Showing posts with label feta. Show all posts
Showing posts with label feta. Show all posts

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Feta Cheese LOVE...and taking a short break!

Tomato, feta cheese, fresh mint, and red onion salad with lemon, and white wine vinaigrette
Tri-color tortellini salad with feta cheese, and Greek olives and white wine vinaigrette
Since I have a blog about "food" which naturally is a food blog, also I do have it listed as "thrift"...previously "finds" as well. I still find fabulous thrift finds...just when I happen to walk into Goodwill and something will just "pop" out to greet me, but my main focus still is FOOD and being THRIFTY!

As you have seen my Spanakopita in my previous post, I used the same feta cheese in two of these dishes, as well!
At Costco, or another food club, you can purchase the same amazing Greek feta cheese...not the pre-crumbled kind, but in one solid block, which stays moist, and you can dice it, or crumble it yourself. For a 2.65lb. of Greek Feta Cheese, I paid a little over $10. ...prepared 3 different kinds of dishes with it, and I still have enough to use for a beautiful Greek salad. So actually, you have enough for 4 different kinds of things to use it in...which is about $2.50 pr each dish, that serves up to 6 to 8 servings. What a fabulous DEAL!

So now, I would like to let you in on a "little secret" that I wasn't going to mention...but then again, I'm back in the same situation as in my last mention on my blog, about the "posting".
Although, I do have a GUEST POST ready for my dear friend, Ping @ Ping'sPickings, which I successfully have made just about a day or two before I had this accident on both hands that will be preventing me from blogging....(sure, sure, excuses, excuses! LOL)


Some of you, who doesn't know about my beautiful kitty named Prince, is nearly 20 years old now...we're just calculating the age from the time my daughter Lora found him at her doorstep crying, about 17, or 18 yrs ago at her apartment door (close to her college she was attending) He was left behind by the previous owner still with the tag on his neck...owner moved, and I think Prince just did not want to leave his premises. Apparently he was well known in the area by the people, and the neighborhood cats that were all his buddies, hanging around the plush Key West style area at the N. area of the Palm Beaches.

The photo on the right...Prince from 1998, when I adopted him from Lora, since she was living in Italy at the time. He is a pure breed Main Coon...tall, about 11 lbs, with gorgeous shimmering soft white-and-black hair, and bushy long tails. The most handsome male cat you've ever seen. So sweet, and gentle, as well.

Well, I announced a few month ago that I may have to have Prince put down because he is wasting away...he is now, about 4 lbs...has thyroid problems, has glaucoma, almost deaf, but still as sweet as he always has been...still remembering the 7:00 wake up call for me, to jump on my bed to remind me...still jumping up on the sofa by the living room window...I don't know how he recognizes my footsteps but he knows I'm coming upstairs...still eating...and a LOT! every 2, 3 hrs wanting to eat again, so now I just give him the same leftovers in a clean dish, and he finishes it!

I cannot make this awful decision to put him down YET, when he is still alert, sweet, and caring...but two days ago, something terribly went wrong. Since he does not groom himself, I clean his hair with "handy wipes" wet disposable towels, and brush his hair but not as often because he get snarls, and his skin is sensitive.

I will not prolong...although, I'm still hesitating to tell you that my sweet Prince bit both of my hands which at the time I didn't make much of it, just cleaned it up, and put a band aid on it. That was TWO days ago.

I do understand no-one likes to have their hair pulled, "you'd be mad too," is what my attending nurse said! Poor Prince freaked out...while in my lap, he snapped at my left hand, leaving two puncture marks over, and under my left thumb (can't bend my thumb;ouch)....I did get the snag out of his hair, and when I put him down, he freaked out even more, and bit my upper right hand, quite deep, and tore the skin to almost two inches...looks like a #7  nasty infected scar now!...the worst part is, that both my hands been inflamed, and swollen...getting better now with strong antibiotic, and antibiotic heavy cream!
Wouldn't you know, when it happened, all I said..."Prince, that wasn't nice"...last year at this time, almost to the exact day is when I sprained my ankle, and now this!
Instead of worrying about my hand at the time, I asked Dr. Eric to look at Prince...and again, he suggested to put him down...I'm in such a dilemma...Prince is his sweet self again...as he has always been, calm, and nice...fighting to stay alive!

So, I will be resting, taking my antibiotic (which makes me drowsy)...will try to comment on your blogs, but will not be posting for now...no cooking, or baking, but will be enjoying all your mouthwatering and delicious foods, and amazing desserts you post!

My daughter Lora @ CakeDuchess offered to  do a Guest Post for me this weekend, and I may be "knocking" on your food blog door to ask if you could do a guest post for me!


