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.
These were so incredibly easy. I have a 5 month old, so if I think they were a cinch to prepare, then you could probably do it with your eyes closed and one hand tied behind your back. And because we didn’t eat until past 8 last night thanks to my sweet boy who would not go to sleep, I had to borrow this picture from this site. I cannot take good food pictures after the sun goes down. It just doesn’t work.
Since I am only cooking for the two of us, I used 3 small chicken breasts, and could have easily gotten away with 2. We have enough leftover chicken for a few more pitas and plenty of sauce also.
For the tzatziki sauce I made just a few changes. I could only find a ridiculously huge container of plain yogurt, and I just didn’t want to buy it. So, I bought light sour cream instead. When I mixed up the sauce I added a little milk to thin it out. I also added some chopped parsley, which made this sauce incredible. A little chopped mint with the parsley would have been extra special. There’s something just plain wonderful about fresh herbs.
I filled the pita with the chicken and sauce, but adding some chopped tomatoes and feta cheese makes these even better.
For a side dish I made a tomato and cucumber salad with red onions and feta. Simply toss chopped, seeded tomatoes, chopped cucumbers, thinly sliced red onion, a bit of olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper. Oh my. The perfect meal. Enjoy.
Greek Chicken Pitas
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (1 chicken breast per person)
Cavender’s All Purpose Greek Seasoning
8 ounces light sour cream
1-2 tablespoons milk
1 whole Cucumber, Chopped
½ whole Yellow Onion, Chopped
Lemon Juice, from 1/2 a large lemon
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Rub chicken breasts with Cavender’s seasoning, then place in a plastic bag with some olive oil. Let marinate in the fridge for a few hours.
For the sauce: Mix sour cream and milk to desired consistency. Add in vegetables, then seasonings. Taste as you go and adjust to your liking. Cover and let sit in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
Heat grill (or skillet) and cook chicken, about 6-7 minutes per side, until cooked through. Let sit for a few minutes, then slice.
Open pita halves and fill with chicken and tzatziki sauce, and sprinkle with feta cheese.
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.
These meatballs were the main dish for our little Greek night last week. We ate them with warm pita and feta cheese, and they were delicious. I made a few changes to the original recipe from Fine Cooking magazine, July 2009. I used ground beef instead of lamb, I used bread crumbs from a loaf of french bread, and took a shortcut with the tomato sauce. Instead of making my own sauce and doctoring it, as the magazine instructs, I just used a good quality 28 ounce can of chunky tomato sauce. The meatballs were very tasty, and the sauce was delicious. It was a little thick when I reheated it the next day, so I added a little water and it was perfect.