Tag Archives: feta

Spanikopita and Beef Pie

Oh, no. Not phyllo dough! Those words always come to mind when I see a recipe that contains this challenging ingredient. I swear it’s easier to line a pan with wet toilet paper than to work with phyllo dough. Honestly. If you don’t work quickly and carefully, you end up with hundreds of shards of shattered phyllo sheets. It’s maddening, but in the end, it’s worth the effort. Really. Just work fast.

I saw this recipe in Bon Appetit, but With Roger’s GBM fight and my concern about him being able to retain weight, I’ve made a few modifications and have also added the grass-fed beef for protein, calories, and Omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for the heart and brain. The pine nuts add a nice texture and a nutty flavor, too. 

4 – 8 oz. packages of frozen spinach

½ lb. grass-fed ground beef

3 whole eggs

1 leek, white and pale-green parts only, thinly sliced and washed well of any residual dirt

1 medium onion, chopped

5 scallions, white and pale-green parts, sliced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

8 oz. of feta cheese, crumbled

¼ cup pine nuts

1 package of frozen phyllo dough sheets (need about 12 sheets)

½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

1/3 cup chopped dill

1/3 cup chopped basil

3 tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped

¾ cup melted clarified butter

Zest from one medium lemon

1 – 9-inch spring-form pan

Heat oven to 350-degrees.

Butter the intact spring-form pan.

Let the phyllo slowly defrost in the refrigerator for 8hrs – overnight. Bring dough to room temperature before you begin to work with it. Keep covered with a kitchen towel continously.

Bring spinach to room temperature. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible with a clean dish towel. Add the spinach to a large bowl.

Cook ground beef until brown. Drain grease and add to the spinach.

Sauté the leek, garlic, and onion in the ground beef pan until translucent. Add to the spinach and ground beef.

Add the herbs, feta cheese, parmesan cheese, lemon zest, pine nuts, and scallions to the bowl. Mix. Feta and Parmesan cheese are salty all on their own, so I didn’t add any extra salt. Before adding the eggs, taste and add more to taste.

Scramble the three eggs and add to the mixture. Mix again.

Brush butter on one side of a phyllo sheet, working very quickly, and press and tuck the phyllo sheet into the bottom of the pan, buttered side up. Repeat with 2 more (brush top with butter before placement).

 Don’t forget to return the kitchen towel to the phyllo stack every time you remove a sheet from the pile.

Now begin adding the remaining sheets around the edges so that ½ of the sheet spreads across the middle. You want to have enough overhang that you can fold it all over the center (see photo).

Bake for an hour until the top is golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes and release the ring. Cut into wedges and serve. Enjoy.

Eat well!


“I’m Greek. My body produces feta cheese.”

  • Zach Galifianakis

Spinach Lasagna


Bacon. We’ve all been reading the bad press about my favorite pork product these days, but I’m sorry, I just can’t live without it. I noticed many things on the WHO list of verboten foods that I will eat much less of, but refuse to give up entirely. I have had several relatives who lived very long and fruitful lives on several slices of bacon every morning. Moderation in all things, as they say.

With this tragic news in mind, I decided to make spinach lasagna for dinner. It just seemed like the right thing to do. I took some shortcuts with this recipe and purchased quality tomato sauce in a jar, pre-made pesto, and store-bought fresh pasta. These shortcuts will shave off quite a bit of time. Here’s what you’ll need –

Pre-heat oven to 400-degrees.


1-24 oz. jar of quality tomato sauce (I used Bianco DiNapoli. There are two in the photo, but I only used one)

2 packages of Marina’s fresh pasta sheets (you can get them at Whole Foods), which equals 22oz. of pasta.

30 oz. of quality ricotta cheese

5 oz. baby spinach, chopped

6 oz. pesto (I used Cibo Naturals)

9 cloves of garlic, minced

1 medium onion, diced small

1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup shaved Parmesan cheese (optional topping)

1 whole egg

1 tsp. Piment d’Espelette (optional)

1 tbsp. EVOO

1 tbsp. salt

1 tsp. chili flakes


Add the EVOO to the pan and bring the heat to medium. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, and then add the garlic and cook until aromatic (careful not to burn!). Toss in the spinach and cook until soft. Let cool.


Mix the ricotta, feta cheese, chili flakes, pesto, Parmesan, salt, spinach, and egg well in a large bowl. Set aside.

Cook the pasta according to package instructions, but remove the pasta before it’s al dente. You want it to be a bit toothy.

Add a generous spoonful of sauce to the bottom of the lasagna pan. Add pasta sheet to cover the bottom and then add ricotta. Repeat until you run out of pasta sheets and ricotta.

IMG_0290 (1)

Pour the sauce over the top of the lasagna. If you choose, you can sprinkle the shaved Parmesan cheese on top of the tomato sauce. Cover the entire pan with foil and cook for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for 20 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and golden brown. Eat well!

IMG_0293 (1)

Eat Well!


“Once again, my life has been saved by lasagna.” – Garfield