Spinach and Sausage Lasagna

This recipe is not your typical lasagna, but it’s a delicious twist on the classic.  Since the whole thing only uses 1/2 lb. of pasta, it’s really easy to make this very healthy by using extra lean sausage and low-fat cheeses

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Spanakopita II

This is my recipe for the classic Greek appetizer, spanakopita.  I like to use fresh spinach and butter instead of olive oil — I think it makes it lighter and flakier.  

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups packed spinach leaves
  • 1 lb. fillo dough (16-20 sheets), defrosted
  • 1/2 lb. feta cheese
  • 1/2 bunch scallions, chopped
  • 8 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 egg (if I’m doubling this recipe, I use 3 eggs), beaten
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 stick of butter (at least)

HOW TO MAKE IT

  • Rinse your spinach leaves and remove and large stems
  • Roughly chop the spinach before putting 2 cups of it in the food processor – process for about 10 seconds or until the leaves are finely chopped
  • Add in half the chopped garlic, scallions, feta and salt and pepper
  • Process the ingredients for about 5 seconds and then pulse the mixture 3 times for 1 second to make sure everything is well combined
  • Repeat this process for the other half of the ingredients
  • Combine the two batches of spinach (you can and should taste it before you add in the egg and adjust the salt and pepper to your taste) then stir in the beaten egg
    • Set the mixture aside
  • Take your defrosted fillo dough out and unfold it onto a working surface (keep the stack of dough covered with a damp – but not wet! – towel to prevent it from becoming dry and brittle)
  • Depending on the dimensions of your sheet, you may need to cut them in half so your sheet has a width of about 7.5 in.
  • Take a sheet with the 7.5 in. width and brush it with butter
  • Then, fold the sheet over into thirds so you’re left with a long strip that’s only 2.5 in. wide
  • Place about 1 tbsp of spinach mixture at the end of your fillo strip and roll it up into triangles, like a paper football – or American flag
  • If your dough seems dry and needs help sticking, brush it with additional butter
  • Place the triangle pieces onto a greased baking pan
  • Bake at 350°F for approximately 20-25 minutes or until golden brown
    • Makes approximately 32 – 40 pieces
Variation…
    • Layer 10 sheets of fillo dough, brushing butter in between each sheet
    • Spoon about 1 cup of the spinach mixture along one edge of the fillo dough in the shape of a sausage
    • Roll up the fillo dough and brush the top with butter
    • Score the roll into 1 in. rounds
    • Repeat until all of the fillo and spinach is used
    • Place the roll on a greased baking sheet and bake at 400°F for approximately 12 minutes or until golden brown

Veggie Lasagna

This vegetable lasagna is loaded with flavor and is so good for you.  My meat-eating hubby even said he likes this more than “regular” lasagna.  

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 small onion (I like to use vidalia), chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced and then quartered
  • 1 small yellow squash, sliced and then quartered
  • 1 can quartered artichoke hearts
  • 1 package chopped frozen spinach, defrosted
  • 1 small (15 oz.) container of ricotta cheese (I use low fat and you can’t tell the difference)
  • Approximately 1/4 – 1/2 cup of pesto sauce
  • Approximately 1  1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • Approximately 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 – 28 oz. can pureed tomatoes
  • 1 – 28 oz. can ground tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1 box no boil lasagna noodles

HOW TO MAKE IT

  • Heat the olive oil in a a large pot
  • Add in the chopped onions and garlic and cook until softened
  • Add in the zucchini, yellow squash, red peppers artichoke hearts and cook for about 5 minutes
  • Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes
  • Stir in both cans of tomatoes and bring to a simmer
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes
  • Add the pinch of sugar, oregano, basil salt and pepper to taste
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, spinach and pesto sauce
  • Spread a little bit of sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13 lasagna dish
  • Lay 4 noodles across the bottom of the baking dish, overlapping by 1/2  inch
  • Spread 1/3 of the ricotta and pesto mixture evenly on top, sprinkle with about 1/2 cup of mozzarella and a handful of parmesan
  • Top the cheese with another layer of vegetable sauce and repeat the layering in the same order
  • Layer the top with noodles and cover the noodles with sauce with no veggies on top and sprinkle with the remaining parmesan and mozzarella
  • Bake at 350°F covered with aluminum foil for about 40 minutes, or until the sauce around the edges is bubbling, then bake for 5 minutes more uncovered – let it sit for 10 minutes before serving

