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These are the fastest
savory slice-and-bake cookies on the block. The pastry is store-bought phyllo
dough, and the filling is made in just a few minutes in a food processor. They
are festive and hearty hors d’oeuvres, and their golden orange color flecked
with green chives brightens any table.
Since phyllo pastry
contains only flour and water, it acts the same way a flour-and-water paste
does if allowed to dry out: it gets hard. The simple solution is to keep the
unused stack of phyllo pastry covered with plastic wrap and a clean, damp dish
towel as you work. If kept covered, the sheets of phyllo remain soft, pliable,
and a pleasure to use. You’ll find phyllo pastry in the freezer section near
the piecrusts. One last tip: Defrosting the phyllo in its packaging in the refrigerator
overnight before will help ensure that the sheets don’t stick
Measuring & preparation
time 10 minutes
Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes
4 tbsp/55 g unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
5 oil-packed sun-dried
tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
1 large garlic clove,
15 large basil leaves
1 tbsp unbleached
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black
8 oz/255 g cream cheese, at
1/4 cup/60 ml sour cream
12 sheets phyllo dough, 12
in/30.5 cm long and 8 in/20 cm wide
In a small frying pan, heat
the butter and olive oil over medium heat, stirring constantly until the butter
melts. Remove from the heat and set aside.
In a food processor, pulse the
tomatoes, garlic, and basil until finely chopped. Add the egg, flour, salt, and
pepper and process just until the egg is blended into the mixture. Add the
cream cheese and sour cream and process until smooth. Scrape into a bowl.
Put the stack of phyllo sheets
on a work surface and cover with plastic wrap and a clean, damp dish towel.
Place one phyllo sheet on a work surface with a long side facing you. Use a
pastry brush to lightly coat the phyllo with the butter mixture. Repeat with
two more sheets, then top with a fourth sheet. Leaving a bare edge 1 in/2.5 cm
wide along the bottom and sides of the phyllo, spoon one-third of the cream
cheese mixture in a strip 1 1/2 in/4 cm wide along the bottom edge of the phyllo.
Fold the sides of the phyllo in to enclose the edges of the filling, then roll
the strudel up tightly. Lightly brush the top with the butter mixture. Repeat
with the remaining phyllo and cream cheese mixture to make two more strudels.
The strudels are ready to
bake, or wrap them in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil and freeze for up to
2 months. Frozen strudel does not need to be defrosted before baking.
When ready to bake the
strudels, position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to
375°F/190°C/gas 5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the strudels 2 in/5
cm apart and seam-side down on the baking sheet. Use a sharp knife to score the
top of the strudel at 1-in/2.5-cm intervals, cutting through the pastry but not
into the filling. This makes it easier to slice the baked strudel.
Bake until golden on top,
about 30 minutes, or if using frozen strudel, about 35 minutes.
Let cool on the baking
sheet for 10 minutes. Use a wide metal spatula to transfer the strudels to a wire
rack to cool completely. Use a sharp knife to cut each strudel into pieces
where scored. Serve warm.
If serving the strudels at
a party, bake one at a time for a continuous supply of warm strudel, or cover
baked strudel loosely with aluminum foil and keep it warm for up to 1 hour in
an oven preheated to 225°F/110°C/gas 1/4.
Vary the ingredients and
seasonings in the cream cheese filling; for example, season the cream cheese
with basil, lemon zest, and garlic, or substitute chopped and sautéed onion, using
1 large onion, instead of the sun-dried tomatoes. Basically, you can use any
combination of herbs and vegetables that is appealing.