Fall is coming and with it the return of the roasted vegetable at our house! Summer is just too hot to have the oven on at high temps for too long, so I rarely if ever roast veggies during the summer months. There’s been a touch of cool weather in the mornings here recently, so it was time to bring back the glory that is the roasted veggie! But since it is still pretty warm a cool, fresh salad is the perfect way to enjoy them.
Cauliflower is not something I enjoy much in its raw state unless it is drenched in good ranch dressing. But when roasted with olive oil, salt, pepper and some garlic it is transformed in to something super amazing. Here it also gets a tasty boost from cumin, which makes it next to impossible to resist snacking on before mixing it in with the rest of the ingredients for this salad.
The cauliflower gets combined with chickpeas, feta and pine nuts then tossed with a citrusy sumac dressing and peppery arugula. Sumac is a spice I’d never heard of before reading this recipe in the most current issue of Fine Cooking. I couldn’t find it at my grocery store and had to order it from amazon. If you don’t have it or can’t find it, don’t worry. It’s a nice spice and goes very well with all the flavors in the salad, but I didn’t find it to be a stand out in the dressing. It may not be the same without the sumac, but it will still be great.
I served this along side pork tenderloin and crusty bread the night I made it. The next couple days I ate it with some additional arugula and spring mix for a super satisfying lunch. The arugula will get wilted, so adding in some new lettuce is a good way to keep it fresh. If you wanted to make this ahead of time you could toss everything together except for the arugula and refrigerate it overnight. Toss with the arugula right before serving and enjoy!
Cauliflower & Chickpea Salad with Feta, Pine Nuts and Arugula
From Fine Cooking
1 large head cauliflower (about 2-1/4 lb.), trimmed and cut into 1-inch florets
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons sumac
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
5 ounces baby arugula
3 ounces crumbled feta (1/2 cup)
1/3 cup dried currants (I did not use these)
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
Preheat oven to 425°F. On a large rimmed baking sheet toss cauliflower with a good drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper and the cumin. Roast for 20-25 minutes, tossing halfway through, then remove from the oven and let cool.
In a large bowl whisk together lemon juice, sumac, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and some fresh ground pepper, then whisk in 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
Add the cauliflower, chickpeas, pine nuts, currants (if using), and feta to the dressing and toss together. Refrigerate now to server later or toss with the arugula and serve.
I like football and I was sad to see college football season come to a close. But I’m glad that the Superbowl is coming up! Not because I care about any of the teams that might be playing (the ones I cared about are out of it now) but because of the food. Oh, Superbowl food. Few things are better. Am I right? I think I am.
Slowly but surely I am getting back into the groove of making a proper dinner. This dish has a pretty quick prep time and you can even put it together earlier in the day and bake it later. It can be a side or your main dish. So even on a busy weeknight you can have dinner together without much fuss. And you can use up any summer squash you might have around!
Once at a pot luck dinner a friend brought this amazing, creamy, cheesy squash casserole. She described the ingredients to me, but I never got the entire recipe. When I saw this squash casserole on Pinterest I had to give it a try because it looked so similar. This casserole is different. Less creamy and cheesy, more focus on the vegetables, which is really nice. It’s flavorful, clean tasting, and delicious. One of the main differences is that this one doesn’t use condensed cream soup, something I really have nothing against, but something that I don’t mind finding a replacement for if I can. The original recipe calls for eggs and sour cream as the binders. I used the eggs, but substituted greek yogurt and it turned out really well.
The feta gives a nice punch to the dish. I mixed in some shredded carrots to add extra veggies and to help with some fridge clean out. This is a really great side dish. I served it with grilled pork tenderloin and bread.
The thyme is a great herb here, you can use fresh or dried. I used a mixture of green and yellow squash, but you can use all of one type of course. And something I think I might try next time is using goat cheese instead of feta because I love me some goat cheese. Enjoy!
Squash and Carrot Casserole with Feta and Parmesan
5-6 squash (mix of zucchini and yellow squash) sliced
3-4 grated carrots
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of fresh thyme (or 2 tsp dried)
1 cup greek yogurt
heaping half cup of crumbled feta
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a large saucepan heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium high heat.
