Fig & Strawberry Cream Cheese Phillo Cups

This delicious new take on an American favorite dessert, cupcakes! Using Phillo dough as the cupcake and stuffing it with a creamy strawberry and fig mixture using Kraft Philly Cream Cheese. This easy and fun to eat dessert is enjoyed by all anytime of the year. They’ll be coming back for more when your family and friends take a bite out of this crunchy and sweet delectable dessert. Yummers!

INGREDIENTS
1 1/4 cups Frozen Organic Strawberries- thawed
3/4 cup Fig Preserve
1/2 cup Chopped Almonds & Walnuts- unsalted, raw
1 Zest of an Orange
8 ounces Kraft 1/3 Less Fat Cream Cheese-softened
8 ounces Kraft Cream Cheese- softened
10 Sheets Phillo dough- thawed, cut in 4×4 and split in half (5 sheets per layer)
1 1/2 cups Unsalted & Melted butter
12 Sprigs Fresh Mint for garnish
6 Fresh sliced or decorated Strawberries for garnish

DIRECTIONS
STEP ONE: In a large bowl, mix the strawberries, fig preserve and softened cream cheese until well blended. Zest one orange over the bowl and fold all the ingredients together. Set the bowl aside. This is your cupcake stuffing.

STEP TWO: On a cutting board, take 5 sheets, the first layer, of Phillo dough and cut into squares of 4×4 with a sharp knife. You should end up with 12 squares. Keep the remaining 5 sheets close by and wrapped in a towel so they do not dry and crack, until ready to use.

STEP THREE: Lightly coat a 12 cupcake baking pan with cooking spray. Take each 4×4 square of Phillo dough and place the first layer into the cupcake holders. Push the Phillo dough gently into each cupcake holder with your fingers. The points will be sticking up. Carefully brush each Phillo dough pouch with melted butter, making sure to coat all the dough, inside the cupcake holder and around the points as well.

STEP FOUR: Repeat STEP TWO with the remaining 5 sheets of Phillo dough and then repeat STEP THREE using the same cupcake holder to add the second layer of Phillo dough over the already buttered dough. This will allow for a sturdier cupcake to hold the cream cheese stuffing.

STEP FIVE: Bake empty Phillo dough in preheated 350°F oven for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool and remove the cupcakes from the baking pan.

STEP SIX: Place each empty Phillo cupcake onto a serving tray. Take a generous tablespoon of the cream cheese strawberries and fig mixture and place inside the center of each Phillo cupcake. Garnish with fresh mint and strawberries. Serve chilled or cold.

cook time: 15 min.
prep time: 30 min.
yields: 8 servings

Salmon & Dill-Creamy Cheese Puffs

This delicious appetizer makes such an impression on any table. Whether you’re having an impromptu get together with the girls or family is coming over for dinner. These creamy, cheesy salmon filled appetizers are sure to get them dipping in for seconds and thirds.

INGREDIENTS
4 ounces 1/3 Less Fat Kraft Philly Cream Cheese-Softened
4 ounces Kraft Regular Cream Cheese-Softened
1 small red onion
1 small bunch fresh dill
2 tablespoons Capers
1 lemon Zest
1/8 teaspoon white ground pepper
1 pinch Sea salt or to taste
1 Box ready-made Pie Crust dough
4 ounces Smoked Salmon
1 Egg
1/4 cup Milk

DIRECTIONS

STEP ONE: Wash the dill, red onion and lemon. Put them into a food process along with the capers, white pepper, salt and process for 4 minutes or until well blended. Once all the ingredients are finely chopped, add the lemon zest and blend again. Set the bowl aside.

STEP TWO: In another bowl, put the two variations of cream cheese. Take your salmon and chop lightly so that there are no long pieces. You are looking for chunky pieces of salmon. Whisk the cream cheese and salmon until well blended. It should smell amazing at this point

STEP THREE: Preheat your oven to 350°F. Take the first bowl with the finely chopped dill, onion, capers, white pepper, salt and lemon zest and add them to the cream cheese and salmon. Fold everything in together until well blended for about 4 minutes. You

STEP FOUR: Unfold the pie crust dough and place on a cutting board. With a knife, cut four by three rows to get 12, 3″- 4″ inch squares. Repeat this step with the second piece of pie crust dough. This will give you 24 squares in total.

