Showing posts with label nutmeg. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nutmeg. Show all posts

Pumpkin cheesecake with almond thins crust

It's fall again, and time for pumpkins and fall dishes and desserts. This is a pumpkin cheesecake that I've been making for the last few years. I wanted to get that baked type cheesecake that you get at a restaurant, like a New York style cheesecake. So I've been playing around with a few recipes and came up with this one. The difference is that I didn't use graham crackers for the crust. I used Anna's Swedish almond thin cookies since they have no soy in them. As for the gluten free version, I took the leftover cheesecake batter, placed in ramekins without a crust and baked them in the oven along with the cheesecake. Since my daughter is gluten free she was able to enjoy the cheesecake without having to worry about gluten. It's a delicious dessert and can be enjoyed during this time of the year. Enjoy!

Ingredients (Makes 18 servings = 4.2oz each serving)

5 ¼ oz Anna's almond thin cookies crushed (about 1.5 cups)
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. cloves
½ tsp. cinnamon
4 tbsp. butter
16 oz. cream cheese
16 oz one third less fat cream cheese (cream cheese that has 1/3 less fat)
1 ¼ cups sugar
16 oz canned pumpkin
½-cup sour cream
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs


Crush the box of Anna's almond thin cookies. It will make 1 and 1/2 cups.
Melt the butter. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves to the crushed cookies along with the butter. Mix together and press into a 9" spring form pan. Refrigerate.

At room temperature mix together the regular cream cheese with the 1/3 less fat cream cheese and the sugar. Mix till well blended. Add the canned pumpkin packed solid, the sour cream, the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and vanilla. Mix well together. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well after each addition. Pour into the 9" spring form pan and the rest into 9 ramekins without crust. Place the 9" spring form pan into a 350°F preheated oven. Place the 9 ramekins into a baking sheet that's 1/4 filled with lukewarm water. Place those in the oven too. Bake the 9" spring form pan for 1 hour and 30 minutes and the ramekins for 1 hour and 15 minutes or till a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Some oven temperatures vary so it's best to use the toothpick method as a guide. Remove from the oven and let them cool before serving.

Nutrition FactsServing Size 1 serving (117.6 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 294
Calories from Fat 180
Total Fat 20.0g
Saturated Fat 12.0g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 90mg
Sodium 263mg
Potassium 107mg
Total Carbohydrates 24.1g
Dietary Fiber 1.0g
Sugars 19.0g
Protein 5.6g

Pumpkin cheesecake with almond thins crust
 Pumpkin cheesecake with almond thins crust and Dream whip cream 

 Gluten free cheesecake baked in ramekins
Gluten free cheesecake in ramekin sprinkled with icing sugar

Vegetarian Lasagna with white sauce or Bechamel sauce

This is a nice vegetarian dish that you can make even during Lent.  You can substitute the lasagna noodles with gluten free lasagna noodles.  You can also omit the mushrooms.  My daughter doesn't like mushrooms, so if I make this dish when she is coming over for dinner, I will omit the mushrooms altogether.  Enjoy!

Ingredients (Makes 12 servings appr. 8.5 oz each serving)
8 oz. lasagna noodles
3 tbs. olive oil
1 cup diced onions
1 tbs. chopped garlic
1 cup diced carrots
8 oz. mushrooms
12 oz. frozen spinach defrosted and drained of all the water
16 oz. cottage cheese
2 eggs
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
3 ¼ cup shredded mozzarella

White sauce or Bechamel sauce
3 tbs. butter
3 tbs. flour
3 cups skim milk
½ cup parmesan
¼ tsp. nutmeg

Cook the lasagna noodles according to package directions.  When cooked drain the water and set aside to cool. 
In the meantime, peel and wash the onions and carrots.  Dice them and set them aside.  Peel and dice the garlic.  In a large sauce pan, add the olive oil and sauté the diced onions and garlic. Add the diced carrots, mushrooms and spinach. Season to taste.  Remove from heat, let it cool, then add the cottage cheese, eggs and 1 cup shredded mozzarella. Set aside.

Make the white sauce:
In a pan, melt the butter and add the flour, to make a roux.  While stirring with a whisk add the milk and nutmeg, and continue cooking till it thickens, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and add the ½ cup Parmesan. Mix  well together and set it aside.

Layer the lasagna, by putting some of the white sauce on the bottom of a 13x9 oven proof pan, then the lasagna noodles, the spinach filling, some of the white sauce, and repeat. On top finish with noodles, white sauce and 2 and ¼ cups shredded mozzarella. Bake at 350° F for about an hour till the cheese is all melted and it’s heated through.  Remove from the oven and let it cool before serving. 

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 serving (235.8 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 321
Calories from Fat 151
Total Fat 16.8g
Saturated Fat 8.4g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 73mg
Sodium 562mg
Total Carbohydrates 21.2g
Dietary Fiber 1.3g
Sugars 4.8g
Protein 21.7g

 The stuffing

The layers with the stuffing....

.....and the noodles....

....with the shredded mozzarella before it goes in the oven

The final product... ready to eat.  Enjoy!

