Showing posts with label olive oil. Show all posts
Showing posts with label olive oil. Show all posts

Traditional stuffed peppers and tomatoes - Gemista

Stuffed peppers and tomatoes is a very traditional and popular summer dish in Greece while the vegetables are in season. This is also one of my favorite Greek dishes. The tomatoes are medium size, firm, ripe and juicy. The peppers are small and so tender that you don’t need to peel the skin when cooked. I have experimented with different type of peppers. There are only two types that can be stuffed; bell peppers and cubanelle peppers. Cubanelle peppers have thinner skin than the regular bell peppers. I find them the closest to the peppers I find in Greece.

My mother used to make mainly peppers and tomatoes, but the peppers were the only ones I would eat. Sometimes she’d stuff eggplants too. The eggplants in Greece are also small; what we call here in the US baby eggplant. When my mother made this dish during the summer, she made it mainly vegetarian. On occasion she’d use ground beef. The vegetarian version is with rice and different vegetables. When I make the vegetarian version, I use chopped carrots, and if I stuff zucchini or eggplant, I will incorporate the flesh in the stuffing along with herbs like parsley and dill.

There are many different versions of gemista – or yemista. My mother in law used raisins and pine nuts in the vegetarian version. The raisins give them a sweeter taste and the pine nuts some crunch.

I often make this delectable stuffed peppers, tomatoes and eggplant dish. Living in the US we can find these vegetables year round, (they are being shipped here from warmer climates). Sometimes I will make them vegetarian style, and other times I will use ground turkey. I usually make enough so that I can give some to my daughters. They also freeze well, especially the peppers. Tomatoes, eggplant and zucchini are best eaten first if you are planning in freezing some. You can place the uncooked stuffed peppers in a separate dish, cover them tightly with saran wrap and aluminum foil and freeze them. When you need them you can take them out, pour some olive oil, a little bit of tomato sauce, season and bake them in the oven. They will taste as good as the day you made them. Another option is to cook all of them, and freeze the stuffed peppers in an airtight container. When you need them, you can take them out of the freezer early in the morning, then warm them up in the oven for about ½ hour till heated through. Now you have dinner ready in minutes.

These will take an hour to prepare and about two hours to cook in the oven. But it’s worth all the effort. Enjoy them with a dollop of Greek yogurt, a slice of feta and some fresh crusty bread on the side. A glass of red wine will also go nicely.

Enjoy!

Stuffed Peppers, Tomatoes and Baby Eggplant

Makes 13 servings about 15 oz each serving

½ cup olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 lbs ground turkey
2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup chopped parsley
½ cup chopped dill
1 cup chopped eggplant (the flesh)
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes (the flesh)
½ cup rice
3 large tomatoes
5 cubanelle peppers
5 baby eggplants
¼ cup olive oil
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
14 oz diced tomatoes

Directions
Wash, clean and peel the baby eggplant (as you see in the picture).   Hollow out the eggplant and chop the flesh. Set aside. Wash the tomatoes. Hollow out the tomatoes and chop the flesh. Set aside. Wash the cubanelle peppers, cut the top, and remove the seeds. Set aside. Wash, peel and chop the onion. Set aside. Wash, peel and shred the carrots. Set aside. Wash and chop the parsley and the dill. Set aside.

In a large skillet add the 1/2 cup olive oil, and the chopped onions. Sauté till lightly browned. Add the ground turkey. Sauté till cooked through. Add the carrots and the flesh from the eggplant and sauté. Add 1 cup of the diced tomato flesh. Add the 1/2 cup rice and 1/2 cup water and cook till the rice is slightly cooked. Add the salt and pepper. Stir. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large oven proof pan, 13x10 assemble the vegetables. Take one by one and fill with the mixture. When the pan is full and all the vegetables are stuffed, drizzle with 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and pepper, the remaining cup of the chopped tomatoes and a can of diced tomatoes. Add 1 can (14 oz) of water. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 2 hours, uncovered, till the vegetable are tender and slightly browned on top. Remove from the oven and serve.