STEP FIVE: Take a spoonful of the creamy mixture and place it in the center of each square. Take each corner of the square and pinch it firmly together with the other corners to secure them at the center. You may have to pinch several times to get it tightly closed. You want even squares with a pinched center. Place each pocket on a greased baking tray, ½ inch apart. Repeat this step until all the squares are filled. The trick is to get each pocket pinched on the same side so that you end up with even clean squares. If the insides come out, it’s ok; it’ll only mean that someone will get an overstuffed pocket!

STEP SIX: Whisk the egg and milk together. You can add a dash of cayenne pepper if you like otherwise brush each pocket with the egg/milk wash. This will make each pocket crispy and crunchy golden brown when baking.

STEP SEVEN: Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. You may want to check on them after 15 minutes to make sure they’re as golden brown as you like. The smell coming from your home will make it hard for anyone to resist!

STEP EIGHT: Let the pockets cool for 15-20 minutes. Then place each one on a serving dish. You can get creative and add food flare to your plate. Sprinkle dill over the whole dish and voila! An appetizer is born!

cook time: 25 min.
prep time: 30 min.
yields: 12 servings

SWEET FIG & FILLO TART

Here’s a dessert that is such a pleazer! The figs add a unique taste and goes great with the crunch from the fillo dough. Whether it’s a formal dinner or just because, this flaky, crispy and creamy almond batter dessert is one that will be requested over time. You can always substitute the figs with fresh Granny Smith Apples or try this recipe with Fresh Berries that are in season. Either variation, this comes out delicious with a light sweet flavor. Hope you enjoy it as much I do!
Thanks!

SWEET FIG & FILLO TART

Makes 2 Pie Tarts, Each serves 6-8

INGREDIENTS:

- 10 Sheets Fillo Dough, Thawed
- 12 tbsp Melted, Unsalted Butter
- 10 Fresh Figs cut in quarters
- ¾ Cup Unbleached All Purpose Flour
- 2 Cups Raw, Finely Chopped Almonds
- 6 tbsp Sugar
- 4 Eggs, Whisked
- 2 Cups Almond or Whole Milk
- 1 tbsp Vanilla Extract
- Zest of 1 Orange
- 2 tbsp Powdered Sugar for Garnish

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
With melted butter in a bowl close to you, lay out the thawed fillo dough on a flat, dry surface. (Keep in mind that you ought to work quickly when using fillo dough but since there is melted butter close by, this recipe is more forgiving than most). Brush your pie trays with butter, making sure to get every area saturated. Take 5 sheets of fillo dough and place them over pie tray. There will be excess but that’s ok, you’ll cut them off and use them later. Now, gently brush each layer of fillo dough with butter, yup, even more butter! Take kitchen scissors and trim around the edge of your pie tray, leaving about an inch of a lip of fillo dough hanging out of your pie tray. Put the excess fillo dough inside your pie tray, this will add more doughy filling and you’re not wasting either! Once the dough is buttered and the edges are trimmed off, use a fork and gently prick the fillo dough throughout. This allows the fillo dough to breathe and cook more evenly, making it crunchy and crispy-YUM!

2. Now it’s time to prepare the almond filling. Make sure you use RAW and UNSALTED and UNCOOKED almonds. Place two cups in your food processor and process at high speed for about 3-5 minutes or until you get a fine and grainy texture of almonds. Place this into a large mixing bowl and add your flour, sugar, milk, eggs, and vanilla extract, whisking everything together until well incorporated. Do this for about 3-5 minutes Add the zest from the orange and mix again. Now you have all your ingredients ready. Let’s get the figs!

3. Cut each fig into quarters. (Try to stop yourself from eating too many of these oozing-with-sweetness-and-nectar fruits, I had to!) Start placing each slice of the figs along the outer edge of your pie tray and work your way inwards. Keep the pointy tips of the figs sticking out. Try to keep a consistent design throughout. It looks pretty when you’re bringing this dessert our to your friends and family.

4. Pour the liquid mixture right over the figs in the pie tray. Remember to pour half amounts in each pie tray. Gently tap the sides to get the liquid spread out evenly. Place in preheated oven for about 1 hour or until the fillo dough is golden brown and the center is set.

5. Once the fillo tarts are baked and the edges are crispy and golden brown, let them cool for 30 minutes before serving. Once cooled, dust with the powdered sugar, serve with fresh whipped cream or yogurt and enjoy!