Spanakopita I


This is my mom’s recipe for the classic Greek appetizer, spanakopita.  I’ve got my own version of spanakopita using fresh spinach – I’ll be posting that recipe next week.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 – 8 oz. packages of frozen chopped spinach
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 bunch of scallions, finely chopped
  • 1/3 bunch of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb. crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 lb. filo dough
  • Olive oil

HOW TO MAKE IT

  • Defrost the frozen spinach in the microwave and strain it very well by pressing the spinach against the side of the strainer (it’s very important to get all of the water out or else it will be mushy)
  • In a large saute pan over medium-low heat combine the 2 tbsp olive oil and scallions and saute
  • Add in the spinach, salt and pepper and at least 3 more tbsp olive oil (if it seems dry, add more)
  • Turn off the heat and cool the mixture.  Add in the parsley, feta cheese and beaten eggs and mix well
  • Unroll the filo dough on a flat surface and cover the stack with waxed paper and a damp towel – this will prevent it from drying out and becoming brittle (you don’t want the damp towel directly on the dough because it will ruin it)
  • Lay out a sheet of filo and brush it generously with olive oil
  • Lay another sheet on top of that one and brush it with olive oil (repeat this until you have a total of 5 sheets)
  • Place an inch wide strip of spinach mixture along the bottom edge of the filo dough rectangle (make sure you place the spinach along the longer side of filo)
  • Roll the filo dough around the spinach, pinching it to make sure it’s tight, and roll it up totally
  • Cut the roll on the diagonal into pieces about 2 inches long (you should get approximately 10 pieces per roll)
  • Repeat this process until you’re out of filo dough sheets (you should get 4 rolls)
  • Place the pieces onto a greased baking pan
  • Bake at 350°F for approximately 20-25 minutes or until golden brown
    • Makes approximately 40 pieces
Variation…
    • Brush a 9×13 inch baking pan with olive oil
    • Layer 6 sheets of filo dough, brushing olive oil in between each sheet
    • Spoon the spinach over the filo
    • Cover with 6 more sheets of filo dough, brushing olive oil in between each sheet
    • Score the top 3 sheets with a knife
    • Bake at 350°F for approximately 40-45 minutes or until golden brown

Spinach Calzone

Usually, spinach calzones are bland… but these are anything but boring!  The trick is all about seasoning the spinach properly – the rest takes care of itself.  

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. bakery dough
  • 2 packages frozen chopped spinach
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste
  • Salt and white pepper, to taste (you’ve got to taste this because spinach needs a lot of salt to have flavor)
  • 1 tbsp roasted garlic puree (I use the brand Inglehoffer)
  • 1 small can sliced black olives
  • 1/4 lb. american cheese
  • 1/4 lb. mild provolone cheese
  • Approximately 1/2 lb. large slice pepperoni
  • Olive oil for brushing
  • Parmesan cheese for topping

HOW TO MAKE IT

  • Defrost the spinach in the microwave (high for 10 minutes)
  • Strain very well – you really need to squeeze the spinach dry – press it against the side of the strainer
  • Saute the spinach in a medium saute pan with the 1/4 cup olive oil and garlic
  • Add the olives, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper and mix well – lastly, fold in the parmesan and turn off the heat
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 15 in. x 10 in. rectangle (about 1/4″ thick)
  • Place a row of provolone slices down the center of the rectangle
  • Top the cheese with a wide layer of pepperoni slices (I use three slices in each row)
  • Spoon the spinach mixture on top of the pepperoni (I use all of the spinach, but you can use less if you want)
  • Top the spinach with another wide layer of pepperoni
  • Place a row of american cheese on top of the pepperoni
  • Pull one side of dough over the cheese and then overlap that by pulling the other side of dough over – fold up the ends and pinch to seal closed
  • Flip the calzone over and place seam side down on a greased baking sheet (I use Pam with Olive Oil) – brush the calzone with olive oil and top off with grated parmesan cheese
  • Bake in the oven at 350°F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown