Tag Archives: vegetarian

Artichoke and Spinach Pie


We usually have this dish as a side for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. I thought it would make a good entrée as well, so I worked up this version. Small size, no meat, it makes a perfect light dish for summer with a salad. If you need a larger, casserole style for a big dinner, just double or triple the ingredients, skip the Filo dough and just put some bread crumbs on top to brown. We like to add some fresh cilantro to it, that brightens the taste and adds a little zing. Makes about three 8 oz. ramekins.


1 14 oz. can of whole Artichokes
1 Pkg. frozen Spinach
4 oz. Cream cheese
4 Tbs. of Butter, warmed
¼ cup of bread Crumbs
¼ cup chopped onion
2 Tbs. chopped cilantro leaves (optional)
Salt & pepper to taste
1 pkg. frozen filo dough
PAM spray
Cilantro or flat parsley


Preheat oven to 350 degrees f. and spray two or three ramekins with PAM

Defrost the spinach and cook it in the microwave until it is hot. Then put it into a strainer and rinse with cold water. Press the water out of the spinach. Rinse and drain the artichokes, cut off the stems if they have any. You want these to stand up in the cup. You can add the stems to the spinach mix, if you wish for flavor. Press the water out of the artichokes between paper towels.

Cream the spinach, onions, chopped cilantro, butter, bread crumbs and cream cheese together.

Place two sheets of Filo in each ramekin and let the sides droop over the top. Stand up enough of the artichokes in the ramekin to cover the bottom of each. Put a layer of of the spinach butter combination on top. Fold the filo dough over on top of the ramekin. Bake for 30 min. or until the top browns well. Pick the package out of the dish using two forks, plate it and I like to put a leaf of cilantro or flat parsley on top as a decoration, a slice of a small tomato works well too.

Serve with a salad and a good Pinot Grigo, Enjoy!

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Stand Up Lasagna!


I know, I did Lasagna in the first book. But I didn’t do it as a roll up, kind of an Italian Futo Maki. I thought it would make an attractive, different presentation for lasagna. You can also individualize the lasagnas, one meat, one veggie, one broccoli, etc. This also has the advantage of not making a huge amount of leftovers for you to gobble up at some later date. So grab your ramekins and let’s cook Italian.


8 Lasagna noodles (not the no boil kind)
¾ cup of hamburger and/or veggies you might prefer like finely chopped peppers,
spinach, broccoli flowers, etc.
1 garlic clove crushed
¼ cup finely chopped onion
2 eggs beaten
2/3rd cup shredded and chopped small, mozzarella cheese
1/3rd cup shredded and chopped small, Parmesan cheese
¾ cup ricotta cheese
½ Tbs. Oregano
½ Tsp. Basil
salt & pepper
¼ cup Italian Bread Crumbs
¼ cup spaghetti sauce (1 cup or so more for the side sauce)
3 ramekins sprayed with PAM


Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a large pot of salted water, boil the lasagna noodles until they are flexible. Sauté the hamburger in a little oil, breaking it up into small bits. Add the garlic and onion (sweet red peppers) and cook until they soften. Drain the pan and place the ingredients onto a paper towel to drain. Chop any other vegetables finely and reserve.

Beat the egg and add to it the cheeses, breadcrumbs, spices, etc. and spaghetti sauce. Salt and pepper this to taste. Lightly spray 3 ramekins with PAM

20222324Take two of the lasagna noodles and overlap the second noodle about an inch over the first to make a very long noodle. I make two holes with a small knife in this and jam a toothpick into each. Don’t try going thru with one toothpick as the noodle just breaks. Pull these toothpicks out when the roll is ready to place in the ramekin. Coat one side of the noodle with a very thin coat of the mixture. Lightly sprinkle this with the meat or veggie mixture, pat this down flat.

Roll the noodles up. Don’t be afraid if it oozes out the side or it is crooked. You can pat the filling back

27into the top and bottom and press it between two hands to reform it. Place it in a lightly sprayed ramekin. Put a little bit of the meat or veggies on top so you know which is which. I stick a toothpick into the seam in the roll to insure that they don’t unroll as they cook. Bake at 350 for 30 mins. Let them cool for 5 min. or so to harden up. In the meantime, heat up the side sauce. Then using two forks pick the roll out of the ramekin and put it on the plate. Serve it with some of the sauce on the side, a cool caesar salad and a good Valpolicello wine.