Mashed Potatoes with Roasted Garlic

Mashed Purple Potatoes with Roasted Garlic
Recipe courtesy of Lorena Garcia

1 large garlic head, top third sliced off to expose the garlic cloves
1 tbs extra-virigin olive oil
21/2 ts salt, plus more to taste
1 pound Peruvian purple or Yukon Gold potatoes, halved
3/4 cup milk
3 tbs unsalted butter
2 ts freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Place garlic in the center of a 6-inch square of aluminum foil, exposed cloves face up. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and bring the corners of the foil up to the top of the head, gathering them together to seal the packet. Place the garlic on a baking sheet and roast until very soft, 35-40 minutes. Set garlic aside to cool.
3. While the garlic cools, place the halved potatoes and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring the potatoes to a boil over high heat and cook them until tender, 15-20 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the potatoes to a rimmed backing sheet and set aside.
4. Pour the milk into a small saucepan. Add the butter, the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and the pepper and warm gently over medium heat, stirring often, until the butter is melted.
5. Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl. Squeeze the bottom of the head of roasted garlic to coax out the cloves, letting them fall into the bowl with the potatoes. Add a little bit of the milk mixture and use a fork to begin to mash everything together, drizzling in more liquid a little at a time until the potatoes are mashed to desired consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Watch the How-To video on YouTube below:

http://youtu.be/5hsaMsnKk8M

Beef & Sweet Potatoe Fillo Tart with Veggies

BEEF & SWEET POTATO FILLO TART WITH VEGGIES


1 lb Pkg Fillo Dough, thawed
1 1/2 lbs Ground Beef, seasoned & fried
3 Medium Sweet Potatoes, sliced & sautéed
1 Small Onion, chopped & sautéed
2 Bunches Fresh Spinach, chopped &sautéed
2 Small Zucchinis, sliced & sautéed
2 Cups Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
Salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Allspice
3 dashes Dry Dill
3 Eggs, whisked
1 cup Heavy Cream
3/4 cup Butter, melted
1/2 cup Olive Oil

Serves 4-6 as a main course
1. Preheat oven to 350°F .
Sauté the sliced sweet potatoes in frying pan with olive oil and salt to taste until golden brown around the edges and the potatoes have softened, about 15 minutes. Once browned, place sweet potatoes in a glass bowl and set aside for later to build the layers of the tart.

2. While potatoes are sautéing, sauté the chopped onion with olive oil and salt in a frying pan. Once transparent, add the ground beef, all spice, 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg, and black pepper. Mix until meat is brown, about 15 minutes. Once meat has browned and there is no liquid from the fat, place in a glass bowl and set aside.

3. Add 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan and heat over medium, add the fresh, chopped spinach. Sauté with a pinch of salt for 10 minutes. The spinach will shrink to half the original amount. To spice it up, add a few dashes of dry dill. This dry herb gives the spinach an earthy flavor. Once mixed, set aside in a glass bowl as well.

4. Do the same process with the sliced zucchini. Sauté them until they are gold brown along the edges. Add a couple dashes of salt and black pepper. Sauté for 10 minutes.

5. Roll out the thawed and room temperature fillo dough and line a heavily buttered 9-inch square or 14 x 14 inch rectangular baking dish with your fingers, press firmly to secure the corners. Use kitchen scissors to cut off the excess dough hanging over from the sides. Place the excess fillo dough evenly into the dish so as not to waste it and also to give it more crunch. Prick the whole buttered fillo dough with a knife to allow an even heat penetration while baking and also to let out some of the steam from the baked dough. Pour any left over melted butter into the dish but leave enough to brush all four edges of the fillo dough so they don’t burn.

6. Now it’s time to build the tart. The first layer is the sweet potatoes. Lightly mash them and spread them into an even layer in the bottom of the baking dish. Repeat this process with the ground beef, sprinkling a little ground nutmeg over the beef. Then spread the sautéed spinach over the beef.

7. Whisk 3 eggs with a cup of heavy cream in a bowl. Pour the entire liquid over the tart. This will bind everything together.

8. Add the shredded mozzarella cheese and level evenly. Add a pinch of ground nutmeg over the cheese. This spice adds such a delicious smell and nutty flavor to the tart.

