Thursday, August 28, 2008

Spinach Stuffed Shells

On Sunday my mom's family held a belated wedding shower for Jake and I. Each guest was asked to write down their favorite recipe on a recipe card and provide a gift that could be used in or with the recipe. We received some really great recipes (lots of classics) and some really great gifts. I finally got the microplane zester/grater I've wanted!

I will post pics of the gathering as soon as my mom send them.

Our goal is to prepare all of the recipes that were given to us within the next month. We started last night with My Aunt Connie and Uncle Mike's recipe for Spinach Stuffed Shells. The preparation time on these suckers is pretty much nothing. And, the nutmeg (yay for my new microplane zester/grater) adds the perfect amount of kick and surprise to them

Spinach Stuffed Shells:

1 box shells

2 cups spinach

1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella

1 1/2 cups cottage cheese

2 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 jar spaghetti sauce

Cook shells according to package. Combine spinach, mozarella, cottage cheese, eggs, and nutmeg. Stuff shells with the above mixture. Place in 9 x 13 pan; pour spaghetti sauce over shells. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Remove foil, sprinklw with freshly grated parmesan cheese, bake for a few minutes more. Remove from oven, let stand for 5-10 minutes. Serve.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Super Simple Chicken Noodle Soup

Yesterday I felt like crap. I mean absolute CRAP. My head was stuffy, my throat was sore, my body was achey, and all I wanted was chicken noodle soup, lavender tea, and sleep.

So when I got home from work the hubby and I went to the grocery store to pick up a rotisserie chicken and came home to make some chicken noodle soup.

I don't use a recipe, so I'm estimating on the amounts.

Super Simple Chicken Noodle Soup:

2 cups shredded chicken

1 big carton chicken broth
1 cup water

1 cup carrots, chopped

1 cup celery, chopped

1/2 cup green onions, chopped

1-2 cups egg noodles

1 tablespoon hot sauce

salt and pepper to taste

Bring chicken broth and 1 cup water to boil in stockpot. After liquid has come to a boil add chicken, carrots, celery, green onions, egg noodles, and hot sauce. Boil for 10-12 minutes then reduce to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste and serve steamy hot.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

My Family Can Cook (and EAT!)

This weekend Jake and I headed back to my hometown for the annual Founder's Day celebration. Every year my uncle (who has an amazing kitchen that I am intensely jealous of) invites lots of people over and we cook lots of really good food and gorge ourselves silly. The picture above shows my cousins Jake and Brandon thoroughly enjoying their meals.

Our family has a few staple recipes that tend to show up at most of our gatherings. One is Spanakopites and the other is Dolmades. My grandmother is from Greece and those are two of her favorite family recipes. Along with the Dolamades and Spanakopites we had shishkabobs, stewed okra over rice pilaf, orzo salad, and a Greek salad. A serious delight for the taste buds. The recipes for dolmades and spanakpites follow. Please forgive the non-descript recipes as they are family recipes and we pretty much know how to make both without looking at the recipe. The next time I prepare either of these, I will take pictures of the folding process to better illustrate how it is done.

Dolmades: ( This is the basic recipe, I always add more tomato paste and olive oil)

2 lbs ground beef

1 cup long grain rice

1/2 cup onion, chopped

6 oz. can tomato paste

1/4 cup olive oil

Juice from one lemon

Jar of grape leaves (can be found at most markets)

Mix all of the above ingredients together, except the grape leaves. Lay out a grape leaf and add about one spoonful of filling in the middle. Fold the leaf around the mixture and place in large pot. Continue this process until all grape leaves are stuffed. Once they are all placed in the pot, cover with water and boil for 20-25 minutes.

