Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Lusciously Lowercal Chicken Spanakopita

I figured I'd better redeem myself after posting that last disgusting-looking pile of goo. Yes, we ate them. No, they weren't as disgusting as they looked. Maybe I'll try again with a thicker dough instead of a batter.

This should remind you that I AM a cooking prodigy in an ever-shrinking platinum blonde package. hehe

So you might be going, "Chicken Spank-a-what??"

Spanakopita is Greek for Spinach Pie. Traditional Spanakopita is FATTENING--buttery layers of phyllo dough stuffed full of eggs, onions fried in olive oil, and full-fat feta cheese. It normally comes in around 12 Weight Watcher points (approximately 500 calories and almost FORTY grams of fat), but I made several small changes and kept the dish lip-smacking delicious and cut the WW points down to FIVE!

Phyllo dough is a mystery to some and many people are frightened to work with it, but by using cooking spray instead of melted butter, it not only cuts the calories, but it's as easy as (spinach) pie!

*bah dah bomp-chhhhhhh* Thank you folks, I'll be here all week.

By the way, you can find phyllo dough in any decent-sized grocery store freezer aisle, usually in a box containing two 8 oz twin packs of dough. Be sure to let it thaw out completely at room temperature or you will hate me forever for suggesting working with phyllo is easy.

This recipe is simple enough to make for a weeknight dinner and impressive enough to make for company! This dish manages to stay lowercal and adds ground chicken to make it a complete meal. Pair it with a salad dressed with Red Wine Vinegar, a sprinkle of garlic salt, and just a tish of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and you've got yourself a meal you'll want to scream OPA!! after!

Lusciously Lowercal Chicken Spanakopita

Nonstick Cooking Spray (butter or olive oil flavor recommended)
1 teaspoon Olive Oil
1 large Onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 lb Ground Chicken
2 10 oz. packages frozen chopped Spinach, thawed and squeezed to drain liquid
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
dash of Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Dried Oregano (or 1 Tablespoon Fresh)
1/4 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1 cup Lowfat or Light Feta Cheese Crumbles
1 cup Egg Beaters
8 oz (9 x 14 in) Phyllo Dough, THAWED COMPLETELY

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Over medium high heat, heat a large skillet and add Olive Oil. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add chicken. Cook until no longer pink, approximately 8 minutes. Add spinach and all spices. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until there is no liquid coming out of the spinach.

Remove the spinach mixture from the heat and set aside while you are working with the phyllo.

Spray a 9 x 13 x 2 inch baking pan with cooking spray. Open and unroll the phyllo dough. Place one sheet of phyllo in the bottom of the pan (the dough is nearly paper thin, so be sure to just do one sheet at a time) and spray with cooking spray. Repeat with 9 more sheets of phyllo, making sure to spray with the nonstick spray between layers.

Mix the feta cheese crumbles and the egg beaters into the spinach mixture. Spread this mixture over the the phyllo "crust" in the pan.

Repeat the same phyllo, then cooking spray technique over the top of the spinach mixture with the remaining sheets of phyllo (there should be about 10 sheets remaining).

By the way, if your phyllo sheets tear, don't worry--it doesn't matter at all! Just piece it back together and keep layering.

LISTEN UP! Do not skip this next step or you risk your spinach pie turning into a crumbling mess!

Cut the top layer of phyllo crust into 8 equal pieces BEFORE PLACING IN THE OVEN and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned. You will need to cut your 8 pieces again after baking to cut your bottom crust.

Makes 8 servings, 5 Weight Watchers points per serving.

This is what your pan should look like. Give yourself a few activity points for all the jumping up and down you'll be doing after you taste this dish!


LadyStyx said...

Looks good... wouldnt make it though. Only two beings in this house would even try it (the dog and me) and I'm not up for eating the same meal for 4-8 days straight.

Mrs. Bridget G. said...

Opa!! You've turned Greek!

Anonymous said...

Looks awesome. I'm gonna have to give that a whirl sometime.

Dr. Wifey said...

yummy! that looks delish. so, how many carbs? LOL

Amie said...

Nicely done! it looks great!

Brandy said...

This looks delish! I'm so glad you redeemed yourself.

Lula! said...

Yes, I completely printed this entire post out. I'm afraid of working with phyllo dough, but this is too amazing to pass up.

Kat said...

Yum. I cannot wait to make this. I'll have you know that I have an entire bookmark now in my favorites labeled "Carrie's recipes."

And now a question for you...I don't like feta or blue cheeses. Does it melt enough in this recipe that it won't bug me like it would on a salad? Or is there something else I could substitute?

Have you read the Hungry girl books??

Anonymous said...

Yours look faaabulous! We make spanikopita fairly frequently, but we only do the vegetarian ones with just spinach and feta. We've resorted to using olive oil instead of butter and don't put as much in. The beauty of it is that phyllo is so wonderful, it'll be crispy and tasty no matter how little fat one uses in the recipe.

You da cooking goddess!

Aubrey said...


This looks delish! I wish you were my neighbor. Just so I could smell what you were cooking up each day! Well, that AND maybe get your leftovers.


Did you get my email?

onawa said...

oh yum! nice job!!!! you are so experimental! love it!