9. Finally, lay the sautéed zucchini in a nice line or use your imagination and get creative to appeal to the eyes as well as the nose and stomach. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the edges of the fillo dough are golden brown and the center is set. Serve with a fresh garden salad or a creamy yogurt and cucumber salad too. Enjoy!!

Watch the How-To video on YouYube below:

http://youtu.be/5xQPeu9rQSE

Butternut Squash Hommus

24 oz cleaned & cubed fresh butternut squash
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
juice of 1 fresh lemon
1/2 cup tahini (sesame paste)
1/8 tbsp ground cumin
salt to taste

For garnish:

Cayenne pepper, ground cumin, handful of fresh parsley sprigs, and olive oil.

Serves 10-12

1. Add 1 1/2 cups of water and add the cubed butternut squash with a couple of pinches of salt.
Bring to a slight boil, for about 15-20 minutes. Make sure they are not overcooked, we want them tender only. Too much cooking may make the final consistency too runny.

2. In a food processor, add tahini, crushed garlic, fresh lemon juice, ground cumin and and salt. Blend for a few minutes until smooth and creamy. This process will take less than 5 minutes. Remove from processor and set aside for later.

3. Drain the slightly cooked butternut squash very well. Pour into a food processor and blend well for a few minutes. We are looking for a mashed and even consistency, no chunks. Add the already blended other ingredients to the puree like butternut squash and continue blending until everything is well incorporated.

4. Pour the creamy butternut squash hommus into a serving dish. Use a spoon or rounded edge utensil to glide along the edges of the dish, forming a nice think rim around the dish. Then do the same creating another elevation closer to the center of the dish. This is where the olive oil will be poured in to, allowing it to nestle in between the raised edges.

5. Trickle the olive oil between the raised edges. Create lovely patterns of stars, mosaics, or lines with the red cayenne pepper, the ground cumin, and have fun placing the parsley on the corners or edges. How ever you decorate this dish is all up to you. Use your imagination, have fun with it! You can even use fresh pomegranate seeds for added color and food flare. Pomegranate seeds make festive outlines for shapes in this dish plus add a surprise tart taste in random bites. Serve with white or wheat pita wedges or pita chips, veggies, or as a side.

Enjoy! Sah-ten!

Watch the How-To video on YouTube below:

http://youtu.be/57Z7DPzEs4M

*Sag Tip:

-You can add fried pine nuts and or slivered blanched almonds for that nutty flavor over the whole dish. I recommend frying the nuts in sum-neh, a clarified butter ghee, that can now be bought in jars or cans in most specialty grocery stores. Use 1/2 cup of pine nuts or almonds and a scant 1/4 cup sum-neh. Fry until golden brown, be careful not to leave in frying pan too long without stirring, this process is quick and can easily turn into burnt and unusable ingredients. Once golden, drain the nuts on a plate with a paper towel, separating them from access oil and repeat with the other kind of nut. You can refrigerate unused nuts for a later day or another dish.

Baba-Ghanoush/Eggplant Dip

4 large Eggplants
3 peeled and crushed garlic cloves
Juice of 1 large fresh lemon
1/4 cup Tahini (sesame paste)
2 tbsp plain yogurt
Salt to taste

For Garnish:
Handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
Handful of fresh Pomegranate seeds
Shelled walnut halves
Olive Oil
Sumac (ground grape seeds)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Wash the eggplants, poke them 4-5 times then place them on and oven safe tray, roast, uncovered, for 45 minutes. They will shrink in size and look charred, which is good and will enhance the flavor.
2. Once the eggplants have roasted, cut off the stalks. Carefully take each eggplant and remove the skin. Be careful, they will be hot. You can use your hands or use a knife to “scrape” the skin. It should come off easy. Place the “insides” of the eggplant in a bowl.
3. Now it’s time to mash the eggplants. Use a fork to mash but you can gently slice the eggplants with a knife first. You want to end up with puree looking eggplant. You don’t want big chunks, you want the eggplants to look almost like a salsa.
4. Once the eggplants have been mashed well, add the tahini, lemon juice, crushed garlic, yogurt, and salt and mix all the ingredients until well blended. It should come out lighter and creamier than it’s original state.
5. Pour the baba ghanoush into your serving dish, spreading the mixture with a spoon and raising it slightly over the sides. You want a moat so you can fill it with the olive oil to circle the raised center.
6. Use you imagination and have fun with garnishing this dish. Make star shapes with the pomegranate seeds and place bunches of the chopped parsley on the corners and in the center. Take pinches of the sumac and go in the opposite direction of the pomegranate seeds to add more color and food decor to your already amazing looking dish. Place walnut halves on 4 corners of the dish for that final pop of wow!
7. Serve with pita wedges or pita chips and enjoy!
Sah-ten!

