Romania (Part 1)

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Cheese Dumplings

Romanian dumplings made from cottage cheese.

Total time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 500g cottage cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup flour (plus additional as needed)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Use a colander to strain the excess liquid from the cottage cheese, leaving just the curds behind.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the cottage cheese curds, 3 eggs, and one tablespoon of sugar.
  3. Slowly add flour, 1-2 tablespoons at a time, while stirring until the consistency of the mixture thickens enough to allow the formation of small balls. If the mixture crumbles, continue adding flour to thicken. (We used approximately 1/2 cup of flour total).
  4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a gentle boil.
  5. Wet your hands and shape the cottage cheese mixture into small balls (2-3cm diameter). Drop the balls into the boiling water (they should sink to the bottom of the pot). Avoid stirring as this may break apart the balls.
  6. Boil the dumplings until they rise and float on the surface of the water. Gently scoop the dumplings out of the water and set aside.
  7. Serve with pepper to taste.

Family Ratings

  • Mama: 4/5, these are better than most traditional dumplings!
  • Papa: 3.5/5, would be even better by substituting some of the cottage cheese for more flavorful cheese (such as grated Parmesan, chunks of sharp cheddar, or crumbled blue cheese).
  • Girlie: 1/5, I really didn’t like these.
  • TW: 4/5, would be even better using different types of cheese.
  • McM: 3.5/5

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Original recipe: http://www.romanianfoodrecipes.com/recipe/cheese-dumplings-galuste-cu-branza

Mexico

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Quinoa Enchilada Casserole

A healthy Mexican baked dish with quinoa and lots of vegetables.    

Total time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6-8

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked quinoa
  • 2 415ml bottles of Old El Paso mild taco sauce* (see notes below)
  • 1 cup canned corn kernels, drained
  • 1 cup canned kidney beans, drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 avocados, halved, seeded, peeled, diced
  • 3 medium tomatoes, diced
  • small tortillas and lettuce to serve* (see notes below)

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan, cook quinoa according to package instructions. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 375F.
  3. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, taco sauce, corn, kidney beans, cilantro, cumin, chili powder, 1 cup shredded cheddar, and 1 cup shredded mozza. Stir until thoroughly mixed.
  4. Spread quinoa mixture into a large baking dish. Top with remaining cheese.
  5. Bake in oven until the casserole is bubbly and the cheese has melted (10-15 minutes). Serve immediately.

Notes

  • The original recipe specified Old El Paso mild enchilada sauce, however this product was not available in our local grocery store. We substituted with Old El Paso mild taco sauce. Mild sauce (half the amount) or tomato sauce (increase cumin and chili powder) could also be substituted if taco sauce is not available.
  • Our kids enjoyed eating the casserole wrapped up burrito-style in small tortillas with lettuce and additional tomatoes.

Family Ratings

  • Papa: 4/5, this recipe would be even better with more spice (medium or spicy taco sauce) and substituting half of the quinoa for ground beef.
  • Girlie: 4/5, this is great burrito-style!
  • TW: 4/5,
  • McM: 4.5/5, very light and healthy recipe, I love the quinoa!

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Original recipe: http://damndelicious.net/2014/07/07/quinoa-enchilada-casserole/

Italy (Part 2)

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Pasta Primavera

Vegetarian pasta dish with farfelle and oven-roasted vegetables.

Total time: 40 minutes
Servings: 10

Ingredients

  • 200g matchstick carrots
  • 5 medium zucchini, cut into thin strips (2 inches long)
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips (2 inches long)
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips (2 inches long)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried Italian herbs
  • 700g farfalle (bowtie pasta)
  • 30 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the sliced vegetables (all except cherry tomatoes) with oil, salt, pepper, and dried herbs. Arrange the vegetables in an even layer on two large baking sheets. Bake, stirring after 10 minutes, until the carrots are tender and the vegetable begin to brown (20 minutes total).
  3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente (8-10 minutes). Drain.
  4. In a large pot, toss the pasta with the vegetable mixture, cherry tomatoes, and Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

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Family Ratings

  • Mama: 4.5/5, light and tasty pasta dish!
  • Papa: 3/5, rather bland for my taste
  • Girlie: 3/5, not enough flavor
  • TW: 3.5/5, could have used more spices
  • McM: 4.5/5, baked vegetables have a nice texture and the spices and Parmesan add a delicious subtle flavor!

