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Stuffed Cheesy Pull-Apart Bread with Spinach & Feta

You know those times when you’re sitting there editing your photos and you just know that they didn’t do your food justice? Well, maybe not, depending on how many of you blog, post an obscene amount of food photos of everything you eat on Instagram, or (long shot) use them to make professional-ish family recipe albums. Just me??

Try as I may, I can never seem to get that money shot of this pull-apart bread that just screams to my readers, ‘oh my gawd, run to your kitchen and make this NOW.’ Which is a real shame. It’s that good. But I (in the effort of full disclosure) won’t let that hold me back a single second longer from sharing this mouth-watering recipe with you.

Spinach & Feta Stuffed Cheesy Bread 2

Inspired by Domino’s stuffed cheesy bread, except with noticeably less cheese. It was on purpose, I promise! It’s not nearly as rich as the original, and it may have less cheese stringing for miles and miles, but it delivers the same flavors, flawlessly. And with less calories.

Hey, sometimes that’s important.

Spinach & Feta Stuffed Cheesy Bread

Fresh spinach leaves, feta cheese, and freshly minced garlic are sandwiched between buttery, flaky layers of bread with a crispy mozzarella crust on top. Get ready to have your taste buds rocked.

Spinach & Feta Stuffed Cheesy Bread 3

Stuffed Cheesy Bread with Spinach & Feta

Bread Dough:

1/2 cups water
2/3 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbs salt
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast, or regular yeast, proofed
3-4 cups all purpose flour

For the filling:

3-4 tbs butter, softened
2-3 large hand fulls of fresh baby spinach
1/2-3/4 cup feta cheese crumbles
one bulb of garlic diced
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions

1. In a small sauce pan add water, buttermilk, butter, sugar and salt and heat until the butter has just melted. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.
2. Once the liquids have cooled add them to the mixing bowl of your electric mixer. Using the dough hook on medium speed mix in yeast and flour one cup at a time. Stop adding flour once the dough has come together and is only lightly sticky.
3. Turn the mixing up to high speed and mix for about 2-3 minutes or until the dough is elastic.
4. Turn the dough out into a buttered bowl. Cover with a dish towel and set it someplace warm to rise for about one hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
5. Once dough has risen, on a lightly floured surface roll dough out until it is 1/4-1/2 an inch thick. Using a sharp knife cut dough into 3×3 squares.
6. Using your hands stretch each square out so it’s about 1/4 inch thick. Spread each square with butter, spread with some minced garlic, feta cheese and then place 2-4 spinach leaves on the top.
7. In a buttered bread pan, place each square in sandwiching the filling with each layer. It gets a little messy but that is ok. Squeeze each square in the pan.
8. Cover and allow to rise for an additional 30-40 minutes or until the dough has risen about 1 inch above the top of your bread pan.
9. Bake at 350 on the middle rack of your oven for 15-20 minutes, sprinkle top with mozzarella cheese. Return to oven and bake for another 15 minutes or until the bread has browned on top and when you flick the top it sounds hollow.

recipe adapted from Bakeaholic Mama

The ‘Popeye’ Sandwich

Let me introduce you to our ‘popeye’ sandwiches. They’re packed full of protein with chicken, bacon, and spinach, stacked on a crusty ciabatta, or torta, roll, and (for the pies de resistance)  topped with a rich, creamy Alfredo sauce drizzle.

It may be green and leafy, but spinach—a renowned muscle builder—is also one of the ultimate power-house foods. It’s also heart-healthy, chock full of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals. Popeye was definitely on to something, which is probably why, now in the food-osphere, spinach is often referred to by the classic cartoon moniker. Hence the name of our sandwich. I’m lucky the sons are down for all this healthy green in just one sandwich, and can pile it on. Maybe it’s just the bacon. Bacon makes everything better. Am I right or what? We lightly bread and fry our chicken breasts, but I’ve used grilled chicken before and this sandwich is just as delicious, albeit a whole lot healthier.

The hubs and the sons like their popeye’s as is with the fixin’s pictured, but I love mine with a few thinly sliced red onions and a slice or two of fresh tomato. Doesn’t that just sound like it’d do a body good?!

Popeye Sandwiches

 Popeye Sandwich

chicken breasts (crispy or grilled) we filet ours so that they’re not super thick and more patty-like
bacon, cooked crisp
fresh spinach, washed and dried
Alfredo sauce
ciabatta or torta rolls, or some other crusty bread

Directions

Again there’s no real ‘recipe’ here per se.

1. Cut your roll in half. Add a piece of prepared chicken to the bottom bun. Top with bacon. Load it up with that fresh spinach.
2. Drizzle some tasty Alfredo sauce over top the spinach and top the sandwich with the other half of the bun.
3. Repeat for as many sandwiches as needed and then dig in.

Greek Spinach Feta Chicken Pockets

These little greek pastries are seriously to die for. No, really. They’re that good! I hadn’t even finished eating yet, but I still had half a pastry left, and the sons were already squabbling over who had called dibs first. Any meal that has the sons arguing over who deserves another helping of any leafy green is a win in my book.

These bring back a classic combinations, chock full of spinach and yes, two kinds of cheese- feta and mozzarella.  The feta adds a bit of saltiness, which means you don’t have to add any additional salt in making the recipe, and the melted mozzarella helps bind everything together nicely. The puff pastry, especially after the egg wash, bakes in  perfect toasty, crusty complement to it’s filling.  Of course, these are two of the best characteristics of baking with cheeses and with pastry – the salty addition and the toasty exterior.

Get your Greek on tonight with one of these bad boys.

