Feta Stuffed BLT Burgers

Say hello to the gussied up burger version of the BLT with a layer of creamy feta cheese hidden inside.

If you ever stuffed cheese into the middle of a burger before then you know it’s no easy feat to keep it contained once it begins to melt.

With feta cheese you don’t have that problem because it can’t and won’t melt. It gets warm and soft without being oozy.

Feta Stuffed BLT Burgers

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Lemon & Feta Roasted Potatoes

Potatoes get a bright, sunny lift from lemons and feta cheese. Russet potatoes are tossed in an olive oil dressing that has both lemon zest and juice, mustard, Parmesan cheese, dried thyme and oregano then baked until crusty and browned.

To finish, they’re tossed with more lemon juice and crumbled feta cheese.

All together they make a perfect trio.

Lemon and Feta Roasted Potatoes

Do you want to know my secrets for getting the potatoes so dark and crusty? … 

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Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad

Lemon Chicken Salad

A Greek inspired pasta salad with bright and sunny flavors! Lemon-marinated chicken is tossed with pasta, feta cheese, tomatoes, zucchini or cucumber, red onion and almonds in a tangy lemon dressing.

The lemon dressing also serves as a marinade. A small amount of it is removed and poured over the chicken before grilling or baking. It’s made of fresh-squeezed lemon juice and zest, extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, Dijon mustard, thyme and oregano. So good, you could almost drink it. It helps tenderize the chicken and keep it juicy.

I don’t know if I ever shared my secret for juicy chicken every, single time without fail…. 

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Cheese Tortellini with Spinach Feta Alfredo Sauce

Cheese Tortellini with Spinach Feta Alfredo

Cheese tortellini smothered in a rich, creamy spinach and feta alfredo sauce. The entire dish comes together in about twenty minutes making for a great anytime meal but especially fitting when you don’t have a lot of time but need something hot and comforting. Something that tastes like you fussed.

The sauce is made in the time it takes to boil the tortellini. It starts with red pepper, garlic and fresh baby spinach followed by a healthy dose of Parmesan cheese, half & half and crumbled feta. The tortellini gets tossed in along with a little of the pasta water to help thicken it and form a silky sauce. The outcome is pure decadence.

This is one of my favorite go to meals – you can switch up the pasta, the vegetables, add in shrimp or cooked chicken. It’s highly customizable and … always delicious.

Spinach Alfredo Cheese Tortellini

Cheese Tortellini with Spinach Feta Alfredo Sauce

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 3 - 4 servings

Cheese Tortellini with Spinach Feta Alfredo Sauce

Cheese tortellini smothered in a rich, creamy spinach and feta alfredo sauce. The entire dish comes together in about twenty minutes making it a great meal without a lot of fuss.

Ingredients:

12 ounces tortellini (preferably fresh)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 roasted or fresh red bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
coarse salt and fresh black pepper
5 cups fresh baby spinach
1 cup half & half
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1/2 cup crumbled feta

Instructions:

  1. Cook the tortellini in plenty of salted water to al dente according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium frying pan heat the oil over medium-low heat and cook the pepper and garlic 4 - 5 minutes stirring often.
  3. Turn heat up to medium and add the spinach. When it begins to wilt add the half & half. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring often 3 minutes.
  4. Add the Parmesan cheese, about 1/2 cup of the water from the pasta pot and the cooked tortellini. Stir gently to coat the pasta until a sauce forms about 2 minutes.
  5. Stir in the feta and remove from heat. Let it sit a couple of minutes for the sauce to thicken up. Serve with more Parmesan.

Notes:

Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved

http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/cheese-tortellini-with-spinach-feta-alfredo/

Chickpea Flour Falafel Pitas

Chickpea Flour Falafel Pitas

Pan-fried falafel stuffed inside pitas with a lemony sour cream sauce, crumbled feta, lettuce and pine nuts. The falafel are made with chickpea flour alone, there aren’t any real chickpeas involved like you would find in a traditional version. These are cheater’s falafel, suited for when you don’t have chickpeas on hand but crave a falafel like there’s no tomorrow.

Chickpea flour to the rescue, along with garlic, onion, fresh cilantro, ground cumin and coriander. The falafel are pan-fried and come out crusty with creamy interiors. They’re texture is a little different from a regular chickpea falafel, a little drier, but the same flavors are all there.

