Let’s talk food for Super Bowl Sunday!

The final game of football season should be enjoyable for everyone. While I am not a big fan of the sport, I do love having all my friends and family over. I simply prefer to be in the kitchen cooking and chatting while my guests watch the game. 

When creating their menu, most people think: pizza, sloppy joes, chili, chicken wings or hoagies. This may not be a “traditional” recipe for the big game, but if you like to serve something healthy you’re going to want to add this to your selection.

I will definitely be preparing the basics as well this year, but it is nice to have a couple of healthy alternatives, especially for friends who are vegetarians.

I know there are also a lot of vegan eaters out there, so this recipe is perfect for you, too! Veggie balls are a great appetizer you can use for any occasion that everyone will happily indulge in. When I first started making them, my family would never have thought to choose them over chips and dip or pigs in a blanket. However, after making them for many different occasions these have become a fam-favorite!

Do not let the amount of ingredients intimidate you. Do your prep (mise-en-place) and these veggies balls will come together in no time at all. What’s even better: you can make them ahead of time and they freeze beautifully.

Go ahead and make these, they are so uniquely delicious your guests will be talking about for many Super Bowls to come!

Just a note: The pictures show more amounts than the recipe calls for – I was making them for Thanksgiving and I had to make 100!

This recipe is courtesy of “The Meatball Shop” cookbook by Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow. It will make 24 servings for your family and friends who will be sure to become veggie ball lovers.

Ingredients for Veggie Balls

2 cups lentils
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
2 tsp. salt 
3 tbsp. tomato paste
8 ounces button mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
3 large eggs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh walnuts

Combine the lentils and 2 quarts water in a medium stock pot and bring to a boil over high heat.

Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the lentils are soft, (but not falling apart), about 25 minutes.

Drain the lentils and allow to cool.

Add 1/4 cup of olive oil to a large frying pan and sauté the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme and salt over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and just beginning to brown.

Add the tomato paste and continue to cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, for 15 more minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed.

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and allow to cool to room temperature. 

When cool, add the lentils to the vegetable mixture.

Add the eggs, parmesan, bread crumbs, parsley, and walnuts to the cooled vegetable mixture and mix by hand until thoroughly incorporated.

Place in the refrigerator for 25 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and use your hand to evenly coat the entire surface.

Set aside.

Roll the mixture into round, golf ball size “meatballs” (about 1 1/2 inches), making sure to pack the vegetable mix firmly.

Place the balls in the prepared baking dish, allowing 1/4-inch of space between the balls and place them in even rows vertically and horizontally to form a grid.

Roast for 30 minutes, or until the meatballs are firm and cooked through.

Allow the meatballs to cool for 5 minutes in the baking dish before serving.

It’s that simple!

These mini frittatas are a wonderful dish to serve for a brunch or for a quick breakfast during the week. They are easy to prepare and also make a delightful presentation.

This recipe really is “that simple”. The batter assembles quickly and the baking time is only 8 to 10 minutes! The eggs, combined with the ham, cheese, and parsley are just delicious. They would be perfect with a cup of coffee or a glass of milk. I would even serve them as an appetizer for a holiday or family dinner. However you decide to serve them, they will be an instant hit.

There are some issues with this recipe worth mentioning, however. The recipe did not yield 40 frittatas as indicated. It made about 30, some of which crumbled or collapsed when they were removed from the pan. Although that was disappointing, it should not deter you from making these delicious treats.

This recipe is courtesy of Giada De Laurentis and will make about 30 to 40 mini frittatas that are so easy to pop in your mouth.

Ingredients for Mini Frittatas

Nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray
8 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
4 ounces thinly sliced ham, chopped
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley leaves

Preheat oven to 375.

Spray 2 mini muffin tins (each with 24 cups) with nonstick spray.

Whisk the eggs, milk, pepper, and salt in a large bowl to blend well.

Stir in the ham, cheese, and parsley.

Fill prepared muffin cups almost to the top with the egg mixture.

Bake until the egg mixture puffs and is just set in the center, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Using a rubber spatula, loosen the frittatas from the muffin cups and slide the frittatas onto a platter.

Serve immediately.

It’s that simple!

This is a recipe I knew I just had to make. I had never seen a recipe for cauliflower and ricotta cheese pie and was curious enough to try it. I made some changes to the original recipe to make it more simple and user-friendly. For example, it originally called for fresh pizza dough, but I used puff pastry dough, which you can easily find in your grocery store. 

