Meatless Monday: Spanikopita Quesadillas

For some reason I’ve been thinking about making a huge Greek salad for days. But especially on a Meatless Monday, a Greek salad alone does not a dinner make. So when I was planning my grocery list I tried to think of a way to keep it fresh, light, and quick for a busy workday evening, but also keep it Greek. And then this wonderful thing happened. Here you go. 

* 1T butter
* 1T olive oil
* 1 small sweet onion, diced
* 1 heaping teaspoon minced garlic
* 4-5C chopped fresh spinach
* salt
* pepper
* juice of half a lemon
* 1 egg
* 1/3C crumbled feta cheese
* 1/4C freshly grated Parmesan cheese
* 1/4C fresh dill, chopped
* whole wheat tortillas

Heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat in a large pan. Sauté the onions until soften and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and spinach, season to taste with salt and pepper, squeeze lemon juice over the pan, and cook until the spinach wilts, another 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, mix together the egg, gets, Parmesan, and dill until well-combined. Add to the spinach mixture in the pan and stir together.

Heat a smaller frying pan over medium-low heat. Place one tortilla in the pan and spoon some of the spinach/cheese filling mixture onto the tortilla in an even layer. Too with another tortilla and cook about 3 minutes, flip carefully, and cook another 3 minutes.

Remove the quesadilla from the pan onto a cutting surface and allow to cool for a minute or two before cutting into sixths for serving. Repeat until you’ve used up your filling. 

Serve topped with tzatziki (or just plain Greek yogurt) alongside a nice Greek salad and enjoy!

Meatless Monday: Whipped Goat Cheese, Ricotta, and Tomato Pie

I spent the weekend with one of my best friends who was visiting from out of town. And it was wonderful. And guess what I didn’t do? I didn’t meal plan or grocery shop for the week. So I fully planned to order in tonight. But then this came together. And what do you know? It was pretty awesome. Totally simple, weeknight-friendly, and seasonal. All around win. Here you go. 

* 1 prepared pie crust (or make your own, of course)
* 12oz goat cheese
* 1/2C ricotta cheese
* 3 egg whites
* 4 large ripe tomatoes
* salt
* freshly round black pepper
* dried thyme
* olive oil
* honey (trust me)

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Spray a 9-inch pie dish with nonstick spray and transfer your crust into it.

Add the goat cheese, ricotta cheese, and egg whites to a food processor and while together.

While that’s spinning, slice the tomatoes and sprinkle generously with salt, black pepper, and thyme.

Build your pie: layer the cheese mixture into the crust; top with a layer of tomatoes; repeat. Finish with tomatoes on top.

Drizzle olive oil over the pie and bake for 40 minutes. Let the pie cool 3-5 minutes to allow it to set and then serve with a drizzle of honey. YES PLEASE. Enjoy!

Meatless Monday: Caprese Gnocchi

Not only did we homemake gnocchi ON A WEEKNIGHT, but it was indeed a ‘we’ who made them–My Tiny Sous Chef and I. The key takeaway here? Gnocchi is totally easy to make!! You can make it, too! And it doesn’t take long and it’s super fun and it’s delicious! Here you go.

serves 2-4
* 1lb potato (~1 large potato), steamed to fork-tender
* 1t salt
* 1t pepper
* 1 egg
* flour (~1-1 1/2C)
* olive oil
* 1pt grape tomatoes
* handful fresh basil leaves
* 8oz small freah mozzarella balls, like ciliegini or boccancini

Steam the potato. If you don’t have time to steam it on the stovetop, put your potato in a glass bowl or shallow dish with a little bit of water. Puncture the potato a few time with a fork, and microwave for 5-8 minutes until fork-tender. Peel the potato and then mash it in a bowl until there are no large chunks.

Add salt and pepper and mix to combine. In the bowl, move the potato into a ring, creating a small space in the middle. Break the egg into that space and use a fork to beat it lightly, then mix it together with the mashed potato until fully combined.

Move the potato mixture to a lightly floured working surface and form into a ball. Add flour, about 1/2 a cup at a time, to the ball, mixing and folding into the potato mixture to create the potato dough. When the dough is ready and no longer sticky, reform it into a ball.

Use a knife to cut the dough into fourths. Take a fourth of the potato dough and role it out by hand into a long tube until about a foot long. Then divide in half and roll back out to about a foot again. Cut the tube into small sections, about an inch long each. Repeat until all the dough has been cut down into gnocchi.

Heat a large pot of water over high heat. While that’s happening, use your thumb to press into each gnocchi or roll the individual pieces over a fork to leave an imprint. You can also leave them as-is.

Regardless, when they’re ready, place them into the boiling water. When they float to the surface, remove them from the pot. This will literally take just a minute or two at most.

Heat just a drizzle of olive oil in a large pan and move the cooked gnocchi to the pan when the oil is hot. Sauté a few mintes until they begin developing a golden brown crust. Add the tomatoes to the pan and continue sautéing, shaking the pan occasionally. When the tomatoes burst, lower the heat.

Cut the basil leaves into ribbons and add them to the pan. Carefully mix to combine and you’re ready to serve.

Add a few little balls of creamy delicious mozzarella to your plate before serving and garnish with a few extra leaves of fresh basil.

Meatless Monday: Bruschetta Pasta

Ticking all the boxes for Monday dinner requirements, this dish is a total winner. It’s easy as anything; it’s light; it’s full of flavor; it’s kid-friendly; and it’s FAST. Plus, you could easily turn this into a non-meatless dish by adding grilled chicken or quick-seared shrimp, so it’s also totally modifiable, which adds bonus points! Who doesn’t love bruschetta? A perfect combination of acidic tomato, earthy basil, sweet balsamic, a punch of garlic – another example of ticking all the boxes, right? And pasta… DUH. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEEDbruschpasta3
* 3T balsamic vinegar
* 2t minced garlic
* 1-2 shallots, minced
* 3-4 large Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
* big pile of fresh basil leaves (~1/2C tightly packed), sliced into ribbons
* lemon pepper
* 1lb wide noodle pasta (like fettuccini, tagliatelle, etc.)
* 1/4C olive oil
* freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving

Heat a large pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Cook the pasta to al dente according to package instructions (approximately 6-8 minutes usually).

While the water is coming to a boil and the pasta is cooking, dice and mince and slice everything else.

Add the balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, and minced shallots to a large serving bowl. Let it sit for a bit to allow the flavors to come together a bit. Add the tomatoes, basil, and lemon pepper. Mix carefully to combine, and then let it sit and marinate a bit while the pasta finishes cooking.

As soon as the pasta’s ready, drain it and add it directly to the serving dish. Pour the olive oil over it, and then carefully mix everything together until the noodles are all coated and everything is well blended. Serve topped with freshly grated Parmesan and enjoy!