Add in the squash and cook for a few minutes. Add in the carrots and garlic and cook, stirring to keep the garlic from burning, until the squash just begins to soften. Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
In a medium bowl whisk eggs and yogurt, then stir in the feta and parmesan. Season with a little salt and pepper.
Spray a baking dish with cooking spray and layer half of the squash in the pan. Spread half of the yogurt mixture on top, then layer again with squash and then yogurt. Sprinkle with a little extra feta if you have some!
Bake for 45 minutes until top is golden brown. Serve warm. This reheats well for a light lunch.
I have three of the best sisters on the planet. I was lucky enough to have two of them down to visit a couple weeks ago. We are all different, but we all share an interest in food and cooking. When a holiday or party is coming up we often menu plan together. Lindsey and Sarah found this recipe for an orzo salad while they were visiting and it was the perfect side dish for the steak Ben grilled for dinner. I made it again the following weekend when my parents were in town and it was a hit yet again! This salad is simple and delicious and a great choice for a summer side dish.
This salad comes together quickly, can be prepared ahead, and can be served room temperature or cold, making it a really convenient dish. You can adjust the ingredients to your liking. I used a lot of tomatoes and herbs, with a small amount of dressing and feta. You can serve more dressing and feta on the side for guests who want more of it. You could leave out the chickpeas if you don’t care for them, but I probably wouldn’t add anymore than the can called for. The chickpea to orzo ratio seemed just about perfect.
The basil and mint combination make this salad bright and refreshing, the feta is a great flavor addition, the chickpeas are a nice texture surprise and the tomatoes provide lovely flavor and color.
The first time my sister made the dressing I was almost out of red wine vinegar so she subbed in some balsamic to make up the difference. The next time I made it I used all red wine vinegar and it definitely changes the dish. I think I preferred it with a little balsamic, but both ways are quite good.
I hope this makes its way to your table this summer! You will not be disappointed.
Orzo Salad with Chickpeas, Tomatoes, Herbs and Feta
From Giada DeLaurentiis
1 1/2 cups orzo
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 to 2 cups cherry, grape or other small tomatoes, halved or quartered depending on their size
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
4-6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
salt and pepper to taste
Red Wine Vinaigrette
1/2 cup red wine vinegar (can sub in half for balsamic)
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons salt
fresh ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup olive oil
Whisk vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper together in a bowl. While whisking, drizzle in the oil. Set aside. Note: You won’t use all the dressing. Save what’s left in the fridge to use on a green salad.
Cook orzo in boiling water according to package instructions, until al dente. Drain, then transfer to a serving bowl, toss and let cool.
Toss orzo with the beans, tomatoes, onions and herbs.
Drizzle with some of the dressing, taste and add more until you’re pleased with the flavor.
Toss in the feta if serving right away, otherwise cover and chill until ready to serve. Toss in the feta right before serving.
This is a meal I made fairly frequently when Ben and I first got married. I rediscovered it in an old pile of recipes I’d torn out of magazines (that need some serious organizing) and I’m glad I did. It’s easy, quick and delicious; all things I appreciated back then when I was teaching full time, and all things I look for in recipes now that I work at home full time. The ingredient list is short, there is very little prep, and you can have this on the table in about 45 minutes. Serve with rice, this orzo from Martha or with some good crusty bread to soak up the sauce. The tomatoes get nice and soft, becoming just delicious squished on a piece of bread with a little of the warm feta.
This recipe was in an old issue of Food Everyday and I was happy to find it on Martha’s website also. In reading the reviews online, a lot of people opted to used basil instead of mint, which I am sure is fantastic. I personally like the mint, but I know some people who wouldn’t. Other than that change, I’ve never felt the need to change anything. I will say that this isn’t great leftover, as is the case with most seafood in my opinion. So make a half recipe for 2 people, a full recipe for 4.
When Ben got home from work and asked what we were having for dinner I am pretty sure that he cringed and rolled his eyes when I said turkey meatloaf. If it were up to him there would be no turkey burgers, no turkey meatballs, and no turkey meatloaf. And I get it. If the name of the food has the word meat in it, then it should be made of meat. This made me wonder, what is meat, exactly? I looked into the definition of meat, which is really just any animal flesh that we eat. But meat is defined more specifically as pork, beef and lamb by the meat packing industry. Chicken and turkey are grouped in the poultry category. So today we’re making poulty-loaf…which just doesn’t sound very good. So, I will keep calling this turkey “meat”loaf.