Nutrition Facts Serving Size 15.708 oz (445.3g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 272
Calories from Fat 124
Total Fat 13.8g
Saturated Fat 2.1g
Cholesterol 26mg
Sodium 139mg
Total Carbohydrates 27.8g
Dietary Fiber 10.5g
Sugars 9.8g
Protein 13.8g 







Feta and Artichoke Frittata

This is a great dish to make for a Sunday brunch or a luncheon with friends. Pair it with a crisp arugula salad and you have a meal. You can even pair it with a nice Chardonnay or even a mimosa.

Enjoy!

Ingredients (Makes 8 servings)
10 eggs
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped dill
1 cup chopped parsley
1 cup shredded pecorino romano
2 cups crumbled feta
24 oz. frozen artichoke hearts defrosted
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 pinch nutmeg
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. bread crumbs*

Directions
In a bowl mix all ingredients together except the 1 tsp. olive oil and bread crumbs.

In a spring form pan brush the olive oil and sprinkle the bread crumbs. Pour the mixture in the spring form pan. Place the spring form pan on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil and bake in a preheated 350°oven for 45-50 min or until a knife inserted comes out clean.

Nutrition FactsServing Size 1 serving (204.4 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 271
Calories from Fat 152
Total Fat 16.9g
Saturated Fat 9.7g
Cholesterol 248mg
Sodium 837mg
Potassium 571mg
Total Carbohydrates 13.8g
Dietary Fiber 5.5g
Sugars 3.0g
Protein 18.2g

*Note: you can use gluten free breadcrumbs





Fettuccine with baby eggplant, zucchini in diced tomato sauce

I just love pasta. I could have it every day. As I was shopping through the grocery store the other day, I thought I'd buy some fettuccine and come up with a recipe to use it. I got tired of the same spaghetti and meat sauce dish. I know I have experimented with Shrimp and Artichoke Hearts with Gluten Free Pasta, Pasta with chicken sausage and butternut squash, or my Eggplant and Penne with Bechamel Sauce - Greek Style, but I needed something different and something quick. I already had the baby eggplant and the zucchini in my fridge, so I came back from the grocery store and since it was time for dinner, I began preparing this dish. It was easy, fast, and within an hour I had dinner on the table. My husband and I loved it. For some reason the fettuccine gave it a different texture/flavor if you will, than the same ordinary spaghetti. So go ahead make it for yourselves. You will enjoy every bit of it. (PS--this is also a nice dish for Lent).

Ingredients (Makes 4 servings – appr. 12oz ea)
8 oz. Fettuccine Noodles
4 oz. baby eggplant
8 oz. zucchini
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 tsp. chopped garlic
2 tbsp. tomato sauce
14 1/2 oz. diced tomatoes
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Directions
Cook the fettuccine according to the package directions.

Wash and dice the eggplant and the zucchini (please note that the weight is with the vegetables whole not diced). Dice the onion, chop the garlic and the parsley. Set aside.

In a large saute pan, saute the diced onion and garlic. Add the diced vegetables, the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce, the water and the chopped parsley. Add the salt and pepper. Lower the heat and simmer for about 15-20 minutes till the vegetables are tender but not mushy (they will also cook more when you add the fettuccine noodles. When the pasta is ready drain it and add the pasta to the vegetable sauce. Toss well, sprinkle with pecorino romano cheese and serve. An easy dish that only takes 45 minutes to make. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 11.027 oz (312.6g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 190
Calories from Fat 71
Total Fat 7.9g
Saturated Fat 1.1g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 348mg
Potassium 550mg
Total Carbohydrates 26.9g
Dietary Fiber 3.6g
Sugars 5.5g
Protein 5.2g



Chicken with lima beans and artichoke hearts in Avgolemono (Egg and Lemon Sauce).

I make this dish quite often in the winter.  Originally, this dish is made with fava beans or broad beans.  I haven't been able to find either at the super market, but I also can not acquire a taste for fava beans.  From what I recall, when my mother used to make this dish, I just couldn't eat the beans.  I ate the artichokes but not the beans.  Probably because my mother didn't like them that much either. Therefore,  she wouldn't make this dish too often.

