Friday, January 8, 2016

Greek Style Spanakopita Stuffed Chicken Cutlets - Low Carb

This evening, I'm keeping a promise to my oldest son. All week long he has nudged me to get back to cooking and blogging because he knows how much I love it. It's what I've spent so much of my time over the last 3 years doing. Cooking, creating recipes, and sharing my love of it with all of you is something that makes me happy.

As many of you know, I lost my Mom just a few short weeks ago. It was and is one of the saddest times of my life. I'm now a member of the club nobody wants to belong to. This week has been a week of "firsts" in trying to return to some sense of normal, or at least the appearance of normal on the outside because on the inside, I am still profoundly sad. I returned to work this week after being away for several weeks. I forced myself to cook twice this week. I even pulled my camera out once for the first time in almost 7 weeks to snap a few photos of one of my meals.

The meal I'm going to share with you this evening was the one I made this past Sunday evening for my oldest son when he came to have dinner, Greek Style Spanakopita Stuffed Chicken Cutlets. He told me it was one of his most favorite things I've ever made (I think he was just happy that I was cooking again). I've made something similar to this in the past but breaded it (with almond flour breading). This version includes more spinach and doesn't require any breading which makes it much easier to put together, particularly on a weeknight. It looks beautiful when sliced before serving. I've snapped a few photos below and included the recipe as well. Enjoy!

Lastly, I want to thank all of you so much for all the kind and loving comments, emails, and messages that you've sent. I've read each and every one of them; many more than once. Please bear with me as I put one foot in front of the other as I move forward. Oh, and Steven...I kept my promise to you...this post is for you.

Ready for the oven
Ready to bake


Greek Style Spanakopita Stuffed Chicken Cutlets


16-oz fresh baby spinach leaves

4 green onions (spring onions), sliced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon dried dill
1 cup crumbled feta cheese (approximately 6 to 8 ounces)
1/4 cup PLUS 2 Tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided (powdery style)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 Tablespoons olive oil, divided (plus additional for cooking)
6 large thinly sliced chicken breast cutlets, about 1/4-inch thick (approximately 1-1/4 pounds)
1/8 teaspoon paprika, optional


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, add a drizzle of olive oil and quickly cook the spinach, stirring frequently, just until wilted. Transfer to a mesh strainer and press out as much liquid as possible; set aside to cool.  Add another drizzle of olive oil to the skillet and lightly saute the green onions and garlic for about 2 minutes over medium heat; set aside.  Finely chop the well drained spinach and place in a medium bowl. Add the cooked green onions and garlic, lemon zest, dill, feta, and 1/4 cup of the grated Parmesan. Season mixture with salt and pepper, to taste.

Spread 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the bottom of a 2-1/2 quart casserole dish. Place chicken cutlets in a single layer on a cutting board or other work surface. Divide spinach mixture evenly and place in the center of each cutlet. Roll each cutlet up lengthwise and place seam side down in casserole dish. Brush with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil.  Top with remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Dust lightly with optional paprika. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 40 minutes, or until chicken is done.  If more browning is desired, briefly run under the broiler for a few minutes until browned. Let cool about 5-10 minutes; slice and serve. Serves approximately 4.



Unknown said...

Oh, Ayla, we have missed you. But I know each of us wants you to take as much time as you need to heal. Sometimes life sucks the air out of us and it takes a bit to get our breath back. Take your time. We'll be waiting.

Melissa said...

It's wonderful to see you posting again. I know finding a new "normal" is very difficult. Take care.

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Thanks so much Renee!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Thanks Melissa. You are so right!

905lovestostamp said...

