays upon us, here is my version of Greek Baklava. Enjoy!

Baklava with walnuts and almonds

Makes 30 servings

8 oz phyllo dough
1 1/2 cups walnuts
1/2 cup almonds
3 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp ground cloves
6 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup butter

30 whole cloves (optional)

MIx together the chopped walnuts, chopped almonds, sugar, cinnamon and ground cloves. Set aside.

Melt the butter. Brush a 12x7.5 pyrex pan with melted butter. Remove one of the two packages of phyllo dough from the box. You can refrigerate or freeze the other package. Open up the phyllo dough and cover it between two clean kitchen towels. Phyllo dough dries quickly, so it is best to keep it covered while working on the baklava. Take a sheet of phyllo dough and lay it on the pan. Brush with melted butter. Continue to layer the pan with approximately 10 sheets of phyllo dough, brushing them in between layers with butter, and extending the ends over the pan (like the Spinach Cheese pie (Spanakotyropita)).

Pour the walnut, almond/sugar mixture and spread evenly. Fold over the extended phyllo dough and layer the rest of the phyllo dough sheets, one by one by brushing in between with butter. Cut diagonally and place it in a preheated 350° oven for 45-50 minutes till golden brown. If desired you can place a whole clove in the middle of each piece before baking.

  Ready for the oven

The syrup

2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 cinnamon stick
Rind of one lemon

Bring to a boil 2 cups sugar and 2 cups water. Add the cinnamon stick and the lemon rind. Boil for about 5 minutes till is slightly reduced and clear. Remove from heat.  Remove the cinnamon stick.

As soon as the baklava is cooked, take it out of the oven and pour the syrup over baklava while it's still warm. Wait for it to cool and serve.
Ready to serve

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 serving (49.8 g) approximately 1.8 oz
Amount Per Serving
Calories 148
Calories from Fat 59
Total Fat 6.5g
Saturated Fat 1.4g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 4mg
Sodium 49mg
Total Carbohydrates 21.5g
Dietary Fiber 1.2g
Sugars 16.0g
Protein 2.4g
...or ready to give as a gift!






In case you are wondering why I haven’t updated my blog in 4 months, there is a good reason for it. I was in Greece for the whole summer; something that I wanted to do for a long time. I had been back to Greece other times of the year, but I hadn’t been back there during the summer since 2000. I had forgotten how hot and stifling it can get in the summer months; but it was something that I wanted to do for a long time so I welcomed the heat and the warmth of the bright sun.

We left in the middle of June and returned in the middle of September. It was an anxiety-ridden preparation since we had to take my little shih tzu, Nappy, with us. Papers needed to be prepared for his departure, shots that he had to get and getting to the Secretary of State for signatures so that we can bring him back. Then my preparation for the trip began. What to take, how much can I fit in the suitcase, and what do I need to put in my carry on.

The day arrived and we, along with my Nappy, boarded the plane for Frankfurt, Germany and then to Athens. After 20 long hours of travel (our layover time in Frankfurt was four hours) we all arrived in Athens, safe and sound. As soon as I got off the plane, I took a deep breath and while choking back my tears, I inhaled that distinct smell of warm weather mixed with the smell of pollution, and the occasional smell of pine resin.

We stayed in Athens for a couple of days, then rented a car and drove up to Salonika, the city that I was born. On the way up, we stopped at a seaside restaurant and sat at a table under an umbrella, watching the water crash to the shore, while waiting for our lunch to arrive.
Kamena Vourla beach on the way to Athens.  This seaside town is only 2 hours north of Athens.

You are probably wondering what our lunch consisted off. It was, of course, the traditional gyro with french fries, while my shih tzu had the chicken kabob. (I’m sure the Greeks around me were looking at me funny).

We spent a month and a half in Salonica.
The White Tower in Salonika. 

