Things I'm cooking while I'm not at work cooking.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


I have, for some odd reason, several boxes of phyllo in my freezer.  Well, it's not really odd, seeing as how I never check to see if I have it when I go to the store to get what I need for dinner.  Now I have the overwhelming desire to use it...all of it.  Besides, who doesn't love something wrapped in all that butter crumbly paper thin pastry?

This meal started by my hubby informing me that we needed to use the spinach we had, and while I love spinach, I wasn't in the mood for it to be sauteed, or creamed, or wilted.  I thought about making some sort of spinach bread, but most of the recipes I found either seemed to bready, or more like a frittata (too many eggs).  And then, OPA, I was struck with an idea, Spanakopita!  I love Greek food!  So earthy, and herby, and rich without weighing you down.  

Now all I needed was a protein.  Salmon sounded great, but we eat a lot of salmon at our house, and, you guessed it, I wasn't in the mood for it.  My hubby is pretty easy going, he will eat just about anything I put in front of him...and when I say anything, I mean everything.  So I sat for a minute and gave it some thought, and then it came to me...OPA...tuna salad!  But not just any tuna salad, the best tuna salad I have ever had, and I had it last week, and I couldn't stop thinking about it, and how yummy it was.

So I went to the store, got the rest of the ingredients I needed, came home and made dinner.  It took a surprisingly short amount of time to prepare, and an even shorter amount of time to eat.  

For the Spanakopita:
(I kind of winged it on the amounts, I only need to make dinner for 2.  Oh, and I didn't think I had enough spinach so I added some kale because it was in the drawer with spinach, how's that for thinking fast?)

4C  Kale, stems removed and roughly chopped.
1 bag  Spinach
1Tsp Olive Oil
1/2  Onion, diced small
2Tsp Oregano, I used dry
1/2C Feta, crumbled
1 stick of Butter (shhhh...don't tell my hubby)
Phyllo I used 8 sheets, which made 4 pockets.
Salt & Pepper
Heat oil in a large sauce pan and sweat onion until soft, about 5 minutes, add oregano, and sweat for another minute or so.  Add kale and some salt, and cook down, stirring often, until tender, but not mushy, maybe ten minutes, then add spinach, we all know how quickly spinach wilts, and the heat from kale will be enough to do the trick.  Turn off heat, drain any excess liquid from mixture and return to burner that is cooling down, this will help dry out the mixture a little more, and let cool, if needed, you can squeeze out remaining liquid in a towel.  Add feta to mixture and stir to combine.  Taste and salt and pepper if needed.

Now set up your Spanakopita making station.  I laid a sheet of parchment paper down on my cutting board so the phyllo wouldn't stick after I started smearing butter all over it.  Melt butter in a bowl and set next to cutting board, role out phyllo and cover with damp paper towel so it doesn't dry out.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees, (or do like I did and pop them in your toaster oven when your done making them).  Place 1 sheet of phyllo on work surface, brush with butter all over, and then put another piece of phyllo on top of that.  Brush with butter again, and then in the lower left corner glob on about a 1/2C of kale/spinach mixture, fold top half of phyllo over mixture (like you were folding a piece of paper in half length ways) and then start folding the pocket like you would a flag, it can be tricky, but I totally had it down by the 4th one I made, it's easy I swear. When you're done doing that, put them in your oven on a parchment covered baking sheet and  bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

While your Spanakopita is baking make the awesome tuna salad.

 For the Tuna Salad:
My mouth is watering just thinking about how good this is!

1 Can of Tuna in oil, (it has to be in oil...HAS TO BE IN OIL)
1Tbsp Thyme, fresh
2Tbsp Capers, crushed slightly
1/2 Red Bell Pepper, diced small, (I had some jarred peppers that worked great)
3 Green Onions, chopped
Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes (a little heat on the backside never hurt anyone)
Mayo (Dukes is my favorite)
Salt & Pepper

Open can of tuna and put in a medium mixing bowl.  The first time I made this I drained the oil, and I felt like I was wasting flavor.  This time around I left all the oil in, and there wasn't much so it was no big deal, but if you want to drain 1/2 the oil, or all the oil, have at it.  Add remaining ingredients, eyeball the mayo, you just need enough to bind the mixture, maybe a tablespoon, maybe less, then squeeze a wedge of lemon and mix away.  

Dinner was served, and it was awesome.   



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