Back To My Roots, A Delicious Greek Cookbook

Back To My Roots
Krystina Kalapothakos is a chef with a Greek soul, as she puts it. She blogs over at Kouzounas Kitchen.  Kouzouna is her grandmother’s maiden name, and not to be confused with Kouzina, which means kitchen in Greek. I met her online a little over a year ago, via a Twitter friend.  She is the founder of a wonderful group on Facebook called: Foodify.  We follow each other on social media, and share each other’s recipes with our audience.  Krystina is inspired by her yiayia, (grandma in Greek), who left her legacy, along with some traditional Greek recipes. That’s where Krystina gets her passion for cooking, and baking.  She has some delectable recipes on her blog, but recently decided to put together her first cookbook. Although, it’s been a lifelong dream of hers, it took her a little less than 3 months to put it together. I admire her commitment, determination, and love for Greek cuisine.  I got a copy of her cookbook, and was pleased with the heartwarming story she shares with us, along with some delightful, and authentic dishes. It didn’t take me long to try her Spanakorizo, Rice with Spinach. I made it in my kitchen, and it was an instant hit with my family. Today, I will share with you, this delicious Greek dish from her newly published cookbook, Back To My Roots, Sharing Recipes From The Villages Of Greece.

Spanakorizo (Spinach & Rice)


  • 1 pound of fresh spinach (If you are using swiss chard, you can do half swiss chard & half spinach)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped fresh onion
  • 1 leek finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1 lemon (reserve juice and zest)
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped dill
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped mint
  • 1.5 teaspoon dried Greek oregano
  • 1 cup Basmati rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 1.5 tsp sea salt
  • 1 Pinch ground cumin
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • Balsamic Vinegar (Reserve for the finish plate)


  1. Heat olive oil in large pan over medium heat.

2) Saute onions and leeks until they become translucent. (About 5 minutes.)

3) Add garlic, and sauté for 1 minute.

4) Add lemon zest, dill, basil, mint, oregano, cumin, swiss chard, and spinach. Cook until the spinach has wilted down.

5) Stir in the rice, and water. Bring to a boil.

6) Reduce the heat, and place the lid over the pan. Let the rice cook for approximately 20 minutes.

7) When the mixture has cooled, stir in the lemon juice and balsamic vinegar.

Enjoy with some fresh Feta over the top.

I highly recommend this cookbook, and Krystina is in the process of getting it on Amazon. In the meanwhile, if you are interested in owning one, please email her, at, write “cookbook” under subject, and she will get back to you. This would make a lovely Christmas, Hanukkah, or birthday gift.

Krystina Kalapothakos

Krystina Kalapothakos

Meet Krystina Kalapothakos, the name behind the lovely blog, Kouzounas Kitchen.

Follow her on Twitter: —–> KouzounasKitchen
Follow her on Facebook: —>KouzounasKitchen

I want to thank her for her generous contribution to the culinary world, and for featuring my shrimp Saganaki in her cookbook. I hope you will try this recipe, and get her book.

Update: 3/11/2016 – Since this blog post, Krystina has published her book on Amazon and you can obtain a copy by clicking on this link:


Kali Orexi (Bon Appetit) in Greek

Summer Picnic Pasta Salad

Crumbled bacon

Crumbled bacon

Pasta Salad


Pasta salad Mise-en-place

Pasta salad mise-en-place


This pasta salad makes the best summer side dish, and the best part of it, you can prepare it ahead of time. This salad goes well with grilled New York strips or skirt steaks. In this recipe I am using the elbow pasta shape, but fusilli or bow ties are great alternatives. Put on your apron and let’s get cooking!

This recipe yields a large bowl of pasta salad, but the recipe can be divided in half to feed fewer people. 

Serves: 10 – 15 as a side dish

Level of difficulty: Easy to medium

Prepping time from start to finish: 1 hour

Chilling time: 3-4 hours in the fridge


  • 1.5 lb. pasta, elbow shape, cooked al dente
  • 1/2 lb. of bacon, crumbled
  • 4 boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, diced
  • 1 cup mayonnaise*
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsps. Mrs. Dash, Italian Medley, no sodium
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 


1) Bring pasta water to a boil. Add a handful of salt. Cook pasta al dente as per package’s direction.

2) Drain pasta well and pour it into a large mixing bowl.

3) Add all the ingredients and mix well.

4) Cover and chill in the fridge for a at least 3-4 hours. The colder the salad, the tastier it will be, and this will allow the flavors to infuse nicely.

Upon serving, remove from the fridge and drizzle more olive oil to moisten the salad.

* If you don’t like mayonnaise, substitute it with more olive oil, and add some red wine vinegar. It will be similar to a vinaigrette dressing. Taste and adjust the spices as needed.

Wine pairing suggestion: Pink Flamingo Rose made with 100% Grenache produced by Vranken Pommery. 

This refreshing wine boasts a summery salmon color, and offers aromas and flavors of berries, strawberries, peach and apricot.

I hope you will make this delicious pasta salad to bring to your next picnic. Please let me know how it turned out!

Happy Cooking & Sipping!

Gina Martino Zarcadoolas, aka Foodiewinelover
Culinary Personality, Food & Wine Blogger
Author of the cookbook: Cuisines, Corkscrews & Cultures:
Level-2 Certified world-renowned – “WSET: Wine, Spirit, Education, Trust”
Level-2 Certified Sommelier & Italian Wine Scholar Student (Prep course and Unit 1 completed)
Winner of 2019 Italian Wines “Salice Salentino USA Bloggers” Award, held in Puglia, Italy
Brand Strategist






FoodieWineLover Community

My fellow friend bloggers are passionate about food, wine, cultures, and traditions from around the world.  I have met the most wonderful ones,  and enjoy their exotic, and delicious recipes.  What I also like about them is their passion to share their knowledge, and to show support to newbies like myself.  Little by little, I am learning the ropes, and the beautiful world of blogging. I have compiled a list of food/wine bloggers that have supported me on this new journey.  I follow their beautiful blogs, and highly recommend them. Please be on the look out for some scrumptious recipes from all of us!

Kindly click on the images to access their websites! Happy Cooking From Gina’s Kitchen To Yours!








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