We visited places that I craved to see, ate foods that I could not get the same taste here in the States (something to do with the produce over there; I think less preservatives) or simply don’t exist, and took pictures. Tons and tons of pictures. We went to the beach and my Nappy came with us. We went to Chalkidiki where all the popular and clean beaches are.
My little shih tzu, Nappy at Kallithea Beach, Chalkidiki

We had our anniversary meal at Ergon Deli at Porto Sani Village - a resort village that operates from April to October. The food was exquisite and the presentation even better. We had fries smothered with different cheeses from other places in Greece, zucchini fritters, taramosalata (carp roe spread mixed with garlic and day old bread) melitzanosalata (grilled eggplant dip) and a beautiful baby arugula salad drenched in balsamic vinaigrette.
Ergon Deli meal at Sani Resort.  You can find more about Sani Resort in the following link:

At the beginning of August we began our second leg of the trip – our way to Chios island. We drove back to Athens, took the ferry boat and arrived in Chios on a Sunday afternoon. The island was busy with tourists from all over Europe and Turkey. The sun was bright and the sky was so blue you’d think a painter decided to take the blue color in the palette and paint it.
The Mills in the city of Chios

The whole time we were there, we were hoping for a cloud to pass by and conceal the sun for a few minutes. Unfortunately, no (or should I say “fortunately” for us?). We accepted it and enjoyed it, because we knew back home we’d have plenty of cloudy days.

While at our stay in Greece we tasted everything we could get our hands on. From gyro and their cheesy fries,
Cheesy fries and gyro!

 to gelato ice cream,
They have the most delicious mini ice creams.  The perfect size to satisfy a sweet craving!

and their syrupy sweets,
Syrupy sweets!

to fried calamari and grilled octopus, fresh caught the same day (I’m sorry but I forgot to take a picture of that meal;  I was too absorbed digging into it.) We walked to most places even in the heat. The island had a breeze all the time and it felt good even if it were hot.

The three months went by and we had to come back. I came back refreshed, with new ideas for creating recipes for my website. I’m not sure if they will taste as good as the ones I had over there; but I will definitely try to recreate the tastes and flavors. I learned how to make a St. Fanourios cake that is celebrated on August 27th. And smyrneika soutzoukakia (ground pork or beef sausages from Smyrna – thus the word smyrneika). And I perfected my spinach pie by adding more greens (horta)[1] to it. Going back was another extraordinary experience; and even though I’ve been back to Greece numerous times every time I go back is an added appreciation of how beautiful that country is.

Stay tuned for new recipes. In the meantime, enjoy the pictures while I prepare to post my take on melitzanosalata (eggplant dip).






[1]Greens or Horta are the collard greens, mustard greens, dandelions, dark green endives. All these are used, along with spinach, in spinach pie or just by themselves to make hortopita – a medley of greens into a pie.

Parmesan Crusted Chicken with a Greek Twist

I first made this recipe when my sister in law was visiting from Greece.  We were both watching the TV commercial about the Hellman's Parmesan crusted chicken and thought we should try it.  The first time I made it I downloaded the recipe from the Hellman's website.  It turned out good, but not the way I would have liked it.  I had to put some Greek flair in it.  So I made it again and added my own Greek twist. The original recipe only has  4 ingredients in it: the chicken, the Parmesan, the bread crumbs, and the mayo.  I substituted the Parmesan cheese with fresh grated Romano cheese, added grey poupon and lemon juice, plain bread crumbs on some of the chicken breasts and gluten free breadcrumbs at another, since my daughter is on a gluten free diet.  It's any easy dish to make and goes well with rice and a spinach/romaine salad on the side.  Enjoy!

Makes 6 servings (appr. 6 oz. each)

1/4 cup  Hellman's Mayonnaise made with Canola oil
2 oz. Romano cheese
1 3/4 lbs. boneless chicken breasts (about 4 chicken breasts)
4 tsp. bread crumbs
1 tbsp. grey poupon mustard
1 tbsp. lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix the mayo with the mustard and lemon juice; sprinkle with salt and pepper and mix well.  Spread it over the chicken breasts.  Top with the bread crumbs, the shredded cheese and bake at 425 degree oven for ½ hour till chicken is done.  (The mayonnaise topping keeps the chicken nice and moist and not dry).

