Κουραμπιέδες / Sugar Free Shortbread Cookies

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Ingredients:
2 sticks + 2 tablespoons butter, melted
1tsp. Vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
10 tablespoons Splenda no calorie sweetener
1 egg yolk
1/4teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup almonds, toasted and finely chopped
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and finely chopped

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, add butter, sweetener, salt, egg yolk and extracts. Mix until fully combined.

Sift in half of the flour and mix until smooth. Sift in the rest of the flour and continue to mix until the flour is fully combined.

Fold in almonds and walnuts. Mix until the nuts are evenly dispersed within the Dough.

Scoop out about 1 tablespoon of batter and shape it into a round cookie with your hands (5 millimeters / 1/2 inches in thickness). Continue to work on the rest of the dough in the same manner. Place a whole clove in the center of each cookie.

Place cookies 1 inch apart on the parchment paper.

Place the cookies on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, until the edges start to turn golden. Transfer cookies to a wooden surface or rack to cool down.

Store in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

P.S. Remove the clove before eating. Eat in one bite. Cookies are very tender and crumbly. If you sift on powdered sugar while cookies are still warm, they will taste like authentic Kourambiethes, but, alas, they will no longer be sugar free!

Σπανακόπιτα / Spinach and Cheese Pie

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2 lb. fresh spinach, washed, dried, trimmed, and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch scallions (about 10 small), white and light-green parts only, finely chopped
2 cups crumbled feta cheese (10 oz.)
1/2 cup finely grated Greek kefalotyri cheese or Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp Cavendars Greek Seasoning
1/2 tsp. sugar
Kosher or fine sea salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
1/2 pound melted butter
1 pound phyllo pastry

Directions:
Heat the oil in a large saute pan, add the spinach and saute until spinach wilts, tossing with tongs, about 2 minutes.

Add scallions and saute until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the spinach to the scallions, along with the parsley, salt and pepper, seasonings and sugar. Cook over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the cheeses and cook for another minute then remove from heat to cool. (This part can be done ahead and kept refrigerated).

Stir the beaten egg into the cooled spinach mixture.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Brush a baking sheet with some of the melted butter.

Unroll the phyllo dough on a flat surface and keep it covered with waxed paper and a damp towel so it doesn’t dry out and become brittle. Using a sharp knife, cut the phyllo into 3 by 11 inch strips, and recover with the towel. Use a pastry brush to brush a strip of phyllo with melted butter. Place a small spoonful of spinach filling 1 inch from the end of the pastry. Fold the end over the filling to form a triangle, then continue to fold up the strip in triangles, like folding up a flag. Continue with remaining strips of dough, placing filled triangles on the baking sheet and keeping them covered with a towel until all are ready to bake.

Brush the triangles lightly with butter, then bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Serve hot. (These may be frozen before baking, layering waxed paper between layers of triangles to keep them from sticking. Bake frozen triangles an extra 10 minutes.)

Much easier variation: Butter a 9 by 13 inch baking pan, and spread 8 sheets of phyllo, brushing each with butter. Spoon the spinach filling over the phyllo, then cover with 8 more sheets of phyllo, buttering each sheet. Score the top 3 sheets with a sharp knife. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until top is golden, let stand 15 minutes, then cut into squares and serve warm.

Πιλάφι / Rice Pilaf

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1 c. UNCLE BEN’S® rice
3/4 stick butter
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, diced
1 clove minced garlic
1 tsp. salt
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon Cavendars Greek Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 1/2 c. chicken or beef broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce

In a large skillet, melt butter. Saute onion, pepper and garlic until limp. Add rice and brown for 2-3 minutes. Add seasonings, broth and soy sauce. Let cook covered on medium low heat approximately 20 minutes. Do not keep stirring as rice will become mushy. Remove from heat and let rice sit for about 5 minutes. Stir and serve. Serves 4.