Thursday, March 26, 2009

Meatballs with Egg Lemon Sauce and White Rice

Tonight's dinner is also called youvarlakia avgolemono in Greek this means meatballs in lemon sauce. The meal is especially easy to make with the time saving items I add to the recipe and you could make it in less than 20 minutes.

1 package of pre-made meatballs or you can make them fresh
1 Box of Beef Broth - I used Swanson's organic beef broth
1 cup of white rice - I like Uncle Ben's Original
2 lemons
Fresh Broccoli
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. In a sauce pan heat up boil 2 1/4 cup of the beef broth
2. When the beef broth is boiling add a cup of rice
3. In a separate pan boil the broccoli in water covered

While all the above is cooking make the lemon sauce - called avgolemono in Greek
1. In a large sauce pan heat about a cup of beef broth on low
2. Beat eggs and the juice of 2 lemons until well blended
3. Add a little bit of the warm beef stock to the sauce and blend well
4. Add the egg, lemon and beef broth mix to the pan and stir constantly
5. When it is well blended add the meat balls and cover
6. Cook just until the broth and meatballs are fully warm or cooked

Tonight's Music

This a link to the book I use when I have to look up a Greek recipe. I highly recommend it since it not only gives you good recipes but it also tells you a little history about the food. Also listed is a great CD that my family and I enjoy listening to when we cook Greek Food or just feel like Greek dancing.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Galaktoboureko: Custard-filled Phyllo Pastry

Today I have an expiring gallon of milk so I decided to make my all time favorite Greek Desert. In Greek: γαλακτομπούρεκο, pronounced ghah-lahk-toh-BOO-reh-ko. It is called Galaktoboureko because it is made with lots of Gala which means milk in Greek. BTW How long does milk last after the expiration date>>

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Tonight's Music Blip


* 6 eggs
* 1 cup of sugar
* 1 cup of semolina (fine grind), cream of wheat, or rice flour
* 1/2 teaspoon of grated lemon peel
* 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
* 6 cups of whole milk (1 1/2 quarts)
* 1/2 - 1 cup of butter, melted
* 1 pound of commercial phyllo dough sheets, defrosted
* ------------
* For the syrup:
* 1 1/3 cups of sugar
* 1 cup of water
* 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice
* 1 slice of lemon peel


1. Make the syrup: In a saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil over medium-low heat. Add the lemon peel, reduce heat to low, and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, add lemon juice (do not stir) and set aside, away from the heat, to cool.

2. Make the filling: With an electric mixer on high speed, beat 2 eggs with 1/3 the sugar until light and frothy, add 2 more eggs and another 1/3 of the sugar, and repeat. Continue beating for 2 minutes. Add the semolina, lemon juice, and grated lemon peel. Continue beating and add the milk and 2 tablespoons of the melted butter. Beat for another 5-6 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy.

3. Preheat the oven to 350F (175C)

4. Pour the filling into a pot and heat over medium heat. Stir vigorously with a whisk until it thickens to the consistency of ketchup (or puréed baby food). Remove from heat immediately and set aside.

5. Make the dessert: I like to use a rectangle pan the same size of the phyllo dough but you can also use an 11-inch diameter round baking pan. Brush the bottom, sides, and rim of the pan with melted butter. Open the phyllo dough and count the sheets. Half will be used on the bottom, half on top.

6. Lay one sheet of phyllo on the bottom of the pan, starting at one side and letting excess phyllo extend over one side if you are using a round pan. Brush the phyllo on the bottom of the pan with butter. Lay another sheet over the first, brush with butter, and continue until half the phyllo sheets have been used.

7. Give the custard a quick whisk and spoon with a spatula over the bottom layer of phyllo sheets, spreading evenly so it covers the bottom out to the sides with no gaps and no air bubbles.

Note: If you are inexperiened with phyllo, check my video to learn how butter and add the syrup to galaktoboureko.

8. Top layer of phyllo: Brush each phyllo sheet with with butter, then one at a time, fold in the extending pieces butter the tops. If you are using a round pan fold in corners as well so all the phyllo is inside the pan and brushed with butter. When all the phyllo has been used brush the top with butter.