Note: you can mix the shredded cheese with the mayonnaise mixture.  I skipped that step and sprinkled the cheese on top the breadcrumbs.  Either way it tastes good. 

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 serving (158.3 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 357
Calories from Fat 172
Total Fat 19.1g
Saturated Fat 5.7g
Cholesterol 131mg
Sodium 359mg
Total Carbohydrates 1.5g
Dietary Fiber 0.1g
Sugars 0.2g

Protein 41.5g




Greek Tomato Salad - Horiatiki Salata

Greek Tomato salad-Horiatiki Salata (pronounced haw-reah-tiki  sah-lah-tah) with feta cheese

 Here is my version of the Greek Tomato Salad.  This the traditional Greek tomato salad that I grew up with.  There are many variations of the salad here in the US and in Greece.  Different areas have their version of the "Horiatiki Salata".  This is a very simple salad if you need something quick to go with your dinner.    But if you prefer you may garnish it with one or two Greek Kalamatta olives (like some restaurants do in Greece) or chopped parsley, and substitute the scallions with red onion.  Enjoy!


Makes 8 servings

2 large tomatoes
½ cucumber (you can use either English or regular cucumbers)
2 scallions
8 oz feta cheese
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ tsp dried oregano

Cut the tomatoes into wedges.  Clean and slice the cucumber and scallions. Cube or slice the feta cheese. Sprinkle with olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper to taste.  Toss  and serve.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 103 g
Amount Per Serving
Calories 142
Calories from Fat 112
Total Fat 12.4g
Saturated Fat 5.1g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 25mg
Sodium 319mg
Total Carbohydrates 4.0g
Dietary Fiber 0.7g
Sugars 2.4g
Protein 4.6g





Grilled Vegetables in Balsamic vinaigrette

Here is a nice side dish for the summer.  Serve along any type of grilled meat.  

Makes 8 servings (approx. 7 oz each serving)

4 cups eggplant
3 cups squash
2 cups zucchini
2 cups red onion
1 cup parsley
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup dill
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Wash the vegetables, and peel the skin into stripes.  Cut them into 2" pieces.  Place them in a large pan.  Wash and chop the parsley and the dill.  Toss with the rest of the veggies and marinate them with the balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Refrigerate. When ready to grill, put them in aluminum foil boats and grill for about 20 min till veggies are tender. 

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 serving (182.4 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 237
Calories from Fat 194
Total Fat 21.6g
Saturated Fat 2.9g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 162mg
Total Carbohydrates 11.2g
Dietary Fiber 3.9g
Sugars 3.5g
Protein 2.9g


Marinated in the balsamic vinegraitte
Wrapped in foil ready for the grill
After they are grilled.  

Enjoy!





Lentil Soup

While I was growing up in Greece, my mother prepared meatless dishes during the week and made dishes with chicken, pork or beef tenderloin on a Sunday. Sunday was a special meal. The whole family looked forward to it. We all gathered around the table, to enjoy any type of meat with some kind of vegetable or starch, that my mother had prepared (like the roasted chicken with potatoes - Roasted Chicken with Potatoes in the oven) one of my first posts. Living in the US, I’m trying to incorporate that same principle that my mother had, by trying to cook meatless dishes during the week, and enjoying meat on a Sunday. Sometimes I accomplish that, but other times it’s quite difficult.

Lentil soup is a common dish to prepare during Lent. This year, Greek Easter falls on May 5th thus our Lent period is still on. It began on March 18th and it will last till our Easter Sunday which is seven weeks from March 18th. Our Easter follows the Julian calendar and should not coincide with Easter of other faiths. During Lent, strict food restrictions apply. According to our Greek Orthodox customs, meat, fish or poultry is forbidden to eat (except crustaceans) even dairy and olive oil. The only two days that we are allowed to eat fish is March 25th (Fried Cod in Beer Batter) when we celebrate our Greek Independence Day and the Annunciation of Virgin Mary (or Evangelismos of Theotokos - pronounced: E-van-geh-lee-zmos of Thee-ott-oh-kos), and on Pam Sunday.

