easiest spinach pie

I’ve been making this spinach pie for years for my daughter and my grandkids.  During dinner tonight at my daughter’s house, my grandson Ezra said, “Safta, this is my favorite dinner!”  Noah chimed in his agreement.   They each had at least 4 or 5 pieces.  My daughter said, “This is the perfect comfort food.”  She commented that  it’s her favorite meal too.  She wasn’t too happy when I set aside a piece to bring home to my son Benji.  When I got home, Benji wasn’t too happy that I only brought one piece home for him.

  • 1 box Pepperidge Farm puff pastry sheets
  • 2 10 oz. boxes frozen organic chopped spinach, defrosted and drained and squeezed pretty dry
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • about 8 oz. chunk feta
  • about 1/4 cup parmesan
  • about 1/2 tablespoon Litehouse dill
  • about 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • pinch salt

Place frozen puff pastry in refrigerator to defrost.

In mixing bowl, put mostly dry, drained spinach, eggs, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese.  Break apart the feta into smallish pieces and add to mixture.  Add the dill, pepper, and salt.  Mix gently with a rubber spatula until all ingredients are incorporated.

Grease aluminum pan that’s about 9 x 13 in. (sides are less than 1 inch deep).  Place pharmacy online parchment paper that’s a little longer and wider than the bottom of the pan, pressing it down into the corners.

Take 1 sheet of the puff pastry out of fridge and roll it out so that the size matches the bottom of your baking pan (about 9 by 13.  Sprinkle flour on the counter as necessary to roll out the pastry.  Transfer to parchment lined pan.  Spread entire filling evenly over pastry, almost to the edges of the pastry.  Then roll out second sheet of pastry.  Place it over the filling, and turn the edges of the pastry over the filling and crimp it with the bottom layer of pastry.  Then make an egg wash of 1 egg with buy modafinil 1 teaspoon of water, and brush it generously over top of pie.

I usually stick it in the canadian pharmacy freezer for about 30 min.  Then I cover it with foil and put back in freezer till I’m ready to bake it.

Bake about 45-50 min. at 400 degrees till puffy and brown.  Serve immediately.

Homemade Ranch Dressing/Dip

I made this dressing/dip today to go with some of my fried chicken fingers.  I’m always motivated to make food my daughter, her husband, and especially my grandchildren will love, and chicken fingers are a pretty sure bet.  I made some homemade fried chicken fingers and a big fresh salad.  Tonight we’ll slice up the chicken and add it to the salad and drizzle it with this yummy dressing.  And as for the kids, they’ll undoubtedly opt for no salad and dipping their chicken fingers in ketchup.

***

I’m back home and feeling wonderful about the day I spent with my daughter and my grandkids. When my youngest grandson Ezra was savoring his first chicken tender, I said, “Did you know that Safta (that’s me) made these for you?”  He answered so adorably, “No, Safta, I didn’t know that.”  His cuteness is almost too much for me.

When my daughter took her first bite of the chicken dipped in my sauce, she shook her head and said, “Oh, this is so good.”  Her response was worth any effort I expended.

  • 1 cup Fage 2% plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup Hellmann’s mayonnaise
  • 1 large garlic clove, grated
  • about 7 chives, minced
  • about 20 grinds black pepper
  • about 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • about 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • about 1/2 teaspoon Litehouse brand freeze dried dill
  • about 5 shakes hot sauce, about 1/4 to 1/3 cup buttermilk (I used Friendship 1.5%)
  • rind of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 lemon

Mix all ingredients together in medium bowl; add more buttermilk if it’s too thick; refrigerator.

Roasted Chicken Pieces with Jewish Spices

This chicken is so easy to make and so delicious!!! And it takes no time at all.  You can use a whole cut up chicken, or just breasts, like I did this time.  I buy my chicken from Whole Foods and it is so fresh and good.

  • chicken breasts
  • kosher salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, and a little cayenne (heaviest on the paprika).

Place chicken breasts on baking pan covered with aluminum foil.  Sprinkle both sides with garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, a little salt, very light amount of cayenne, and lots of paprika.