If you have never had the pleasure of tasting a cauliflower and ricotta pie (and who has?), you definitely need to try this one! It might be intimidating looking at the ingredients and the directions, but trust me, it is not very complicated. There are a few things you can do the day before to make the assembly easier (I added that information below). However, I did it all in one day and it did not take much time at all.

This pie has a delightful crust that is topped with a scrumptious, perfectly seasoned cauliflower mix. It presents beautifully and tastes even better. Every bite is pure cheesy perfection that combines harmoniously with the cauliflower.

This recipe is loosely taken from Bon appetit and will serve 6 people who will be thrilled to enjoy this new kind of “pie”.

Ingredients for Roasted Cauliflower and Ricotta Grandma Pie Recipe

For the cauliflower:

1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
6 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup of capers, drained and chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the breadcrumbs:

1 cup finely ground breadcrumbs
1/4 cup of olive oil
2 ounces Parmesan, finely grated (about 1/2 cup)

To assemble:

2 Puff pastry sheets
1 1/2 cups mozzarella, grated
1 cup fresh ricotta
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 400.

Toss cauliflower, lemon, anchovies, garlic, lemon juice, zest and capers with oil on a large rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper.

Roast, tossing occasionally, until cauliflower is tender but not browned, about 20 minutes.

DO AHEAD: Precooking the cauliflower and the breadcrumbs means they will get toasty and crisp as the pie bakes. An extra step, but well worth it.

Toss the breadcrumbs and oil on a large rimmed baking sheet; toast, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, 6-8 minutes. Let cool; toss with Parmesan.

Lower oven to 350.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread puff pastry over it (you may have to roll the puff pastry a bit to fit).

ricoota pie pastry sheets on pan

Bake the puff pastry for 10 minutes.

Take out of oven and top with mozzarella, dot with ricotta, and top with the cauliflower mixture.

Turn down sides of puff pastry over cauliflower mixture.

ricotta pie put together on pan

Bake until golden brown and crisp, about 20-30 minutes.

Top pie with toasted bread crumbs and bake 1 minute longer.

ricotta pie finished on pan'

Sprinkle with parsley.

It’s that simple! (yes, it really is!)

Are you wondering what a jalousie is? So was I! Jalousie is a kind of window treatment; it is a blind with adjustable slats that admit light and air, while excluding direct sun and rain.

Hmmmm. An interesting name for a recipe. What is the connection?

If you read  the recipe, you will see that the top layer of the pastry is cut into thin, connected lines. This lets the pastry expand. While it expands the heat is able to flow through it so it cooks evenly, while allowing none of the ingredients to fall out.

I am pretty sure that is how this recipe got its name. Some creative thinking, I must say! I love people who can think like that.

This recipe is extraordinary in so many ways. The way the cheeses blend with the roasted peppers make your taste buds want to dance. The puff pastry adds a light, flaky consistency to this cheesy delight. It makes your kitchen smell like heaven and it is a beautiful sight when you take it out of the oven. This dish is vey easy make, and you should put it on your to-do list very soon.

This recipe is courtesy of Cookstr.com. It says it will serve 4 people, but I think it will serve at least 6.  However many people you serve they will be on cloud nine when you indulge them with this dish!

Ingredients for Cheese and Pepper Jalousie

1 (17.3 ounce) box thawed frozen puff pastry
All purpose flour for dusting
3 tbsp. sun-dried tomato paste
1 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 (10 ounce) jar sliced roasted bell peppers, drained
4 oz. mozzarella, thinly sliced
Freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, slightly beaten, or milk, to glaze

Preheat oven to 425.

Place slightly dampened parchment paper on a large baking sheet. Set aside.

Roll out one sheet of the pastry on a lightly floured surface. Trim into a 10 x 6 inch rectangle.

Place it on the parchment paper.

Roll out and trim the remaining pastry to a 10 x 7 inch rectangle. Lightly dust it with flour, then fold it in half lengthwise.

Make cuts 1/2 inch apart along the folded edge to within 1 inch of the folded outer edge.


