Showing posts with label Italian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Italian. Show all posts

Italian cut Green Beans in tomato sauce

Don't be confused by the name "Italian cut." This type of bean is very common in Greece. You will most likely find these in Greece, rather than the string green beans. 

Since Lent has begun for both the Catholic and the Orthodox Church, it is common for believers to give up certain foods this time of the year. Greek Orthodox though have a more strict Lent practice than Catholics. Catholics can have fish on Friday where Greek Orthodox on the other hand, has a stricter fast. During Lent, fish, meat, poultry, and even dairy are not permitted (unless someone has specific diet needs and is instructed by his/her doctor. In that situation the priest forgives or rather allows the individual to eat what his diet needs are).

Every year, while I was growing up, I watched my mother follow a very ascetic fast for 40 days prior to our Greek Orthodox Easter. She tried to make dishes that were rich in flavor but without the meat. The green beans in tomato sauce are very rich in flavor. The use of flat leaf parsley gives it a savory and aromatic taste without the bitterness the curly leaf parsley has. The flat leaf is very common in Greece, whereas the curly leaf is not quite popular there.

You can find flat leaf parsley in any supermarket or fresh produce market. It is usually called Italian flat leaf parsley. This dish is great if you want to abstain from meat one day a week; for those who want to give up meat products for Lent, and for strict vegetarians. Serve it along with some fresh crusty Italian bread and you have yourself a healthy meal.

Italian cut green beans in tomato sauce             

Six (6) servings

½ cup olive oil
½ cup diced onion (1 medium sized onion)
2 tsp chopped garlic (about 2 cloves)
2 12oz bags frozen Italian cut green beans
1 15oz can diced tomatoes
1 15oz can tomato sauce
1 15oz can water
½ cup chopped parsley
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground pepper

In a Dutch oven sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil till transparent.  Add the frozen green beans along with the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce.  Add the one can of water.  Add the chopped parsley, salt and pepper.  Stir all the ingredients together.  Let it come to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally.  Simmer for 45 minutes to one (1) hour until the beans are tender.  Serve warm. 

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size                                         12.007oz(340.4g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories                                                            224
Calories from Fat                                  166                  % Daily Value*
Total Fat                                               18.4g                           28%
Saturated Fat                                       2.6g                             13%
Cholesterol                                           0mg                             0%
Sodium                                                 580mg                         24%
Total Carbohydrates                             14.7g                           5%
Dietary Fiber                                         5.5g                             22%
Sugars                                                 6.6g
Protein                                                 3.6g

Spinach Cheese pie (Spanakotyropita)

For my first recipe post, I picked the most difficult of the Greek dishes to make.  But I love Spinach and Cheese pie (Spanakotyropita).  And so does my whole family.  Since I was making it for all of us, I thought it would be nice to post it on my blog.  Enjoy!!!

Spinach Cheese pie (Spanakotyropita)              

52 servings or 1.5 oz each piece approximately

15x10 ovenproof glass pan (pan measures inside the rim)

1 Pkg (16 oz) phyllo dough (Athens brand or any phyllo dough will do)
2 pkg (12 oz each) frozen cut leaf spinach
½ cup green onion chopped
½ cup shallots chopped
1 cup flat leaf parsley chopped
2 tbsps olive oil
16 oz low fat cottage cheese
1 and ½ cups crumbled feta cheese (12 oz)
½ tsp ground pepper
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
4 eggs
¾ cup olive oil (for brushing the phyllo dough sheets between layering)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Defrost the frozen spinach and drain any excess water by squeezing between your hands.  Set aside.  Chop the green onions, shallots, and parsley.  Set aside. In a frying pan, over a hot stove, pour the 2 tbsp of olive oil and sauté the green onions and shallots till transparent.  Add the frozen spinach and parsley.  Heat through.  Turn off the heat and remove the pan from the hot stove. 
In a bowl, mix together the low fat cottage cheese, the crumbled feta and the eggs.  Add to the spinach mixture.  Make sure the spinach mixture is cool or the eggs will curdle.  Add the ground pepper, salt and ground nutmeg.  Set aside.
Have the ¾-cup olive oil handy with a brush.  Brush the 15x10 pan with olive oil generously.  Open up the package of phyllo dough.  There should be two small packages in the box.  Take the one out and open it up.  Have to work quite fast with phyllo dough since it dries quickly. In order for it not to dry out, cover it with a damp towel.  Take one phyllo dough sheet and place at the bottom of the pan.  Brush with oil. 

       The picture, above, shows with a few phyllo dough sheets already layered and brushed with oil.

Take another phyllo sheet and continue layering at the bottom of the pan brushing with olive oil in between.  Make sure the whole pan is completely covered with some of the phyllo dough extending at the ends of the pan (once the filling is poured in you will be able to fold the excess phyllo dough and hold the filling inside). 
       This picture, above, shows with the one package of phyllo dough layered. 

When you are finished layering the first package of phyllo dough pour the spinach/cheese mixture. 
                    This picture, above, shows with the spinach mixture.

Now fold the ends of the phyllo dough on top of the filling. 
                                    With the ends folded in.

Continue layering with the phyllo dough sheets brushing with olive oil in between the sheets. 

                          Completed with all the phyllo dough sheets

When finished, take a serrated knife and cut the pie into diagonal pieces. 

Place in the oven at 350 degrees and bake for one hour and 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown.  Serve when cool. 
                                  Hot right out of the oven.


Nutrition Facts
Serving Size                             1serving(47.8 g)
Amount Per Serving
            Calories                       93
Calories from Fat                      55
Total Fat                                   6.1g                       9%
Saturated Fat                             1.8g                       9%
Cholesterol                              21mg                       7%
Sodium                                 178mg                       7%
Total Carbohydrates                   6.1g                       2%
Dietary Fiber                             0.5g                       2%
Sugars                                     0.4g
Protein                                     3.6g