Drizzle tops of chicken breasts with a little light olive oil.

Roast uncovered at 375 degrees for about 40-45 min. till nicely browned. I use my convection roast setting.  Once or twice during the cooking, take out, and baste with drippings.

Apple, Strawberry, Lettuce, Peppers, Red Onion, Cucumber Salad

This is a light, fresh, citrusy salad that’s great in any season.

  • a combination of romaine, green leaf, and baby spinach
  • peeled cucumber , cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 sweet red bell pepper, cut into bite sized pieces
  • about 2 slices of red onion, cut into small pieces
  • about 1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • 5-7 sliced strawberries
  • 1 apple cut into bite sized pieces
  • a handful of broken by hand Whole Foods Sea Salt Pita Chips

citrus vinaigrette

  • 1 lemon juiced  (about 2-3 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons country Dijon mustard
  • pinch salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6-8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Greek Pasta Salad

I took my homemade dressing which has a Greek vinaigrette taste, and I added some pasta, and some veggies to create a pasta salad that tastes similar to a Greek salad.

It’s a little heartier than just a salad, and it makes a great leftover lunch.

For the dressing:

  • juice from 1 large lemon (about ¼ cup)
  • ½ cup olive oil (I use a combination of light and extra virgin)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2-3 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon sun dried tomatoes (in oil) minced (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, grated

In a mixing bowl, whisk the lemon juice, the oregano, the salt, the pepper, the red pepper flakes, the optional sun-dried tomatoes, the lemon zest, and the garlic. Then add the oil slowly as you continue to whisk. You can make this earlier in the day, and put it in a plastic container with a tight fitting lid. Then when you are ready to use it, give it a few good shakes, and pour it over the salad right before you serve the salad.

for the pasta salad:

12 oz. rotelle or penne

1 1/2 greenhouse cucumbers, cut into 1/2 in. chunks

about 12 kalamata pitted olives, cut in half

a few slices of red onion, diced

1-2 red bell peppers, cut into 1/2 in. chunks

1 pint of grape tomatoes, cut in half

about 1 lb. of good feta, cut into 1/2 in. chunks

Cook the pasta till al dente.  Run under cool water.  Place in large serving bowl, and add all the veggies.  Then pour vinaigrette over salad and mix.  Put in fridge until ready to serve.

Fried Chicken with Fresh Peaches and Strawberries and Homemade Ranch Dressing

I wanted to make a light summer dinner salad, so I cooked my recipe for “Delectable Fried Chicken Nuggets” and I made a salad of green leaf lettuce, cucumbers, sliced strawberries and peaches, slices of the nuggets, drizzled with this very light and summery dressing.  In the fall, I’ll substitute slices of apples and add some cranberries and toasted walnuts for the summer fruit. The best part of the salad was the dressing though,which I couldn’t get enough of.

for the chicken:  See my recipe for Delectable Fried Chicken Nuggets.  You can refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the salad.

for the salad:  green leaf lettuce, sliced cucumber, sliced strawberries, sliced peaches.

for the dressing:  In medium bowl, whisk together 4 tablespoons Hellman’s or Kraft mayo, 1/2 cup Fage plain Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup buttermilk, 2 tablespoons white wine or champagne vinegar, pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, zest of one lemon, and about 3 tablespoons of chopped fine or snipped chive.

Note:  This also makes a good dipping sauce for the nuggets.

Fried Chicken Nuggets Topped With Monterey Jack and Cheddar Cheese and Mushrooms

When I was a senior in college, my roommate concocted a chicken recipe that seemed strange, but mysteriously tasted magnificent.  I used to sneak a few bites whenever I could as she wasn’t sharing.  I made this for my daughter a few times over the years- since nobody else in the family except for the two of us liked mushrooms, and she announced that it was her favorite chicken.  Last week, I made it for her and her family, and she loved it.  I dropped off a taste of this dish to a foodie friend of my daughter’s and mine, and she said, “What’s in this?  It’s insanely delicious!”  So here is the recipe.

