Tiropites- Greek Yumminess!

I have spoken of My Connie before in my blog I believe.  If you don’t remember she is my neighbor who I could not live without!  She is my friend, my confident, my sister from another mister… and most importantly my link to the Greek culture!  For me there is no better culture for food!  Lamb, octopus, spinach, olive oil… OH… YUM!  I totally believe that I was Greek as well as East Indian in a past live or two!

Last night My Connie called to see if I wanted to help make Tiropites (tre-toe-pitas).  You bet I will be there in 10 minutes!  I am pretty sure that I have never turned down a meal at My Connies, let alone helping!!  She knows me too well!  This Greek treat is really good to have a friend help make it.  It is surprisingly easy to construct and your friends will think you are amazing!

Tiropites- Greek Egg Cheese Pie

  • 6 eggs
  • 6 oz crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder
  • 2 sticks butter melted
  • 1 package fillo dough

Whip eggs, feta, cottage cheese and a sprinkle of salt, pepper, garlic powder in a bowl.  The mixture should be runny but with lots of cheese chunks. 

Brush a 9×15 pan generously with melted butter. 

Place your fillo so it hangs over the edges, brush with butter. Work your way around the pan then put one sheet in the bottom (no hang) and baste with butter.

Pour in egg mixture and add one sheet of fillo over top, baste with butter. 

Layer more fillo so it hangs over the edges and add till there are 5 sheets thick of fillo.  Remember you MUST brush all layers with butter, no subsitutions!  Then fold your fillo edges in so it is a neat package.  Add one more sheet of fillo to the top, keep brushing with butter.

If you are not baking this till the morning use the plastic sheet in your fillo to press on top of your Triopites to create a covering.  Put foil on that and put in fridge.  You can also freeze it and pop out later to bake.

Bake at 350 till it is brown, about 40 minutes if cold from the fridge.  Just keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn.

My Connie and I made a bunch of individual Tiropites.  They are super easy once you get the hang of it.  Take your fillo and cut the sheets into thirds.  Do this on the long side so you have roughly a 5 inch wide pieces. (I think fillo is roughly 9×15 in size.)  Take one stack of fillo out and cover the rest with a damp tea-towel  fillo dries out so quickly and once it is dry you should just toss it!

Take one strip of fillo and brush it with butter.  Place a spoon of the filling mixture on the end of your dough and fold it into a triangle, starting by taking the bottom corner and fold to the opposite edge.  Keep folding up your strip of fillo till you are complete and are left with a triangle.  Don’t worry about the filling spilling out, it will be caught as you fold.

I had some GREAT video to attach and it will not let me!  SO… I hope you understood my folding directions.  If you want me to email you the video I can do that!  AND yes the two crummy ones were my first attempts!  But as you can see I got better and better!

Once you have them folded brush them with butter (both sides) and place on wax paper.  You can freeze them or place them on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.  They will puff up and become tan.  If you are freezing them you must let them freeze individually for a good 2 hours before you remove them from the wax paper and place in a freezer bag. 

The individual ones are great to pop in the oven and add a salad for a great quick supper!

Happy Easter and Christos Anesti (Christ is Risen in Greek) everyone!

Love,

Candis aka West

AHHHHH… Asian BBQ Sauce

I have missed cooking lately.  We went on vacation 2 weeks ago to Kentucky with friends and had a great time.  Then last week I was in Vegas for work.  Vegas is not my favorite place, but the company was excellent and the food (thank you Mario Batali) was great, so I was able to try to overlook all the small children being drug through the casino’s!!  Seriously, Vegas is not a family vacation spot!  OK getting off soapbox before I really start ranting!

Last night I decided chicken was on the menu.  It was one of our first days of spring and all I wanted to do was grill!  So grill I did!

Asian Marinated Chicken with Asian Inspired BBQ

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1/4 cup soy sauce

3 TBLS Mild Sweet Chili Sauce (Maggi Taste of Asia)

1 TBLS hoisin sauce

1 tsp sesame seed oil

1/4 cup olive oil

1 TBLS chopped garlic

Take all wet ingredients and mix well.  Pour over chicken and let sit for a good 3-4 hours (or while you are at work).