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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie)

It's Sunday, and I was going to wait till tomorrow to do another post but I feel like I'm just really prolonging it, and trying to "milk" my last post to get more comment?...or maybe I should have replied on my blog to all? I just don't know which would be the right thing to do. Also...I wish I could just whip-up some cakes, cupcakes, or throw in some various different things to brighten up my blog; but honestly, I don't have the time, or the energy to be so ambitious like that. I don't know how others can do a different post just about every day, and come of with the most amazing things!
When I made my Hungarian Sour Cherry Strudel, I mentioned making Spanakopita, and I finally did make it. You can easily double up on the pastry sheets...they are so, so, thin; will not make one bit of difference to use more. Some recipes call for 6 sheets (bottom and top) with filling in the middle, as for the strudel did, but for the Spanakopita, you can easily use 12 each, bottom and top, because it needs to hold the amazing filling, which I totally adapted from the basic recipe I used.
One important advise when making the Spanakopita. DO NOT use fresh...unless you're willing to break your "food budget!" You would need at least 5 bags of it, which would cost about $3.99 each, as opposed to the chopped frozen spinach; 2- 10oz. frozen chopped spinach, less than $2.00 each, and you get a lot, and I mean, a lot of filling when mixed up with the cheeses, and eggs. If you are making the spinach triangle appetizers, then you probably would need about 2 bags of the fresh spinach, which is more affordable.

This is a classic Greek favorite pie than can be served as an appetizer, or side dish, or even a main dish with a side of salad. The main ingredients of course are; Phyllo (fillo) pastry dough, spinach, and Feta cheese. You can variate the herbs such as mint, parsley, or dill. I used a mixture of fresh mint, and fresh parsley.Also, you can add a different cheese with the Feta... as for the onions, you can use scallions, or a sweet mild onion.

Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie)
adapted from All Recipes.com
Ingredients:
3 tablespoons olive oil
 I used 1 stick butter 4 ozs=113.4g (melted)
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped (omitted that)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds spinach, rinsed and chopped
2- 10 oz. chopped frozen spinach, thawed
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
a handful of chopped fresh mint
No salt needed, just freshly ground pepper, and freshly grated nutmeg added in to the cheeses 
2 eggs, lightly beaten
 1- 8 oz, package Philadelphia Cream Cheese
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 cups crumbled feta cheese
8 sheets phyllo dough...(omit this)
 24 sheets total...12 for bottom & 12 for top
1/4 cup olive oil
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly oil a 9x9 inch square baking pan.I used a 9x11 or 9x13inch is OK to use.
2. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute onion, green onions and garlic, until soft and lightly browned. Stir in spinach and parsley, and continue to saute until spinach is limp, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
3. In a medium bowl, mix together eggs, ricotta, and feta. Stir in spinach mixture. Lay 1 sheet of phyllo dough in prepared baking pan, and brush lightly with olive oil. Lay another sheet of phyllo dough on top, brush with olive oil, and repeat process with two more sheets of phyllo. The sheets will overlap the pan. Spread spinach and cheese mixture into pan and fold overhanging dough over filling. Brush with oil, then layer remaining 4 sheets of phyllo dough, brushing each with oil. Tuck overhanging dough into pan to seal filling.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden brown. Cut into squares and serve while hot.Bake for at least 45 minutes with the extra sheets. Before you bake the Spanakopita, with a sharp knife, score the pieces but do not cut through (only the top few layers) This makes it easier to cut, when finished baking!
Note: I can't begin to tell you how incredible flaky, and super delicious the Spanakopita was.This is an example how I adapt my recipes. Cannot always remember the ingredients, even though I remember the basic method. It would be nice to see other food bloggers mentioning at least SOME type of source where they got their recipe, or the idea from. Sometimes, when I eat out and a certain type of dish really inspires me, I even ask the chef if he would please just give me an idea of what ingredients are used, and I will create my own. Googling is the best and less troublesome way to get creative with a certain recipe, and make it your own.

Unless you have some old "hand-me-down" recipe from family, I seriously doubt that they mention any source because it's usually handed down to them by a family member, or friend, and those are the best KIND!

Also, I have to be honest with you, I practically given up on my Weight Watchers now...even though I'm still paying for the online program...have gained back 5 lbs of my 15 lbs weight loss over the last month (especially the holidays) ...too ashamed to go for a "weigh-in"...just went back to the gym in one month of absence, not counting points right now...shame, shame. I didn't just fall off the "wagon"...the wagon kind of rolled over me! All-in-all, I feel really good, my cat Prince is still alive (eating me out of house and home)...(although skin and bones)...oh, yes! He even eats from my roasted chicken, as long as it's white meat and cut up in tiny pieces. Poor old little guy, almost 20 now. Just wanted to let you in on the latest!
Have a wonderful Sunday!
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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Israeli Couscous Salad

Even though you are not a vegetarian, and for sure not a vegan, have you wondered lately that what you are consciously cooking might be...could be vegetarian, or vegan?...well it happens to me a lot, without even thinking or planning it, do to the fact that I always have fresh veggies on hand and like to use them up with whatever I happen to think of making. Same goes for the dry beans, and for the canned beans, rice, lentils, and couscous that I like to prepare to have around as a snack, or a side dish!