Minty Yogurt & Cucumber Salad

3 lbs plain regular yogurt
1 1/2 large cucumbers, partially peeled, quartered and sliced in small pieces
1 tablespoon crushed garlic, equivalent to 3 small cloves
1/4 scant cup of dry mint
1 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
For garnish:
Springs of fresh mint to liking, thinly sliced cucumbers, equivalent to 1/2 cucumber
Serves 10 as a side dish with lamb or chicken.
Also can be used as a dip
1. On a cutting board, take the lightly peeled cumber and cut in half and again in half, making four pieces. With the flat side down on the board, carefully slice the whole cucumber and repeat with the remaining cucumber. Save 1/4 a cucumber and slice in half circles. They will be used to garnish with.
2. Pour the yogurt, garlic, salt in a large bowl and mix together with a spoon. Then add the sliced cucumbers and mix again. Finally take the dry mint in the palm of your hands and grind them over the bowl as they fall like sprinkles over the mixture. Mix again and voila, you’re done with this preparation of this delicious and cool salad.
3. Pour your finished yogurt salad in a serving bowl, then take the half circles of sliced cucumbers and place them around the edge of the your dish. The cucumber serves double duty by being an ingredient and as a garnish!
This recipe should not take you more than 10 minutes to prepare and plate and it’s quite healthy and refreshing.
Sag Tip:
-The cooling factor of this dish is the mint and yogurt which is why is goes so well with lamb and chicken. Or if you’d like to serve it as a dip, it goes wonderfully with raw veggies, baked breads and deli meats. Yum!
-Another way to garnish this dish and “Spice It Up”, is by using ingredients such as pomegranate seeds. The red color from the pomegranate seeds makes it pop on any table and also adds healthy antioxidants to this already healthy dish.
Sah-ten!

Hommus-Garbanzo Bean/Chick Pea Dip

29 oz canned, cooked chick peas, leave a hefty handful on the side for garnish
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
juice of 2 fresh lemons
1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/8 ground cumin
1/2 cup tahini (sesame paste)
2 teaspoons plain yogurt

For garnish:

1/8 teaspoon each cumin and paprika, a hefty handful cooked whole chick peas, a handful of chopped fine fresh parsley, olive oil for garnish

Serves 12-14

1. Pour drained chick peas or garbanzo beans in food processor , blend on med/high until smooth. Add lemon juice, crushed garlic, salt, cumin and continue to blend until even smoother. Finally add the tahini and last the yogurt, at this point the hommus will be a creamy texture, not runny and lighter in color than from the beginning. This process will take less than 10 minutes.

2. Pour the creamy hommus into a shallow serving dish. Use a spoon or rounded edge utensil to glide along the edges of the dish, forming a nice think rim around the dish. Then do the same thing creating another elevation closer to the center of the dish. This is where the olive oil will be poured in to, allowing it to nestle in between the raised edges.

3. Trickle the olive oil between the raised edges. Create lovely patterns of stars, mosaics, or lines with the cumin, paprika and chick peas. You can even use fresh pomegranate seeds for added color and food flare. Pomegranate seeds make festive outlines for shapes in this dish plus add a surprise tart taste in a random bite. Finally, sprinkle the parsley over the whole dish and serve with white or wheat pita wedges or pita chips.

4. Dip the bread or chips and enjoy! Sah-ten!

*Sag Tip:

-You can add fried pine nuts and or slivered blanched almonds for that nutty flavor over the whole dish. I recommend frying the nuts in sum-neh, a clarified butter ghee, that can now be bought in jars or cans in most grocery stores. Use 1/2 cup of pine nuts or almonds and a scant 1/4 cup sum-neh. Fry until golden brown, be careful not to leave in frying pan too long without stirring, this process is quick and can easily turn into burnt and unusable ingredients. Once golden, drain the nuts on a plate with a paper towel, separating them from access oil and repeat with the other kind of nut. You can refrigerate unused nuts for a later day or another dish.

© 2009 Spice It Up With Saga | Hosted by GFL

© 2009 Spice It Up With Saga | Hosted by GFL