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Spinach, Feta and Olive Stuffed Bread

I sort of stumbled my way to this recipe. I found myself thinking of all the things I like to eat (carbs and cheese being at the top of the list) and then just got a little crazy with spinach and olives.

Spinach, feta and olive stuffed bread is awesome as an anytime snack or meal. You can have it in the morning on the side with some eggs, for lunch with some soup, or by itself for dinner…and it gets better! This is great to make ahead of time and freeze. You can eat it slice by slice, whenever you’re feeling a little lazy 🙂

Ingredients:

– 4 oz frozen or freshly chopped spinach

– 2 oz green olives

– 3 oz reduced fat feta cheese

– 1 tbsp olive oil

– 1 garlic clove

– 4 oz crushed tomatoes (use canned)

– 1 tsp dried oregano

– 1 tsp salt

– 1 tsp black pepper

– 1 tbsp unsalted butter

– 1 tbsp parmesan

– 2 tbsp panko bread crumbs

– 1 pizza dough – I don’t know about the rest of you, but I don’t have time to make this from scratch so I would get this either from the grocery store or your local pizzeria and save yourself some time!

Instructions:

Pre-heat oven to 375.

Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over low heat. While the oil is heating up, finely dice the garlic clove. Add the garlic to the hot oil and allow it to begin to brown. Once the garlic is slightly brown add the crushed tomatoes and spinach. Mix together in the pan and then add the salt, black pepper and oregano. Continue cooking over low heat until the spinach is wilted (about 3-5 minutes). While the spinach cooks, dice the feta cheese and olives. If you buy crumbled feta this step is not necessary! When the spinach is cooked, add in the olives and feta cheese and turn off the stove. In a separate bowl, melt 1 tbsp of butter in the microwave and then mix in the panko bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. Set aside to use as a topping for the bread.

Spread some flour on the counter and on a rolling-pin. Place the pizza dough on the counter and begin to roll it out, flipping it over after ever few rolls of the pin to evenly roll it out and ensure each side is well floured. This will keep the dough from sticking to the rolling-pin and counter. Once the dough has been rolled out in the shape of a pizza pie, place on a greased cookie sheet. Spread the spinach filling evenly across the dough, leaving a 1 inch border all the way around. Fold over one side of the dough across the spinach. Then fold the other side over and twist the ends like a twist tie. Spray with cooking spray and place in the oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes remove from the oven and place the butter/parmesan/bread crumb mixture over the top. Spray with some cooking spray again and place back in the oven for another 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow the bread to cool for about 5 minutes before slicing.

Hostess with the Mostess: You can make this the day before your party and then just reheat it before you’re ready to serve. If you want it to be freshly made, do everything ahead of time and leave the bread on the baking sheet. Place in the oven to cook about 30-40 minutes before you’re ready to serve. No need to call everyone to the table…the smell of freshly made bread will bring them on their own.

The Perfect Cup of Coffee

BEEP BEEP BEEP. Your alarm clock goes off at 6AM. You sleepily reach across your bed and aimlessly start hitting your nightstand. You’re aiming for the alarm clock but at 6AM your aim is slightly off and it takes you a few tries to 1) find the alarm clock and 2) successfully hit the snooze button. Then, just as you’ve started to drift back into a semi-sleep state of mind, it goes off again. This time your aim is slightly better but you’ve resigned yourself to getting up and starting your day. As you force yourself to sit up, all you can think about is that first cup of coffee. You can practically taste it in your mouth and just thinking about it gives you something to look forward to.

Does this sound familiar? I hope it does. If not, I have a serious addiction to caffeine and will probably need to seek professional help. Getting up every morning for work is not something we (i.e. I) look forward to, but it has to be done. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I do need coffee to get my day going, but what non-coffee drinkers don’t understand is it’s not just ANY cup of coffee that will get me through my day. It has to be the PERFECT cup of coffee.

If you’re making coffee at home it may seem like a no brainer, but I’m going to blog about it anyways today because after years of drinking coffee, 3 different coffee makers and countless different brands of coffee, I’ve learned what the formula is for coffee. You’re in luck, because I’m going to share it with you 🙂

Ingredients:

– 1 heaping tbsp of ground coffee – I go for hazelnut or chocolate raspberry but choose whatever works for you

– 3 tbsp half and half

– 1 tsp sugar

– 2 cups water (measured in the coffee pot)

Instructions: 

So this recipe is for 1 cup of coffee. Your coffee maker will have lines in the pot to use for measuring water. As a general rule of thumb, every 2 cups of water you measure with the pot will only yield 1 cup of coffee. I learned this the hard way, so take note of this!! If you want 2 cups of coffee that means you have to measure 4 cups of water with the pot and so on.

The next step is measuring out the coffee. For every cup of coffee you’re serving, you want 1 heaping tbsp of coffee. This may seem like a lot, but once it gets diluted in the water and you add half and half…it’s really not.