Remove chicken from marinade and grill till done.

Asian Inspired BBQ Sauce

1/4 cup Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce

1/4 cup rice vinegar

2 TBLS Sweet Chili Sauce (mild)

2 TBLS soy sauce

1 TSP ground fresh chili paste (hot)

1 TSP sesame seed oil

Mix all the above and start to taste… if you like things hot, before adding more be sure to taste and breath in after swallowing.  The sweet chili sauce masks the heat and it will creep up.  So taste and adjust to your taste!

Sorry I don’t have more pictures… it was so good and tasty that we gobbled it up so quick.  Here’s a satisfied customer’s picture for the proof!

Actually I took the remainder of the sauce to work with some cold chicken and nearly licked the bowl clean.  I am planning to make a huge batch and can it for later use, it is just that yummy!

SO glad to be back!

Love,

Candis aka West

Quick Apple Desert

Last night I had no plans to make a desert.  But of course about 20 minutes post dinner my Maddy hollered, “what’s for desert?”  Quick think, what is for desert?  I knew I could not pass off a yogurt with granola again; and we were running pretty low on groceries as I am on a clean out kick.  We have apples!  There are ton’s of things to do with them!

How about we try a apple pie… deconstructed!  I know I have been watching too many cooking shows lately!  Deconstruct this, deconstruct that!  But really it can be a great method for the home cook!

Deconstructed Apple Pie (serving 2)

Step 1

  • 1 large tart apple
  • 2 TBLS butter
  • 2 TBLS sugar
  • cinnamon
  • vanilla extract

Peel and core apple, cut into 1 inch chunks.  In a sauce pan heat up butter, add apples, sprinkle with 2 TBLS sugar, a shake of cinnamon and a dash of vanilla. Cook on a medium heat covered for 5 minutes.  Uncover and allow the sauce to thicken.

Step 2

Here’s where you can get creative.  I used left over pie dough from another recipe, lay down some whipped cream, top with apples and add your cooked pie dough.

If you don’t have pie dough take 2 pieces of good white bread, butter them and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on them.  Broil the bread till it is cooked (keep a good eye on it as the sugar will burn quickly).  Cut the bread into triangles and plate with whipped cream and apples.

It is lick your plate yummy! 

Love,

Candis aka West

Chicken Pot Pie… More than just a Pie!

I have been itching to figure out something else I can freeze to have on hand for dinner.  I often go to my stocked freezer on nights when I want something homemade without the wait!  Usually these items involve red sauce… I want to have something new that doesn’t involve a tomato!  How about a chicken pot pie?  Perfect!

As a kid I LOVED the Swanson chicken pot pies.  We would get them on occasion and all I can remember is how LONG it would take to heat them up.  The wait was pure torture!  I want to say it took a good hour.  They were creamy and yummy and totally worth the wait.  But I am now an adult and need something yummy, fast and a little lower in calories.  Let me introduce you to a deconstructed pot pie!

Pot Pie Filling with Love

Step 1

  • 2 bone in skin on split chicken breasts
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 TBLS chicken base
  • 1 TBLS minced dried onions
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp pepper

Place all in a pot and cook till chicken is no longer pink; should be a good 25 minutes on a medium boil.  Remove chicken and strain broth into separate container.  Discard the bits that are in the strainer.  De-bone the chicken and place in the broth.  Add all to a large pot (one that will hold a good 8-10 cups of liquid).

Step 2

  • 1 bag of frozen mixed veggies (corn, beans, peas and carrots)
  • 1/4 bag of frozen peas (we love peas)
  • 1/4 bag frozen chopped spinach (optional but really yummy)
  • 2 cups of milk

Add to the pot with the stock and cook for 5 minutes till it starts to lightly boil.

