Greek Cucumber Yogurt Sauce for Gyros

Greek Cucumber Yogurt Sauce with Lamb - Beef Sirloin StripsTzatziki sauce is a Greek sauce served with grilled meats or as a dip. Tzatziki is made of strained yogurt, usually from sheep or goat milk, and is mixed with cucumbers, garlic, salt, olive oil, sometimes lemon juice, and dill, mint, or parsley.

The culinary cuisine of Bulgarian, Macedonian, and Serbian use this sauce as a cold soup by just adding water to thin it out.

Caucasus Mountains Map LocationThe people who live in the Caucasus Mountains, between the Black sea and Caspian sea, use kefir instead of yogurt to make Tzatziki. Doing so makes the sauce a drink that is poured over a mixture of vegetables, eggs and ham to create a variation of okroshka, a Russian cold soup by origin.

This cool and creamy Greek Cucumber Yogurt Sauce or Tzatziki sauce is used in preparation of  Greek Gyro Sandwiches.

You will need whole grain flat bread, the soft and thin kind ready for wrapping up your Gyro.

Depending on the amount of servings you want you will need both Lamb and Beef  sirloin strips, about 1/2 pound of each. BBQ the meat is the best way to prepare it.

As for the sauce you will need…

diced English Cucumber1 English Cucumber – peeled and diced
1 tablespoon Himalayan salt

Place diced cucumber in a colander and spread out evenly and sprinkle salt over it. Place colander over a large plate or bowl and top the colander and set aside for 30 minutes. The salt will drain the water from the diced cucumber. Leaving the moisture in the cucumber will make for a runny sauce.

ingredients for Greek Cucumber Yogurt Sauce1 garlic clove minced

1 tablespoon fresh dill

Juice of one fresh medium lemon

2 to 4 pepper corns – either white or black

3 cups of real Greek Yogurt – the one that is authentic strained

Place all ingredients but the yogurt into a blender or food processor – processes or blend about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

mixing cucumber sauce with Greek yogurtAdd mixture to the yogurt and mix in until well combined. Cover bowl and let sit for 2 to 3 hours in refrigerator, which will allow flavors to blend and infuse.

Greek Cucumber Yogurt SauceIt is optional to add more salt, but doing so after you have prepared the sauce.

Greek Cucumber Yogurt Sauce with Lamb - Beef Sirloin Strips for GyrosThis sauce can also be used as a dressing for a Greek salad or any salad of choice that goes well with cucumber.

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Baked Garlic and Broccoli

Baked Garlic and Broccoli

Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable, capable of irradiating cells from your body that would otherwise become cancerous. It is a vegetable among others in its class that stimulates the lymphatic system to detox your body as well.

As for garlic, it’s your digestive aid, antibacterial, and anti-inflammation friend. If you don’t like garlic, maybe you should get to know it better, because it fights off cancer as well.

Let’s get started with our featured recipe: Baked Garlic and Broccoli. It’s a very simple and tasty recipe, as well as a nice way to enjoy broccoli with the pure flavor of fresh garlic.

Here are the few ingredients you will need.

Ingredients for - Baked Garlic Broccoli1 cup broccoli florets

6-8 garlic cloves

2 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

This recipe makes two (2) servings. Double it to serve four (4) servings or triple it to serve six (6).

Tenderizing the Broccoli Marinate the broccoli florets for 30 minutes with the olive oil and salt, so that they become tender.

Garlic and Broccoli on a baking sheetPreheat the oven to 350 F for 5 minutes. Spread out evenly the broccoli florets and garlic cloves onto a baking sheet.

Place the baking sheet in the oven, and bake for 10 minutes. Toss the broccoli and garlic, then continue to bake for for another 10-15 minutes or until broccoli browned a little but not burnt.

Baked Garlic and BroccoliRemove from oven and let cool about 3 to 5 minutes. Place into a serving bowl, and make it a side with your favorite meat dish.

If you wish you can add other vegetables to the baking sheet, like carrots or zucchini. Enjoy!