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Original recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/pasta-primavera-recipe.html

Italy (Part 1)

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Italian Sausage Skewers

Easy Italian side dish with sausage and cheese.

Total time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 4 large (approximately 250g) Italian poultry sausages
  • 24 fresh basil leaves
  • 24 pitted kalamata olives
  • 24 cherry tomatoes
  • 24 cubes Friulano cheese
  • 24 6-inch wooden skewers

Directions

  • Cook the sausage by boiling for 10-12 minutes or according to package instructions. Let cool and cut into 1 inch rounds.
  • Assemble skewers by placing an olive 1/3 of the way up the skewer, then adding a folded basil leaf, a cube of cheese, a cherry tomato, and a sausage round.
  • Position everything on the end of the skewer so the skewer can stand up on its sausage end.

Family Ratings

  • Mama: 5/5, delicious appetizer, would be even better if the sausage were cut into smaller pieces (1/2 inch rounds)
  • Papa: 4.5/5, the basil adds a nice flavour!
  • Girlie: 2.5/5
  • TW: 5/5
  • McM: 4/5

Original recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ellie-krieger/italian-style-sausage-skewers-recipe.html

Iceland (Part 3)

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Baked Fish

Traditional Icelandic dish with cod or halibut. Pictured above (left) with brauoterta (bottom) and spiced cabbage with blueberries (right).

Total time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 6 fish fillets (cod or halibut)
  • 1 lemon
  • 250g emmenthaler cheese, grated
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 1 cup half-and-half cream
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven at 180° C (350° F).
  2. Place fish fillets in a buttered baking dish. Season fillets with salt, peppers, and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Cover the fish with grated cheese.
  3. Mix mustard with cream and pour mixture over fish. Cover with breadcrumbs.
  4. Bake fish for 35 minutes until topping is golden brown. Serve warm.

Family Ratings

  • McM: 5/5, amazing fish with a delicious creamy sauce!

Original recipe: http://www.food.com/recipe/baked-fish-from-iceland-103714

Germany (Part 3)

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Chicken Schnitzel

Traditional German meal. Other types of meat (pork, veal, lamb) can be substituted for chicken if desired. Chicken schnitzel pictured above (left) with cucumber salad (top) and german spinach with ham (right).

Total time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6-8

Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh parsley, minced for garnish
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1.3kg chicken breast, pounded to 1/4 inch thickness
  • 1/2 cup tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced for garnish
  • additional parsley for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Beat eggs in a bowl with garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese. Dip each tenderized chicken breast into egg mixture to coat completely, then coat with breadcrumb mixture.
  3. For each chicken breast, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Cook two chicken breasts at a time until golden brown and cooked through (3 minutes per side).
  5. Transfer the cooked chicken to a shallow pan and keep warm in the oven while preparing the rest of the meal.
  6. After all chicken breasts are cooked, wipe the skillet clean with paper towels.
  7. Heat butter in the skillet until melted and add wine. Heat for 30 seconds, then stir in chicken broth and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer (2 minutes).
  8. Remove chicken from oven and pour broth mixture over chicken breasts. Garnish with parsley and lemon slices. Serve.

Family Ratings

  • McM: 4.5/5, tender chicken and flavorful sauce!

Original recipe: http://www.food.com/recipe/chicken-schnitzel-100005

Norway (Part 2)

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Smoked Salmon Rolls

A delicious Scandinavian side dish with smoked salmon and cream cheese.

Total time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 8 soft tortillas (8 inch diameter)
  • 1 cup (250g) light cream cheese
  • 340g smoked salmon
  • 6 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • chives, chopped (optional)
  • capers (optional)
  • lemon juice (optional)

Directions

  1. Spread tortillas with a thin layer of cream cheese.
  2. Top with salmon, dill, and onion. Chives can be used as a mild alternative to red onions. Capers and lemon juice are nice additions.
  3. Roll tightly. An extra dollop of cream cheese can be used to help seal the roll.
  4. Cut into 1 inch pieces and serve.

