Black Olive Hummus

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I have another hummus recipe for you! I often make a basic hummus recipe, but I’ve also made Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus, Black Bean Hummus, and Pumpkin Hummus. So this time I thought I’d try an Olive Hummus, because I love olives, especially Kalamata olives! I found a recipe at About.com that I tweaked a little, adding a little more lemon juice, some garlic, and more olives.

BLACK OLIVE HUMMUS by NancyCreative, adapted from About.com

Makes about

  • 1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans (also called chickpeas), drained
  • 2/3 cup pitted and chopped Kalamata olives (or substitute another kind of black olive–can also use canned black olives-you would use most of a 4.25-ounce can–not quite all of it)
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • Optional: 1 to 2 Tablespoons water if a thinner consistency is desired
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • whole or sliced black olives for garnish

Combine all ingredients in a food processor (or high-power blender) and blend until creamy and smooth. If consistency is too thick, add a Tablespoon or two of water. Put hummus in a small bowl and garnish with whole or sliced black olives.

Serve hummus with pita bread, pita chips, or veggies–I especially like it with celery sticks! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Are you a fan of hummus like I am? Do you make your own?

Linked to New Nostalgia.

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Mango-Jalapeno Salsa from The Daniel Plan Cookbook

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Now that the weather is warming up, I’ve been eating more fruit–there’s something about the warmer weather that makes me crave it more! I love all kinds of fruit and that’s what I like about this Mango-Jalapeno Salsa–there’s a nice variety of fruit–mango, pineapple, and apple–mixed in with some diced tomato and red bell pepper. It’s a little on the spicy side, so use half the amount of jalapeno and ginger if you want a milder salsa. Overall, I think this is a great, healthy mix of naturally sweet and savory flavors!

517gSVWkM3L._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Speaking of healthy, this recipe is from a new cookbook out last month, The Daniel Plan Cookbook, by Pastor Rick Warren, Dr. Daniel Amen, and Dr. Mark Hyman. It’s a companion book to the New York Times Bestseller, The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life and has 100 easy recipes (with full-color photos) to help you eat healthy for life. “Food truly is medicine,” says one of the authors, Dr. Hyman. Eating real, whole foods can help reverse chronic disease, aid in weight loss, and even optimize brain health. In developing the book, the authors thought about what most people like to eat, then created healthy versions of popular dishes to show that healthy eating is possible in the “real world.” So there are recipes for Blueberry French Toast, BBQ Chicken Pizza, Spinach and Artichoke Dip, Classic Meatloaf, and Chocolate Coconut pudding, to name a few…that just goes to show you don’t need to feel deprived when you’re eating healthy!

I received a sampler of recipes from the book and decided to try the Mango-Jalapeno Salsa. This tropical-style salsa goes well with Mexican recipes using fish or chicken, like the Grilled Spicy Fish Tacos, another delicious-sounding recipe in the book. I really like it with those blue corn tortilla chips, too.

MANGO-JALAPENO SALSA from The Daniel Plan Cookbook

  • 1 mango, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup diced pineapple
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup seeded and diced tomato
  • 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 4 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons minced seeded jalapeno (use half the amount of jalapeno and ginger for a milder salsa)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Place salsa ingredients in a bowl. Mix together well. Chill in refrigerator. (Keeps up to 1 week refrigerated).

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This makes about 3 1/2 cups of salsa. It’s really easy to make and so good! Have you tried making a fruity salsa before?

Black Bean Hummus

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When I was at the grocery store the other day, I saw some Black Bean Hummus. I hadn’t noticed that flavor before and it  sounded great ! Instead of buying some, I decided to make my own.

You use black beans instead of garbanzo beans (or chickpeas) in this hummus, but it still has many of the same ingredients you would use in your typical hummus recipe…like olive oil, garlic, and tahini. It also has a little cayenne pepper in it, which adds some spiciness–but if you prefer a milder flavor, leave it out.

This is a smooth and creamy hummus, and I love the flavor combination of the black beans with all the other spices. If you like hummus and black beans, keep this recipe in mind!

