Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Cozy Food Friday!

This is Tuesday...

Cozy Food Tuesday!

That means it's time to share a recipe from 
another great cozy mystery!
Today I'm featuring

Book 1 in the Callie's Kitchen Mysteries
Jenny Kales

Greek-American restaurateur and single mom Calliope “Callie” Costas faces Greek tragedy when a murder shakes the picturesque waterfront community of Crystal Bay, Wisconsin. Recipes included! 

Building a small business has been murder, but Callie Costas didn’t expect to be confronted with an actual body. The 36-year-old Greek-American proprietor of “Callie's Kitchen,” a meals-from-scratch business in an idyllic small town, has been busy creating a post-divorce life for herself, her young daughter and her Yorkie, Koukla. After a lot of hard work (including staving off her father’s continual advice), she’s got the locals and tourists clamoring for her delicious Mediterranean dishes and Midwest comfort food classics. Recently, she’s started a budding romance with a fellow foodie, the wealthy owner and chef of Crystal Bay’s most popular bistro. 

However, success is as fleeting as one of Wisconsin’s glorious autumn days. As local businesses begin to shut down due to a slow economy, Callie is struggling not to become another statistic. A contest with a hefty cash prize seems like the perfect chance to fix her financial woes, until a shocking murder threatens not only her livelihood – but her life. 

When she’s targeted as a prime suspect by an attractive expat British detective, Callie’s situation becomes more delicate than her Greek egg-lemon soup. She’s got to find the killer and fast if she wants to protect her daughter, save her business and stay alive. 

Don't miss this page-turning first installment in a delicious new culinary cozy series! 

About the author

Mystery Series. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in English and spent several years working as a copywriter and corporate communications marketing writer for many top companies. Her freelance writing about parenting has appeared in many venues including The TODAY Show Parents site. Her award-winning blog, The Nut-Free Mom, has been featured in newspapers and websites around the world.

Fiction writing is her first love and her marriage into a Greek-American Midwestern family inspired The Callie's Kitchen mysteries, featuring Calliope Costas, food business owner and amateur sleuth. The setting of the story, "Crystal Bay," is inspired by a favorite family vacation spot - Wisconsin's beautiful Geneva Lakes.

Jenny is an avid reader, cook and baker and she's addicted to mystery TV, especially anything on Masterpiece Mystery or BBC America. She lives just outside of Chicago with her husband, two daughters and one cute but demanding Yorkshire terrier. 
Keep up with author news for Jenny Kales at 

On to the recipe!

George's Spanakopita
(Greek Spinach-Cheese Pie)

George is Callie's father and this is one of his signature dishes.


Six 10 oz. packages of chopped frozen spinach thawed and drained of excess liquid (but not too dry)
1 bunch scallions (green onions), chopped, white and pale green parts only
Dash of garlic powder
5 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups of feta cheese, crumbled
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and mixed with ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil + more olive oil if needed
1 regular-sized package of phyllo dough sheets, sometimes called “pastry sheets.” (Phyllo dough sheets are found in the frozen foods section of most supermarkets, near frozen pie pastry and the like. ATHENS brand is one of the most common. NOTE: When you get home from the store, be sure to place phyllo pastry in the refrigerator, NOT the freezer so that it can thaw before you begin baking. If you don’t plan to bake right away, keep it frozen.)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
1 tablespoon fresh dill chopped or 1 tsp. of dried dill (George prefers fresh – he says it tastes better.)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Prepare the phyllo: Phyllo pastry bakes up delightfully light and flaky, but the sheets are very thin and can dry out quickly. So here’s how to keep the phyllo nice and fresh: Take a clean tea towel and wet it, then wring out most of the water. Place your phyllo sheets on a cookie sheet with a rim and place waxed paper directly over the spanakopita, followed by the damp tea towel over the waxed paper.  Lift up these protective coverings only when you are ready to take the next sheet. Quickly re-cover the phyllo.

In a large mixing bowl, toss together the spinach, onions, dill and garlic powder. Add the feta cheese and eggs, mixing lightly but thoroughly until well combined. Pour half of the melted butter over the top, season with salt and pepper, and mix again. It should not look too “liquidy.”

Brush a 10 x 15 inch pan with butter. Place about half of the phyllo sheets (usually about 10) into the pan, brushing each thoroughly with melted butter (don’t forget the corners) before adding the next one. Each sheet needs to be thoroughly coated with a thin layer of melted butter.

Add spinach-cheese mixture and spread evenly in the pan. Repeat phyllo sheet process until you have used them all.

Trim any overhanging phyllo dough from pan using kitchen shears, then score the pie into squares (about halfway down, for easier cutting later) with a sharp knife. Bake at 350 degrees F for about one hour, until the top is golden brown. Let cool slightly, then finish cutting and serve.

All photos courtesy of Jenny Kale

Yield: About 15 generous squares of spanakopita.

Wouldn't this be wonderful to make if you have guests coming for dinner?


A wonderful start to this new series!

Author Jenny Kales wasted no time in getting to the murder in ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK. By the end of the first chapter I knew I was going to really enjoy this story.

An interesting plot, written in a fast moving, fluid style, made this first in the Callie’s Kitchen Mystery series was a quick, and enjoyable read. I didn’t want to put it down.

Loaded with action and mayhem, ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK is sure to be a hit with cozy mystery fans. I know I’m looking forward to the next installment!

Make sure to check out the back of the book for some delicious recipes!

Order your copy of
released today!

As always, please leave a comment and 
let me know what you think!

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  1. Looks yummy,Thanks Jenny& Lisa,Happy release day May 24th

  2. Terrific cozy with scrumptious recipes! Author Jenny Kales has hit a home run with book one in her delectable new series.

  3. Another great blog, made me hungry just reading about it. Thanks, Lisa and Jenny. Looking forward to reading the book.

  4. Yum. Thanks for sharing. Happy reading.

  5. Very funny, Lisa! The first thing I saw was "Cozy Food Friday" and thought, "Huh?" :) The recipe sounds delicious. Good luck, to Jenny, on her new series. Happy Tuesday, to you.

  6. the book sounds like a good read.
    thanks for the recipe. It's one of
    my favorites but I've never made it.

  7. Thanks, Lisa, for hosting me, my book and my recipe today on your blog! It's an honor to be here. Thanks for all of the nice comments from readers! I hope you all enjoy On the Chopping Block -- and the recipes.