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Tomato Basil Chicken

Tomato Basil ChickenYou have some chicken breasts and are looking for a new idea to prepare them? Well you have arrived to the right place for a quick and easy recipe. It’s our Tomato Basil Chicken entrée. Besides being healthy with all fresh ingredients that include tomato, basil, and garlic, this recipe is reminiscent of warm weather and luscious Mediterranean summers.

According to Spice Pages by Gernot Katzer, basil is native to India, though it is not used as a culinary herb, but rather is considered sacred and use in religious rites. Besides the most common Mediterranean type basil sold in the Western world, there is also varieties from the Asian world, such as Thailand‘s sweet basil with a licorice flavor, and a lemon basil which has a distinct balm-like flavor. Katzer states there are also verities introduced to European gardeners from Africa as well (Spice Pages: Basil).

Now for our featured recipe: Tomato Basil Chicken, and here is what you will need.

Tomato Basil Chicken - ingredients

1 lb boneless chicken breast (about 2-3 medium sized pieces) with the skin on

1 teaspoon of rock salt, Himalayan or Sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon if salt is ground

½ teaspoon black pepper

2 handfuls of fresh chopped basil, about 1 1/2 cups

1 ½ -2 cups fresh diced tomato

¼ cup olive oil

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

2 cloves of garlic

Fresh chopped ingredients for Tomato Basil ChickenDice the tomatoes, and chop the garlic. Tear the basil apart by hand.

adding salt and pepper to chicken breastNext, season the chicken breasts with the salt and pepper. You may use the ground salt, but the rock salt lends a more rustic appeal to the dish.

adding chicken meat to a preheated pan with olive oilIn a preheated ceramic coated pan over medium-high heat, add olive oil and place the chicken skin side down.

adding garlic and browning the meatNext add the garlic and allow the chicken to brown on both sides, turning once.

adding tomatoes and basilOnce both sides are adequately cooked, add the tomatoes. Sauté for about 3-5 minutes until the tomatoes have softened and some of it has formed a sauce with the olive oil and garlic. Next add the basil and cook for another minute.

adding cheeseNext add the grated Parmesan cheese and remove from the heat.

plated- Tomato Basil ChickenPlate and serve. Makes 2 to 3 servings. Add a side of cooked Mediterranean vegetables or a Greek salad.

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Bacon Wrapped Garlic Lemon Stuffed Chicken Breast

Bacon Wrapped Garlic Lemon Stuffed Chicken BreastThe website Yummy, features about 136 different ways to prepare a Boneless Chicken Breast Wrap. Our featured recipe consists cutting the chicken breasts horizontally and rolling them up with a garlic lemon cream cheese filling and wrapped with a non-cured pork shoulder bacon for a rich and savory dish.

organic garlic lemon seasoningThe garlic lemon is a seasoning we purchased at the Whole Foods Market, and it was a worth while purchase as it added splendid flavor to the dish.

chopped green onionsTo move things along in the preparation of the ingredients, such as the green onions, we used kitchen shears.

The photo at the start of the post looks to mouth watering, lip smacking good to write more about stuffing a chicken breast, so let’s get to cooking.

Here is what you will need for our Bacon Wrapped Garlic Lemon Stuffed Chicken Breast

2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless, cut horizontally

1 pound cream cheese, room temperature

3 green onions, chopped

1 tablespoon garlic lemon seasoning

12 pieces bacon, partially cooked

Several tooth picks

Heat oven to 375 degrees

green onion garlic lemon cream cheese mixPrepare chicken breast by cutting each breast horizontally into two pieces, and set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl cream the cheese and add the chopped green onions and garlic lemon seasoning. Set aside.

partially cooked pork shoulder baconIn a large ceramic coated frying pan partially cook the bacon over medium heat.  Set aside in a separate plate.

chicken breast spread with cream cheese  Spread a layer of cream cheese mixture over one side of each breast section, but not to thick. Roll chicken breast up to conceal cream cheese, and secure with toothpicks.

prepared Bacon Wrapped Garlic Lemon Stuffed Chicken Breast for bakingRap two pieces of bacon diagonally and keep in place with toothpicks. Rap one piece of bacon long ways or horizontally and keep in place with toothpicks.