Israeli couscous is made of small, round pearls of pasta. Similar to regular couscous, it resembles a grain but is made of wheat flour. Because of its large surface area, it holds sauce well and is very versatile; Israeli Couscous can go in soup, be baked, served as a pie, or made into a risotto. It is widely used in the Middle East, and in Portugal, Spain, and Italy. So delicious with cooked vegetables or used as a side dish with stews. It has a nutty flavor, and it does not get a sticky texture when it is cooked properly. I love to eat this as a cold salad, but you can eat it warm as well!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Watermelon and Feta Salad and Giveaway Winnings!

It's summertime, and we need to spend less time in the hot kitchen as much as possible. Who wants to spend a long time cooking, and baking and heating up your kitchen when you have other options? A nice refreshing salad, or a "no bake" dessert...but then again, a simple pasta dish is always a favorite, which we have almost every day, and not worry about exctra fat and calories, if it's a light simple fresh tomato sauce. This salad has it all, watermelon, feta cheese, cucumbers, and baby watercress, red onions, and a drizzle of a refreshing, fresh lime, white wine vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil.
I'm linking this to Cookbook Sundays,  @Mom's Sunday Cafe
The recipe calls for baby arugula, but since I could not find it at my supermarket, I did find baby watercress, which is not bland, by far! It has a "kick" to it of a slight spicy-bitter flavor, as does the arugula has. You can substitute mesculon if your don't like the sharp flavor of either of the two.

I've been totally MIA all day yesterday, and came home late. All I did was heat up some leftovers and plopped down on my sofa to watch the missed season 3 of the TRUE BLOOD series which I've got hooked on, thanks to my son, and wife...LOL it's definitely "bloody" and scary at times but I love this series. They are on the 4th season now....and I don't want to miss out on any episodes!

I am so happy to win this beautiful healthy recipe cookbook by Joy Bauer...the giveaway hosted by Claudia, @Blog's Got Heart  and What's Cookin' Italian Style.  Thank you, Claudia!

I still haven't mentioned about this amazing Macaron book by the author, Jill Colonna, such a generous giveaway hosted by Marsha, @The Harried Cook  I have never made macarons, and I'm so excited to learn from the best!
Thank you, Marsha, and Jill!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Tilapia 3 ways-and I'm a Winner!

I've been on the tilapia fish kick lately, simply because it's a simple white fish, delicate and takes practically no time to prepare, and also very affordable at your local supermarket's fresh fish department. Also, in order to eat fresh spinach, I like to pair it with the tilapia, or just have the salad separately. Such an easy, comforting dish that not only tastes delicious, but it's healthy, and definitely works when you are trying to lose weight, or just want to eat light.
My friend invited me over for dinner, and for some reason, I love to use this friendly and happy platter she has...love the "inscription"...Life is what you make it!...yes, my friends, it's so true! If you decide to take charge of your life, you have to decide which direction to take.

You can't always be worrying about tomorrow...can't use the quote from the old song..."Let's forget about DOMANI=tomorrow...tomorrow may never come". That thought scares me, it really does. I do want tomorrow to come, and many tomorrows after that. Do take care of yourself, your health, exercise, eat right, and remember. Life is GOOD, it really is, what you make it. (Now, if you can figure out what the bottom line says, let me know, somehow I never paid attention to it.) It is a nice platter though!

This is the same salad...I call it Greek style, with feta cheese, crumbled, sliced scallions, garlic croutons, olives, chopped roasted red peppers, over fresh baby spinach...drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.
I seasoned it with freshly ground sea salt, and fresh ground mixed peppers. The tilapia was halfway baked, and last five minutes topped with a crumbled feta cheese, and topped with a slice of fresh tomato.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Shrimp with Tomatoes Feta and Ouzo

Here we go again! ...yet, another shrimp dish...my bag of shrimp goes a long way!  This one is with fresh tomatoes, feta cheese, and fresh mints, laced with a 1/2 cup Ouzo...all I can say is, OPA!

 Shrimp with Tomatoes, Feta, and Ouzo

1 1/2 lbs large raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, with tails on
10 plum tomatoes diced
1/2 cup tomato sauce
a pinch of snipped fresh mint (or dry)
a pinch of snipped fresh oregano (or dry)
salt and pepper to taste
a pinch of red pepper flakes
1 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
1/2 lb Greek feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup Ouzo (Greek liquor)

In a large heavy skillet, over medium high  heat, saute onions, garlic, pepper flakes, (the dry herbs) in the olive oil, and butter, till onion is nicely transparent. Add the shrimp to it and saute only, until they turn pink.. Now, add the ouzo, and let the alcohol cook down, for just less than a minute. (Don't ignite it, unless you have experience.)
Remove shrimp to a platter, and keep on the side. Add the tomatoes, the tomato sauce and cook for about 15-20 minutes, till it gets nicely thick, but tomatoes not overcooked to a mush. Season with salt, and pepper, and add the fresh herbs, now, at the end of cooking. (Actually, you can use fresh, and dry, together, but dry has to be added in he beginning.)
Add the shrimp back into the skillet, gently mix it together, and sprinkle with the feta. Put under the  broiler, till the cheese melts, and sauce gets bubbly for about 3 minutes, being careful not to burn the cheese. Serve over spaghetti, or just by itself, with nice crusty bread, and a mixed salad. Serves 4.
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