Add the water to your coffee maker and the coffee to your filter and hit that start button. You should be able to smell the coffee as it’s brewing and once its done, a quick glance at the pot will usually tell you if the coffee is good or not. A good pot of coffee will be a dark, rich brown color. If you hold the pot up to the light, it will be difficult to see through the coffee. A weak (i.e horrible) cup of coffee will be light brown in color and you will be able to see through it. When you pour the coffee into a cup and add half and half, a good cup of coffee will slowly take a creamy, light caramel color. A weak (i.e horrible) cup of coffee will turn an odd slightly grayish color and if you taste it, it will be bitter.

So there you have it guys – not a very traditional way of getting my recipe across but just remember that every 2 cups of coffee pot water = 1 cup of coffee  to drink and for every 1 cup of coffee you want to drink, you need 1 heaping tbsp of ground coffee to add to the filter. If you remember those 2 things you will ALWAYS have a perfect cup of coffee.

Also, as you may have guessed, I haven’t yet jumped on the K cup band wagon. I may make my way there at some point which would eliminate the need to try to make the perfect cup of coffee. For now, I’m good with my pot. It makes it easier to make multiple cups of coffee at once and if you have people over it makes it a little easier to make coffee for everyone.

Happy Sunday everyone! Hope your day starts off with a great cup of coffee 🙂

Sauteed Spinach with Garlic

Looking for a healthy and easy side dish for your perfect meal? I’ve got one for you here and just because it’s healthy and easy doesn’t mean it’s lacking in the flavor department (which is usually what it feels like when you put the words “healthy” and “easy” together in the same sentence). Pair this with my steak with gorgonzola butter and you’ve got yourself an amazing, delicious meal!

Ingredients:

– 4 cups fresh spinach

– 1 tsp salt

– 1 tsp black pepper

– 2 tbsp olive oil

– 2 garlic cloves

– 2 tbsp fresh parmesan cheese

– 1 tsp crushed red pepper (leave out if it’s too spicy for you)

Instructions:

I think I said a few posts ago that I didn’t think I was ever going to have a recipe as easy as gorgonzola butter. I may have lied – making a side of sautĂ©ed spinach with garlic is pretty easy and my recipe is foolproof.

To make this, heat up the olive oil in a sauté pan on low heat. While the oil is heating, chop up the 2 garlic cloves. When the pan is hot, add the garlic. Allow the garlic to begin to cook and turn golden brown. At this point, add the spinach, salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper. Mix together with the oil and garlic in the pan and continue cooking over low heat for 1-2 minutes. As soon as the spinach has wilted, turn the stove off and mix in the parmesan cheese.

Hostess with the Mostess Tip: Make this ahead of time! You can either leave it in the sauté pan to re-heat directly in there or plate it in your serving dish and warm it up in the microwave before serving.

Dress to Impress Tip: Place parmesan shavings on top of the spinach before serving. It adds a little something to the dish and makes it look like it came from a restaurant 😉

I mentioned this is a super healthy dish, right? You won’t feel it, since your taste buds will be so overwhelmed with the garlic and parmesan cheese. You might even be able to trick your kids into eating this one!

Steak with Gorgonzola Butter

VDay is around the corner and when it falls on a week day it’s kind of hard to find the time to go out and celebrate, especially if you’re both working. That doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate at home though. I’m a fan of easy, but delicious recipes that get dressed up and this recipe for steak is just that. You take a regular steak, season it with a couple of different spices, top it with gorgonzola butter and you have a FABULOUS dinner that will leave your significant other wondering if you’re trying to pull one over on them (“Did you ORDER this or did you MAKE this?”)

Ingredients:

2 steaks (use your favorite cut – I’m using rib eye here)

– 2 tbsp garlic salt (If you don’t already have this in your pantry…GET IT! It’s super flavorful and will make whatever you add it to taste delish)

– 1 tbsp freshly cracked black pepper

– 1 tbsp olive oil

– 1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley

– Gorgonzola butter (see below for recipe)

Instructions:

Make sure the steaks are at room temperature. If you’re grilling them, turn the grill onto medium heat. If you’re baking in the oven, pre heat your oven to 375 degrees. 

Sprinkle each steak with 1 tbsp garlic salt and 1/2 tbsp freshly cracked black pepper and drizzle with the olive oil. Place on the grill, cooking for about 4 minutes (add an extra 2 minutes if you want the steak medium to medium well) then flip and cook for another 4 minutes. If you’re baking, cook for 7 minutes on each side.

When the steaks are done, remove from heat and allow them to cool for 5 minutes. This will allow the juices to redistribute in the steak so that when you cut it, the juices don’t flow out onto your plate.

To serve, add slices of gorgonzola butter to the steak (I would add 2 slices to each steak that are about 1/4 of a tbsp each) and sprinkle each steak with 1/2 tbsp of freshly chopped parsley.

For the gorgonzola butter, follow this recipe –

http://deliciousinheels.com/2012/02/08/gorgonzola-butter/

Hostess with the Mostess Tip: Make the butter ahead of time and marinate the steaks with the garlic salt,  pepper and oil. Set them aside in the fridge if you will be serving later on in the day (make sure you take them out about 30 minutes before you cook them so they come to room temperature). By the way you don’t HAVE to marinate the steaks…the best part about garlic salt is it sets in immediately.