Living away from the Mother country is always difficult to establish these rules. As hard as I try, there are days that I will have to skip the tradition and end up cooking a dish with meat. Lentil soup is easy and fast to make, and since my family likes it, I cook it often during Lent.

Enjoy!!!

Makes 8 servings (approximately 15 oz each or 2 cups per serving)

½ cup olive oil
¾ cup chopped onion
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1 ¼ cup sliced carrots
1 lbs lentils (16 oz)
8 cups water
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
15 oz can tomato sauce
1 tsp salt
½ tsp cumin
2 tbsp chopped parsley
4 bay leaves

Wash the lentils and remove and foreign objects, like tiny rocks that might have escaped into the package. Set aside.

In a Dutch oven, over high heat, pour the ½ cup olive oil. Add the chopped onions and garlic. Sauté till transparent. Add the sliced carrots and the lentils. Add the tomato sauce, the diced tomatoes,salt, cumin, chopped parsley, bay leaves and the 8 cups of water. Let it come to a boil, lower the heat and let it simmer for one hour. Remove from heat. Before serving remove the bay leaves.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
15.613 oz (442.6g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 344
Calories from fat 122
Total Fat 13.5g
Saturated Fat 1.9g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 596mg
Total Carbohydrates 42.1g
Dietary Fiber 19.4g
Sugars 6.1g
Protein 16.2g


Ground turkey spaghetti sauce or Makaronia me kima

Per my daughter’s request, I’m posting my Greek style Bolognese sauce or Makaronia me kima (pronounced ma ka ro nia me kee mah) , which approximately translates to “Spaghetti with meat sauce”, or as I have always called it “spaghetti sauce”. My daughter happened to walk in as soon as I finished making this sauce. She commented that the house smelled wonderfully from all the herbs and spices, and asked if I could make some and freeze it for her to have on hand, when she is on her own. Of course, I granted her request.

Bolognese sauce originated from Bologna, Italy, and while this style of meat sauce incorporates vegetables in it, like carrots and celery, the Greek style spaghetti sauce, like my mother used to make, omits these vegetables. I have tried it with shredded carrots and diced green peppers, when I have the time; but most likely, I will make it the way it is made below. The Greek version is quick and quite easy. No long hours of cooking so that the wine will evaporate like the Italian version. Within an hour, you have a sauce that you can serve either on whole-wheat pasta, gluten free pasta or over spaghetti. You can substitute the ground turkey with ground beef, as the actual Greek translation of “kima”(kee mah) means ground beef (my mother always made it with ground beef). Sprinkle some shredded romano cheese, or like my mother used to shred kefalotyri (pronounced ke fa lo ty reh) similar to romano cheese, or kasseri (pronounced ka se reh) cheese which is similar to provolone or muenster cheese but a bit harder when it’s aged. Enjoy!

Ground turkey spaghetti sauce or Makaronia me kima 

Makes 10 servings

½ cup olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 tsps chopped garlic
1 1/2 lbs ground turkey
15 oz tomato sauce
15 oz diced tomatoes
1 tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground pepper
½ cup chopped parsley
1 tsp oregano
1 tbsp chopped basil
1-1 ½ cans of water

Dice the onion and garlic. Chop the basil and parsley. Set aside. In a deep saucepan sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil. Add the ground turkey. Sauté till browned. Continue stirring and add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Add one–one and a half cans of water; let it come to a boil and then simmer for about an hour till most of the liquid is absorbed.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 serving (183.5 g)
Amount per Serving
Calories 274
Calories from Fat 174
Total Fat 19.3g
Saturated Fat 3.8g
Cholesterol 69mg
Sodium 534mg
Total Carbohydrates 6.0g
Dietary Fiber 1.8g
Sugars 3.5g
Protein 20.0g




Shrimp and Artichoke Hearts with Gluten Free Pasta

I made this dish the other day while I was cramping for time. It’s quick and easy and it only took me 1 hour from start to finish, including washing the pots. Serve with a side salad, or spinach salad and you have yourself a meal. Enjoy!

