Rachelle gets creative in the kitchen

So my mom asked me to cook dinner for 13 people. Of course, being that I love cooking, I obliged. The cuisine she picked happened to be my favourite to cook: Mediterranean. The menu: Greek salad, Greek-style carrots, spanakopita, another type of spanakopita made of mushrooms and parmesan, a Mediterranean chicken dish, and dolmades. After acquiring all the ingredients, I began my quest at 11:30pm last night. I went to bed just before 4am and continued cooking for a couple hours in the afternoon. All in all, it was a fun and easy job, mostly because it was very organized. Everyone enjoyed the food immensely, and there are plenty of leftovers which makes me very pleased (my mom had me make enough food for 25 people instead of 13…).

For this particular cooking adventure I invented two recipes. The first is a form of spanakopita, but instead of spinach and feta it has mushrooms and parmesan and a very interesting flavour due to the sundried tomatoes. The second is a Mediterranean-style chicken dish, which ironically I can’t fully eat because I recently decided to change my diet to vegetarian. Nonetheless, it results in quite possibly the moistest chicken you’ve ever tasted.


Mushroom & Parmesan Phyllo

  • 1 pkg phyllo sheets
  • 1 pkg frozen spinach, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 med onion, finely chopped
  • 4 Tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, julienned
  • 6 cups various mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup butter
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot. Sauté onions until tender. Add mushrooms and cook until tender. Add spinach and cook until tender.
  2. Remove from heat. When cooled, stir in parsley, sundried tomatoes, parmesan cheese, and eggs.
  3. Melt the butter and grease the bottom of a 12 x 8 casserole dish.
  4. Cut phyllo sheets in half. Place one sheet of phyllo in the dish and spread butter on top. Continue placing another sheet on top, spreading butter until half of the sheets are used up.
  5. Pour the mushroom mixture on top.
  6. Continue layering phyllo and butter until the remaining half of the sheets are used up.
  7. Cut into sections, without cutting all the way through to the bottom of the pan.
  8. Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees for 40 minutes, or until top is golden.
  9. Makes 10-12 medium servings.


Mediterranean-style Chicken

  • 16 chicken thighs or 8 chicken breasts, deboned and de-skinned
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 each red and yellow potatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1 pepper, red or yellow or orange, not green, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1/4  large red onion, sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 650g container plain Greek/Balkan style yogurt
  • juice of one lemon
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • chopped herbs: Italian flat-leaf parsley, rosemary, sage (about 4 sprigs parsley, 2 sprigs rosemary, 2 sprigs sage)
  1. Pour 1/4 cup of the olive oil on the bottom of a large casserole dish, at least 13×9, bigger might be necessary depending on the size of the chicken pieces.
  2. Arrange the chicken into four rows (either four rows of four thighs or four rows of two breasts).
  3. Arrange the potato wedges between the rows of chicken, alternating red and yellow pieces.
  4. Pour the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil over top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper
  5. Arrange the onion slices on top of the chicken. Scatter the pepper pieces.
  6. In a bowl mix together the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, and herbs. Pour the sauce evenly on top of everything.
  7. Sprinkle the crumbled feta on top of everything.
  8. Bake, covered, in preheated oven at 400 degrees for about an hour, or until the potatoes are cooked through (the chicken should be fully cooked at this point, but double check it to make sure).
  9. Serves 8.

Tips: Prepare this dish beforehand and allow it to sit overnight to give the flavours a chance to blend together. Also, precooking the potatoes until they are half-way done can speed up the cook time in the oven. I did this once and only cooked it in the oven for about 40 minutes instead of the full hour.

More pictures here.

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