BLACK BEAN HUMMUS by NancyCreative

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons tahini (roasted sesame seed paste)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Optional garnishes: 10 to 12 Kalamata olives, 1 1/2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Place all ingredients, except for the garnish ingredients (olives and cilantro), in a food processor or high-power blender; process until smooth and creamy. Spoon into a bowl and garnish with olives and fresh cilantro. Serve with pita bread, fresh veggies, or tortilla chips.

I’m enjoying trying out and creating different hummus recipes! I’ve also made these other hummus recipes: basic HummusSun-Dried Tomato Hummus, and Pumpkin Hummus.   Do you have a favorite hummus flavor?

Linked to Inspire Me Monday.

Sweet Italian Sausage and Pepper Pizza

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Last week I made a “New Tra-Dish” Recipe with Ragù® Old World Style® Traditional Pasta Sauce, called Fiesta Chili Mac. This week, I’m sharing my second “New Tra-Dish” tradish_logo_300x300Recipe–Sweet Italian Sausage and Pepper Pizza! I put my own spin on a Ragù recipe called Sausage & Peppers by making it into a pizza–two pizzas, in fact! In addition to the yummy sweet Italian sausage, bell peppers, and Ragù® Old World Style® Traditional Pasta Sauce, I added some chopped onion, Mozzarella Cheese, and used Italian bread shells for the crusts to keep the recipe quick and easy.

You’ll end up with two thick and gooey pizzas, oozing with lots of sauce and cheese. Because they’re so saucy and cheesy, they can be a little on the messy side when eating…so be sure to serve with lots of napkins! :)

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SWEET ITALIAN SAUSAGE AND PEPPER PIZZA by NancyCreative, adapted from Ragù Sausage & Peppers

Makes 2 (12″) pizzas, 6-8 servings each

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 (19-ounce) package sweet Italian Sausage
  • 2 bell peppers-1 red, 1 green (or use 2 green or 2 red), chopped
  • 1 small to medium-size onion, chopped
  • 1 jar (1 lb. 8 oz.) Ragù® Old World Style® Traditional Pasta Sauce
  • 3 cups (12 ounces) shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided
  • 2 (14-ounce) packages 12-inch Italian bread shells

Heat olive oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat (if oil is splattering too much, turn heat down a little lower) and cook sausage, turning occasionally, about 5 to 7 minutes; remove sausage from pan, let cool slightly and cut into thin slices (about 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick)–it’s easier to cut the sausage into slices after it has cooked a little. Sausage slices will still be pink in center, so return to skillet and cook a few minutes more, until sausage is fully cooked. Remove sausage slices from skillet and drain on paper towel.

With oil still in skillet, add chopped bell peppers and onion into it and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in pasta sauce and cook another 3 to 5 minutes, until everything is heated through.

Preheat oven to 375˚F.

Place Italian bread shells on pizza pans, pizza stones, or 1 very large baking sheet and top each with half of the pasta sauce/veggie mixture, spreading evenly over surfaces (keep sauce about 1″ from the edges of the bread shells so it won’t drip off while it’s baking). Top the sauce evenly with 1 1/2 cups of Mozzarella cheese on each pizza. Then arrange half of the sausage slices evenly over the cheese on each pizza, pressing slices slightly into the cheese and sauce toppings.

Bake pizzas at 375˚F for 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool a few minutes, then cut with a pizza cutter and serve.

Note: the package directions on the Italian bread shells say to bake at 450˚F, but I baked these pizzas at a lower temp, 375˚F, so my sausage slices wouldn’t get too overly cooked.

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Your pizzas will look like the one on the left going into the oven, and the one on the right coming out of the oven…all nice and cheesy!

I love the slices of Sweet Italian Sausage in this pizza–it tastes so good with the rich, tomato flavor of the sauce and all that mozzarella cheese! It’s not surprising that the sauce has such a great tomato flavor–each jar of Ragù® Old World Style® Traditional Sauce is made with 11 juicy tomatoes making it its richest, thickest recipe!

You can find other great quick and easy recipes at Ragù and also at Facebook.com/RaguSauce. And visit http://www.RaguSweeps.com to enter the Ragù Better and Better Sweepstakes for a chance to win great Authentic Italian themed prizes and a grand prize trip to Venice for a family of four! No Purchase Necessary. Legal residents of the 50 United States (D.C.) 18 years and older. ends 5/6/14). To enter and for Official Rules, including odds, alternate method of entry, and prize descriptions, visit http://www.RaguSweeps.com. Void where prohibited.