Makes 4 servings

1/4 cup olive oil
1 lbs large shrimp
2 tsp chopped garlic
2 cups diced yellow and orange peppers
8 oz Gluten Free Pasta
1/4 tsp hot pepper flakes
2 cups artichoke hearts quartered marinated in olive oil
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Clean, wash and peel the shrimp. (I get the large shrimp that's already peeled and deveined. I only have to remove the tail). Set aside.
In the meantime, bring a pot of water to boil and cook the pasta according to package directions. (You can use regular pasta instead of gluten free or whole-wheat pasta).
Clean and chop the garlic. Set aside. Wash, clean and dice the yellow and orange pepper. Set aside. (You can use red peppers if you like).
In a frying pan, pour the olive oil and sauté the garlic and diced peppers till slightly softened. Make sure that the garlic is not burned. Add the shrimp. Cook till the shrimp is pink. Add salt and pepper.
Drain the pasta and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. In a large bowl mix together the pasta, the shrimp, the artichoke hearts (without the marinade), the lemon zest, the lemon juice and the pepper flakes (optional - pepper flakes gives it an extra kick; but if you don't like the heat you can omit it altogether). Garnish with chopped parsley and shaved pecorino romano.

Nutrition Facts 
Serving Size 12.48 oz (353.8g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 472
Calories from Fat 130
Total Fat 14.4g
Saturated Fat 2.4g
Cholesterol 162mg
Sodium 379mg
Total Carbohydrates 57.2g 
Dietary Fiber 10.5g 
Sugars 2.9g
Protein 31.9g



Cabbage rolls in Avgolemono (egg and lemon sauce)


Cabbage rolls in Avgolemono (egg and lemon sauce) is a traditional Greek winter food.  When I was working full time I would make this dish, on weekends – usually on a Sunday - and have left overs the next day.  It’s a dish that I avoided making often because of the time it consumed.  Of course, you are not going to make this dish every week, or you will get tired of it, like any other type of food that you eat often.  There is a less consuming type of cabbage rolls that you can make; and that is without preparing the filling on the stove; but instead mixing all the ingredients together raw.  The only thing you will need to do is boil the cabbage leaves.  I found that type of preparation though, a bit heavy on the stomach.  My mother will always cook the filling on the stove (as per recipe below).  In the past I used to mix it raw, but when I quit work, I decided to make it the way my mother used to make it.  And Dah! No heartburn, no acid reflux, no heaviness on the stomach (this is on individual preference; it does not affect some people like others).  So from then on, I decided, since I love this dish so much, to cook the filling. 

There is also another way of cooking the cabbage rolls, and that is baking them in the oven in tomato sauce.  Instead of cooking them on the stove, you layer the cabbage rolls in an ovenproof pan, in a single layer, pour a 14 oz can of tomato sauce on top, mixed with 1 cup of water, add the ½-cup olive oil, and bake at 350° for about one hour to an hour and a half.   This way is also very delicious.  But for now enjoy this wonderful dish in the Avgolemono sauce. 

Cabbage rolls in Avgolemono (egg and lemon sauce) 

Ingredients (Makes 46 servings)

46 cabbage leaves

To boil the cabbage:

8 quarts of water for 1 large cabbage
2 large cabbages about 3lbs each

For the filling:

1 ½ lbs ground turkey
1 cup rice
½  cup olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped parsley
¼ cup chopped dill
1 tsp salt or according to taste
½ tsp ground pepper
1 ½ cups water

For cooking:

2 1/2 cups water – enough to cover the cabbage rolls
½ cup olive oil
½ tsp salt

Avgolemono - Egg and lemon sauce:

1 egg
½ cup lemon juice

Directions:

Wash and remove the outer leaves of the cabbage.  Place it in a large pot with water and boil.  As the cabbage leaves soften, remove the leaves by cutting them at the core.  Place them in a colander to strain.  When all the leaves are cooked, leave them in the colander to strain and cool.  Make sure that you don’t over boil the leaves, otherwise when you try to roll them, they will tear.  