  • 1  to 1 1/2 cups of organic chicken breast cutlets (not thin sliced), cut into chunks about 1 1/2 in. by the same (I try to use Nature’s Promise from Stop and Shop)
  • bread crumbs (I used a mixture of Wegman’s Whole Grain Bread Crumbs and Trader Joe’s Organic Bread Crumbs)
  • 2 eggs beaten with a little water
  • light olive oil for frying (or a mixture of canola and light olive oil)
  • 10 to 16 oz. mushrooms (I used baby bella) (slice in 1/4 inch thick slices)
  • about 8 of shredded Monterey Jack and Mild Cheddar (I use Whole Foods)

olive oil and a little butter and kosher salt and pepper for sautéing the mushrooms

Put cut chicken in egg mixture and toss well.  Then coat well in bread crumbs.  Heat oil (a depth of about 1/2 in. till very hot (about 350 degrees) in a large frying pan.  Carefully place chicken in hot oil, and cook quickly only till browned on one side, then turn with tongs, and brown on other side.  Keep in mind that you will be baking the chicken in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, so don’t overcook it at this stage.  Cook it only till browned on both sides.  Drain on paper towels.  Place chicken in a 8 1/2 in. by 11 in. baking dish.   In sauté pan, pour a little olive oil with a little butter.  Slice and saute mushrooms (sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper- optional cayenne- till they no longer have that raw look to them.  They don’t need to be overly browned.

Place mushrooms over chicken and the grated cheese to cover the mushrooms.

You can bake in a preheated 375 degree oven right away for about 10 min. till cheese is melted or you can refrigerate this casserole until dinner time.  Then preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Bake uncovered till cheese is melted and starting to bubble – about 15-20 minutes.  If you are cooking the chicken right from the fridge, it may take a few minutes longer.  I recommend taking it out of the fridge- if you are preparing it earlier in the day- about 30 min. before you intend to start baking it.

Cornbread in a Cast Iron Skillet

I’m always thinking about what I can make to bring over to my daughter’s house.  She likes me to make things that taste great but aren’t too unhealthy.  I had all the organic ingredients in the house for this, so I threw it together in no time and it was delicious.  The only problem I had was that the piece of it I brought over to my daughter’s house wasn’t big enough.  So, I’ll make it for her again next week but I’ll bring over the whole thing.

  • 2 cups organic yellow cornmeal (I used 1 1/2 cups of Arrowhead Mills and 1/2 cup of Hodgson Mills
  • 1/4 cup Whole Food organic cane sugar (lately I’ve been reducing this to a  1/4 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder-  Rumsford aluminum free
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk  or- (I didn’t have it on hand, so I used 1 cup whole milk to which I added 1 tablespoon of white vinegar- which sat for about 30 min.)
  • 1/2 cup whole organic milk
  • 1 jumbo large egg
  • 1/2 stick salted organic butter – melted in microwave
  • 2 tablespoons butter for greasing the pan

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In measuring cup, pour 1 cup whole milk as a substitute for buttermilk and add the 1 tablespoon vinegar.  Let sit out on counter for 30 min. to thicken.

Put cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt in mixing bowl.  Melt 1/2 stick of butter (1/4 cup) in microwave.  In another measuring cup, pour 1/2 cup whole milk.  Pour into another mixing bowl.  Add the remaining 1 cup milk or buttermilk, the egg, and mix with fork. Add the melted butter and mix with fork.   Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients with rubber spatula just until everything is moistened and some of the lumps are gone.

Place pan in oven with remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.  When butter is melted in pan, take pan out of oven and pour batter in.  Place on center rack of oven and bake for 20-30 minutes until slightly browned on top, bread has come off sides of pan, and toothpick comes out clean.

Serve plain or with butter.

