Greek Creamed Spinach

 Greek Creamed Spinach

A lush and rich recipe for Greek-style Creamed Spinach made with fresh baby spinach, bechamel sauce, shallots, scallions and dill. The bechamel is flavored with cinnamon and nutmeg. And then there’s the dill…For that reason, during a brief span of about two seconds, I doubted the recipe. Dill and cinnamon is an unusual combination. But it works…here. It takes an ordinary dish and makes it extraordinary.

This recipe comes from a cookbook by Michael Psilakis. You may know him from Food Network where he is a judge for the special series Recipe Showdown. The title of his cookbook is How to Roast a Lamb and focuses on new Greek classic cooking; modern Greek cooking for the home cook. The book is gorgeous with beautiful, rustic food photography, pictures of Michael, and heart-warming stories about Michael’s life, family and passion for food. I have bookmarked a number of recipes to make: Beef and Rice Meatballs in Egg-Lemon Soup, Pan-Roasted Chicken with Lemon Potatoes, Dried Fruit Salad with Thyme-Honey Vinaigrette, Whole Chicken Soup with Avgolemeno and Orzo, Pasta with Kima, and Feta Macaronia for Lamb Pastitsio. So many cookbooks, so little time!

This a creamy, delicious classic that your family will love. You can serve it alongside steak like Psilakis does or with anything your little heart desires!

Chopped Baby Spinach Leaves

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Greek Creamed Spinach
(adapted from Michael Psilakis How to Roast a Lamb pg. 66)

1 tablespoon Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Shallots, finely chopped
4 scallions, chopped
8 ounces Baby Spinach leaves, rough chopped
Sea or Kosher salt and fresh Black Pepper
1 + 1/2 cup of Bechamel (recipe to follow)
3 tablespoons Dill, rough chopped

1. To a large skillet add the olive oil, over medium heat saute shallots and scallions about 3 or 4 minutes or until softened.

2. Add spinach, cover pan for 1 minute, then toss for a few minutes until spinach is wilted. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Stir in bechamel sauce and dill. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Bechamel Sauce
(Makes about 1 quart)

2 + 1/2 ounces unsalted Butter
5 ounces all-purpose Flour
3 + 1/4 cups whole Milk, warm
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
pinch of Nutmeg
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Sea or Kosher salt
Fresh Black Pepper

1. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add flour and whisk for about 5 minutes to cook out the raw flour flavor. Don’t let it brown, remove from heat if needed if pan gets too hot.

2. While whisking slowly add milk a little at a time. Simmer until the mixture starts to thicken, add cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste.

3. Store extra bechamel in refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Print Recipe
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Greek Creamed Spinach

I’m sending this to my multi-talented friend Joanne of Eats Well With Others for her Regional Recipes: Greece round-up!

And also to my Side Dish Showdown!


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Sugar Snap Peas and Sweet Peas with Warm Chile Garlic Vinaigrette

Sugar Snap Peas and Sweet Peas with Warm Chili Garlic Vinaigrette

Sugar snap peas and sweet peas collide in a burst of vibrant flavors with a warm garlic and chile pepper vinaigrette.

While the peas steam a simple vinaigrette is made by heating olive oil with chopped garlic and Serrano chilies. Red wine vinegar is whisked in and then the whole magnificent concoction is poured over top of the peas along with fresh basil. Equally good hot or chilled; I had the leftovers straight from the refrigerator for lunch the next day. Positively delectable!

I heart sugar snap peas. They’re sweet, crispy and the pods ‘pop’ a little when you bite into them. They are good to eat raw or cooked. I can eat them like candy.

I really like the idea of a warm vinaigrette. It allowed the flavors of the garlic and serrano chili to mellow out and permeate the oil in a way that isn’t possible when made cold. And while it was nicely flavored it wasn’t overwhelming, the sweet flavors of the peas still shone through.

Sugar Snap Peas and Sweet Peas with Warm Chili Garlic Vinaigrette

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Sugar Snap Peas and Sweet Peas with Warm Chile Garlic Vinaigrette
(Vinaigrette adapted from Bobby Flay)

3 cups Sugar Snap Peas
1 cup Sweet Peas
1/4 cup Olive Oil
3 cloves Garlic, chopped
1 Serrano Chile Pepper, chopped, seeds and ribs removed
2 tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
Sea Salt and Fresh Pepper
2 tablespoons Fresh Basil or Parsley, chopped

1. Steam the vegetables until tender.

2. Meanwhile heat olive oil in a small saute or sauce pan over low heat. Add garlic and pepper; cook until garlic starts to turn golden. Remove from heat. Whisk in vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Add the peas to a medium mixing bowl, pour vinaigrette over top and gently toss. Garnish with fresh herbs.

