Tag Archives: cheese

“Easy as Pie” Spanakopita

  

As many of you know, I had to take a two-week break from any kind of cooking while my family relocated to a new kitchen- I mean house.  When we FINALLY unpacked the new kitchen, we had gained a collective 20 lbs from 2 weeks of restaurant eating, and we were in desperate need of something easy and nutrient dense.  So wah-la!  This tasty pie is packed with TWO POUNDS of spinach (that makes up for 14 days without any greens, right?), three eggs for protein, nutritional yeast for some veggie B-vitamins, and is made with spray oil- making it easy AND lower in fat than your traditional pastry. 
 
Afraid of Filo?  I was too, until I worked with it using Pam instead of the basting brush and oil method.  Try it once and you will no longer be intimidated!
 
To make this dairy-free, substitute crumbled tofu for the feta and add salt or Tamari as needed for flavor.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
“EASY AS PIE” SPANAKOPITA – serves 6

 

Make Ahead and Make it Easy

This dish can be made ahead in two ways.  You can make the whole thing, bake it for 30 minutes and freeze.  When it’s dinner time take it out of the freezer and bake it again for about 45-60 minutes.
 
Or, you can make the filling a few days ahead and when you are ready to finish the dish just throw the filling in the dish with the filo and bake.
 
Ingredients
  • 8 sheets filo pastry, defrosted 2 hours at room temp or 8 hours in the fridge (do not open the package, just defrost the whole packet)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 8 scallions, chopped
  • 2 lbs fresh spinach, chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp dried dill
  • 6 oz feta or tofu, crumbled
  • 3 Tbs nutritional yeast
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Spray cooking oil (such as Pam)

How to make it

  1. Heat oven to 375.
  2. Heat oil in a large dutch oven or pot and saute scallions for 2 minutes.
  3. Add spinach to pot, stir, and cover.  Lower heat to medium-low and let cook for 10 minutes until wilted.  This will look like a LOT of spinach and it is- but it will reduce in volume by 90%.
  4. While the spinach is cooking, beat the eggs and dill in a separate large bowl.
  5. Add the feta or tofu to the egg mixture and stir in the nutritional yeast.  Add salt and pepper (if you are using feta beware it is already salty).
  6. When the spinach is done, drain it for a couple of minutes in a colander and then add it to the egg mixture and stir it up.
  7. Spray a 10-inch pie dish with the cooking spray.
  8. Open the filo, unroll it, and pull of one sheet.  Place it in the dish with the edges overhanging and lightly spry with oil.  Dont worry if you accidentally get two sheets stuck together, or if it tears.  Filo is VERY forgiving.
  9. Repeat until there are 4 layers of filo in the dish.
  10. Spread the spinach mixture into the dish, and top with 4 more layers of filo and spray.
  11. Cut around the edges of the filo as you like and roll the edges up into the dish.
  12. Bake for 45 minutes and enjoy!

Zucchini Enchiladas

  

These enchiladas are yet another way to get the veggie-hater in your life to love veggies without even realizing it.  Shredding the zucchini and mixing it in with the shredded cheese makes for a creamy, delicious, and folate/manganese/potassium-filled meal.
 
These bad boys can be made gluten-free if you choose the right tortilla- AND did you know that the oil in zuchinni seeds is a good source of Omega-3s?  Seriously- what’s not to like about them!?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
ZUCCHINI ENCHILADAS- serves 4

 

Make Ahead and Make it Easy

You can make the whole dish and stick it in the fridge or the freezer (if frozen you’ll want to double the cooking time).  If you are freezing or refrigerating don’t put the salsa on until you are ready to bake- lest the tortillas get soggy.
 
Another way to make this easier is to buy garlic flavored cream cheese instead of making your own.
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups zucchini, grated with a cheese grater (3 small or 2 medium)
  • 2 cups Mexican Cheese Blend shredded cheese
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 package 8″ tortillas (“fajita size”)- I like whole wheat flour but white flour or corn (gluten-free) are fine too!
  • 6 oz cream cheese mixed with 2 cloves chopped garlic, OR 6 oz. garlic cream cheese
  • 16 oz your favorite salsa
  • avocado, lime wedges, sour cream for garnish

How to make it

  1. Heat oven to 350.
  2. In a medium bowl mix together grated zucchini, cheese, and chopped cilantro.
  3. Spray a 9×13 inch baking dish with cooking spray
  4. Heat each tortilla one at a time on a dry skillet until it gets soft.  When it comes off the skillet spread 1 Tbs cream cheese on it and put 1/3 cup of the zucchini mixture on it.  Roll it up and put it in the pan.
  5. Repeat Step 4 until the pan is full.
  6. Pour the salsa over the top and cover with foil.
  7. Bake 25 minutes, uncover and bake 5 minutes more.
  8. Serve with avocado, lime wedges, and sour cream for garnish.

Secret Mission Cauliflower Soup

 
The thing about veggies is that veggie haters assume they are all green, and therefore easily identifiable.  The thing about cheese is, it makes everything awesome.  So there you have it.  The Secret Mission that this soup is named after is “Mission: Get-Vegetable-Hater-to-Consume-a-Full-Day’s-Worth-of-Vitamin-C-Plus-Lots-of-Fiber-Folate-Calcium-and-Phytonutrients.”  Now that mission is important, as evidenced by the sheer number of syllables in its name.
 
If the blue cheese varieties are too strong, I think this would work quite well with just about any type of cheese.  I also think you could mix n’ match veggies (broccoli and carrots come to mind).  Be sure to let us know what you try!  Serve it up with some braised greens and bread (shown- and don’t bother making the veggie hater eat the greens.  You’ve got to pick your battles) for a well-rounded and fast dinner.
 
SECRET MISSION CAULIFLOWER SOUP – serves 8
 

Make Ahead and Make it Easy

 Make this soup a few days in advance and slowly heat it back up when you are ready to eat it.  Some folks don’t like freezing dairy based soups but I find they freeze just fine.  Be sure to freeze it from room temperature and re-heat slowly, stirring often.
 
Ingredients
    • 3 Tbs butter or olive oil
    • 2 onions, chopped
    •  4 celery stalks, chopped
    • 4 cups cauliflower, roughly chopped
    • 4 cups veggie broth
    • 2 cups milk
    • 4 oz (2/3 cup) cheese from the blue family (Stilton, Gorgonzola, etc.)
    • 1 cup cream
    • salt and pepper to taste

How to make it

    1. Melt butter in a large soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat.
    2. Add onion, celery and cauliflower and cook about 10 minutes
    3. Add broth, reduce heat  and simmer until cauliflower is very soft- about half an hour
    4. Stir in 2 cups of the milk and use a blender, food processor, or immersion blender to puree the soup (be very careful as hot liquids can explode in the blender!).
    5. Return to pot, add cheese, cream, salt, and pepper.