The sole mission going to the grocery store this past Saturday afternoon was to gather as many Greek and/or Mediterranean staples as fast as I could before being lured into purchasing all the specialty items that are all too appealing to a shopper whose stomach started rumbling 30 seconds after she left for the market.
I managed to escape with minimal damage to my bank account. I consider my $15 Malbec an investment in my wine education - with it’s origin of a stony terroir and proclamations of deep cherry and black currant…
I got all the things I needed to eat Greek for about five days, or maybe a week if I water down the tzatziki a little lot.
To prep for the week, I chopped up cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and red onion, added a small squeeze of lemon juice, tossed and refrigerated to use for Greek salads.
Central market has an excellent array of Mediterranean side dishes in its to-go section, so surely I could replicate at least one of those with ease. Couscous with spinach and feta. Cook couscous, add spinach while warm, toss in some feta while cool. Refrigerate. Meh.
What did turn out fabulously was the tzatziki sauce, with a little help from Ina Garten.
1 container Fage plain nonfat Greek yogurt + 1/2 cucumber, grated + juice from 1/2 lemon
Cut cucumber in half, then cut lengthwise to scoop out the seeds. Grate one half, wrap in paper towel, and gently squeeze out excess water. Mix all ingredients in a bowl, cover, and refrigerate to allow the flavors to come together.
What I love about the Mediterranean diet, other than getting to play up my nostalgia for days spent traveling through southern Italy and Greece, is that I am always satisfied. Plenty of lean meats, fresh fruit and vegetables, protein-packed Greek yogurt. This is most likely a base description, but I’m happy, my wine glass is happy, my kitchen is happy, and due to my habit of playing Italian opera loudly when I cook, my neighbors most likely are not too happy.
Day 4 of my 28-day cleanse: I woke up at 8 am, made breakfast, cleaned my room, got to the gym by 9:30, showered, lunch, did my hair, and went to physiology lab at 2… and then pretty much nothing other than watch the Biggest Loser finale.
For lunch I made some chicken salad with grilled chicken, homemade tzatziki, diced red onion, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes.
½ pita bread, warmed
½ cup romaine lettuce
1 tbsp feta, to taste
2 oz grilled chicken, chopped into small pieces
2 tbsp homemade tzatziki
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
Juice of ½ lemon
1 tbsp scallions, chopped
2 tbsp cucumbers, chopped
¼ cup light sour cream (optional)
Chopped red onions, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, salt and pepper
Warm pita bread in oven at 300 for 2 minutes. Mix chicken, tzatziki, onions, cucumbers, and tomatoes all together and let sit about 20 minutes. Line warmed pita with lettuce, fill halfway with chicken salad, sprinkle with feta, fill the rest with chicken salad, and top with feta.
i had seen this recipe around the internet and decided to try it out for myself.
my mom gave it a 10 out of 10 … i’d rate it more of a 7, just because i think i’d still rather have meat :)
anyways, they’re super easy, and pretty darn healthy to boot
1)In a small saucepan, bring 3/4 cup water to a boil; add quiona, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook until liquid is absorbed, 12 to 14 minutes; set aside.
2) In a food processor, pulse carrot until finely chopped. Add cooked quinoa, half the scallions, beans, breadcrumbs, egg, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; pulse until combined but still slightly chunky.
my mom left me home alone to fend for myself. i thought our vitamix doubled as a food processor…. not exactly the case. and we did have a food processor in the cabinet. oops.
3) Form mixture into four 3/4-inch-thick paties (dip hands in water to prevent sticking). If too soft, refrigerate 10 minutes to firm.
i actually made mine in the afternoon and refrigerated them until it was time to cook them for dinner - this is an awesome recipe that you can make ahead of time!
welcome to my refrigerator. hayy :)
4) In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium; cook burgers until browned and cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes per side.
to me they look kinda gross … but they ARE good
5) Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, and the remaining scallions; season with salt and pepper. Serve burgers in pita topped with cucumber and yogurt sauce.