As I was experimenting one day to make something with chicken, I wanted to give the lima beans a try.  (Honestly, when I first tried this dish years ago, I thought that the fava beans were lima beans :) what can I say I was young and didn't know much about cooking).  So I came up with this recipe.  Lima beans with chicken and artichoke hearts in avgolemono (egg and lemon sauce).  I have been making this dish ever since, and when I'm short on time and forget to defrost the chicken breasts, I will also make it without the chicken.  It's a nice vegetarian version if you are not too strict of a vegetarian since there is egg in the sauce.  Both ways, with the chicken or without, the dish is delicious, and it's also gluten free.  Enjoy!

Ingredients (Makes 6 servings-appr. 12oz ea.)

1 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breast cubed
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup chopped onion
1 tsp. chopped garlic
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. dill
¾ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
2 cups chicken stock
12 oz. frozen baby lima beans
12 oz. frozen artichoke hearts

Avgolemono - Egg and lemon sauce:
1 egg
½ cup lemon juice

Directions:

In a Dutch oven, pour the olive oil and sauté the chicken with the onions and garlic.  Add the dill and thyme.  Let the chicken sauté until there is no pink showing.  Add the lima beans and artichokes along with the chicken stock.  Add the salt and pepper.  Lower the heat and let it cook for about an hour, until the beans, artichokes and chicken pieces are tender.  Remove from heat and let it cool before making the avgolemono (egg and lemon sauce). 

Avgolemono (egg and lemon sauce)
1 egg
½ cup lemon juice

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 over the lima beans and chicken.  Stir, so the egg and lemon sauce will distribute evenly.  Serve.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 serving (306.8 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 319
Calories from Fat 117
Total Fat 13.0g
Saturated Fat 1.8g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 92mg
Sodium 703mg
Potassium 783mg
Total Carbohydrates 19.3g
Dietary Fiber 6.2g
Sugars 2.3g
Protein 32.9g



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


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!




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





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 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










Mexican Bean salad with a Greek twist

Happy New Year everyone!  I hope you had a wonderful holiday. 

I made this dish the other day to go along with the chicken fajitas. Beans are a popular dish in Greece but not the black beans or the corn. There are bean salads made with cannellini beans. I ended up incorporating some Greek ingredients into this dish. Instead of cilantro or lime juice, I used parsley and lemon juice. I also added the cannellini beans to the mix. We ended up with a wonderful bean salad that gave us both a bit of Mexican flair with a Greek twist. Enjoy!

Mexican Bean Salad with a Greek twist

Eight (8 servings) approximately 7 oz each

1 can – 15oz black beans
1 can -15.5oz cannellini beans
1 can – 15 ¼oz corn
2 tbsp olive oil
¼ c fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tbsp chopped shallots
½ cup grape tomatoes cut in half or quartered – depending how big they are
¼ tsp cumin
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Rinse the beans and the corn under cold water. Place them in a bowl. Mix together the beans, the corn, the olive oil, the lemon juice, the grape tomatoes, the parsley, the shallots, salt and pepper and the cumin. Refrigerate till ready to serve or leave at room temperature.  

Nutrition Facts  Serving Size 
1 serving (186.4 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 447
Calories from Fat 49
Total Fat 5.4g
Saturated Fat 0.9g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 26mg
Total Carbohydrates 77.9g
Dietary Fiber 23.4g
Sugars 4.5g
Protein 26.4g






Fall Roasted Vegetables

With the abundance of fall vegetables I decided to try something different this time. I never really knew what to do with acorn squash, other than cut it half, seed it and microwave it for 10 minutes (as you noticed in my Fall Squash Vegetable Soup post). I never came across a sweet potato squash, other than sweet potatoes. Or parsnips. I never liked parsnips when I was young. As with butternut squash or spaghetti squash, I never knew it existed. Not till I began experimenting, for quite some time now, with all the fall vegetables that are abundant this time of the year in the Northern part of the US. I usually roast sweet potatoes in the oven, so I thought that this time I will roast the fall vegetables. And for a change, I will throw in the mix the parsnips too. I had my real testers taste this recipe and came through with flying colors. My family is very picky when it comes to food. They will be more than happy to tell me if they don’t like something. And this is really what I’m looking for. I don’t want any compliments just truthful statements if they would make it themselves and if they will eat it if I make it again. And I have made this dish more than twice so far. So rest assured, it is tasty. Enjoy!

Makes 8 servings of approximately 7 oz each

4 cups butternut squash
4 cups sweet potato squash
3 cups parsnips
¼ cup olive oil
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp chili powder

Preheat oven to 425° F. Peel, seed and wash the squashes. Set aside. Peel and wash the parsnips. Chop the squashes and the parsnips into 1-2” pieces and place them in a bowl. Pour over the olive oil and toss to coat well. Add the parsley, chopped garlic, coarse salt, ground pepper, paprika and chili powder. Toss till all the vegetables are well coated with the seasoning. Spread them out in a cookie sheet and place them in the oven on the 2nd rack from the top, and roast for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.  

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
1 serving (186.0 g)
Amount Per Serving 
Calories 146
Calories from Fat 59
Total Fat 6.6g
Saturated Fat 0.9g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 249mg
Total Carbohydrates 22.5g
Dietary Fiber 4.8g
Sugars 6.0g
Protein 2.1g

 
The vegetables right out of the oven
 
 
Serve with roasted pork tenderloin or a turkey dinner just in time for Thanksgiving.  Enjoy!!!
 
If you try the recipe and like it, please comment below. If you like the blog please feel free to follow it.  Thank you.
 

Phyllo Dough Spinach Roll

It is quite common in Greece to make just Spinach pie or just Cheese pie. And they are very delicious.  This recipe is a nice alternative to the Cheese-Spinach pie for people who don't want to have any dairy.  Enjoy!

12 servings (approximately 1.5-2 oz each serving).

The following ingredients will make 3 phyllo spinach rolls.

12 oz bag of frozen spinach (thawed and strained well to remove any excess water)
12 sheets of phyllo dough
¾ cup chopped green onion
3 tbs olive oil
1 tsp parsley (either fresh or dried)
1 tsp dill (either fresh or dried)
¼ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
4 tbs olive oil for brushing between the phyllo dough sheets


Defrost the spinach and squeeze any excess water with your hands. Set aside.

In a saucepan heat the 3 tbs of olive oil. Saute the green onions and add the spinach. Heat through. Remove from heat. Add the parsley, dill, ground nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Mix well together. Set aside.

In the meantime, line a cookie sheet with wax paper that’s brushed with olive oil. Set aside. 

Separate 12 sheets of phyllo dough (you can re-freeze the leftover phyllo dough as long as you wrap it in saran wrap first, then in aluminum foil).

Take 1 sheet of phyllo at a time and brush it from the 4 tbs of olive oil that you have set aside for that purpose. Take another sheet of phyllo dough and place it on top of the other and brush with olive oil. Repeat with the 3rd and 4th sheets of phyllo dough, while brushing with olive oil in between sheets.
 



Take 1/3 of the mixture and place it alongside the prepared sheets of phyllo dough. 




Fold the sides to hold in the filling. 



Then start from the end towards you, and roll away from you. 


Once you complete the roll, brush with olive oil and place it in a cookie pan lined with wax paper, that’s also brushed with olive oil. 

Repeat the above steps for the other two rolls. 



Bake in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven 30 minutes till golden brown. Remove from the oven and let it cool before cutting. 



Right out of the oven.
 Cut and serve.
Enjoy!



 
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 serving (50.9 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 97
Calories from Fat 67
Total Fat 7.4g
Saturated Fat 1.1g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 69mg
Total Carbohydrates 6.5g
Dietary Fiber 1.0g
Sugars 0.3g
Protein 1.6g

Fall Squash Vegetable Soup

I made this soup for dinner tonight, and it turned out so well, that I had to post it. It was a cold and rainy day so it was most appropriate for a nice hot bowl of soup. The chili powder and the freshly ground pepper gave the soup an extra kick which also contradicted with the sweetness of the squashes. It was a nice combination of spices and sweet and savory. Serve with a grilled cheese sandwich and you have yourself a meal. Enjoy!