Step 3

  • 1/2 a minced onion
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground celery seed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

In a separate pan add onion and butter and work the onions till they are translucent.  Add the salt, pepper and celery seed and give it a mix.  Then work in your flour.  You are making a roux to thicken your pot pie filling.  Cook the roux till you can’t smell the flour and it is a nice light tan color.

Spoon in a scoop of your stock and mix into the roux, mix till it is incorporated and it is not lumpy.  Add another scoop of stock and mix again till smooth.

Once you have a large ball size of roux, then take a scoop of the roux and add it to your pot of chicken and veggies.  Mix well with each scoop so you don’t end up with lumps.  Incorporate all the roux and keep your chicken and veggies on a nice light boil for a good 10 minutes.  The sauce should thicken up nicely.  If it does not you will need to reduce your flame and make a new batch of roux (half the size as stated above) and repeat the process.  You want it to be thick but not like mashed potatoes!

I decided to bake a ready-made pie shell in pieces to add to our bowls.  I like this option as it makes sure that you don’t over eat on the crust (which has most of the calories) and really looks pretty!

You could ladle this over mashed potatoes, over a nice piece of crusty bread or go traditional and put it in a pie shell and bake.  I have 3 containers of pot pie goodness in my freezer waiting for me next time I want homemade without the wait!

Love,

Candis aka West

Blog update.

While this blog is still relatively young, it has done so much for us. Candi, Dee and I are blogging like never before and all three of us are enjoying blogging so much.
For me, personally, it has given me just the push I needed to start working on my cookbook for my boys.
Upon reading Dee’s and Candis’s blog posts, I am always inspired to write and to try something new.
Dee for instance, makes me want to plan-ahead for the following week. That kind of planning is definitely out of my comfort zone and will be a great challenge for me.
Candi on the other hand, inspires me to cook, freeze, re-heat and serve. That would definitely make my life a lot easier once football season starts.
Both plan so well and are so organized. I, on the other hand, just buy stuff I like and then plan my meal as I drive home from work each day based on what I have in the fridge.
While I will probably always be that way, cause that’s who I am, Candi and Dee inspire me enough to want to try their methods. Who knows maybe I will love it!
This blog has been such a gift to me. Many thanks to my dear friends D & C, and all of you for being such a source of inspiration in my life.

Much love,
Radhika.

A tribute to my favorite chef – Cooking together blog project.

Paying a tribute to each of our favorite chefs was the theme of our second cooking together blog project. I picked a remarkable chef and made an elaborate dish in her honor.

You can read about here!

I hope you enjoy reading about it as much as I enjoyed making the dish and writing about it.

Much love,

Radhika.

Meatloaf Monday

… well technically it is Tuesday.  BUT I made this little casserole on a Monday, so it is now known as Meatloaf Monday.

I was cleaning out my freezer on Monday afternoon.  I LOVE to organize my fridge and freezer.  So satisfying to see all the goodies that are waiting to be eaten!  I ran across some meatloaf that I had frozen back in November.  I was on a roll with meatloaf back in November so it is not a wonder that I ran across a package!  I thinking that I would let it thaw and fry it up for dinner when I had a V-8 moment.  I am going to just do a casserole!  There has to be other things to combo with the meatloaf!

So I dug further in the freezer and came up with some beef and onion gravy from a post roast a while back and a partial bag of peas.  So far so good!  Let’s whip this up!

Meatloaf Casserole

  • Leftover meatloaf
  • 1/2 bag of frozen peas
  • 1 pint of leftover gravy
  • 2 baking potatoes shredded
  • olive oil
  • garlic powder
  • 1 cup of cheese your choice

Chop your meatloaf into cubes and mix with gravy, top with peas.

In a skillet heat olive oil and add shredded potatoes and sprinkle garlic powder to taste.  Fry till crispy and potatoes are nearly done.

Put potatoes on top of peas, sprinkle with cheese and cover with foil.  Bake at 350 for 40 minutes till hot.  Serve with garlic toast and a salad.

It is a recycling kind of dinner!  Smiles and clean plates all around!  Dig around in your freezer and make a casserole of your own!  You might be surprised at what you can create!

Love,

Candis aka West

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