In a large frying pan, add the olive oil, and saute the onions and the ground turkey.  Add the rice, salt, parsley, dill, pepper, and water and let it cook for 5-10 minutes or until the water is absorbed.  The rice will not be fully cooked.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool. 

At the bottom of a dutch oven, place the small cabbage leaves, enough to cover the bottom of the pot. 
Take one large cabbage leaf, cut the core, and place a teaspoon of the filling on it.  Roll once covering the filling, then fold the sides and continue to roll till you make a nice oblong shape (see picture below).  Place it in the dutch oven and repeat, till done.  These will make about 2 rows of cabbage rolls – 46 pieces total.  Cover the cabbage rolls with the rest of the small cabbage leaves that you have leftover. 

Place the pot on the stove and pour the ½ cup olive oil, ½ tsp salt and 2 ½ cups water and let it simmer for 1 hour till cooked.  When slightly cooled, prepare the egg and lemon sauce. 

Avgolemono (egg and lemon sauce):

Separate the egg yolk from the egg white.  Place the egg white in a bowl.  Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon, about ½ cup.  Beat the egg white till frothy.  Add the egg yolk and continue beating.  Add the lemon juice while still beating and slowly pour the mixture into the cabbage rolls.  Swish the pan around so that the egg and lemon sauce will distribute evenly.  Serve. 

 Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1 serving (55.0 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 97Calories from Fat 60
Total Fat 6.7g
Saturated Fat 1.2g
Cholesterol 15mg
Sodium 71mg
Total Carbohydrates 4.5g
Dietary Fiber 0.5g
Sugars 0.6g
Protein 4.6g
The raw cabbage

The filling

Layering the bottom of the pan with the small cabbage leaves

Assembling the cabbage rolls

Adding the filling

Rolling the cabbage 

Folding the cabbage

The cabbage roll in the final folding stage

Layering the pot with the cabbage rolls - tightly together

Layering with the remaining cabbage leaves on top

The cooked cabbage rolls with Avgolemono (egg and lemon sauce) 

The finished product.  Delicious!




St. Pady's Green Cake


I made this cake for St. Paddy's party last year.  It is easy to make and quite festive for the occasion.  Enjoy!

Makes 30 servings

Cake:
1 package yellow cake mix
1 package instant vanilla pudding
1 package Instant Pistachio pudding
1 cup water
4 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp green food coloring

Icing:
1 package Dream Whip
2 tsp Confectioners’ Sugar
1 tsp green food coloring
1 package Instant Pistachio pudding
3/4 cup skim milk

Directions
In a large bowl combine the yellow cake mix, one package of pistachio instant pudding, one package of vanilla instant pudding, the water the eggs, the vegetable oil and  the 2 tbsp green food coloring. MIx well. Grease a 13x9 cake pan and pour the cake mixture in. Bake at 350 F oven for about 1 hour or till a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Icing:
In a bowl mix together the one envelope of Dream whip, the one package of pistachio instant pudding with 2 tsp of confectioner's sugar and 3/4 cup skim milk. Add the green food coloring. Beat well till soft peaks form.