Printable Recipe
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Sugar Snap Peas and Sweet Peas with Warm Chili Garlic Vinaigrette


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Sour Cream Noodles

I have another amazing side dish recipe to share today for Sour Cream Noodles inspired by my Grandma and my Mom. I love it when she pulls food memories out from the deep recesses of her mind.

She can remember everything she ate on a trip to France seven years ago and what everyone she was traveling with ate. She was born with a penchant for telling stories and remembering details. She was reminiscing about craving these noodles that my Grandma used to make. Forty years ago.

Don’tcha love it? And people wonder where my obsession with food comes from.… 

Read More »

Green Chile and Corn Casserole

Green Chile & Corn Casserole

 I made this zesty corn casserole for Christmas dinner and it’s now one of my favorite tried and true side dishes. We needed another side and this combo was brewing in the back of my mind for some time. I thought it would be perfect with my Corn Bread & Sausage stuffing in keeping with the Southern theme I had going on. And I was right.

I threw it together at the last minute and crossed my fingers & my toes that it would turn out. That’s just one of the things I love about it. It’s quick to make as well as to bake but doesn’t sacrifice quality or flavor. I made it since then for a companion to tacos. It’s great alongside any kind of Tex-Mex or Mexican food as well as steak or chicken. It’s creamy, piquant, with a little bit of sweetness from the corn; totally satisfying, comforting and melt-in-your mouth delicious!

Green Chile & Corn Casserole

Green Chile & Corn Casserole
(by Reeni)
1 cup Sour Cream
1/4 cup Milk
1 teaspoon Thyme
1 – 4 ounce can chopped Green Chile
16 ounces Corn, lightly steamed if frozen, drained well if canned
1 + 1/2 cup extra sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
Sea or Kosher Salt & fresh Black Pepper
2 tablespoons Corn Flake Crumbs or Seasoned Italian Bread Crumbs
1 tablespoon Butter
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease an 8×8 casserole dish.
2. In a medium mixing bowl whisk sour cream, milk, and thyme together until well combined.
3. Add green chiles with juices, corn, and cheddar. Season well with salt and pepper. Mix well.
4. Pour into greased casserole dish. Sprinkle crumbs evenly over top. Cut butter into tiny cubes and dot the top with them.
5. Bake for 20-25 minutes until top is golden brown and casserole is bubbly.

Green Chile & Corn Casserole

Green Chile & Corn Casserole on FoodistaGreen Chile & Corn Casserole

Sausage Cornbread Stuffing

Cornbread & Sausage Stuffing

When I found out my Mom wasn’t making her much beloved stuffing for Christmas I knew it was a perfect opportunity for me to attempt a corn bread stuffing. I say attempt because I’m not the designated stuffing maker in the family and I’ve never made it before. But after watching my Mom make hers every year(sans recipe) my own recipe had already been devised in my mind.

I made my own corn bread, a plain and simple recipe that I don’t recommend for eating on its own. It’s a little on the dry side but exactly the texture I was looking for. Here is thee best corn bread recipe for eating. You can buy the corn bread crumbs in a bag if you prefer – or buy cornbread and let it get stale. I used the same flavor profiles throughout the cornbread itself and the stuffing: lots of onion, thyme and sage. The real secret to adding lots of flavor lies in the crumbled sausage. That and baking it in the oven until the bottom as well as the top crisps up to a nice golden brown. The crusty parts are my favorite – watch out because I’ll fight you for them!