This post was sponsored by Ragù and Yummly, but the opinions expressed are mine.

Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus

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I’ve mentioned before how much I love hummus, and this time I tried making Sundried Tomato Hummus! I just love sundried tomatoes and I had found a recipe at AllRecipes that sounded good. It’s made with oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes. I halved most of the recipe, because I didn’t need to make 4 cups of hummus, and used more sun-dried tomatoes in it for a stronger, more tomato-y taste. I also needed to use more lemon juice and olive oil in this hummus because the original recipe was really thick. It’s a little thicker and chunkier than other hummus recipes I’ve made because of the sun-dried tomatoes in it, but it is so good-and I love the fresh basil in it, too!

SUN-DRIED TOMATO HUMMUS by NancyCreative, adapted from AllRecipes

Makes about 2 cups

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup tahini paste
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can garbanzo beans (also called chickpeas), drained
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained (I used the Julienne Cut, for easier blending)
  • 1/3 cup finely shredded fresh basil
  • Optional garnish: 1 Tablespoon olive oil, 1/8 teaspoon paprika

Place garlic, salt, tahini, and lemon juice in a food processor and process until smooth. Add the garbanzo beans and olive oil, blending again until smooth, scraping the sides of the processor occasionally. If mixture is too thick, add a little more olive oil, lemon juice, or water. Then add the sun-dried tomatoes and pulse until they’ve been chopped into very small pieces and incorporated evenly into the hummus. Add the basil and pulse a few times until it is mixed in.

Spread hummus into a shallow serving dish and serve.

If desired, you can make a few decorative grooves on top, refrigerate for 1 hour, then drizzle with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with paprika before serving. Serve with veggies, crackers, or pita bread.

I think I could eat hummus every day without getting tired of it! So I’m really glad it’s healthy! Are you a big hummus fan too?

Creamy Salsa Yogurt Dip

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With all the sports games on TV, and with the Super Bowl coming up, you may be looking for some different dip recipes to snack on as you’re watching! It’s always nice to have some healthier options and this is a yummy dip that’s a little more on the healthy side. It’s made with yogurt, salsa, a little bit of light mayo, and some seasoning. Shredded cheese is optional, but I really like it with the cheese, even though it’s not quite as healthy that way! The dip shown here is made with Pepper Jack cheese, which gives it a little extra spice. So, keep this in mind for the games!

CREAMY SALSA YOGURT DIP by NancyCreative, adapted from Food.com

Makes about 2 cups of dip

  • 1 cup plain yogurt (use a thicker yogurt–I used Redwood Hill Farm Goat Milk Yogurt; you can also use Greek yogurt)
  • 2/3 cup chunky-style Salsa (use your favorite brand)
  • 2 Tablespoons light mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Ranch Dip Mix
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • Optional: 1 cup shredded Cheddar or Pepper Jack cheese

Combine yogurt, salsa, mayonnaise, Ranch seasoning, and chili powder in a medium size bowl, stirring until smooth. Add in cheese, if using, and blend well. Cover and chill for at least one hour or as long as one day before serving. Serve with assorted veggies (carrots, cucumber slices, sugar snap peas, cauliflower, broccoli) or tortilla chips.

What types of healthy snacks do you like to make?

Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Spread or Dip

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After I made my Pumpkin Hummus, I had half of a can of pumpkin left over. What to do with it? I thought some of it might be good in a cream cheese spread. I was inspired by this recipe from Better Homes and Gardens. I wanted to sweeten the spread with honey instead of sugar (although you could use brown sugar instead if you want to have a thicker spread) and made some other changes, and this is what I ended up with!

It’s a lightly sweet and spicy spread with a very creamy texture that’s great on bagels or pumpkin bread for breakfast. Or, use as an appetizer spread on crackers or as a dip for fruit. It’s very soft and creamy when you mix it up so it does need to be refrigerated for at least an hour or two after mixing. Even after it’s refrigerated, it’s more creamy than other cream cheese spreads I’ve made–so if you want a thicker spread, use brown sugar instead of honey and omit the vanilla. If you don’t have all the spices I used in this, you can use 1 1/4 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice.

