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Updated Sunday, November 25, 2012 at 07:01 AM

Easy party recipes: Rolled spanakopita and more

The Charlotte Observer (MCT)

Rolled Spanakopita

From Kathy Rowan of Charlotte. Rolling them is easier and faster than folding individual triangles. Even better: Make the rolls in advance and freeze up to 6 months, ready to put in the oven.

3 (10-ounce) boxes frozen, chopped spinach

¼ cup olive oil

1 large onion, peeled and minced

¼ cup fresh parsley

1 to 2 teaspoons dried dillweed

1 (5-ounce) can evaporated milk (not sweetened condensed)

3 eggs, beaten

1 to 1 ½ pounds feta cheese (either a block in liquid or a solid piece), grated

2 dashes of ground white pepper

1 to ½ cups butter (2 to 3 sticks), melted

1 pound frozen phyllo dough, thawed in refrigerator overnight

Filling: Cook the spinach according to package directions. Drain well and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add the onion, cooking over medium heat until softened. Stir in the spinach, parsley and dill. Cook until all the liquid is absorbed and mixture is mostly dry. Remove from heat and stir in the evaporated milk. Cool.

Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl and stir in the feta cheese. Add the spinach mixture. Season with pepper and mix well. Refrigerate while you prepare the phyllo.

Spread out a sheet of waxed paper on a work surface. Wet and wring out a dish towel. Have melted butter nearby with a brush.

Remove one roll of phyllo from refrigerator and keep the rest chilled. Unroll the phyllo and cover with a sheet of waxed paper and the damp towel; always keep it covered so it doesn’t dry out.

Remove one sheet of phyllo from the pile, spread it out on the waxed paper and brush with butter. Lay another piece on top of the first and brush with butter. Continue until you have five layers.

Spread 1 cup of the spinach mixture on the top layer, spreading it horizontally and leaving a ½-inch border on all sides. Fold over the ends, then fold over the long bottom edge. Continue rolling together tightly, then brush the seam with butter.

Put assembled roll on a baking sheet, seam down. Continue making rolls until all the filling is used (about six rolls). Place the sheet of rolls in the freezer for 30 to 40 minutes. Slice into the roll but not all the way through, making 1-inch pieces that can be easily cut after baking. Wrap the individual rolls in heavy aluminum foil and freeze up to six months.

To serve, bake a roll in a 375-degree oven for 30 to 45 minutes, until slightly brown on top.

Remove from oven, let stand 10 minutes and cut into pieces.

Yield: 6 rolls, each with about 14 slices.

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Lemony White Bean Dip

From “100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know,” by Cindi Leive and the editors of Glamour magazine (Hyperion, 2011). White bean dips are low in fat. The arugula adds peppery bite and flavor to this green and vibrant version.

3 packed cups arugula, stems trimmed and discarded

3 to 4 cloves garlic, peeled

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 (15-ounce) can white beans, such as cannellini or Great Northern, preferably low-sodium, drained

Lemon slices (optional; garnish)

Whole wheat crackers, pita chips or toasted pita bread for serving

Combine the arugula, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice with ¼ teaspoon salt in a food processor and pulse until smooth.

Add the beans and pulse a couple of times until they are just chunky, not puréed. Scrape into a serving bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with a few lemon slices.

Serve with crackers, pita chips or toasted pita.

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Bacon-wrapped Dates

About ½-pound dates or an 8-ounce package

4 ounces blue cheese

About 6 to 8 slices of bacon, cut into quarters

Use the point of a sharp knife to slit dates open lengthwise. Pull out the pits. Stuff some blue cheese inside. Wrap a quarter of a strip of bacon around the date and skewer with a toothpick. Refrigerate up to several hours.

Place on a rack over a baking sheet with the openings up. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes, until bacon is crisp and cheese is melted. Serve warm.


T.Ortega Gaines / Charlotte Observer / MCT
Rolled Spanakopita.




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