Spread the tomato paste over the pastry on the baking pan, leaving a 1 inch border from the sides.

jalousie tomato paste

Top it with the cheddar cheese. Pat the pepper slices dry with paper towels, then arrange them on the cheddar. 

jalousie cheddar cheese

Sprinkle with the mozzarella and season with pepper.

jalousie mozzarella pepper

Brush the edges of the pastry with water. Carefully place the remaining pastry over the filling and press the edges together to seal, trimming the excess pastry.

Brush with beaten egg or milk.

jalousie pastry covered with egg

Bake for 25 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and crisp. 

Let cool for 5 minutes, then slice and serve.

jalousie feature 1


It’s that simple!

I recently came across this appetizer recipe in my archives and remembered that I had made it for a holiday. It was a big hit (not to mention delicious), so I decided make it and post it on my blog.

Unfortunately, this is not a recipe for the faint of heart. Making the filling is easy, but working the phyllo dough is a little tricky. If I’m being honest, it’s not that simple. Perhaps it is effortless for the bakers out there, but for us cooks…. not so much.

That being said, (and I hope I didn’t scare you too much), this is a wonderful recipe to try if you have the time. It is a great dish to make ahead for a dinner party and freeze. Once you get the hang of using the phyllo dough, it is fairly uncomplicated to make.

Don’t worry if a piece of the phyllo dough tears; just brush it with butter, and place a new one on top. It will not matter. Nor will it matter if your phyllo dough isn’t perfectly flat. It will right itself when you roll it up. 

Although I followed the recipe for the most part, I did make some changes. I used half the amount of salt called for in the original recipe, as I thought that the feta cheese was salty enough. In addition, I did not sprinkle any extra salt on top. I also did not use breadcrumbs between each phyllo sheet, as originally suggested, because I had poured all the breadcrumbs into the filling mixture (my mistake!). Guess what? My spanakopitas turned out beautifully. You can always fiddle with the ingredients of any recipe to accommodate your individual preferences. 

I say go for it! It is worth each and every minute you put into it when you relish each yummy bite! The phyllo dough is crisp and light. The filling is airy and not heavy. They come out of the oven beautifully browned, and you just can’t wait to dive in.

This recipe is courtesy of Ina Garten and will make 12 strudels, which will leave just about anybody delighted.

Ingredients for Spanakopitas

1/4 cup good olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
3 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
3 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
6 tbsp. bread crumbs, divided
1 tsp. grated nutmeg
2 tsp. kosher salt (I used 1)
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
 2 cups small diced feta cheese (12 ounces)
3 tbsp. toasted pine nuts
24 sheets frozen phyllo dough, defrosted
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Flaked sea salt, such as Maldon, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 375.

Heat the olive oil in a medium sauce pan. Add the onions, and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat.

Add the scallions, and cook for another 2 minutes until the scallions are wilted but still green. Meanwhile, gently squeeze most if the water out of the spinach and place in a large bowl.

Spanakopitas onions and scallions

When the onions and scallions are done, add them to the spinach. 

Mix in the eggs, Parmesan cheese, 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

spanakopitas spinah and eggs breadcrumbs added

Gently fold in the feta cheese and pine nuts. Set aside.

spanakopitas feta and pine nuts

Place 1 sheet of phyllo dough flat on a work surface with the long end in front of you. Brush the dough lightly with butter and sprinkle it with a teaspoon of breadcrumbs. (I did not use breadcrumbs for this).

Working quickly, slide another sheet of phyllo dough on top of the first. Brush it with butter, and sprinkle lightly with breadcrumbs. (use just enough breadcrumbs so the layers of phyllo dough do not stick together). 

spanakopitas phyllo dough with butter

Place a wet towel over unused phyllo to keep it moist.

Pile up 4 layers total on top of each other, this way, brushing each with butter and sprinkling with breadcrumbs. 

Cut the sheets of phyllo in half lengthwise. (Use a pie cutter, it will cut easier and not tear the phyllo)

Place 1/3 cup of spinach filling the corner side of the phyllo dough. Roll it up diagonally as if folding a flag.

spanakopitas phyllo with spinach

Fold it over straight and then diagonally again. Continue folding until you reach the end of the sheet. 

The filling should be totally enclosed.

spanakopitas phyllo rolled up completed

Continue assembling phyllo layers until all the filling is used.

Place on sheet pan, seam sides down.

spanakopitas in pan before baking

Brush with melted butter, sprinkle with flaked salt and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the phyllo is browned and crisp.

Serve hot.

spanakopitas laid out on towel

It’s that simple! (Uh, no, not really!)