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Greek

This quick and easy cucumber salad with a light Greek dressing makes the perfect summer side dish alongside hamburgers and hot dogs. I could eat this one for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

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Cooking for myself isn’t something I’m very good at. I always mess up the portion size (especially with pasta I never know how much I end up tilting from the box into the pot) and end up with leftovers that can sometimes get lost in the madness that is our refrigerator.

But a few nights ago, I was home alone with a stocked fridge and decided to cook up a little something while I watched Jeopardy in the kitchen and had a glass of red wine.

After checking out my options, I decided to fry up the lamb chops that needed to be used up and go from there. The pasta I came up with might be my new favorite pasta. I’ve only had lamb in pasta maybe once before, and it was just as good as I remembered. With some Greek seasonings and feta cheese, it ended up being the perfect meal for one.

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Some people aren’t a fan of the cool and creamy cucumber sauce that accompanies a gyro, but I personally love anything with cucumber. Tzatziki can be used to marinate meats, as a dip, or as a sauce on yummy lamb pitas–and it’s not too hard to make either!

I decided to use Ina Garten’s recipe for it because I have her cookbook “Parties” and her recipes are always a hit. But–I didn’t check out the portion size and ended up making about 5 cups of the stuff, aka way too much for a family of four to eat. Oh well.

I made a few adjustments to the recipe: I skipped the straining yogurt step and just bought Greek yogurt, I didn’t add champagne vinegar because I didn’t have any (a splash of white vinegar was used instead), and I added fresh mint. The key to the tzatziki tasting was good was letting the flavors meld together in a cold refrigerator overnight.

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Sorry about the terrible phone photo. Damn you, Blackberry.

About two weeks ago, my Mom & I visited the little BYOB, family-owned Greek place near our house, Greek Stop. The tiny restaurant can maybe fit about 30 people, but that only adds to its charm. Whenever I’m there, I’m always inclined to order a gyro and a side Greek salad, because well, you can’t go wrong with that combo.

So my mother-daughter lunch inspired me to try my hand at cooking some Greek food in my own kitchen. Homemade tzatziki, a Greek salad the way I like it, and tomato & feta roasted shrimp over linguini were on the dinner menu. (I’ll post about the tzatziki and salad recipe I used in a different post.) The tomato & feta shrimp was an easy to make dish that brought a little variety to our dinner table, and the whole family enjoyed it. I mean, anything with feta cheese is going to be good.

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