Assembly:
When the cake is cooled, take it out of the pan and put it on a serving platter. Frost the cake with the icing and sprinkle with the green sugar crystals. Cut into pieces and serve.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 serving (54.7 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 179
Calories from Fat 78
Total Fat 8.7g
Saturated Fat 2.1g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 22mg
Sodium 260mg
Total Carbohydrates 24.1g
Dietary Fiber 0.2g
Sugars 16.8g
Protein 1.8g





Lady Fingers Custard Pie


I made this dessert the other day and it came out delicious.  I found peach and strawberry pie fillings at the grocery store, which is not common, and I got excited about making this custard pie.  I used Dr. Oetker's vanilla pudding, that you can find at any ethnic food stores.  This is the boiled type pudding, the one you cook over the stove, but you can also use instant pudding and pie filling.  I use Dr. Oetker's, because it doesn't have any soybean lecithin or soybean oil, like the instant kind.  

As for the apricot brandy, is quite optional.  You can substitute for Metaxa brandy, or any other flavored brandy.  I thought the apricot will go nice with the peach topping.  Enjoy!


Makes 24 servings

3 oz Dr. Oetker's vanilla pudding
4 tbsp sugar
4 cups skim milk
17 cookies Lady Fingers
1/4 cup skim milk
1 tsp apricot brandy (optional) 
21 oz peach pie filling
21 oz Strawberry Pie Filling or Topping

In a saucepan pour Dr. Oetker's vanilla pudding and add the 4 tbsp sugar. Stir. Mix with the 4 cups skim milk, and cook over high heat stirring constantly till it begins to thicken. When it starts to thicken, lower the heat to medium and continue cooking, for another minute or so. Remove from heat. It cooks in about 3 minutes total.

In a bowl pour the 1/4 cup skim milk and add the 1 tsp of apricot brandy. Stir to mix. Soak the lady fingers one at a time and layer in a 12x7 baking dish.

Pour the custard over the lady fingers and refrigerate till set.

When set, spread the peach pie filling, and strawberry pie filling, alternately to create stripes. Refrigerate and serve when ready to eat.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 4.311 oz (122.2g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 178
Calories from Fat 6
Total Fat 0.7g
Saturated Fat 0.0g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 15mg
Sodium 102mg
Total Carbohydrates 39.3g
Dietary Fiber 0.3g
Sugars 22.3g
Protein 2.9g

Enjoy!


Gluten Free Meatloaf with Middle Eastern Spices


My daughter found out that she is allergic to gluten.  Therefore, when I decided to make this meatloaf, I had to use gluten free breadcrumbs.  I used Udi's gluten free whole grain bread that I crushed in the food processor.  You can substitute regular breadcrumbs for this recipe, or any other type gluten free breadcrumbs.  I have tried it both ways and either way comes out delicious.  I served this with Sweet potato mash with paprika and chill powder  (recipe below).  Enjoy!

Makes 8 servings (approximately 4.5 oz each)

1 1/2 lbs ground turkey
2 oz Udi's bread (crushed in a food processor)
3/4 cup chopped parsley
1 cup shredded onion
2 tsp. crushed garlic
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 cup olive oil

Peel and wash the onion. Place it in a food processor and pulse until shredded. Set aside. Clean the garlic and crush with a garlic press. Set aside. Wash and chop the parsley. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degree F.

In a blow mix together the ground turkey, the shredded onion, crushed garlic, chopped parsley, the bread crumbs, paprika, cumin, thyme, turmeric, salt and pepper. Mix well. In an ovenproof pan place the meatloaf mixture and pour over the 1/2 cup olive oil. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 for 2 hours.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 serving (128.2 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 343
Calories from Fat 221
Total Fat 24.6g
Saturated Fat 4.7g
Cholesterol 87mg
Sodium 287mg
Total Carbohydrates 5.7g
Dietary Fiber 0.8g
Sugars 1.2g
Protein 24.4g





Sweet potato mash with paprika and chill powder


I made this dish to accompany the Gluten Free Meatloaf with Middle Eastern Spices below.