For those of you wondering what on earth a falafel is, it’s a deep-fried chickpea fritter. A middle-eastern croquette of sorts. One of my favorite foods in the entire universe. Ridiculously delicious beyond explanation.

I usually make tzatziki or tahini sauce or sometimes both but I didn’t have any of the ingredients on hand. It was slim-pickin’s. I did have lemons and sour cream so I made a bright, simple sauce. I also had the remnants of feta cheese, just enough to give it a little salty bite and because I was craving the crunch of pine nuts I sprinkled a few of those on too. Falafel reinvented.

Craving abated.

Chickpea Flour Falafel

Chickpea Flour Falafel Pitas

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Yield: about 4 servings

Chickpea Flour Falafel Pitas

Pan-fried falafel, chickpea fritters, stuffed inside pitas with a lemony sour cream sauce, crumbled feta, lettuce and pine nuts.

Ingredients:

falafel:
1/3 cup finely diced yellow onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup fresh cilantro or parsley, finely chopped
1 + 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 cup hot water (not boiling)
olive oil, for pan-frying
sauce:
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 - 3 tablespoons water
for serving:
pitas
shredded lettuce + diced tomatoes + thin-sliced red onion
crumbled feta cheese
pine nuts

Instructions:

  1. Combine all the falafel ingredients except the oil in a bowl and whisk together. Add the hot water and stir until combined. Allow to rest ten minutes.
  2. Meanwhile whisk together all the sauce ingredients, adding enough water to make a sauce.
  3. In a deep-sided skillet or frying pan heat 1/4-inch of oil over medium heat. Scoop up heaping tablespoons of the batter and pat into discs. Cook in batches about 2 minutes on each side. Add more oil if needed. Drain on paper towels.
  4. Stuff in pitas with your choice of fixins and drizzle generously with sauce.

Notes:

Adapted from Bob's Red Mill

Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved

http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/chickpea-flour-falafel-pitas/

Greek Mac and Cheese

Greek Mac 'n' Cheese

This mac & cheese starts with classic white cheddar cheese and then hands it a Greek twist with feta cheese, baby spinach, roasted red peppers, dill weed and cinnamon. Yes, you read that right. Cinnamon. It joins forces with all the other flavors and kind of fades into the background so it doesn’t jump right out at you.

At first bite you taste the creamy richness of the sauce peppered with the salty bite of feta followed by the brininess of jarred red peppers and tender baby spinach. There’s a little touch of sweetness from the dill weed and cinnamon. All of it wrapped around chewy elbow macaroni.

I’ll let you in on a macaroni & cheese secret. One I learned from my Mom. Because I like you lots and lots. Instead of mixing the cheese sauce into the macaroni and then pouring it into your casserole dish, put the macaroni in the casserole dish and pour the sauce over top. It will turn out a lot creamier and less dry. I think it’s because the macaroni doesn’t have a chance to soak up the sauce as much as when it’s mixed in. I tested this theory when I first started making mac & cheese – mine wasn’t turning out as good as my Mom’s – this is why. You can use this technique with any mac & cheese recipe. It will look you have too much sauce but it will soak in as it bakes. Trust me.

Anyhoo, this takes more time to prep than it does to bake. It’s time well spent. Trust me. You start by sauteing onion, garlic and red peppers then you make the cheese sauce while the macaroni cooks. The cheese sauce has butter, flour, dijon, milk and lots of white cheddar cheese. The feta, spinach, dill, cinnamon and cooked aromatics get mixed into the sauce then poured over the cooked pasta, topped with panko for a little bit of crunch and baked.

Twenty five minutes later the most comforting and delicious tasting mac & cheese you will ever want to meet will come out of your oven.

Trust me.

Greek Mac and Cheese

Greek Mac & Cheese

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4 - 6 servings as a side dish

Greek Mac & Cheese

This mac & cheese starts with classic white cheddar cheese and then hands it a Greek twist with feta cheese, baby spinach, roasted red peppers, dill weed and cinnamon.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 shallots or 1 small red onion, diced
1 (jarred) roasted red pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
coarse salt and fresh black pepper
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) butter, plus more for greasing the pan
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons dried dill weed
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
3 cups shredded white cheddar cheese
1 + 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese
3 cups baby spinach leaves
8 ounces elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs

Instructions:

