Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Spinach & Feta Mediterranean Flatbread - Spanakopita Style

This evening I made the most delicious Spinach & Feta Mediterranean Flatbread. I based it on my basic Spanakopita ingredients but pushed it over the top with the amazing ricotta tomato pesto spread that served as the base layer on top of my Cheese Head Pizza Crust. If 10 stars is the best on the taste-o-meter, this one was easily a 15. Both hubby and I absolutely loved it and I think you will too.

I made my basic Cheese Head Pizza Crust, minus the seasonings (salt, garlic powder and Italian seasoning). Instead, I added a scant teaspoon of Penzey's Greek Seasoning but you can omit it altogether. Trust me, the topping is going to be all the flavor you will need.

I baked the crust and then spread it with a mixture of ricotta and sun-dried tomato pesto. Then I topped that with a mixture of wilted and chopped baby spinach, green onions, garlic, lemon zest, olive oil, fresh dill, freshly ground black pepper...and of course crumbled feta cheese. It was over the top delicious. I scattered the spinach-feta mixture over the ricotta spread and popped it in the oven to bake for 8 to 10 minutes. I can't wait to have it for lunch tomorrow! I snapped a number of photos of the various stages of prep and included the easy peasy recipe below. Enjoy! 

Spinach & Feta Mediterranean Flatbread - Spanakopita Style


8 ounces (2 cups) shredded mozzarella (whole milk or part skim)
3 ounces brick style cream cheese
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan (powdery style)
1/2 - 1 teaspoon Greek Seasoning (I used Penzey's), optional
1 large egg
1 tablespoon olive oil (to press out dough with hands or rubber spatula)

1 cup ricotta cheese (I used whole milk)
3 to 4 rounded tablespoons of sun-dried tomato pesto (I used Mezzetta)
8-ounces cooked fresh baby spinach, (wilted, squeezed dry and chopped)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small bunch spring green onions, sliced (about 7 or 8)
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 to 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
Generous grind of freshly ground black pepper
1 cup crumbled feta cheese (or more, to taste)
1 to 2 tablespoons of snipped or chopped fresh dill


To make the crust, preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet or pizza pan with parchment paper.

Place mozzarella and cream cheese in a medium bowl. Heat cheese in microwave on high for 45 seconds; stir and heat an additional 30 to 45 seconds or until a hot melty mass of cheese is formed. 

While cheese is melting in microwave, stir almond flour, Parmesan, and optional Greek Seasoning in a small bowl. Add flour mixture and egg to bowl of hot melted cheese. Working quickly, fold and stir mixture together with a rubber spatula until a ball of dough is formed (make sure cheese mixture is hot before adding flour and egg; if necessary, microwave it another 20 to 30 seconds to make it pliable enough to spread out).   

Place ball of dough in center of parchment lined baking sheet or pizza pan. Pour 1 tablespoon olive oil on top of dough and press dough out with rubber spatula (or hands), into the desired shape (round, oval or rectangular) until about ¼-inch thick. Prick holes all over crust surface with a fork to prevent crust from bubbling up. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly golden (be careful not to overbake so it doesn't burn when returning to oven to bake with toppings).
Remove crust from the oven.

To make the topping, while the crust is baking, prepare the ricotta sun-dried tomato pesto mixture by blending the ricotta cheese and sun-dried tomato pesto in a small bowl; set aside. In a separate bowl, add chopped cooked spinach. In a medium skillet, add olive oil and lightly saute the green onions and garlic for a few minutes; add to bowl with spinach (including the olive oil). Add lemon zest and black pepper and stir to combine.

Spread the ricotta sun-dried tomato mixture evenly on the cooked crust. Top with the spinach mixture, scattering evenly over the crust. Scatter the crumbled feta cheese over the spinach layer, then top with chopped fresh dill.  Reduce oven temp to 400 degrees F and bake an additional 8 to 10 minutes or until heated through. 


Monday, March 26, 2018

Make Your Leftovers Pop - Mexican Style Chicken Meatloaf

This evening I was excited to enjoy our leftover Mexican Style Chicken Meatloaf that I made last night. I sent a huge portion home with my son last night for him to enjoy this evening and I had some for my lunch today and hubby and I had it again this evening for dinner. I sliced it while cold and put a few pieces in an oven proof skillet along with some of the pan juices I saved when I cooked it last night. I began heating it on the stove top to heat the bottom of the meatloaf slices while I grated some of my favorite 3-Alarm Colby Jack Cheese that I get at Sam's Club (made by Great Midwest). It's identical to the Boar's Head version I used to get except this one comes in a wheel that you can slice, cube or grate. I topped the meatloaf slices with the grated spicy cheese and then popped the skillet into the oven for about 10 minutes to heat the meatloaf through and melt the cheese. I already had the oven going to roast some cut up baby red skinned potatoes tossed in olive oil to go with hubby's meal. While things were going in the oven, I tossed some halved fresh brussels sprouts into a large skillet with a little bit of water and then covered them and steamed in the skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes. When they began to soften a bit and got bright green, I uncovered the skillet and tossed them around until all water was evaporated, then I added some Kerrygold butter and crumbled 2 leftover strips of bacon I had in the fridge left from Sunday's breakfast and seasoned them with freshly ground black pepper.

