Recipe Post! Christmas dinner: Hors-D’Oeuvres (Part 1)

White Christmas Tree-colourizedThis Christmas, my family really pulled out all the stops to make Christmas dinner a feast to remember. We all rallied together in challenging personal circumstances to bring together family and friends for a seating of a nearly a dozen of our nearest and dearest last night. It was wonderful to see those happy, smiling faces around the family room, having a lovely time!

Our guests were not to bring anything other than themselves, so that left the cooking to us; specifically, my step-father, K, and myself. With K taking on the main entrée and sides (he really should have been a professional chef…), I did my part by baking off the hors d’oeuvres, the rolls, and the desserts so he could concentrate on the Big Show!

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Here is the first of the several recipes I made for Christmas dinner: the delicious appetizer staple, Spanakopita (aka Spinach Cheese Phyllo Triangles).

spanakopita2Spanakopita

YIELD: 20-35 pieces

  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup butter, divided
  • 1 package (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry*
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
  • 3/4 cup 4% cottage cheese
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 20-25 sheets phyllo dough (14-inch x 9-inch sheet size)

* Protip: the best and quickest way to ensure that your thawed chopped spinach is as dry as you can get it, is to dump it onto the centre of a clean, dry kitchen towel, fold up the long ends over the spinach and wring the entire bundle by the short ends as tightly as you can. You’re welcome. ;o) *

  1. In a large skillet, saute onion in the divided 2 tablespoons butter until translucent; remove from heat. Stir in the spinach, feta cheese, cottage cheese, eggs, bread crumbs, salt, and pepper.
  2. Melt remaining butter and place in heatproof container. Brush and layer five phyllo sheets together with melted butter, using a pastry brush; keep remaining phyllo dough covered with plastic wrap and a damp towel to prevent it from drying out. Cut buttered sheets lengthwise into approximately 2″ strips; depending on the size and number of the phyllo sheets available, you could end up with 20-35 pieces.
  3. spanakopitaPlace 1 heaping tablespoon of filling at one end of each strip; fold into a triangle, as you would fold a flag; see photo for visual tutorial. Brush each completed triangle with more butter to ensure a good seal.
  4. Place completed triangles on an ungreased baking sheet.
  5. Bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.
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