 Ready for the Oven.
Cornbread & Sausage Stuffing Ready for the Oven

Cornbread & Sausage Stuffing
(by Reeni)
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
Olive oil, for sauting
Sea salt and pepper
2 teaspoons Thyme
2 teaspoons Sage
1 pound Sausage roll (like Jones, usually found in the freezer section by breakfast items)
4 tablespoons Butter
1/3 cup fresh Parsley, chopped
7 cups stale Corn Bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (recipe follows, make 2 days in advance or use packaged corn bread crumbs)
4-5 cups Chicken Broth
1. In a large skillet saute the onion and celery in a two tablespoon of Olive oil. Season well with salt and pepper, when they begin to soften add the thyme and sage.
2. When the onion is soft and translucent add the sausage, crumble it as it cooks. While the sausage is cooking preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Grease or spray a 9×13 inch baking pan.
3. When the sausage is cooked through add the butter and parsley. Mix the butter throughout the sausage. Add the crumbs. Add about 3 cups of chicken broth to start carefully mixing to soak the crumbs and distribute the sausage. Taste a crumb. Add more broth if needed a 1/2 cup at a time. The crumbs should be soaked through. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed and more herbs if desired.
4. Spread in pan and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 15 minutes and take off foil to brown the top. Continue cooking for 15-20 more minutes until top is golden brown.
Cornbread for making Stuffing(make 2 days in advance)
(by Reeni)
1 Yellow Onion, finely chopped
Vegetable oil for sauting
1 cup All-Purpose White Flour
1 cup Corn Meal
1 tablespoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Thyme
1 teaspoon Sage
1/2 teaspoon Sea salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup Whole milk
3 tablespoons melted Butter
1. Saute the onion in oil until soft and tender. Set aside to cool.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease an 8-pan and set aside.
3. In a large bowl combine the flour, corn meal, baking powder, thyme, sage, and salt.
4. In a separate bowl beat the eggs and then beat in the milk.
5. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture beating until just moistened.
6. Mix in the onions and butter. Pour into pan and bake 20-25 minutes until top is browned.
7. Cool and turn out from pan. Cut into slices and then into 1-inch cubes. Spread out on baking sheet and loosely cover with wax paper. Store in a cool, dry place for at least two days. They should be crunchy all the way through when making the stuffing or it can get crumbly. If pressed for time or if they still seem soft in some places bake slowly in a 250 or 300 degree oven until crispy all the way through.

Cornbread & Sausage Stuffing

Roasted Bacon Cauliflower and Hash Brown Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Cauliflower w/ Bacon & Parmesan

I was pondering side dishes, and came to the conclusion that I have overlooked them for far too long. They are worthy of more attention. They can perk up a meal, shed light on an unappealing vegetable, and sometimes even steal the show. I was playing around with the idea of starting my very own once-a-month food blogging event featuring side dishes as the star. To test the waters here are two of my favorites. The first is a creation from my Mom. Potatoes, onions and Brussels sprouts are pan-fried hash brown style for a crispy and delicious result. They’re a terrific combo and I won’t eat Brussels sprouts any other way.

The second is oven-roasted cauliflower with bacon, garlic and Parmesan. Talk about melt-in-your mouth. I can seriously eat a whole pan of these for dinner, nothing else is needed or even desired. These are the show-stealers I was alluding to earlier that truly deserve your undivided attention. They are that good. Please let me know in your comments what you think of a monthly side dish event and if you would be interested in sending me a dish or two. And then go make one of these! Or both. You’ll love them!

Hash Browns & Brussels Sprouts

Hash Browns & Brussels Sprouts
(by Reeni’s Mom)
Canola or Vegetable oil, for pan-frying
1 large yellow Onion, thinly sliced into 1-inch pieces
4 cups Potatoes, diced 1/2 inch cubes
Sea salt and fresh pepper
2 cups Brussels Sprouts
1. In a large skillet or saute pan add enough Vegetable oil to generously cover the bottom. Heat the oil on medium and add the potatoes and onions. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Let cook until golden brown, then turn, allowing each side to cook to a golden brown.
3. In the mean time lightly steam the Brussels sprouts.
4. Slice the Brussels sprouts in half.
5. When the potatoes are golden brown and tender push them to the side of the pan. Add a tiny bit of oil to the center and the Brussels sprouts cut side down. When the Brussels sprouts are lightly toasted toss with the potatoes. Taste and re-season with salt and pepper if needed.

Roasted Cauliflower w/ Bacon & Parmesan

Roasted Cauliflower w/ Bacon & Parmesan
(by Reeni)
1 head of cauliflower, washed and cut into florets
5 cloves garlic, minced
6 slices bacon, chopped
2 tablespoon Olive Oil
1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
Sea Salt and fresh pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a large bowl toss everything together using your hands making sure to coat the cauliflower well with the oil. Add the Parmesan, season with salt and pepper and toss again.
3. Add to a 9×13 baking pan(line with aluminum foil/non-stick spray for easy clean-up) and spread out evenly.
4. Roast for 35-45 minutes or until cauliflower is tender and toasted.

Hash Browns & Brussels Sprouts