Place all four bacon wrapped chicken breasts into a medium sized glass baking pan. Place pan into heated oven and bake for 30 minutes. Place under broiler for 5 minutes to crisp bacon.

Plated Bacon Wrapped Garlic Lemon Stuffed Chicken BreastPlate and serve.

Green Beans with Coconut and PecansThe side dish is a Green Bean with Coconut and Pecans. Here is what you will need.

3 cups of fresh green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces

1 tablespoon of coconut butter

1/2 cup pecan pieces

1/4 cup dried shredded coconut

Steam cut green beans. Add steamed beans and coconut butter to a serving bowl, and mix till beans are well coated with the butter. Next add dried coconut and pecans and mix in. Enjoy.

 

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Creamy Pumpkin Soup with Brown Sugar Cinnamon Croutons

Creamy Pumpkin Soup with Brown Sugar Cinnamon CruotonsA very healthy soup to help you through the winter. Pumpkin is packed with immune boosting vitamin-C and the sweet potatoes in the soup are great for cancer, particularly mole cancer. There is also cinnamon and fresh ginger, both good for digestion, and the cinnamon is great for glucose control in the blood stream.

Before starting the soup, make the croutons first. Here is what you will need:

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Cruotons4 slices of 100% whole wheat bread. We used Crazy Dave’s Bread with 21 whole grains. We like this bread as it is not make with any oil, just water and yeast, all organic non-gmo grains. Heat your oven to 400 degrees.

In a small bowl mix together 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, and 3 tablespoons of soft butter. On each slice of bread, spread cinnamon mixture evenly over one side only. Place bread butter side up on a baking sheet, and place into the heated oven for 8 to 10 minutes. When done, remove from the oven, cut crust off and cut bread into crouton size pieces and set aside.

Now here is what you will need for the feature recipe – Creamy Pumpkin Soup -.

1 cup chopped onion

2 tablespoons butter, melted

2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt 

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger (or 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger)

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 cup heavy whipping cream

steps to preparing Creramy Pumpkin SoupSaute onion with 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium saucepan until tender. Next add 1 can chicken broth, and stir well. Bring the broth to a boil, and  cover, reduce heat, and simmer about 15 minutes. Transfer broth mixture into the container of a blender or processor, and process until smooth. Return to sauce pan over heat.

Next add remaining can of broth, along with the pumpkin, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and ground pepper. Stir until well combined. Bring to a boil, and cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

After 10 minutes, stir in heavy cream and heat through. Do not boil.

Creamy Pumpkin Soup topped with Brown Sugar Cinnamon Cruotons or a bowl soup with olive breadLadle into individual soup bowls. Top each serving with Brown Sugar Cinnamon Croutons, or have with a slice of your favorite bread. Like a slice of sourdough, or as the cook did a slice of olive bread. Enjoy!!

 

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Green Curry Chicken

Green Curry Chicken

Most curry dishes use a curry paste which is a pureed blend of beautiful smelling or aromatic spices, herbs, and vegetables. It is widely used as an ingredient in the cuisines of many cultures to make curries, stews, and other dishes. Most of the time though, Indian food comes to mind when you talk about curry. There are many different types of curry pastes, and each country’s blend has a distinct flavor.

The common spices used are cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, coriander, cardamon, cumin, fenugreek, fennel, ginger, garlic, lemongrass, and onion. The base ingredient to start a curry paste is turmeric, which makes a yellow curry. Red pepper is added to make a red curry, and cilantro is added to make a green curry paste.

Using all of these ingredients makes for a healthy meal. To learn more about the healthy side of these culinary spices link here – Spice and Herbs Benefits -.

Our featured recipe uses green curry, and here is what you will need.