Shepherd’s Pie

These days most of my desire to cook revolves around cooking for my daughter and her family, and for my sons Danny and Benji.  My daughter had gone to Whole Foods and she and her family had eaten the shepherd’s pie from the hot food bar.  She told me it was the best thing she’d ever eaten and that I had to make it for her family.  I found a recipe on the Food Network site which looked pretty good.  I made it last week, and everybody loved it, but my daughter said it still wasn’t quite as good as Whole Food’s.  So I made it again this week, and basically added a  little more seasoning.  This time, my daughter said it  was just as good as Whole Food’s version. And my son Danny went totally crazy for it.  Yesterday, watching my two grandsons eating this and loving it was so gratifying.  I was “kvelling” from their reaction!

adapted from Food Network “Mummy Boome’s Traditional Shepherd Pie”

meat filling:

  • 2 3/4 lb. 85% chopped meat (I used Nature’s Promise or Whole Food’s grass fed beef)
  • 5 organic carrots, small dice
  • 3 organic celery stalks, small dice
  • 1 large onion, small dice
  • 8 garlic cloves, chopped
  • kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • almost all of a small can of organic tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup organic beef broth or stock
  • 3 tablespoons organic worcesteshire  sauce (Annie’s)
  • 2-3 cups organic frozen peas

mashed potatoes topping:

  • 5 lbs. organic russet, idaho, or yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 1/2 to 2 sticks organic salted butter
  • about 1/2 cup  organic whole milk
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Pour a few tablespoons of  organic olive oil (you can find organic extra virgin olive oil at Costco) in large sauté pan.  Add salt and pepper.  Sauté  onion, carrot, celery till soft and just starting to brown.  Add garlic, and sauté a few minutes. Add the tomato paste and mix in.  Add the meat, salt and pepper, and break up with fork as you brown. Add the worcesteshire sauce and the beef broth.  Mix and add the peas.  Taste for seasoning. Transfer meat mixture to large baking dish- at least a 9 x 13 (I have one which is a little larger). Refrigerate.

Make your mashed potatoes.  I peel 5 lbs. and cut them into medium pieces, cover with water and bring to a boil.  Boil over medium heat until soft.  Drain in colander and then put back in pot over low flame for a minute to get rid of excess water in potatoes.  Turn flame off.  Add butter, kosher salt, and a little fresh cracked pepper.  Mash, and start adding the whole milk until nice and fluffy.

Spoon the potatoes over the top of the meat.  You should have a hefty amount of potatoes topping the meat.  Refrigerate until dinner time.  Then preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake for about 35-45 min. until hot.

Note:  If you are not baking this right away, and you don’t have time to make the mashed potatoes right away, refrigerate the meat mixture  until you have your mashed potatoes.  I have refrigerated this for up to a day before I made the potatoes.  When I make the potatoes, I let them cool to warm and then I put them on top of the meat (which is cold from being in the fridge).  Then I put the dish back in the fridge till I’m ready to bake it. If you are baking it right away, then just it won’t matter if the potatoes are still hot when you put them on the meat.

Chicken with a Chili Rub and a Honey-Lime Glaze

I’m always looking for new chicken recipes, and I spotted a great looking recipe on a blog called “Week of Menus.” The picture of the chicken looked incredible. I decided to make dinner for lunch for my sons Benji and Danny since they won’t be home later. I adapted the recipe a little for my taste. I served this with my fresh sauteed corn and a bagged caesar salad. My kids really enjoyed the chicken. They said it was “full of flavor and juicy as hell.” I was surprised that it turned out not to be too hot or spicy. Ingredients:4-5 chicken breast halves on the bone, or 1 chicken cut up into eighths (I buy Bell & Evans)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (that’s one more tablespoon than in the original recipe)
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (that’s half the amount 0f the original recipe)
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt (I reduced the salt from 1 teaspoon as there are many other spices to make up for the reduction)
Honey Lime Glaze
1/2 cup honey (the original recipe calls for 1/3, but I felt the glaze was too thin, so I added some more honey.)
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (or juice of 1 lime)
Preheat oven to 500 degrees.  Mix olive oil, chili powder, oregano, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, paprika, and, salt together in a large bowl. Place chicken in a foil lined roasting pan. Rub and cover pieces all over with the spice mixture.  Roast for 30-35 minutes (basting once or twice during the cooking) depending on how meaty your pieces of chicken are. After 30-35 minutes, mix honey with lime juice. The skin of the chicken should be really brown. Spoon the honey mixture over the chicken. Put back in the oven for 5-7 minutes.  Take out from oven.  Allow to rest for 10 minutes. Serve.