February Royal Foodie Joust — Mushroom Pastitsio with a Cauliflower “Bechamel”

I was pretty excited by the selection of February’s Royal Foodie Joust ingredients: cauliflower, mushrooms and noodles. There were a million different ways to go with these humble ingredients for my second entry into this friendly competition hosted by Jenn over at The Leftover Queen. If you aren’t already a member, please visit Jenn’s forum where you’ll find a great spot to interact with fellow food bloggers, participate in giveaways, join in on the friendly Joust or simply vote for your favorite Jouster–of course, that would be me …

Duo of Dips — Roasted Red Pepper and Feta & Lemony Chickpea and Thyme

When entertaining I find the easiest option to include in a spread of appetizers is a tasty dip accompanied by toasted pita triangles, crispy bread rounds or zesty crackers. There are, of course, endless possibilities from melitzanosalata (eggplant dip), to kopanisti (Greek cheese dip), to kafteri (spicy Greek feta dip), to tzatziki (the well-known yogurt/cucumber/garlic dip, although chatty guests and garlic aren’t a very good mix), to traditional hummus or two of my favorites, a flavorful roasted red pepper and feta dip and a lemony chickpea and thyme

Spanakorizo (Greek Spinach Rice)

A quick go-to meal for my family is often a pot of lentil soup, a hearty pasta and veggie dish or a vitamin-packed helping of spanakorizo. The latter, in particular, is an ideal meal that takes no more than 30 to 35 minutes to make, is filling and is laden with vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants. According to sources, eating spinach can prevent memory loss and cataracts. And that’s not all: this iron-rich leafy green can help protect us against osteoporosis, heart disease, colon cancer, arthritis and numerous other diseases. In fact, researchers have identified at

Grilled Pork Chops with Rosemary and Sage

I spoke a little about my hesitance in using rosemary in a post last week. I am glad to say, however, that I am a true convert now. The Rosemary and Mandarin Muffins I made then were a delightful surprise and as I mentioned in that post, I used the remainder of that fresh rosemary to marinate a few pork chops, which also turned out great. I must admit I was initially inspired by a recipe I read on Epicurious that called for using fresh rosemary, sage, garlic, fennel seeds, white wine and olive oil on a large pork shoulder roast. The end result sounded divine, so I fiddled

Soutzoukakia Me Hilopitakia (Greek Meatballs and Egg Pasta in Tomato Sauce)

I’ve mentioned before that I love pasta, but seriously, who doesn’t? Carbs schmarbs. Pasta is great and it shouldn’t be something anyone purposely avoids eating. Everything is fine in moderation–although I can probably eat a serving of pasta a day. That doesn’t mean that I do of course. Pasta is, however, something I usually make about once a week. My husband loves the basic linguine or fettuccine and he’s not too keen on other shapes or forms of pasta. The kids–like their mother–eat anything put in front of them.

Rosemary and Mandarin Muffins

I’ve never really been a fan of rosemary. My Giagia used it only in her revithia (that’s Greek for chickpeas) and my mom … well, I don’t think my mom has ever used rosemary. Needless to say, it’s never been an herb I’ve gotten excited about. I used it with some lamb chops a while back (it may even be four years already), but there weren’t any oohs and aahs emanating from the dinner table that evening and I haven’t bought another bunch of rosemary since. That is until last week. I decided to give this fragrant herb

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