Call Me Spanakopita Purses, Maybe

Sometimes I make bad decisions.  There, I admit it.  I thought that I could do one of my quickly thrown together dinners and as I was throwing together that dinner, I could quickly snap some pictures. And not just snap pictures but attempt to capture proportions of my chopped-style meals that magically come together. After all, I’ve yet to create a step-by-step photographed blog posting.  The internal dialogue I had sounded something like, “I’m SOOO going to take advantage of tonight’s dinner preparation! I’m a genius! I’m a genius!” 

I should stop listening to my internal dialogue, because I’m not a genius. I’m an idiot.  This was a feat that should have been saved for a better time. The preparation was a comedy of errors. Post-school & swim, this was one of our late nights and the kids were famished. Yet, I still attempted to take pictures of each step of the process, while three kids were running underfoot and asking for help with homework. Child #2 helped to butter some of the phyllo layers, but then ran off to do homework. Child #3 stuck by my side long enough to help (eat the raw sheets of phyllo dough). 

It wasn’t just the kids that weren’t cooperating. I couldn’t get my hands to manipulate the thin sheets of dough. The end product was intended to be finished as evenly shaped triangles, but I couldn’t get them to keep their shape. I refused to go down with my sinking ship! Taking a note from Melissa Clark’s recent article in the NYT I threw them into a muffin tin and called them “purses”. 

It was a later than usual dinnertime, but it was a tremendous success!

Chop an onion

Heat oil in heavy bottom pot and add onion.

Saute onion until browned

Frozen Crushed Garlic. FANTASTIC when you’re in a rush.

Chop 10 ounces of fresh spinach into bite size pieces

Add spinach to pot and stir to coat with oil and onions.
Add water and prepare to be watch a disappearing act!

A pot full of raw spinach wilts down to almost nothing!
Remove from heat and let cool down.

Child #2 helps to spread butter on each square of phyllo.
Dice manouri cheese… What’s manouri cheese?
Manouri is a bit smoother than feta.  It’s available at most supermarket deli counters.
Add feta, manouri and pecorino romano to spinach and onion mixture.

Ask youngest child to help

Calculate a percentage of product loss.

Gather phyllo corners together and place purses into a muffin tin.
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Spanakopita Purses Served with Grilled Zucchini

Spanakopita Purses


2 TBSP olive oil
1 medium onion, small dice

2 cubes of frozen garlic cubes (or 2 freshly grated cloves)
10 ounce fresh spinach,  chopped
1/8 cup water
2 ounces of feta, diced
8 ounces manouri cheese, diced
2 TBSP pecorino romano, grated
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste

Few squares of phyllo dough (defrosted)
4 TBSP butter, melted
Silicone Pastry Brush
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Instructions for Filling

1. In a heavy bottom pot, add olive oil and heat on High. 
2. When hot, add onion and saute. 
3. Add 2 cubes of frozen TJ’s garlic (no time to peel and mince my own) and warmed through. 
4. Take the pieces of bite size spinach and add them to the pot. Saute to coat with oil and heat through. 
5. Added water to pot. This will deglaze the pot a bit and help the spinach wilt. Saute spinach until wilted.
6. Remove from heat and let cool. 
7. When cool, combine with: diced feta, diced manouri and pecorino romano.  
8. Taste and add salt/pepper to your liking.

Instructions for Dough
1. Take each sheet and cut into two squares (my sheets were rectangular and about 2 inch border was thrown out). 
2. Separate each sheet and brush melted butter. Repeat for two more sheets, placing each square on top of the previous.
3. Three phyllo squares will make one “purse”.

Directions to Combine
1. Add about 3 TBSP of the spinach/cheese mixture into the middle of the phyllo dough. 
2. Bring the four edges together and put into muffin tin. 
3. Bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees. 
4. Let cool for a few minutes and serve.

Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!

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