PUMPKIN SPICE CREAM  CHEESE SPREAD by NancyCreative, adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

Makes 1 1/2 cups

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese or light cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 3 Tablespoons honey (or substitute brown sugar for a thicker spread)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In medium bowl, blend all ingredients together until smooth (if using an electric mixer, blend on medium speed). Pour mixture into a small serving bowl, then cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight. Makes about 1 1/2 cups of spread. Serve on bagels or pumpkin bread for breakfast. Or, serve as an appetizer with crackers or apple and pear slices.

If you like pumpkin-flavored things, you’ll need to try this out! What other ways do you like to use leftover canned pumpkin?

10 Great-Tasting Party Snacks for the New Year

Can you believe this year is almost over? I think it has been the fastest one ever! Has it flown by for you, too? If you are planning on making some snacks for New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, here are some yummy ideas for your celebration!

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Cheesy Stuffed Sourdough Loaf–a great-tasting loaf that’s a meal or a snack!

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Cheesy Hot Artichoke Dips–I love the Cheesy Spinach and Artichoke Dip posted here and I’ve also included some other variations: Baked Artichoke Dip, Hot Artichoke Dip, Microwave or Oven-Baked Artichoke Dip, Chile-’Choke Dip, and Artichoke Party Dip.

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Bacon Double Cheeseburger Dip–you can’t go wrong with bacon and cheese! :)

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Chexicago Party Mix–a tasty snack inspired by the sweet and salty caramel-and-cheese popcorn combination that’s popular in Chicago!

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Five-Layer Greek Dip–with hummus, feta cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, and olives…healthy and really good!

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Bacon-Cheese Pull Aparts–a hard-to-resist panful of cheesy-bacon-onion yumminess!

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Bacon-Green Onion Cream Cheese Spread–if you need a spread for crackers or crusty bread, try this out!

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Easy, Cheesy Garlic Bread–who doesn’t love garlic bread? Serve it with thick, chunky pasta sauce for dipping it in!

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5-Layer Mexican Dip–always a crowd-pleaser!

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Salsa Roll-Ups–a quick and easy snack and can easily be made ahead of time.

What yummy snacks are you planning on making? Enjoy your New Year celebrations, and have a safe and happy one!

Pumpkin Hummus

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I started eating hummus about 10 years ago. A coworker and friend of mine made the best hummus, and he’d bring me some every so often. And I have been a big hummus fan ever since! I usually make this hummus recipe, but I thought I’d try making some hummus with pumpkin in it for the holidays. I liked most of the ingredients in this Pumpkin Hummus recipe and this one, so I used them as a starting point. I really like this Pumpkin Hummus! It’s a great healthy dip–really smooth and creamy, with a light pumpkin, savory taste. Perfect for balancing out all those holiday sweets! If you’re making this for a party or large group, you may want to double the recipe.

PUMPKIN HUMMUS by NancyCreative

Makes about 4 to 6 servings

  • 1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans (also called chickpeas), drained
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or a little more, to taste)

Add all ingredients in a food processor, starting with the garbanzo beans, and process until smooth.

To serve, spoon out on a platter or in a small bowl. Sometimes I garnish it with a little paprika. Serve with veggies, crackers, or pita bread.

It’s nice when a dip that tastes good is healthy, too! What are some of your healthy holiday snack recipes?

Spanakopita from 175 Best Mini Pie Recipes and a Giveaway!

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Spanakopita is one of my favorite appetizers. I have always loved these bites of cheesy spinach filling and flaky phyllo crust. But I’ve never tried making them. So, when I received a review copy of 175 Best Mini Pie Recipes: Sweet to Savory and discovered a recipe for them in the book, I knew it was time to give it a try! I’m really glad I did–they were really good! I’m sharing the recipe with you later in this post. But first I’ll tell you more about the book, because there are all sorts of mini pie recipes in it…and I have a giveaway copy you can enter to win, too! See the end of the post for the giveaway details!