  1. In a large saucepan heat the olive oil over medium-low heat and saute the shallots, red pepper, garlic, a big pinch of salt and a dash of black pepper until tender, stirring often about 7 - 8 minutes. Remove to a small bowl and set aside.
  2. In the same pan over low heat melt the butter and stir in the flour. Cook, stirring 4 - 5 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk and mustard then turn the heat up. Bring to a simmer, still stirring and cook 5 minutes.
  3. Turn heat down to low and whisk in the dill weed, cinnamon, nutmeg and cheddar. Stir until the cheese is melted. Remove from heat. Stir in the onion mixture, feta and spinach. Taste and season lightly with salt and heavy with black pepper.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in plenty of salted boiling water to al dente. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 9x13 or similar sized casserole pan.
  5. Drain the pasta and add half to the buttered casserole pan. Ladle half the sauce over it. Add the rest of the pasta and then top with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle the top with panko.
  6. Bake 25 minutes until bubbly and lightly golden around the edges. Remove from oven and let sit 5 - 10 minutes before serving.

Notes:

Adapted from Saveur

Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved

http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/greek-mac-and-cheese/

No-Knead Olive Bread with Whipped Feta Cream Cheese

No-Knead Olive Bread

Rustic peasant bread generously polka-dotted with green and black olive slices. It’s holey texture is held together by a crispy crust that is simply irresistible.

One of the best things about it is how easy and fast it comes together with no kneading at all! With 10 minutes of hands on time making homemade bread is a snap. The only hard thing about it is the wait. 8-12 hours of rise time. Don’t fret. It’s a small price to pay for not kneading.

Whipped Feta Cream Cheese

I say it’s worth every ticking minute of anticipation because springing forth from your oven will be one of the best homemade breads you ever met. In your entire life.

There’s nothing more warm and welcoming than freshly baked bread. The heady scent of yeast makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I  know of no better comfort.

No-Knead Overnight Olive Bread

You can’t have a wonderful bread like this without something equally delicious to slather over it. How about fluffy cream cheese whipped up with feta? I’ll just let that sink in.

Let the feeding frenzy begin.

No-Knead Olive Bread

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

No-Knead Olive Bread

Rustic peasant bread generously polka-dotted with green and black olive slices. It's holey texture is held together by a crispy crust that is simply irresistible.

Ingredients:

3 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour or bread flour (or a mix of the two)
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast or 1/3 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 + 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1 + 1/2 cups sliced olives (I use a mix of black and green)

Instructions:

  1. To a large bowl add the flour, yeast and salt. Whisk together. Blot dry the olives with paper towels and add them to the flour mixture tossing to coat them.
  2. Pour the water into the bowl and stir until well combined. Cover the bowl with saran wrap and let it sit on your counter 8 - 12 hours.
  3. Lightly flour a piece of parchment or aluminum foil and turn the dough out onto it. Fold the dough over on itself a few times. It will be soft and sticky.
  4. Cover with plastic and let sit 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. for 20 minutes and put a Dutch oven or other large oven safe pot with a lid into the oven to heat up.
  5. Shape the dough into a circle that will fit the bottom of your pan and lift it with the parchment carefully placing it into the bottom of the hot pot. Cover with the lid.
  6. Bake 30 minutes with the lid on then remove the lid and bake 10 minutes longer. Let cool in the pan 15 minutes then remove to a cutting board.
  7. Store tightly covered in a cool, dry place up to 4 days.

Notes:

Adapted from white Cheddar No-Knead Bread

Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved

http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/no-knead-olive-bread-with-whipped-feta-cream-cheese/

Whipped Feta Cream Cheese

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 10 minutes

 Whipped Feta Cream Cheese

Fluffy cream cheese whipped up with feta makes a delicious spread for home baked bread, sandwiches, crackers, toast and bagels.

Ingredients:

4 ounces feta cheese
4 ounces cream cheese, bar or whipped, at room temperature
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions:

  1. Add the feta and cream cheese to a food processor and pulse until combined. Drizzle in the olive oil with the machine running and process until smooth, creamy and fluffy.

Notes:

Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved

http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/no-knead-olive-bread-with-whipped-feta-cream-cheese/

Olive Bread with Whipped Feta Cream Cheese

Orzo with Chickpeas, Zucchini and Feta

Orzo with Chickpeas, Zucchini and Feta

Orzo pasta tossed with zucchini, chickpeas, feta and basil with a lemon-kissed dressing. You can eat it warm or cold, as a side or a main, for dinner, lunch or a midnight snack. The bright, tangy flavors will have you coming back for more…. 

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