This was a good meatloaf. Definitely unique in flavor with the feta and dill. It wasn’t real juicy, but not at all dry either. I liked it, and Ben didn’t say that he hated it…
One of the reasons I chose to make this was its built in leftover recipe. I recently got an iPad (which I still can’t believe I talked myself into thinking I needed) and I have the Martha Stewart Everyday Food mag on it. This meatloaf recipe uses 1/3 of the leftover meatloaf to make turkey and spinach hand pies. Usually the only option for leftover meatloaf is meatloaf sandwiches, which are delicious, but it was fun to try something different. More on those later.
The only changes I made were to use wheat sandwich bread slices (which I soaked in a few tablespoons of milk before mixing them with everything else) and using all 85/15 turkey.
2 slices white or wheat sandwich bread, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons milk
4 ounces feta, crumbled (1 cup)
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium. Add onion, garlic, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft, 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, combine bread crumbs and milk and let soak for a few minutes. Add in vegetables, turkey, egg, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Using your hands, mix until combined. Mix in feta and dill.
Transfer to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and form into a 4-by-10-inch loaf. Bake until cooked through, 45 to 55 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing. (To store, cover and refrigerate, up to 3 days.)
A special thanks to Shallan who owns the cookbook that this recipe came from, Back to Basics, and thanks to Ina Garten who never disappoints me.
Greek food is something I could eat everyday and not get sick of. If I wanted something light, I could have a refreshing Greek salad loaded with tomatoes, cucumbers, mint, parsley and feta. In the mood for something warm and comforting…lamb gyro slathered with tzatziki or a nice plate full of pastitsio. And then there is baklava…oh, baklava…
These dinner sized spanakopita are not too light or too heavy, but are not exactly easy to prepare. I found myself quite frustrated with phyllo dough by the last few pies. My tip to you is this. Make sure you buy your phyllo a day before you plan to make these and let it defrost in the fridge overnight. I let mine stand at room temp to defrost and a section of it got too wet from defrosting and was incredibly sticky. I spent a lot of time and energy wrestling with it.
The spinach and feta filling dotted with yummy toasted pine nuts is simple and delicious. Taste the spinach and onion mixture before adding the eggs and make sure it is well salted. I found the filling to be a little lacking in salt.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan, add the onion, and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat. Add the scallions, and cook for another 2 minutes until the scallions are wilted but still green.
Meanwhile, gently squeeze most of the water out of the spinach and place it in a large bowl.
When the onion and scallions are done, add them to the spinach. Mix in the eggs, Parmesan cheese, 3 tablespoons bread crumbs, the nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Gently fold in the feta and pine nuts.
Place 1 sheet of phyllo dough flat on a work surface with the long end in front of you. Brush the dough lightly with butter and sprinkle it with a teaspoon of bread crumbs.
Working quickly, slide another sheet of phyllo dough on top of the first, brush it with butter, and sprinkle lightly with bread crumbs. (Use just enough bread crumbs so the layers of phyllo don’t stick together.) Pile 4 layers total on top of each other this way, brushing each with butter and sprinkling with bread crumbs.
Cut the sheets of phyllo in half lengthwise. Place 1/3 cup spinach filling on the shorter end and roll the phyllo up diagonally as if folding a flag. Then fold the triangle of phyllo over straight and then diagonally again. Continue folding first diagonally and then straight until you reach the end of the sheet. The filling should be totally enclosed.
Continue assembling phyllo layers and folding the filling until all of the filling is used. Place on a sheet pan, seam sides down.
Brush with melted butter, sprinkle with flaked salt, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the phyllo is browned and crisp. Serve hot.
Over the past few week we have eaten burgers more than once a week. I know. Not exactly health food. We did make them ourselves and tried some pretty different combinations of flavors. These Greek burgers were the first in our series of burgers, and I thought they were delicious. I love feta cheese, so the presence of that ingredient alone in the meat mixture had be smitten even while the meat was raw, but don’t worry, I did not do any taste testing until after they were cooked.