Greek Spinach Feta Chicken Pockets

 Greek Spinach Feta Chicken Pockets

recipe adapted from Chef In Training

1 sheet Puff Pastry, thawed
2 oz. cream cheese softened
3/4 cup frozen spinach thawed and well drained
1 cup cooked and shredded chicken
2 green onions chopped
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 egg + 2 tsp water, well beaten

Greek Spinach Feta Chicken Pockets 2

Look at all that melty, cheesy goodness!

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Carefully unfold (you don’t want it to tear) the sheet of puff pastry out onto a lightly floured surface.
3. Spread the softened cream cheese evenly over the pastry sheet, leaving about 1/2 inch of space along the pastry sheet’s edges.
4. Spread the thawed & drained spinach evenly over 1/2 of the puff pastry sheet (width wise), again leaving about a 1/2 inch of space along all the edges.
5. Next, spread the chicken and green onions evenly over the spinach, still saving a 1/2 inch space around the edges.
6. Finally, sprinkle the feta and mozzarella cheeses evenly over top of the chicken, still leaving a 1/2 inch space around edges.
7. Carefully fold over the half of the puff pastry that doesn’t have anything on it. Rub the edges with a little bit of water on your finger and press them together to seal them up nice and tight . Brush the outside with the egg wash.
8. Place the puff pastry ‘pocket’ on a greased cookie sheet, or one with a silicon baking mat, and bake for 15-20 minute or until the outside is a nice and crisp golden brown.
9. Cut into slices and enjoy!

 

Creamy Tortellini with spinach & tomatoes

So in my head I had this pegged for a meatless Monday meal post, buuuuut Monday was Memorial Day, and you totally know how it is when all those cookout invites from family & friends get in the way of reason and productivity. Tortellini Tuesday? Totally a thing (at least for today).

All star, and easy to follow, this meal was right up our alley.

Creamy Tortellini with spinach & tomatoes

4 Sons 'R' Us: Creamy Tortellini with spinach and tomatoes

recipe adapted from Bomb Shell Bling

1 lb cheese tortellini
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 cup chopped fresh spinach
1 (14.5 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon onion flakes
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

1. Begin by boiling your tortellini noodles until they are al dente (aka ready). Follow the directions on the package for boiling time.
2. While the tortellini is boiling, roughly chop the spinach.
3. Heat a large skillet using medium heat and put the two minced garlic into it. Sautee it briefly until fragrant, about thirty seconds or so.
4. Add into the skillet the petite diced tomatoes (undrained), spinach, salt, pepper, dried basil, and onion flakes.
5. Cook and stir over medium high heat until the mixture begins to bubble.
6. In another bowl, combine the flour and half-and-half. Whisk until fairly smooth.
7. Add the creamy mixture into the the skillet along with the parmesan cheese.
8. Heat through and reduce the heat to medium low and continue to stir and cook until it thickens, about 5 minutes.
9. Add the drained tortellini and mix together gently.
10. Serve and enjoy!

Spinach Parmesan Orzo

Sometimes the simplest things taste the best. Just like I sometimes need a break from the rigmarole of everyday life, sometimes my taste buds need a break from complex flavor combinations. This orzo is just the thing for times like that. With a simple, yet creamy, low-fat sauce coating the tiny rice-shaped pasta and wilted spinach, it makes a great side dish, especially with chicken or fish, or even a light main meal.  This is the happy place where health & comfort (food) meet.

Spinach Parmesan Orzo

4 Sons 'R' Us: Spinach Parmesan Orzo

recipe adapted from Life Tastes Good

4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3-4 cups of fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

1. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium skillet over medium high heat and add 1 cup orzo. Stir until the orzo is lightly browned/toasted. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until the orzo is tender and the liquid is absorbed.
2. While the orzo is simmering it is a good time to prepare the spinach. In a large skillet melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add 1 tablespoon minced garlic and saute for about 30 seconds. Add 10 ounces of baby spinach and a pinch of salt. Saute until wilted. Set aside until orzo is done.
3. When orzo is done add the spinach and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and mix well. Give it a taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. The Parmesan will add some saltiness to the dish, so be sure to give it a taste to ensure you don’t add too much salt!

Spinach And Cheddar Egg Bake

Spinach And Cheddar Egg Bake

I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about breakfast, and breakfast foods in general, that has all my guys (husband included) running for the table. They like breakfast for breakfast, for brunch, or even for ‘brinner’ (what they’ve dubbed breakfast for dinner). I, naturally, have to be the odd man out. I like breakfast as much as the next person, but I hate going all out, making multiple complicated things, etc. If I’m making breakfast, regardless of which meal time it’s for, I like to keep it simple. Most likely, because I spend half my life in the kitchen, but who knows. That’s why this breakfast-y bake is perfect for people like me. This egg-bake is easy to throw together, and delicious. I’ve found that sometimes simple just tastes better. Oh, and I also live for those little moments in life, those little victories, like successfully sneaking spinach into my boys’ bellies.

Spinach & Cheddar Egg Bake

4 Sons 'R' Us: Spinach and Cheddar Egg Casserole

  •  5 oz fresh spinach (4 cups packed), organic is best
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, a mexican blend or mozzarella are also delicious
  • 1/3 cup green onions, thinly sliced (or diced white onion)
  • 8 eggs, lightly beaten
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Directions

  1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and spray a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Add all the spinach and stir until just wilted, about 2 minutes.
  3. Transfer the spinach to the casserole dish, spreading out so that the bottom is covered.
  4. Layer the shredded cheese and onion on top of the spinach.
  5. Beat the eggs with salt and pepper, to taste.
  6. Pour the egg mixture over the spinach, cheese, and onions.
  7. Use a fork to gently ‘stir’ so everything is evenly combined.
  8. Bake about 35 minutes or until the mixture is completely set and starting to slightly brown.
  9. Let cool about 5 minutes before cutting and serving to allow everything to settle.
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