1 lb. rice noodles, cooked

1 pound (1-inch) cubed chicken breast tenders

½ lb. cut green beans, steamed

2 cups tricolor pre-chopped bell pepper mix

Oils to Use for Healthy Cooking - avocado oil or coconut oil2 to 3 teaspoons green curry paste

1 (14-ounce) can light coconut milk, divided

Cooking oil, avocado oil or coconut oil ————->

Steam green beans first, about 5 minutes, then remove steaming basket and use boiling water to cook rice noodles according to package directions. Set both aside when done. Rinse rice noodles when cooked.

 

Chicken cooking in coconut oil and green curry sauce - Green Curry ChickenHeat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking oil. Add chicken to pan and sauté 4 minutes or until chicken is lightly browned. Stir in curry paste and cook 1 minute more, stirring frequently.

Meat and Vegetable Mix for Green curry Chicken

Stir in 1 cup coconut milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 4 minutes or until chicken is done, stirring occasionally.

Stir in bell pepper mix, and remaining coconut milk. Cook 3 minutes or until peppers are tender. Add steamed green beans and mix in. Add ½ teaspoon of Himalayan salt (optional).

showing the details of the Meat and Vegetable Mix for Green curry ChickenThere are 3 rules to a good meal. Besides flavor and smell, can you SEE what else makes a good meal appealing? Leave a comment below to let us know if you can guess the third rule of a good meal.

Green Curry ChickenPlate the rice noodles and top with Green Curry Chicken. If you wish top that with cilantro or with fresh basil as we did here. If you find the rice noodles to sticky, just take a plate one serving at a time and run warm water over it. Shake it dry and plate it. Enjoy!!

 

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Red Pear and French Bean Salad

Red Pear and French Bean Salad - plated

Red pears have a high concentration of phytonutrient anthocyanin, which has anti-aging properties. This nutrient also promotes heart health and protects against cancer. Read pears are also an excellent source of fiber, vitamin-C, potassium (not as nutrient dense as a banana), and copper.

Red PearsWe know that vitamin-C is needed for tissue growth, promoting healthy collagen, but we don’t hear enough of what copper is good for.

Copper is not just for hot water pipping in our homes, copper the kind that our bodies can assimilate, is necessary for the production of hemoglobin, and collagen as well.

While basil, found in the dressing of our featured recipe, is also great for skin and hair, fighting against some cancers, it also has that its antioxidants and volatile oils are a great assistance to the immune system.

The leaves of the basil, and oil alike, have antibacterial properties. Applied topically to wounds, basil leaves may eliminate bacterial infections, while enjoying basil in food, it can help combat viral infections, including colds, flu, and herpes.

Talking about basil, here is the recipe that will dress the salad, and it includes basil.

Basil Chickpea Miso Vinaigrette

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons chickpea miso, room tempurature

1 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons lemon zest

juice of half a lemon

Basil ChickPea Miso Vinaigrette

Tear basil leaves without steams, and loosely fill one cup. Place oil, vinegar, miso, basil, garlic and lemon zest (we forgot the lemon zest, my bad) in a small jar. Screw lid on tightly and shack well until smooth, making sure miso is dissolved and mixed in well. Set aside.

Here is what you will need for the Red Pear and French Bean Salad.

2 lbs. French green beans, ends trimmed

4 small, ripe but firm red pears, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise ( seed, but do not peel)

1 cup chopped pecans

Wash beans and trim the ends. Cut beans in half. You can blanch the beans or use them raw. Blanch for about 2 minutes in boiling water. Drain and set aside.

Preparing Red Pear and French Bean Salad

Prepare the pears while the beans are blanching. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into a large bowl. Cut pears using a apple slicer, and slice each wedge one time more. Place all pear slices into bowl with lemon juice, and mix to coat pears with juice. Coating them with lemon juice will prevent the pear flesh from oxidizing or turning brown.

Next, place the pecans and basil vinaigrette into a large mixing bowl. Place pears and beans into bowl and toss to mix well, making sure produce is coated well with vinaigrette.

Red Pear and French Bean Salad - in a serving bowlAfter tossing to coat salad, turn into a large serving bowl.

Red Pear and French Bean Salad - platedPlate and serve.

 

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