Makes 12 cups

4 cups cooked butternut squash
3 cups cooked acorn squash
1.5 cups cooked sweet potato squash
1 cup cooked buttercup squash
¼ cup olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 tsp chopped garlic
2 cups skim milk
6 cups chicken stock
2 tsp paprika
1.5 tsp chilli powder
1.5 tsp freshly ground pepper
1.5 tsp salt
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup water (optional)

Preparation:
If you are making this soup from scratch here are the directions:

Butternut squash: wash, peel, seed it and cut into cubes. Microwave for 10 minutes till soft.
Acorn squash: wash, cut it half, seed it and place it in a microwavable dish and microwave for 10 minutes till soft. When cooked, scoop out the filling and discard the skin. 
Sweet potato squash: wash, peel, seed it and cut into cubes. Microwave for 10 minutes till soft
Buttercup squash: wash, cut in half, seed it and place it in a microwavable dish and microwave for 15 minutes till soft. When cooked scoop out the filling and discard the skin. 

Peel, wash and chop the onion. Set aside. Peel and chop the garlic. Set aside. In a Dutch oven, over high heat, pour the ¼ cup olive oil. Add the chopped onion, garlic and sweat it till the onion is transparent, but not burned.   Add the cooked squashes and the milk. Lower the heat. With a hand held food blender, smash the squashes into a creamy texture. Add the chicken stock, paprika, chili powder, salt and pepper. Turn the heat up to medium high and heat through. If it becomes too thick add a cup of water. Heat through. Remove from heat. Add the chopped parsley, stir, and serve.  

Notes:
1) You can substitute any of the squashes with sweet potato, carrots, parsnips, or pumpkin.
2) If you don’t want to make the soup from scratch, you can buy canned/cooked squash.
3) It freezes wonderfully for any leftovers you might have. 
4) You can also cut the recipe in half. The above ingredients make 12 cups. 



Nutrition Facts  Serving Size 1 serving (254.3 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 105
Calories from Fat 37
Total Fat 4.1g
Saturated Fat 0.6g
Cholesterol 1mg
Sodium 604mg
Total Carbohydrates 16.4g
Dietary Fiber 2.5g
Sugars 5.1g
Protein 2.9g

Marinara Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes

Makes 7 cups

3 cups diced cooking onions

16 cups crushed fresh tomatoes

3 cloves garlic (about 3 tsp) crushed

1 cup olive oil

2 tbsp fresh Greek oregano

2 tsp salt

2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Pinch of sugar

Wash and clean the tomatoes. Place them in a food processor and grind. In a large pot over high heat, add the olive oil, the crushed garlic and the diced onions.  Sauté till transparent.  Add the crushed tomatoes, the fresh Greek oregano (if you don’t have Greek oregano, any type of dried oregano will do), salt and pepper and a pinch of sugar. The sugar will take the acidity of the tomatoes away. Let it all come to a boil stirring constantly. Then lower the heat to simmer and let it cook till the sauce reduces to about half the size. That will take a couple of hours.

Since tomatoes retain a lot of water, I would suggest that you don’t cover the pot while simmering the sauce. Condensation will build up and the sauce will end up being watery instead of thick and creamy-like. It freezes well, and can also be used for homemade pizzas, or dip fresh bread in it.  Another note: if you don't have fresh tomatoes you can use can of crushed tomatoes.  It will work the same way, as the fresh ones.  I used to make this sauce with canned crushed tomatoes also.    

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 8.106 oz (229.8g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 176
Calories from Fat 92
Total Fat 10.2g
Saturated Fat 1.5g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 617mg
Total Carbohydrates 18.2g
Dietary Fiber 7.0g
Sugars 12.0g
Protein 5.1g


 

Greek Garlic and Bread Dip - Skordalia


Makes about 8 servings of 1 tbs per serving

2 thick slices of bread, soaked in water (about ¾ cups when all the water is strained out)

3 cloves garlic (about 2 tsp crushed)

¼ cup olive oil

2 tsp vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Soak the bread in water for about 2 minutes. Drain the water and squeeze the bread between your hands to strain any excess water.

In a food processor, add the bread and garlic. Mix together and slowly add the ¼ cup olive oil and vinegar. Blend until mixture is smooth. Refrigerate till ready to serve.

This goes well with Fried Cod.



Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 serving (12.5 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 70
Calories from Fat 62
Total Fat 6.9g
Saturated Fat 1.0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 42mg
Total Carbohydrates 2.0g
Dietary Fiber 0.1g
Sugars 0.2g
Protein 0.3g

Hummus with Sun-dried tomatoes and Sour dough bread toasts


Hummus is not very popular in Greece.  It originated in the Middle East, but more and more restaurants in Greece begin to offer hummus as an appetizer dish.  Chickpeas or garbanzo beans are popular in Greece, but they are used mostly for soups or mixed with cooked rice.  On the other hand, tahini or sesame paste, can be found in Greece.  (Greek tahini is even exported in the US.  On occasion, I will find it in the whole food stores).  From what I remember from my grandmother, tahini was sometimes used to sooth stomach ulcers or upset stomach.  I am not quite sure of its medicinal powers but for someone to eat it just plain has to acquire quite a taste. 

I think tahini (sesame paste) tastes better when it is mixed with chickpeas, garlic and lemon juice.  Thus, I give you my variation of hummus with sun-dried tomatoes.  

Enjoy!!!

Hummus with Sun Dried Tomatoes           

Forty Five (45) servings approximately (about 2 tbsp per serving)

2 cans-15 oz each chickpeas
1 tsp garlic (about 2 cloves garlic) crushed or chopped
¼ cup sun dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
6 tbsp tahini (sesame paste)*
1 cup reserved juice from the chickpeas (there will be about 1 ½ cups liquid from the canned chickpeas) or you can substitute 1 cup of water. 
½ cup lemon juice (about 1 and ½ lemons)
¼ cup olive oil

Drain and rinse the chickpeas reserving the liquid.

In a food processor, or blender, pulverize (grind) together the chickpeas, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and tahini.  Add one (1) cup of the reserved liquid from the chickpeas while blending.  Add the lemon juice alternating with the olive oil while blending.  It should come to a thick consistency.  If you prefer a thinner consistency, add more of the reserved liquid from the canned chickpeas.  Garnish the hummus with sun dried tomato pieces and a drizzle of olive oil (per picture).  You can serve right away, or refrigerate and serve later, with sour dough and rosemary toasts or vegetables. 

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size                                                     1 serving(30.8g) (approximately 2 tbsp)
Amount Per Serving
            Calories                                                            47
Calories from Fat                                                          23                    % Daily Value*
Total Fat                                                                       2.6g                             4%
Saturated Fat                                                               0.4g                             2%
Cholesterol                                                                   0mg                             0%
Sodium                                                                         61mg                           3%
Total Carbohydrates                                                     5.1g                             2%
Dietary Fiber                                                                 1.1g                             4%
Sugars                                                                         0.1g
Protein                                                                         1.3g

*Tahini or sesame paste can be found in any whole foods stores and even supermarkets.









Sour dough bread with olive oil and rosemary toasts                                                              

Fourteen (14) pieces

3 slices of a day old sour dough bread cut in quarters (I was able to loosely fill a 4-cup measuring cup)
¼ cup olive oil
1 tsp dried rosemary (crush the rosemary between your fingers to break up the pieces)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cut the bread into quarters (it depends how big the slices are.  My bread was a sour dough bowl bread.  Since the slices were quite large, I was able to use just 3 slices and make about 14 pieces). 

Put the pieces on a cooking sheet and brush both sides with olive oil.  Sprinkle with the crushed dried rosemary.  Place on the top rack in a 400 degree Fahrenheit preheated oven and bake until golden brown.  By turning the oven to 400 degrees instead of broiling, both sides of the bread will toast to a golden brown. 

Remove from the oven and serve with hummus.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size                                                     1serving(9.5g)
Amount Per Serving
                        Calories                                               52
Calories from Fat                                                          37                    % Daily Value*
Total Fat                                                                       4.1g                 6%
Saturated Fat                                                               0.5g                 3%
Cholesterol                                                                   0mg                 0%
Sodium                                                                         29mg               1%
Total Carbohydrates                                                     3.5g                 1%
Dietary Fiber                                                                 0.3g                 1%
Sugars                                                                         0.2g
Protein                                                                         0.4g