comfort food

Skinny Spanakopita (recipe)

If you want to really confuse people working at the grocery store, all you have to do is ask one question:

“Where are the wonton wrappers?”

I had the hilarious experience last night of being passed from employee to employee, all claiming to have an “idea” where they were but ending up confused and embarrassed enough to hand me off like a football to another coworker.  It was like “Hey, here’s wonton wrapper girl, she’s your problem now.” (For the record they are often kept in the produce section near the tofu).

For something so tricky to find, wonton wrappers are a hidden gem of cooking.

It’s easy to assume wontons are only suitable for Asian tastes, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Wonton wrappers are simply the Chinese answer to ravioli–they are made of eggs, water, and flour, and have great nutritional stats.  On average, 8 wraps have 155 calories, 0.5 grams of fat, 1 gram of fiber and sugar, and 4 grams of protein.  All alone they have no taste, so it’s totally up to the chef to decide what to do with them.  I remember my first time eating wonton wrappers casually–a friend in college had stuffed them with chicken, tomatoes, and spinach.  It was a simple recipe that tasted amazing, kept well in the fridge, and didn’t cost an arm and a leg.

With my constant desire for comfort food during the winter months, I’m always looking for things to make me feel like I’m indulging but are actually on the healthy side.  After a little searching and modifying, I made some skinny spanakopita.

Image

Traditionally, spanakopita is a Greek dish made up of spinach, feta cheese, and onions, all layered between buttery pieces of phyllo dough.  It’s basically Greek lasanga and it’s incredible (I suspect the butter has quite a bit to do with its popularity.  People don’t often go ham over spinach-filled entrees unless they’re full of butter, sour cream, or cheese).

Image

With this recipe you get the best of both worlds: cheesey, garlicky spinach stuffed into crunchy wonton wrappers just waiting to be dipped into a hot bowl of marinara. It’s perfect for a quick, easy meal during the week when you don’t have a lot of time but are sick of making more spaghetti or grilled cheese. Plus, it sneaks vegetables into your day in the most delicious way!

Skinny Spanakopita

recipe adapted from Slender Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 package of wonton wrappers (usually contains 24 wrappers. This recipe won’t use all of them, so feel free to double the recipe to use up the rest of the wrappers)
  • 10 oz bag of fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese (I use full fat–more satisfying, less mystery ingredients)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 egg white (to be used as an egg wash)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  1. Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the garlic, onion, and red pepper flakes.
  3. Once the vegetable mixture is fragrant (you’ll really be able to smell the garlic), slowly add the bag of spinach and stir until the spinach has cooked and wilted.
  4. Place your spinach and vegetable mixture in a medium-sized bowl and add the feta cheese. Stir until combined.
  5. Lay out the wonton wrappers on two cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.  They should be laid out in squares
  6. Fill a bowl with warm water and get your egg white into another bowl.  Place both bowls by the cookie sheets.
  7. Assemble the skinny spanakopita by scooping a tablespoon or so of the cheese/spinach mixture on the middle of the wontons.
  8. Using the back end of a spoon or a pastry brush (if you have one), line the edges of the square wonton with warm water.  Once the edges are all wet, fold the wonton in half diagonally so you are left with a triangle. Press all the edges down to close. The warm water should help seal the stuffing in. Repeat with all the wontons.
  9. Brush each wonton (now a triangle filled with stuffing) with your egg wash.
  10. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until crispy.
  11. Serve alone or with marinara sauce, and enjoy!

ImageImage

Image

Image

Question:

  • Have you ever tried spanakopita?
  • Have you ever used wonton wrappers in a recipe?

 

Advertisements

Simple Stir Fry (recipe)

This time of year, we all start to look for comfort food.  The days when I crave salads and smoothies lately are few and far between.  The only downside to this is that most people don’t have the time, knowledge, or motivation to think up healthy ways to make comfort food.  Most of the time, we automatically grab for the baked mac and cheese or the extra cheesy pasta to keep us warm while the snow falls outside.

Oftentimes the only thing you need to make a healthy, hearty recipe is a “star”, or something to center your dish around. It’s hard to see how a dish can come together without bread or cheese, two things that we often mindlessly add to a meal to make it “complete.”

Today I’m going to share with you a really simple recipe for stir fry.  You can add whatever protein you like (lean beef, chicken, shrimp, egg, etc.) to bulk up this veggie-based dish and you’ll have a complete, hearty meal in no time.  You probably have all the ingredients at home already.  All you may need to go out and buy is the star of the show: sweet chili sauce! My roommate and I used to make this all the time in college (shoutout to Christina!) and it was eaten many a time watching E! News after classes throughout winter.

Image

Veggie Stir Fry (+ protein of choice)

Ingredients

  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 a yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup steamed broccoli (just buy the steam and go bag from the grocery store)
  • Sweet chili sauce (Mae ploy brand is very common)
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Pre-cooked shrimp, chicken, beef, etc.

First wash and lay out your veggies on a cutting board.  Cut up the peppers and onions into slices and mince the garlic.

ImageImage

Grab a sautee pan and sprinkle it with olive oil (about 2 tablespoons or so).  Put heat on medium-low and add your minced garlic. “Low and slow is the best way to cook veggies so lean more towards low heat.”

Image

Once you can smell the garlic cooking, add your pepper and onion mixture. Sautee the veggies for about 15 minutes, or until they’re cooked.  The perfect cooked veggie still has crunch to it but is soft to the touch.

Image

As the veggies are cooking, add your sweet chili sauce.  It really doesn’t matter when you add the sauce since I always pour some on top of my finished veggies anyway, but I think it’s nice to cook the veggies with the sauce too to give them a deeper flavor. Whenever you choose to add your sweet chili sauce, also put in a few shakes of red pepper flakes.  I always add a lot because I love heat in dishes, but add it carefully (start with two shakes). You can always add more later.

ImageImage

When your veggies seem about done add your pre-cooked protein.  I chose shrimp because I’m a major seafood lover and always have frozen shrimp on hand.

Image

Give it a final stir, remove from the heat, and it’s all ready to serve! Make sure to top off your bowl of stir fry with a little more sweet chili sauce…it’s so delicious and the flavor isn’t terribly strong in the veggies after they’re cooked.

This easy, low-calorie dish takes less than 30 minutes to prepare and fulfills any craving for comfort food in the dead of winter.  

Serve over brown rice and enjoy!

Image

Question

  • What’s your favorite comfort food when it gets cold outside?