minipiecover175 Best Mini Pie Recipes (softcover), by chef and food writer Julie Anne Hession, has all kinds of wonderful sweet and savory recipes. Here are just a few…Blackberry Sugarplum Cornmeal Pies, Raspberry Nectarine Gallettes, Caramel Apple Hand Pies, Brown Butter Custard Pear Tarts, Southern Banana Pudding Pies, Carrot Cake Pies with Cream Cheese Crust, Chocolate Cappuccino Pocket Pies, Pesto Chicken Hand Pies, Pork Empanadas with Salsa Verde, Mini Cheese and Sausage Calzones, Croque Madame Breakfast Cups, Minestrone Pot Pies…and lots of other tasty treats for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. The book also includes helpful tips in the chapters on Creating Perfect Mini Pies and Working with Dough. So if you’re new to pie-making, you’ll find this book helpful and easy to understand. And if you’re an experienced pie maker, you’ll enjoy the wide variety and creative recipes to choose from!

Here’s the recipe for Spanakopita…no need to make any dough for this, since it calls for purchased phyllo dough. If you haven’t ever used phyllo sheets in a recipe, you may find it a little tricky to work with because they are so thin and delicate…but after folding a few spanakopitas, you’ll get the hang of it! :)

SPANAKOPITA from 175 Best Mini Pie Recipes

Makes 24 Triangles

When people think of Greek food, spanakopita is likely one of the first dishes that come to mind. Serve these crisp spinach and feta phyllo pies as a flavorful vegetarian appetizer at parties–they will quickly disappear!–Julie Ann Hession

  • 1 Tablespoon (15 mL) unsalted butter
  • 1 Tablespoon (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 ounces (375 g) fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped green onions
  • 2 Tablespoons (30 mL) chopped parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon (15 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2mL) freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup (250 mL) crumbled feta cheese
  • 24 sheets phyllo dough, thawed
  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375˚F (190˚C), positioning racks in upper and lower thirds. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

1. Filling: In a large skillet, melt butter with olive oil over medium heat. Add spinach and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for 15 minutes.

2. Squeeze excess liquid from spinach, then transfer to a cutting board. Chop coarsely and place in a large bowl. Add green onions, parsley, lemon juice, egg, nutmeg, salt, and pepper; stir to blend. Add feta and toss to blend.

3. Place one sheet of phyllo on clean work surface, short side facing you. Working quickly, brush with melted butter and fold in half lengthwise. Brush again with butter.

4. Spoon 1 heaping Tablespoon (20 mL) spinach filling onto bottom left side of strip, leaving about a 1-inch (2.5 cm) border at the bottom. Fold bottom left corner over the filling to form a triangle, then continue to fold triangles up the strip of phyllo to the top as if you were folding a flag. Brush top of triangle with butter, pressing end to seal. Place triangle, seam side down, on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining phyllo and filling, making 24 triangles.

5. Bake in preheated oven at 375˚F for 18 to 20 minutes, switching positions of baking sheets halfway through, until phyllo is deep golden brown and crisp. Cool slightly and serve warm.

Tip: The key to making perfectly crisp spanakopita is to ensure that excess liquid is removed from the spinach before filling. If your filling begins to produce liquid while you are still constructing the triangles, remove it by straining or by pressing the spoonful against the side of the bowl before placing on the pastry. This will make the difference between soggy and spectacular bits.

Make Ahead: Spanakopita can be assembled and frozen for up to five days. Freeze pies for 30 minutes on baking sheets, then seal in zip-top bags. Bake from frozen as directed.

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GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

Congratulations to commentor #18, Marie, for winning the book!

Now for the Giveaway…if you’d like to enter to win a copy of 175 Best Mini Pie Recipes, leave a comment on this blog post between now and Saturday, June 1, at midnight (CST)–the random drawing will be made from the comments on this post only! The winner will be chosen randomly via Random.org and announced on Sunday, June 2. Winner will be notified via email (if winner does not respond in 3 days, I’ll do another drawing). Giveaway limited to readers in the Continental U.S. and Canada.

First entry: Leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite kind of pie is.

Bonus entry: If you are a new or existing follower or subscriber, you can leave one extra comment telling me the way (or ways) you are following.

Can’t wait to hear what kind of pies you all like! :)