9. Cut the galaktoboureko into serving-sized pieces (I cut 20) using a very sharp knife to cut all the way through to the bottom. The phyllo and custard filling are delicate so cut with care. (My mother-in-law uses a razor to do the first cut and then follow up with a knife. I've also heard that some use an electric knife.)

10. Bake on one rack lower than the middle of the oven at 350F (175C) for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

11. Remove from the oven and pour the cooled syrup evenly over the hot pastry. Pour up to and around the edges. Set aside and allow to cool and absorb the syrup (a few hours). Serve sprinkled with cinnamon if desired.

Yield: 20 pieces

Galaktoboureko should be eaten within a day or two. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

For a change of taste: In the filling, substitute the grated lemon peel and lemon juice with grated orange peel and strained orange juice.

Piggies in a Blanket

Piggies & A Blip

If it was Halloween I would call these cute little piggies, "mummies," but being that today is a cold rainy day my 5 year old called, these yummy quick dinner bytes, piggies in a blanket. He said they looked real cozy in their blankets.

To make them extra cute we added eyes made of mustard and a mouth made of ketchup. They're the perfect, fun and fast energy food before an evening of baseball practice. I also served it with cut up apple for desert.



11-ounce can of Pillsbury Croissants or Breadsticks
12-pack of hot dogs - I buy the low fat Hebrew National Hot Dogs
Yellow mustard


1. For each piggy separate one Croissants from the roll.

2. Wrap one strip at a time snugly around the hot dog. Depending on the size of the hot dog. Leave about 1/2 inch of hot dog exposed for the face area and continue wrapping the top of the hot dog.

3. Bake the piggies on a cookie sheet at 350º for 15 to 18 minutes or until the Croissants wrapping is golden brown.

4. Remove the piggies from the oven and cool them for 5 minutes. Add yellow mustard eyes and a mouth made of ketchup just before serving. Makes 12 piggies.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Pizza

Tonight's Music Blip

Monday, March 23, 2009

Lasagna with Italian Sausage & Meat Sauce

Tonight's Dinner & A Blip

Today while listening to one of my favorite artists, Peter Gabriel, I cooked one of our favorite meals, lasagna with Italian sausage and meat sauce. The best part about making lasagna is that I can clean up and then sit and relax for a little bit before we eat.

Tonight's Music Blip
The Album: Peter Gabriel, "So"

16oz. 1/2 Package of Lasagna
2lb Part Skim Milk or Regular Ricotta Cheese
2 cups of Mozzarella cheese
6 oz Parmesan cheese - 1 bag I like the finely shredded kind
2 cups Italian Five Cheese -1 bag the package says: Provolone, Asiago, Parmesan, Mozzarella, Romano
2 eggs lightly beaten
2 - 8oz jars of Ragu Organic Garden Veggie Pasta Sauce - I used this sauce because it is the closest and healthiest to making it fresh from my garden tomatoes
1 lb of lean ground beef
1 lb of sweet Italian sausage without casing
1 tsp of Fresh Oregano and Basil or dried if fresh is not available
Olive Oil

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Boil your water and prepare your lasagna according to the package. While the lasagne is cooking for about 10 minutes I start my sauce.
3. I first chop or press garlic into some olive oil and cook it for a little bit. I then add the lean ground meat and sausage until the are cooked. When they are almost cooked I add the fresh chopped basil and oregano. Once the meat is cooked I add the sauce. I let all of it simmer for a little while.
4. While I wait for these to finish cooking in a medium bowl, combine Ricotta Cheese and all the the cheeses, and eggs; mix well. Set aside about 1/4 cup of the cheese without mixing it with the ricotta and cheese. You will be using this to top the lasagna at the end.
5. By now my lasagna is ready and I add a little cold water to help it not stick together.
6. After everything is ready I start layering the meat sauce in a 9"x13" pan.
7. Spread 1 cup of meat-sauce at the bottom of the pan.
8. Place 3 cooked lasagna noodles over suace.
9. Spread 1/2 of the cheese mixture over the noodles, top with 1/3 of meat sauce mixture.
10. Repeat layering until you reach the top of the pan. Be sure finish it with meat sauce and top it off with left over cheese mix.
11. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes until the lasagna is bubbly.
12. Uncover for a few minutes and cook for about 5 minutes until the cheese is finished melting.
13. Enjoy!!

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