Dress to Impress Tip: The gorgonzola butter says it all with this dish. Your guests won’t quite know what to say because they’ll be in awe over how pretty their meal looks. If this happens, tell them to hurry up and start eating.

Gorgonzola Butter

You know you love butter and you know you love gorgonzola cheese…so why not mix them together to make gorgonzola butter?? Super easy to make and easy to store for use at any time as a topper for pasta, burgers, sandwiches and my favorite…STEAKS!

Lets get started 🙂

Ingredients:

1 stick unsalted room temperature butter

– 3 oz crumbled gorgonzola cheese

– 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Instructions:

Are you ready for this? To be honest, I’m really not sure if I’ll have a recipe that gets much easier than this one. All you have to do is put the butter in a bowl and break it up with a spoon. Add in the gorgonzola cheese and black pepper and mix it together until the cheese and pepper are full incorporated in the butter.

At this point lay out a sheet of Saran wrap that is about the size of a one foot square. Place the gorgonzola butter in the center of it and fold the top half of the Saran wrap over the butter. Then fold the bottom half over the butter so it’s on top of the top half (sorry if that’s confusing!). Then twist each end together.  At this point you want to begin rolling the butter like it’s a rolling-pin to shape it into a long cylinder. You might need to shape it a bit with your hand before you start rolling it.

Once you’ve finished rolling it, you have 2 storage options –

1. If you’re serving it that day just put it in the fridge so that it firms up and can be sliced when you’re ready to serve.

2. If it’s for use at a later time, then freeze it! You can easily store this for weeks at a time and just pull it out, slice a couple of pieces at a time and then put it back! If you’re freezing it, then wrap it in foil after you’ve wrapped it in Saran wrap, just to make sure it stays fresh.

Like I said up above, this can be used in so many ways. I’m going to use it for my Valentines Day dinner at home with my hubby. What am I going to use it with? Steak, of course 😉

Hostess with the Mostess: So, kind of a no brainer here. Make it ahead of time! If you’re serving it for a dinner party, then make sure you time it so that it’s placed on the hot burgers, steak, pasta right before serving. That way everyone can see the pretty, buttery, cheesy discs start to melt over the food. It’s kind of making my mouth water right now just thinking about it. Have I mentioned yet how much I love food?

As a side note – this is butter after all, so make sure you’re careful with how much you use! It’s easy to add a few slice of it to your serving but a little goes a long way so make sure you’re sticking to no more than 1/2 of a tbsp.

Portobello Mushroom and Zucchini Cheesy Quesadillas

MMMMMM quesadillas!!  The perfect thing to eat, any time of day. Don’t believe me? Keep reading to see all the different ways to eat them!

1. Late night snack – what else would you want to eat at 2 in the morning when you have the munchies??

2. Game day – a portable, easy snack to eat while watching a game

3. Lunch/dinner – make a meal out of it! The portobellos add some meatiness to it and make it pretty filling.

So, if that doesn’t convince you of how these are a great anytime dish I’m really not sure what will. In any case, try out the quesadillas!

Here’s what you’ll need –

Ingredients:

1 portobello mushroom

– 1 medium zucchini

– 1 medium onion

– 1 medium green pepper

– 1 tbsp olive oil

– 1 tsp black pepper

– 1 tbsp adobo seasoning

– 1/2 cup of reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese

– 1/2 cup of reduced fat shredded monterey jack cheese

– 4 tortillas – 8″ in diameter – use whole wheat for a healthier version

Shred the zucchini and put aside. Slice the portobello mushroom lengthwise into thin strips. Peel the onion and cut in half. Slice each half into thin strips. Do the same with the bell pepper, making sure to remove all seeds (they’re not spicy so you can leave them in if you want).

In a saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the zucchini, mushroom, onion and bell pepper. Add the pepper and adobo. Mix together and allow the vegetables to continue cooking until the onions become translucent (about 3-5 minutes). Remove the vegetables from the saute pan and set aside in a bowl.

Now the traditional way to put these together is on a skillet but to be honest…it’s SO much easier to just throw these in the oven and let them cook on their own. So…all you need to do is take a tortilla, spread half of the vegetable mixture on it, add half of the cheddar and monterey jack cheese, put another tortilla on top and repeat to make another one. Spray the quesadillas with cooking spray and put in the oven for 5 minutes. That’s it!!! Once they’re done, remove and slice it like a pizza.

Serve with guacamole (yes, I have a recipe for that too!), fat-free or low-fat greek yogurt (use sour cream if you prefer) or salsa.

Hostess with the Mostess Tip: If you’re serving this at a party for a large number of people, saute all the vegetables ahead of time. About 20 minutes before you want to serve, pre-heat your oven to 375. Create the quesadillas on a baking sheet and spray with cooking spray. Heat up the quesadillas in the oven and you’re ready to go! Sprinkle a little bit of chili powder over the quesadillas if you have it – it will add a nice touch to your presentation. 🙂