The following link has a great guide on folding the leaves:


2 packages chopped frozen spinach, thawed and well drained

1 package crumbled feta cheese

1 large onion, chopped

1 cup parsley

1/4 cup dill (I use fresh if I have it and put more in)

2 eggs, beaten

1 package phyllo dough

1 cup parmesan cheese

1 cup bread crumbs

melted butter

Saute onions in butter until clear. Add spinach and cook until dry. Add parsley and dill;stir and cool. Add feta cheese and eggs to spinach mixture; stir well.

Combine parmesan and bread crumbs; set aside.

Lay out one piece phyllo dough (The other phyllo dough should be placed between slightly moist towels to keep it from drying out) Brush melted butter on the phyllo dough, sprinkle with bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. Fold dough into thirds, add 2 tablespoons of spinach mixture; fold into triangles. Brush with butter and place on baking sheet. Continue process until all spinach muxture is used. Bake at 325 degrees until golden brown.

Uncle Mike enjoys the meal. Go OBAMA!!!

Monday, August 18, 2008


Who doesn't love pizza?! Jake and I most certainly do. One of my favorite things about pizza(besides how tasty it is) is how easy it is to make. Putting together a pizza at home hardly takes anytime and it allows you to be creative as pizza toppings are unlimited.

This evenings pizza was simple but delicious. I'm lazy and hardly ever make my own crust; I cheat and use the pre-packaged stuff you just have to add hot water to. Taste just as good as my homemade crust. The toppings included pizza sauce; fresh mozarella cheese; fresh basil; and italian sausage. Pop that in the oven at 450 degrees for 12 minutes and VOILA! it's tasty pizza pie.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Greek Style Turkey Burgers

A view of our living room set-up for dinner. We love our TV trays. That way we can watch The Simpsons while we eat. :-)

I have a TON of fresh dill that I am trying to use up (people are probably getting sick of me putting dill in all the food I serve). This evening dill is featured in Greek style turkey burgers. When I make turkey burgers I add random stuff from my refrigerator. These particular turkey burgers have feta, dill, garlic, kalamata olives, olive oil, salt and pepper. I didn't use a recipe so the amounts are rough estimates.

Tonight was my first ever attempt at roasting an artichoke. Seemed fairly easy according to the articles I read. The chopping and pruning at the beginning kind of sucked but other than that the prep was fairly painless. I put the artichoke in the oven thinking I had done everything right...HA! Well, to my surprise, I had not! I didn't remove the furry, hairy stuff in the middle of the artichoke!! OOPS! Needless to say, we couldn't eat the artichoke. I was a bit bummed, but I have to admit, it was rather funny. Luckily, I had a zucchini in the refrigerator that I sliced up and sauteed.

Even though I lost the artichoke, the turkey burgers turned out wonderfully. I used the super low fat ground turkey so I added lots of olive oil for fat.

1 lb. ground turkey

3 - 4 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

Fresh dill



Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl; form into burger shaped patties. Grill burgers on medium heat for 10-12 minutes (roughly 6 minutes/side). Serve with fresh spinach and tomatoes.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Chili-Lime Shrimp w/peppers and Mexican rice

Ok, so I cheated on tonight's dinner. I used a pre-made rub for our shrimp and it was delicious. We went to Williams-Sonoma yesterday so we could pick up a grater and pot scrub brush;I made an impulse buy as we were checking out, the Chili-Lime Rub w/ Sea Salt. I highly reccomend it.

I bought some frozen shrimp, thawed them out, and liberally applied the rub. Then, I cooked the shrimp in a cast -iron grill. I served the shrimp with sauteed peppers and onions, and Meixcan-style rice (recipe below).

Mexican Rice from (this recipe was very easy and all of the ingredients were already in my pantry or refrigerator. I adjusted a few things; the original recipe can be found here,

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup uncooked long-grain rice

1 garlic clove, chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 cup tomato sauce

2 cups chicken broth

Salt to taste

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add rice. Cook, stirring constantly, until puffed and golden, abour 3-4 minutes. While rice is cooking, add cumin.

Stir in onion and garlic and cook until tender. Stir in tomato sauce and chicken broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Fluff with a fork.