Smyrneika Soutzoukakia in Domatosaltsa - Sausages from Smyrna in Tomato Sauce and as appetizers with Tzatziki sauce

Smyrneika soutzoukakia or sausages from Smyrna is a very traditional dish in Greece. Its originality comes from Smyrna thus the name Smyrneika. Smyrna – which is now called Izmir - is situated in the outskirts of Turkey across from the island of Chios, Greece. You can get to Smyrna from Chios by ferryboat in only 30 minutes. The dish is brought to Greece by Greek refugees from Asia Minor in the early 1920’s when the Greek and Armenian genocide took place.

Smyrneika soutzoukakia are served, traditionally, over rice, mashed potatoes or French fries and are usually made with ground beef. My mother and sister in law used to mix the rice with the ground beef. I have a Greek – quite old cookbook - that states the same. In this recipe, I decided to omit the rice, and instead of serving them over rice, I served them over orzo. I also used ground turkey instead of ground beef. You can use ground beef if you would like. It tastes equally good.

You can serve the soutzoukakia (sausages) with tzatziki sauce as an appetizer, with my domatosaltsa (tomato sauce) that I specifically created for them, or you can cook them in the domatosaltsa (tomato sauce) and serve them over orzo, rice, mashed potatoes. I have also served them in the past with gluten free orzo, and instead of regular breadcrumbs in the meat mixture I used gluten free breadcrumbs. The sausages can also be fried once you lightly coat them in flour.  I don't usually fry any foods, so these ones I baked them in the oven.  Enjoy!

Smyrneika Soutzoukakia - Ground turkey sausages from Smyrna

Makes 30 servings (approximately 1.3 oz each)

2 lbs ground turkey
½ cup shredded onion
2 tsp. crushed garlic
½ cup bread crumbs
½ cup chopped parsley
1 tsp. cumin
½ tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tbsp. olive oil
½ tbsp. olive oil to coat the cookie sheet

Peel and shred the onion and the garlic. Set aside. Wash and chop the parsley.

In a large bowl, mix together the ground turkey, the bread crumbs, the parsley, the shredded onion and garlic, the cumin, nutmeg, salt and pepper and the 1 tbsp. of olive oil. Mix well together and shape into 3" long sausages. About 1.3 oz each.

The sausages (soutzoukakia) before they go into the oven

Preheat oven to 400° F. Use the ½ tbsp. of olive oil and brush a cookie sheet. Place the sausages on the cookie sheet and bake for about 40-45 minutes turning around in between, till lightly browned. Remove from the oven and serve.

After they come out of the oven

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1.284 oz (36.4g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 74
Calories from Fat 38
Total Fat 4.2g
Saturated Fat 0.7g
Cholesterol 31mg
Sodium 124mg
Potassium 97mg
Total Carbohydrates 1.7g
Dietary Fiber 0.2g
Sugars 0.2g
Protein 8.6g

Domatosaltsa For Smyrneika Soutzoukakia

Tomato sauce specific for Smyrneika soutzoukakia to dip or to serve with the soutzoukakia over rice, orzo or mashed potatoes.

Makes 6 servings (approximately 8.3 oz each serving)

¼ cup olive oil
1 ½ cups chopped onion
1 tbsp. chopped garlic
14 ½ oz diced tomatoes
15 oz tomato sauce
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup chopped parsley
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
¼ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. cumin

In a large saucepan, sauté the diced onion in the olive oil. When the onion is transparent, add the diced garlic. Sauté for a minute or two, but don't burn it. Add the diced tomatoes, the tomato sauce (the can and the cup) and one cup water. Bring it to a boil and reduce the heat to simmer. Add the cumin, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and parsley. Add the oven baked cooked sausages.  Cover and simmer for about 1 hour. Serve over orzo, or rice or mashed potatoes.  Or serve the domatosaltsa (tomato sauce) on the side as a dipping sauce for the soutzoukakia.

Served over orzo in domatosaltsa (tomato sauce)

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 8.148 oz (231g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 131
Calories from Fat 80
Total Fat 8.9g
Saturated Fat 1.3g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 983mg
Potassium 643mg
Total Carbohydrates 12.8g
Dietary Fiber 3.6g
Sugars 7.9g
Protein 2.8g

Tzatziki Sauce
Makes 28 servings (approximately 2 tbsp. each serving)

16 oz reduced fat sour cream
8 oz Greek, Non-Fat, Plain Yogurt (oz)
1 cup chopped cucumber
1 tsp. garlic
2 tbsp. dill
2½ tbsp. red wine vinegar
4 tbsp. olive oil
¼ tsp. salt

Blend all ingredients together, refrigerate.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 serving (31.4 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 43
Calories from Fat 32
Total Fat 3.6g
Saturated Fat 1.4g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 6mg
Sodium 30mg
Total Carbohydrates 1.3g
Dietary Fiber 0.1g
Sugars 0.4g
Protein 1.4g

Served with Tzatziki sauce and with the Tomato sauce as appetizers

Note:  The sausages freeze well by themselves.  The same with the tomato sauce.  You can freeze them if you are making a big batch of either of these dishes (except of course the tzatziki sauce).  I froze them in the past and heat them up in either the microwave or in the oven.  Or I would defrost the sausages and the tomato sauce and then cook them in low heat till heated through.   

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. If you have any questions post them in the comments box.

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

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