Sauces, Marinades, and Dressings

Tzatziki Sauce

Tzatziki sauce is a beautiful combination of strained Greek yogurt, cucumber, garlic, dill, spring onion, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.  It is traditionally served alongside grilled meats, and makes a wonderful addition to pita and hummus, or a crudites platter.  It is cool, crisp, tangy, and refreshing.

If you have never made homemade tzatziki sauce before, give it a try.  This recipe is restaurant worthy.

Your pita is waiting!

photo 1photo 2photo 3Tzatziki Sauce

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups 2% Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 English cucumber, peeled, seeds discarded, and finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 spring onion, cleaned and sliced
  • 2-3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Strain yogurt in a fine metal strainer or coffee filter for a couple of hours.  This will remove some of the excess liquid and will thicken your yogurt.

Transfer yogurt to a small bowl.  Add the rest of the ingredients, mix well, and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

Makes: 2 cups

Note: Tzatziki sauce will stay fresh in your refrigerator for up to 5 days.

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Grilled Recipes, Main Course Recipes, Salads, Vegetarian Recipes

Lemon Dill Chicken Kabobs & Greek Balsamic Orzo

One of the best parts of summer is barbecuing.  I love sitting outside on a warm evening, sipping on a cold beer or glass of wine, and throwing something yummy on the grill.  The thought of it just makes me smile.

This past weekend, we noticed the summer slipping away from us.  It was the end of July and we had yet to have a B-B-Q. What?  So we took action, invited a few friends over, put together a simple menu, and stocked the cooler with cold beverages.

I had fun planning the meal.  The featured items were lemon dill chicken kabobs and a lovely Greek balsamic orzo salad.  Don’t let the summer go by without hosting a barbeque of your own.  I highly recommend whipping up these recipes.  They were delicious!

Lemon Dill Chicken Kabobs

lemon dill chicken kabobs

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups plain low fat yogurt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp lemon zest (zest of 2 lemons)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (or 2 tsp fresh oregano, chopped)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 2 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
  • 4 red bell peppers, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 2 red onions, peeled and cut into wedges
  • wooden skewers, soaked in water for 20 minutes

Directions:

In a large resealable plastic bag, add first 9 ingredients and mix well.  Add chicken, seal, and refrigerate for 4 – 24 hours.

Thread chicken, bell peppers, and onion wedges onto skewers.  Discard extra marinade.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat.  Lightly oil grates, and place kabobs on the grill.  Cook 10 minutes, turning as needed, or until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender.

Servings: 7 (Serving Size: 2 Skewers)

Greek Balsamic Orzo

balsamic orzo salad

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups orzo, uncooked
  • 6 oz bag baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 14 oz can artichoke hearts packed in water, diced
  • 3/4 cup kalamata olives, cut in half
  • 1/3 pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 cup crumbled feta
  • Zest from 1 lemon (1 tbsp)
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon (or more if needed)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

In a medium size bowl, combine lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.  Wisk until well blended.  Add chopped tomatoes to the vinaigrette and let marinade for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook orzo according to package directions.  Add chopped spinach to serving bowl.  When orzo is done cooking, drain pasta, (do not rinse) and add to chopped spinach.  Stir to combine.  Note: make sure to add orzo to the spinach when it is still warm, the warm orzo will wilt the spinach.

Add artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, and tomatoes along with vinaigrette.  Toss to combine.

Allow salad time to cool to room temperature.  Add feta cheese and toasted pine nuts.

Toss and serve.

Servings: 12 (Serving Size: 1 cup)

Salads, Vegetarian Recipes

Greek Quinoa Salad

Greek Quinoa

 

Quinoa is an ancient seed from South America. When cooked, it takes on a mild nutty flavor.  Although it is technically not a grain, it cooks similarly and can be substituted in many recipes if you’re looking for a healthier alternative.  Quinoa is rich in protein, potassium, iron, and other essential vitamins and minerals.

When cooked, the seed expands 4 times it’s size. Thus, 1 cup of dry quinoa yields 4 cups cooked.  The usual recommendation is to soak and rinse quinoa before beginning the cooking process. However, many brands are now pre rinsing their quinoa, which is such a time saver.  Quinoa preparation is very easy. Combine 1 cup of quinoa with 2 cups of water or broth and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer covered for 15 minutes.  You can also refer to package cooking instructions as a guide.

In this recipe, I combined cooked and cooled quinoa with crisp vegetables, feta cheese, and herbs. This results in a delicious combination of Mediterranean flavors.  I am a sucker for cold and refreshing salads, especially during the hot summer months.  I add feta cheese and a yummy herb lemon vinaigrette to this dish, making it one of my go-to’s.  This recipe is incredibly easy to whip up and a true crowd pleaser!  Make it at your next BBQ or prepare on a Sunday to eat throughout the week for lunch. The flavors are even better the next day.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of cooked and cooled quinoa (1 cup of dry quinoa)
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 4 persian cucumbers, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1 small bunch parsley, stems removed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Herb Lemon Vinaigrette  (recipe below)

Directions:

Combine cooked and cooled quinoa with the next 7 ingredients, through parsley.  Toss with herb lemon vinaigrette and add crumbled feta.  Chill for 1 hour before serving.

Herb Lemon Vinaigrette Recipe: Combine the juice of 2 small lemons, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 tsp fresh chopped dill, 1/2 tsp dried oregano, and salt and pepper to taste.