I plated the meatloaf and added a big dollop of guacamole, a spoonful of sour cream, some freshly diced tomatoes and added a side of sprouts for my plate (hubby doesn't care for guacamole). I topped hubby's meatloaf with diced tomatoes, added a side of oven roasted potatoes and sprouts. For many of you whose family members aren't interested in low carb eating, you can easily and fairly effortlessly add a side of roasted potatoes or sweet potatoes so you don't feel like you are cooking separate meals for everyone each night. Sometimes that's the hardest part when everyone doesn't eat the same end up feeling like you are running a restaurant. I snapped a few photos below. It's fun to jazz up leftovers and revitalize them. Enjoy!




Sunday, March 25, 2018

Mexican Style Chicken Meatloaf - Low Carb

This evening I made a huge Mexican Style Meatloaf using 3 pounds of ground chicken (2 pounds Perdue ground chicken breast and 1 pound lean ground chicken). Since my son was joining us for dinner, I figured that I would have plenty of leftovers to send home with him and enough extra left for a lunch or 2 for myself this week. I added salsa, onions, Poblano peppers, egg, olive oil, spices and cheese as my binder in place of bread crumbs. It works beautifully and keeps everything so moist and tender. I spread a thin layer of salsa on top before baking the meatloaf. 

My son requested sweet potatoes for dinner so I peeled and cut up sweet potatoes into chunks, tossed them with olive oil and seasoned with salt, pepper, cinnamon and a light dusting of ground chipotle powder, then spread them out on a sheet pan and roasted them until done. I also steamed fresh green beans in a large skillet, then tossed them in some butter and gently sautéed until al dente. You would never know that this meatloaf was made with predominantly chicken breast because it was so tender, juicy and flavorful. Hubby said he thought it was the best meatloaf he'd ever had. Check out a few photos and the easy peasy recipe below. Enjoy!

One of my favorite salsas to add to meatloaf

I spread additional salsa on top before baking

My son's plate

Mexican Style Chicken Meatloaf - Low Carb


3 pounds ground chicken (I used 2-lbs Perdue ground chicken breast and 1-lb Perdue lean ground chicken)
1 cup salsa, plus extra to spread on top, if desired
1 large egg
2 to 3 Tablespoons olive oil (I used 3 T)
1/2 cup diced onion, sautéed until translucent
1 small diced Poblano pepper, sautéed until translucent
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
Black pepper, to taste
3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
3/4 teaspoon roasted ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper, or to taste
1-1/2 cups shredded Mexican style cheese (I used Sargento's Mexican Style 4-cheese blend)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Transfer to a 2-1/2 to 3 quart baking dish. Bake for approximately 1 hour 20 minutes or until done. If desired, top with additional shredded cheese during the last 10 minutes of baking. Let meatloaf sit for 5 to 10 minutes for cheese to set. Slice and serve.


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Sweet Chili Roasted Wild Alaskan Copper River Wild Salmon

This evening I prepared one of my favorites for dinner; wild Alaskan Copper River salmon. I still have a stash in my freezer that I froze last spring/summer. When I froze them, I cut large fillets into individual portions and then tightly double wrapped each piece making sure no air touched them and then placed the double wrapped portions into heavy duty Ziploc freezer bags, making sure to remove the air before sealing. I took 3 pieces out of the freezer before going to bed last night and placed them in the fridge. They were still mostly frozen when I prepared them this evening. I  unwrapped each piece and placed them into individually formed foil pockets, keeping them open on top. I whisked 1 tablespoon of Frank's Red Hot Sweet Chili Sauce with 1 tablespoon olive oil and brushed each fillet and then sprinkled each with sesame seeds. I roasted them uncovered at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes, then tested the thickest part with a fork to make sure it flaked and separated and turned the oven off and opened the door. I served them alongside stir-fried Cauli-rice. The sweet chili sauce added approximately 3 grams of carbs and 2 grams of sugar (rounded up) to each fillet, but added a delicious flavor and sticky glaze-like coating that wasn't overbearing. I snapped a few photos below. I can't wait for Copper River season to begin again. Enjoy!