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Family Ratings

  • Mama: 3.5/5
  • Papa: 3.5/5
  • Nanya: 5/5
  • TW: 4/5
  • McM: 4/5

Original recipe: http://www.sweetpaulmag.com/food/smoked-salmon-rolls

Greece (Part 2)

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Shrimp Scampi Linguini

Greek-style pasta dish. Pictured above (on right) with spanakopita (on left).

Total time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6-8

Ingredients

  • 1kg linguini
  • 1kg medium or large shrimp, peeled and de-veined with tails removed
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 3 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 3 sprigs oregano, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper.
  2. Place a large pot of water on the stove to boil. Salt water and cook pasta to al dente.
  3. Heat extra-virgin olive oil in a deep skillet and cook garlic on medium heat until browned (3 minutes).
  4. Add shrimp and cook on medium heat (3 minutes).
  5. Add red pepper flakes, lemon zest, oregano, olives, and wine and cook on medium heat (2 minutes).
  6. Add lemon juice and 1 cup of starchy pasta cooking water to skillet. Remove from heat.
  7. When pasta is cooked to al dente, drain water and add pasta to skillet.
  8. Toss with parsley and feta. Feta will melt onto pasta.
  9. Top with chopped olives and serve.

Family Ratings

  • McM: 3/5, very tasty though oregano creates a strong flavor

Original recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/greek-style-shrimp-scampi-and-linguini-recipe.html

Greece (Part 1)

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Spanakopita

Traditional Greek savory pastry. Spanakopitas can be labor-intensive to prepare but they are well worth the effort!

Total time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 12-15 strudels

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
  • 500g frozen* chopped spinach, defrosted* (see notes below)
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • plain dry bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups small-diced feta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 24 sheets frozen phyllo dough, defrosted* (see notes below)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Gently squeeze most of the water out of the spinach and place it in a large bowl.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan, add the onion, and cook over medium-low heat (5 minutes).
  4. Add the scallions to the pan and cook until the scallions are wilted but still green (2 minutes).
  5. Add the cooked onion and scallions to the spinach.
  6. Add eggs, Parmesan cheese, 3 tablespoons bread crumbs, nutmeg, salt, pepper, feta, and pine nuts to the spinach mixture.
  7. Place one sheet of phyllo dough flat on a table. Brush the dough lightly with melted butter and sprinkle it with a teaspoon of breadcrumbs. Place another sheet of phyllo dough on top of the first, brush it with butter, and sprinkle lightly with breadcrumbs. Continue in this way until there are four sheets on top of each other. Use just enough breadcrumbs between layers so that the sheets don’t stick together.
  8. Cut the layered sheets of phyllo lengthwise: cut in thirds lengthwise for small strudels, cut in half lengthwise for large strudels.
  9. Place spinach filling on the end of the sheets: use 1/3 cup filling for small strudels, use 1/2 – 2/3 cup filling for large strudels.
  10. Roll the phyllo sheets diagonally to make a triangle. Then fold the triangle of phyllo back straight. Alternate diagonal and straight folds until you reach the end of the sheet. The filling should be totally enclosed.
  11. Continue assembling layered phyllo sheets and folding over filling until all of the filling has been used.
  12. Place strudels on a sheet pan with the seam sides down.
  13. Brush with melted butter, sprinkle with salt, and bake for 30-35 minutes until the phyllo is brown and crisp.
  14. Let stand for a few minutes before serving.

Notes

  • Frozen chopped spinach and frozen phyllo pastry dough can be defrosted in the microwave (using the preset defrost function), however this may cause the phyllo to become brittle and difficult to fold. For best results, we recommend thawing the spinach and phyllo in the refrigerator for 24 hours prior to recipe preparation.
  • Fresh spinach (steamed and chopped) can be substituted for frozen spinach.

Family Ratings

  • McM: 5/5, these are amazing fresh from the oven and also delicious served cold the next day!

Original recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/dinner-spanakopitas-recipe.html