How to Make Pretty Meals and Appetizers That Look Like They Should Be in a Magazine

I’ve become a big fan of a fun, new-to-me product that makes cooking gorgeous, magazine-ready food easy. And I promise: this post isn’t sponsored or paid for in any way. In fact, the company doesn’t even know I’m doing it! (Although I’m open to partnerships, wink wink!)

The product is Athens Mini Fillo Shells, and they’re exactly what the name says: fillo dough, shaped into little tartlet cups, and pre-baked.

athens-mini-fillo-shells

You can find them in the frozen aisle, near the frozen pies and pie crusts, although I’ve also seen them sold thawed on a regular shelf, too (I think that was a special promotional endcap).

Fillo dough is popular in Mediterranean and middle eastern cuisine. It’s made up of dozens of super-thin layers of dough that you usually layer with or wrap around other ingredients. Baklava is made with fillo dough, as is spanakopita (a Greek spinach pie). It’s very light and crispy.

I love fillo dough, although my perception of it, based on nothing in particular, is that it can kinda be a pain in the ass to work with, because it’s so delicate. So when I saw these small individual pre-made shells, I jumped at the chance to enjoy some fillo, without any of the work.

athens-mini-fillo-shell-in-hand

They’re small – maybe 2 inches in diameter – and each one is only 15 calories. They can be used for either sweet or savory dishes, although I focused on savory, because I don’t keep a lot of sweet things in my house. And they’re vegan! (Although none of these recipes are).

RELATED: Tons of healthy recipes can be found on my Recipes Page!

Here’s three easy, healthy ways to use the shells:

1) Sausage and Cheese Fillo Bites. I actually made these for New Year’s Eve, because they seemed indulgent, festive, and, thanks to the shells, elegant.

sausage-cheese-fillo-bites

Ingredients:

  • 15 fillo shells (an entire package)
  • 1/2 cup pre-cooked, crumbled turkey sausage (buy it pre-cooked, like I did, to make this even easier)
  • 2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese

Divide the sausage up between the 15 shells, and top them with the cheese. Bake in a pre-heated 350-degree oven for 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Sprinkle some minced fresh or dried parsley on top as soon as they come out of the oven. Would be an awesome snack for your Super Bowl party… just sayin’.

35 calories each.

sausage-cheese-fillo-bites-closeup

RELATED: How to make a cheese ball better for you.

2) Pesto and Egg Fillo Bites. I wanted to try a breakfast/brunch dish with the shells, and I came up with this, which made for a perfect weekend morning meal, which I ate while flipping through a Lego catalog.

pesto-egg-fillo-bites

Ingredients:

  • 8 fillo shells
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon pesto (from a jar is fine)

Scramble the egg in a small mug or bowl, and divide it between the eight shells. Add a small dab of cream cheese and pesto to each one. Bake in a pre-heated 350-degree oven for 10-12 minutes (or until the egg is cooked through). Garnish with fresh chopped green onion.

42 calories each.

pesto-egg-fillo-bites-closeup

RELATED: This brunch casserole is lower in calories and high in flavor!

3) Salmon Salad Fillo Bites. A great lunch idea!

salmon-salad-fillo-bites

Ingredients:

  • 5 fillo shells
  • One 2-ounce pouch of boneless, skinless pink salmon (find it near canned tuna)
  • 1 tablespoon plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Combine the salmon, yogurt and mustard in a bowl. Use a fork to combine them so you can easily break up bigger pieces of salmon. Divide the mixture between the 5 shells. Garnish with slices of cucumber and a few capers.

33 calories each.

salmon-salad-fillo-bites-closeup

Yea, that’s right – you just got THREE easy, healthy recipes in ONE post!

Keep it up, David!

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