Saturday, March 17, 2018

Happy St. Patrick's Day Breakfast - Corned Beef & Sprouts Hash

Happy St. Patrick's Day! This morning we awoke to a cool and dreary morning. It rained overnight and it's supposed to rain more later this afternoon. That didn't stop me from making a bright and sunny breakfast though! Last night I made a simple dinner of grilled boneless chicken thighs and I roasted a tray of sliced fresh Brussels sprouts and some grape sized red skinned potatoes for hubby. I had a bowl full of leftover roasted sprouts that I decided to use for breakfast this morning. I also had about 1/4 pound left of thinly sliced Boars Head Corned Beef that I used earlier in the week to make my Reuben Roll-ups. I cut the leftover corned beef into thin strips, added 1 teaspoon of olive oil to a nonstick skillet and browned it. When it was browned and had begun curling up (much like bacon), I added my leftover roasted sprouts and tossed them around until everything was heated. While my sprouts and corned beef were getting cozy in the pan, I fried eggs in a separate skillet with a bit of Kerrygold butter. I plated my Corned Beef & Sprouts Hash and topped it with a fried egg and a generous grind of black pepper. For my hubby, I tossed in the few tiny red potatoes that I halved into the skillet with the remaining sprouts and corned beef and served his "potato-sprouts-corned beef hash" alongside his eggs. Everybody was happy...including Spike who had his own fried egg and a few little bites of corned beef. I must say that even though I am not a big corned beef fan, slicing it into strips and browning it was absolutely delicious and I will actually use it in the future to toss in with other roasted veggies for flavor. Try it transforms into a milder bacon when prepared that way. It was the perfect breakfast for St. Patty's Day. Check it out below. Enjoy!


Thursday, March 15, 2018

Greek Style Spinach-Feta Pie - How To Get Your Green on for St. Patty's Day Tomorrow

I know this may sound a bit silly, but this evening I made my Greek Style Spinach-Feta Pie to work some more green into our menu for St. Patty's Day tomorrow. I know it's a bit silly to be going Greek to celebrate an Irish holiday...but food never discriminates!  LOL Plus, I really miss this dish. I have a number of different variations of this pie, but my favorite is made with my buttery almond crust. To save time, my crustless version is also good. It's also good if you have leftover bacon to add as well, just be careful about adding too much because feta is a saltier cheese. I used the remainder of the pound of Olivia's Organic Baby Spinach that I had leftover from the chicken soup I made earlier in the week. Since I had so much spinach to use, I added a couple of extra eggs to my pie this evening (I usually put 5 eggs in the filling but this evening I used 7). With all the spinach, I could have added a couple of more eggs and been good, but since it's just hubby and I, I didn't want to make too much. I used green onions instead of regular onions so this was a super green pie with over 3/4 pound of chopped spinach, dill, and the green onions. There won't be any pinching going on in my house for sure! So, if you are one of those non-corned beef people, then this pie might be the perfect dish to make to cover you in the green department for Saint Patrick's Day tomorrow.

Check out tonight's Spinach-Feta Pie below. You can find the recipe with more photos here:  Greek Style Spinach-Feta Pie. Enjoy!



Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Check out my Cool Deli Reuben Roll-ups

This evening, I made deli "Reuben roll-ups" for dinner. Who said Reubens had to be eaten warm or served on bread? I had some Boars Head corned beef thinly sliced at the deli and also some of their lacey Swiss cheese. I rolled up several thin slices of corned beef with the cheese after scattering them with Bubbies sauerkraut and a teaspoon of Cindy's Kitchen Thousand Island dressing (from Fresh Market). I served them on large leaves of savoy cabbage. We enjoyed our roll-ups alongside a bowl of leftover Chicken soup from last nights dinner (shredded unseasoned roasted chicken from Sprouts Farmers Market, organic free range chicken broth, diced carrots, and fresh organic baby spinach) that only took about 20 minutes to make last night. Nothing like chicken soup alongside corned beef roll-ups, right? It was actually good! So, if you are looking for another easy idea for Saint Patty's you go! Enjoy!


Monday, March 12, 2018

Corned Beef Recipe Ideas for Saint Patrick's Day - Low Carb

I haven't decided yet what I'm going to make for St. Patrick's Day. I'm not a huge fan of corned beef, but I don't mind having it once in awhile. Are you one of those folks that loves corned beef or one who can't stand it? Or, maybe you're like me, and can take it or leave it, but enjoy it on occasion in small doses. Regardless of what side of the corned beef fence you are on, I decided to go back through the years to see some of the various ways I have prepared it for St. Patrick's Day.