You are doing so well!!! When you're dealing with grief like this, putting one foot ahead of another seems so exhausting, and it is far from easy. I lost my Dad 14 years ago on the 12th, and I can tell you that of course you never stop missing that dear one, but it does get easier to think of the good times and remember them. You are in my thoughts and my prayers, and know that I care! You have a great son to nudge you back into cooking, something you love to do--and you are giving so much to us who LOVE your recipes--thank you Steven!!! :)

I've gotten way off track in terms of going wheat-free alone much less grain-free which I've never done but I've tried to eat little in grains. I do eat some quinoa for instance. But your recipes make me feel that I can do this, and no one else's recipes have ever made me think that living this lifestyle is remotely possible. You have done this for SO MANY, and I am but one who needs to thank you.

Know that taking life one step at a time is the way to go when you're dealing with grief that is new. I leaned heavily on my Christian faith, that is what worked for me--others will do things differently I am sure.

Thank you again for this great recipe! Do you have any suggestions for other cheese to try if you're not a huge feta fan?

I can't wait until you upload another blog update, I've missed you SO much--totally understand that you needed to totally concentrate on your Mom, nothing was more important and I did the same thing when my Dad was ill--but I am grateful that you are taking steps to come back. You make such a difference in so many lives for those of us trying to eat healthier by giving up wheat and grains. I honestly don't know how to thank you, for your recipes give me the opportunity to eat comfort foods and foods I consider "normal", foods I didn't think I could eat, or at least they wouldn't taste particularly good, but you did what I consider the impossible, and you're definitely my hero!

Praying for you and you're in my thoughts, it's clear that so many feel just as I do.


Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Joanne,

Thank you so much for all the kind comments and words of wisdom. You are so right about how exhausting grief is. I found it particularly difficult throughout the holiday period and celebrations. I am trying to make baby steps. Going back to work was the beginning and that was hard knowing I would have to repeat my story over and over...but my first week back is behind me now. While I have remained wheat/grain free during this time, I have not eaten well and often skip meals or just have a piece of cheese and few nuts for dinner. I am going to try to slowly get back into the swing of things. It still seems like a big blur to me and at times it's hard to believe she is really gone. I will keep pushing forward. Again, thanks so much for all the beautiful means more to me than you will ever know. <3

CyberSis said...

***Dear*** Ayla,

How *wonderful* it is to hear from you! You've been on my mind and in my heart ever since you told us that you'd became a member of that club you mentioned (the same club that I was initiated into in Dec.) I'm so glad that you were able to take time off from everything ... working, cooking, blogging. And even now, I hope you will continue to take all the time you need to heal. We know, of course, that some wounds never heal completely but they tell me that it does get better with the passage of time.

We enjoyed many of your wonderful recipes while you were away, mostly old favorites but a couple of new ones, too. We absolutely love your new zucchini pizza crust! And I further "tweaked" your bundt cake into "Gingerbread Pound Cake."

I'm very much looking forward to cooking your new chicken recipe. Thanks to Steven for inspiring it and thanks to you for cooking and posting it!

Take care, dear friend. You and your family remain in my thoughts and prayers.
- Kathy <3

Anonymous said...

You had me in tears again.Great post,sis!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Thanks so much Kathy. I was so sorry to hear about your Mom, too. Ironically, you and I lost our mothers only 12 days apart.

Everything has been a blur since the week before Thanksgiving and the days all kind of run together. As difficult as it was for me to return to work this past week, I realized that I really need the structure and routine. Sometimes having too much time on your hands is not a good thing.

I'm so happy you enjoyed the zucchini pizza crust and am quite impressed you morphed the bundt cake into a Gingerbread Pound Cake! I will have to get your recipe tweak one day so I can give it a try as well.

I hope that you, too, are taking the necessary time to grieve and heal your mother's loss as well. How blessed you were (actually we both were) to have had her to enjoy and love for so long. I know there are no shortcuts for us in the healing process but hope that time along with baby steps forward help ease our journeys.

Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers as we travel this road together.
Ayla <3

Mira said...


CyberSis said...

Thank you, Ayla. I agree completely ... structure and routine ... and baby steps forward ... are very helpful at this time. All the best to you. I'll be walking with you on the "journey."

PS: Sorry about the typo in my first comment. I'm not quite "there" yet. :-)
[became = become]

Unknown said...