Makes 6 servings (approximately 7 oz)

2 1/4 lbs sweet potatoes
1/2 cup skim milk
3 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper

Peel and wash the sweet potatoes. Cut them in quarters and place them in a pot with water to boil. Or microwave them in a microwave bowl with water. When soft drain the potatoes and mash them with a potato masher. Add the butter, the milk and the spices. Blend well and serve.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 serving (198.6 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 263
Calories from Fat 58
Total Fat 6.5g
Saturated Fat 4.0g
Cholesterol 17mg
Sodium 261mg
Total Carbohydrates 48.7g
Dietary Fiber 7.2g
Sugars 1.9g
Protein 3.4g




Three Crust-less Broccoli/Cheese quiches

Here are three variations of Broccoli/cheese quiches that I have made in the past
Crust-less Broccoli Fennel Quiche, Crust-less Broccoli Red Pepper Quiche, Crust-less Broccoli and Turkey Bacon Quiche. I usually make crust-less quiches because they are easy; I don’t have to buy the pie dough or make it from scratch and I use items that I have on hand. It’s something that’s quick to put together and by serving it with a side salad you have yourself a meal, either for lunch or for a light dinner.

The first quiche published is the Broccoli Fennel quiche. Fennel has a distinct taste, more like anise or licorice but it’s not as strong. Some fresh produce or super markets will also name fennel anise. Fennel is used widely in Mediterranean cuisine. The stalk of the fennel plant is white and the leaves resemble fresh dill. In Greek fennel is called “Marathon” and it grows wildly in Marathon the place where the battle of Marathon took place (300 Spartans).

Enjoy all these three variations of crust-less quiches for either lunch or dinner.

Crust-less Broccoli and Turkey Bacon Quiche


Makes 16 servings

7.7 oz smoked turkey bacon chopped (approx. 1 cup)
2 red onions chopped (about 1.5 cups)
¼ cup olive oil
1 red pepper sliced (about 1 cup)
3 cups fresh broccoli chopped
2 tbs chopped parsley
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
2 cups low moisture park skim milk mozzarella (16 oz)
1 cup egg beaters
+ (plus) 4 eggs
1.5 cups skim milk

Chop the turkey bacon and sauté in a frying pan. Remove from pan when browned and add the 1/4 cup olive oil. In the oil, add the chopped red onion, the diced red pepper and the broccoli flowerets. Sauté until the pepper is slightly softened, and the broccoli turns bright green color. Remove from the heat.

In another bowl, combine the shredded mozzarella cheese, the milk, the eggbeaters and the eggs. Add the broccoli/turkey mixture to the cheese/milk mixture. Stir together and pour into two 9" plates evenly. Bake at 350 degree F oven for 45-50 minutes or until the toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from the oven and serve.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 4.536 oz (128.6g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 193
Calories from Fat 128
Total Fat 14.2g
Saturated Fat 6.3g
Cholesterol 75mg
Sodium 436mg
Total Carbohydrates4.5g
Dietary Fiber 0.8g
Sugars 2.3g
Protein6.5g



Crust-less Broccoli Red Pepper Quiche


Makes 12 servings

1 red pepper sliced (about 1 cup)
24 oz frozen chopped broccoli (2-12 oz bags)
5 green onions chopped (about 6 oz)
¼ cup olive oil
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
½ cup dill
¼ cup parsley
1 cup Colby Monterey Jack cheese shredded
½ cup Pecorino Romano cheese shredded
6 eggs
1 cup skim milk
1 cup low moisture part skim milk mozzarella shredded
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  
Saute the green onions and red peppers in the olive oil. Add the frozen broccoli and heat through till it's warm and slightly soft. Add the parsley and dill. Stir. Remove from heat. Combine the shredded colby chesse, mozzarella skim milk cheese and romano. Add the eggs and milk. Pour into the cooled broccoli-red pepper mixture. Mix together. Pour into two 9" pie plates. Bake at 350 degree oven for 45 min or till toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 5.686 oz (161.2g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 227
Calories from Fat139
Total Fat 15.4g
Saturated Fat 6.8g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 113mg
Sodium 453mg
Total Carbohydrates 8.7g
Dietary Fiber 2.6g
Sugars 2.9g
Protein 15.3g