One of the easiest ways I like to use corned beef is to make a simple "sandwich" using quality deli-style corned beef (like Boars Head). I get it sliced thinly and also pick up some thinly sliced Swiss cheese, and add some Bubbie's sauerkraut  (which also adds a healthy dose of fermented food) to make a low carb version of a reuben sandwich. I like using my grain free quesadillas for these. In order to keep it super simple, you can make them as roll-ups without any bread. I like to use my grain free quesadillas to make "Reuben-dillas". You can check these out here:  Reuben-dillas

Or...if you are looking for a more traditional Corned Beef & Cabbage, check out this recipe that I did in my crock pot (I cooked the cabbage separately on the stove). You can find the easy recipe for it here:  Corned Beef & Cabbage

And lastly...if you are looking for a way to use up extra corned beef or just want something a bit different and non-traditional, you might like this Brussels Sprouts & Corned Beef Hash Topped w/ a Poached Egg. Check out my easy directions here:  Brussels Sprouts & Corned Beef Hash


Sunday, March 11, 2018

My Official Comeback Tour & Irish Soda Bread

Long time, no see! I know that some of you have probably wondered why I seemed to drop off the face of the earth these last couple of months. I didn't intend to disappear for that long; things just worked out that way. Trust me when I tell you that I needed that time off. This past year has been a difficult one for me and my family. It actually began a couple of years ago when my mother suddenly passed away after a brief illness. Almost immediately, I packed up and sold our house while shopping for and purchasing a larger home so my brother could move in with us...all the while still grieving, working full time and continuing my almost daily blogging (which involves cooking, creating and writing up recipes, photographing, responding to emails, social media, etc.)...all things that I love, but are time consuming. Blogging, cooking and creating recipes are a passion and love of mine. As many of my regular followers know, last year my husband was injured when he fell down our basement stairs and required surgery. He was unable to work or drive for 2 months which left all household responsibilities to me. Things did not work out here for my brother, so he decided to move back home leaving us with this huge house to maintain for just the two of us. Please know that I'm not complaining about it, just trying to help you understand some of the reasons for my unexpected absence.

As if there wasn't enough to deal with already, another very difficult family situation arose this past year involving one of my grown children that I won't get into the specifics of because it is an extremely private and painful matter. Our family was tested by someone that did unthinkable and inexcusable things to one of my children; things that hurt our family very deeply. What this person did was dishonest, cruel and unforgivable and I will leave it at that. There is nothing someone could do to hurt me more than to hurt one of my children, regardless of how old they are. Fortunately, our family is strong and resilient and we continue to move forward from this nightmare. My goal now is to get back to the things that I love and that bring me cooking and blogging. I want to do this...and more importantly, I need to. So, this is step one of that process. If you wrote to me or tried contacting me these last couple of months, and I didn't respond, I am sorry. I've been taking baby steps and posting a bit on Facebook and Instagram...but my blog is where I share myself as well as my recipes with you. So, be on the lookout for me to begin showing up in your feeds again. Thank you for your patience and understanding while I took this necessary break. I have missed blogging and my interactions and communication with so many of you over these past almost 6 years now. Although we have never met, I feel like I really know so many of you and I'm excited and look forward to returning to my real world. I'm BAAAAACK!

On another note, I know Saint Patrick's Day is coming up and many of you in the past had requested I make a grain and gluten free version of Irish Soda Bread. I created a traditional version several years ago. There were several variations...traditional with raisins and then for those that don't like raisins, I created one with dried cranberries and/or blueberries instead. I also created smaller individual Irish Soda Bread Rolls. So, here you go, below is the recipe for my Irish Soda Berry Bread (just replace the berries with 1 ounce of raisins if you prefer).  The links to the other recipes are in the bolded links in this paragraph. Enjoy!


Irish Soda Bread Rolls

Irish Soda Berry Bread

1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons Swerve Sweetener (or other granular sweetener)
2 tablespoons diced chilled butter
1/2 teaspoon xanthum gum
3 to 4 tablespoons dried cranberries or blueberries, finely chopped
2 teaspoons coconut flour
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 large egg


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease an ovenproof skillet.

In a medium bowl, add almond flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, sweetener, and whisk until well combined. Using a pastry cutter/dough blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Whisk in xanthum gum. 

In a small bowl, toss chopped berries with coconut flour until lightly dusted (this keeps them from sticking together); stir berries into dry mixture.

In a glass measuring cup, add buttermilk and egg and lightly beat. Make a well in center of dry mixture; pour wet mixture into dry ingredients and mix together with a rubber spatula just until dough pulls together into a soft ball. Shape dough with hands lightly dampened with water into a rounded loaf and transfer to a lightly greased 10-inch cast iron or oven proof skillet, baking sheet or cake pan. Use a sharp serrated knife to score top of loaf with "X-shaped" 1/2-inch deep slashes. 

Bake until golden brown, about 32-35 minutes. If bread begins browning too quickly, lightly tent with a piece of aluminum foil. If additional browning is desired, reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake an additional 5 to 7 minutes longer. Bread is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes; carefully transfer bread to a wire rack to cool. Slice and serve with butter or jam at room temperature, or lightly toast sliced bread in a 350 degree F oven for a few minutes.

*Note: If adding raisins, finely chop a 1-ounce box of raisins. If preferred, do not add fruit and enjoy bread plain, or substitute chopped nuts of your choice.