Oh my, Ayla, I am so sorry about the passing of your mother. My heart goes out to you. Although we have missed your posts, taking the time for yourself to grieve is more important. Nothing I can say will make it any better but please know my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Having lost my husband who was also my best friend of the past 29 years in August, I can so relate to the pain and anguish you are feeling. One day at a time--that's all you can do. May you find peace. <3

Cathy and Bill said...

Welcome back,! One little step at a time. I think you will eventually find doing what you love ( and what we all love from you) - creating and cooking- will be therapeutic for you. Your mom would want you to move forward and I believe she is looking down with pride and love. I have to believe this for myself too- as I never get over my grief either- still missing my (Greek) father. We press on.

I can't wait to try this recipe!

Love and hugs to you!❤️❤️❤️

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Mickie,

Thanks so much. I'm so sorry about your husband. How fortunate you were to have spent 29 years with someone who was not only your husband but your best friend as well. Somehow no matter how long we've had with somebody we love, it never quite seems long enough though, does it. Thanks so much for your kind words and know that I am thinking about you and hoping that you are finding the peace we are told that comes with time. <3

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Cathy,

Thanks so much. My mother read my blog every day, screening it for any typos that she would let me know about. I know she would want me to move forward, too, like you said.

How fitting that my recipe was "Greek style" chicken...maybe your father is smiling from above as well. I hope you enjoy it. <3

Chris said...

Such a special post.Your son will feel better because of it too. So glad to see you again. It will get better......with lots of ups and downs. Now when I see something that I wish I could share with my Mom, I think that is her way of visiting me. She visits a lot!
Thanks for a terrific recipe.
Hugs to you!

Peg said...

Hi Ayla, I was so happy to see a new post from Gourmet Girl while checking Pinterest this morning! I know that you've been grieving over the loss of your Mom. It will get easier as others have said. I still miss my Dad (it will be 25 years in May) and lost my Mom 11 years ago. I still think of them everyday.

I recently made your Chicken Pot Pie recipe and the Impossible Taco Pie just this week. They are both favorites at my house.

I will keep you in my thoughts. Hugs, Peg

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Chris,

Thank you. What a beautiful way to think about her visiting you. Just yesterday there was a bright red cardinal sitting outside of my office window and I *wondered* if it was my Mom's way of visiting. When I was growing up, there was always a beautiful cardinal that sat outside of our back jalousie room window under the eaves and it came back year after year...I named it "Flame". Throughout my life whenever my mother or I saw a cardinal, we referred to it as Flame and would frequently send each other a card with a little cardinal on it somewhere. Thanks for sharing that with me...I hope my Mom visits a lot, too. <3

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Peg,

Thanks so much. I still miss my Dad, too. Losing my Mom has the added loss of losing an entire era and family history as well. There are just some things that you only shared with your Mom because she always understood. I know it will get better time...

I'm so happy you are enjoying my Chicken Pot Pie and the Impossible Taco Pie. Thanks again.

Unknown said...

It is so nice to see a post from you. I know it is so very hard to get back to a routine. The longer we wait the harder it is. The same thing with going through their house and personal things. The longer we stay away it just brings it all back again. I am sure this blog will be therapeutic for you. It will just take time. Everyone grieves in a different way. You have to do what you feel is right for you. GOD BLESS as you begin a new normal. Take your time.

Charlotte Moore

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Thanks so much Charlotte. You articulated it so well, particularly when you talked about "beginning a new normal". ❤️

Unknown said...

It's so wonderful to have you back posting. You have been missed! I was so excited to have a new recipe that I went to the store and made this tonight. No surprise, we loved it! Thinking of you and your family during this difficult time.

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Nicole,

Thanks so much. I'm so happy you enjoyed it.

Unknown said...

Tell your son "thank you"! This was amazing. My sister is making it tonight too. Only comment: don't add any salt. There's enough in the cheese. Love it! ❤