Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Spinach Pie

This recipe is one of my mom's specialities. I was always happy to eat it as a kid, and now it's one of my family's favorites.

Prep: 20 minutes
Bake: 40 minutes
Yield: 16 servings

2 10 ounce packages frozen chopped spinach
4-6 ounces feta cheese, grated or crumbled
2 cups cottage cheese
1 package phyllo dough
1 stick margarine, melted
2 eggs
2 Tbsp dried parsley
2 green onions with tops, minced, or about half of a medium regular onion, finely diced
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the sheets of phyllo dough in half, they will then fit into a 9 x 13 Pyrex (or other type) dish very well. Keep them covered with a damp paper towel or damp linen cloth, they dry out very quickly.

Thaw spinach in a colander over a bowl. Sprinkle with a little salt to draw out the water. Keep pressing out as much water as possible. You can thaw the spinach in the microwave to get things started, but do not overcook.

Beat eggs, then add parsley, onion, cheese and salt and pepper. Mix well. Don't add the spinach until the phyllo dough is in the bottom of the pan.

Melt butter or margarine. Using a pastry brush, spread a little butter in the bottom of your pan. Lay 2 sheets phyllo on this, brush with butter, layer two more sheets, brush with butter. Continue until about 16-20 sheets are in the bottom of the pan.

Add the spinach to the egg and cheese mixture, mix well. Spread on phyllo in the pan. Continue to layer phyllo and butter.

Bake in pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 40-45 minutes, until lop layer is brown and crisp, but not burned. Cool 5 minutes before cutting into squares.

Tips and Tricks
This dish freezes well. To save space in the freezer, use a spatula to remove the pie from the baking dish and wrap in heavy duty foil before freezing. To bake, thaw in refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking. Since this recipe makes such a large amount, I often use half the phyllo dough and make a half batch of spinach filling. Leftovers are also tasty served chilled.
Make It Healthier
Use low-fat cottage cheese and the lesser amount of feta cheese. Use reduced-fat phyllo dough. Omit salt and use trans-fat free spread in place of butter.
How Kids Can Help
My toddler loves to use the pastry brush to apply the butter to the sheets. Older kids can help press water out of the spinach. Use Pampered Chef chopper to chop onions.
Phyllo dough is usually found in the freezer section of the grocery store, with the pastry items and pie crust.

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