This will definitely go into the next book.





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MicroMiniSorry, its been a while since my last post. Guess I’ve been tied up with taxes, etc.

We have a little pop up camper. We had a big thirty foot trailer but we really felt like it was just too big. Too big for the road, too big to maneuver, too big to gas up, so we bought a little pop up 8×8 feet closed, fast on the road and easy to maneuver, cheap on gas. The down side of the popup is that there is no room to store a lot of stuff. Pots and pans particularly are a problem since you need so many and they are so large. I was looking at a cooking magazine one day and there it was, pasta cooked in a fry pan! Why not an electric fry pan? Like the one we bought to cook in while camping. So I worked up a recipe for spaghetti, in an electric fry pan, in a camp ground. The camp grounds we go to all have power and water so we only use electric devices. That eliminates the pan, propane stove and the propane. Hooray more room for chips!




Chicken, meatballs or other meat if you want it

Peppers, onions, mushrooms, garlic, chopped canned tomatoes

Your favorite jar of spaghetti sauce if you desire it

Olive oil

Shredded Parmesan cheese

Cup of water



Plug in your electric fry pan on your picnic table and heat it up. Add some olive oil and then the meat product if you wish. Or go vegetarian and just add the vegetables and maybe some zucchini. Take out the meat, reserve it and fry the vegetables, if you haven’t already done so. Remove the vegetables when they are softened a little ( think al dente). Now add the water and a little salt to the pan. Break up the spaghetti into two inch pieces and put them in the pan. Cover and heat the pan so the water boils. Cook for about ten minutes, check for doneness, add more water if necessary, and continue cooking until it is soft or Al Dente if you prefer. Pour off any excess water, add the meat and veggies and a little more olive oil. Heat it all back up for about five minutes. Plate it up and sprinkle some shredded Parmesan cheese on top. Serve this with a nice loaf of Italian bread and a good red wine. It can all be done in one electric fry pan. Who knew!


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Veggie Pile Up

Veggie Pileup

My wife has been trying for years (maybe even decades) to get me to eat more vegetarian dishes. This is one that I really like and over the years she has refined this recipe so I like it even more. It utilizes all kinds of vegetables and occasionally I can even get her to put some meat in it like left over smoked turkey sausage or a little cooked hamburger. Unless we’re cooking this for company, we use something like a 9 or 10 inch CorningWare dish. That’s more than enough for dinner for two and leftovers to use as a side dish a few days later. It will keep in the fridge for a few days, but it doesn’t freeze well.  If you need more for a party or big family just double or triple the recipe.

I am going to put this one in the next “Small Foods” book, but first I have to figure out how to reduce the vegetables down to fit in a ramekin. The problem is I never see small eggplants in our store. So even though eggplant is relatively cheap, I’d hate to throw out a half one. They don’t keep after being cut.  I guess since it’s vegetarian you could use a larger ramekin. I have ten and eleven ounce ones that would fill the bill.


1 medium eggplant, skinned, cut into 1/2” slices
1 egg, beaten
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup Olive Oil for frying
1 large chopped onion
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 each sliced green & red peppers
1 green zucnini, sliced
1 yellow zuchini, sliced
1 can diced tomatoes (15oz) (we like the Hunt’s Fire Roasted)
1/2 Tbs. basil
1 Tbs. Oregano
A couple of dashes of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes
A dash or two of Spike or seasoned salt
Salt and pepper – to taste
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese shredded
1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese shredded


1) Dip eggplant slices in beaten egg, coat in bread crumbs, cook in oil in skillet until browned and tender. Set aside.

2) Saute onion, garlic, peppers, and zucchini in olive oil. Add tomatoes and spices. Cook until liquid evaporates.

3) Layer eggplant and tomato mixture in shallow casserole, sprinkling parmesan and mozzarella in between layers. Top with tomato mixture and cheeses.

4) Bake 350F, 45 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is browned a little and melted.

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