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Friday, December 19, 2014

Yogurt Marinated Greek-Style Chicken Gyros

Last summer, my two oldest kids went on a trip to Italy, Greece, and Croatia!  Nope, I wasn't with them.  But apparently they had some really great food along the way; and ever since then, they've been asking me to make them some chicken gyros like the ones they had in Greece.  Gulp!  That's a pretty tall order!  So on a week where I was preparing for them to leave me again for a vacation week at their grandmother's house, I thought it would be a great time to show them some love by making something special before they left.  Oh and for those of you who have never had one, these fabulous sandwiches that you can pick up from the Greek street vendors are pronounced "yee-ro," not "jy-ro."

The great thing about this, is that you can make these up for people who may be coming home at different times.  Sometimes we don't all necessarily make it home at the same time in the evening. With the flexibility of this recipe, you can just take a chicken breast out of the marinade at different points, throw one on the grill pan, and let them make up their own gyro as they arrive.


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Ingredients:  (4 servings)
  • 1.5 pounds chicken
  • 1 Tbsp (~ 4 cloves) finely diced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice (1 large lemon)
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, plain
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
To serve:
  • flatbread/pocketless pita breads
  • homemade tzatziki
  • red onions
  • tomatoes
  • lettuce
  • feta cheese 
  • sprinkle with smoked paprika 
Step-by-Step:
First - I do highly recommend the homemade tzatziki with this recipe!  You will be happy you did.  :) It is not hard to make at all.  It's actually best if you make it ahead of time - several hours or even a day ahead.

For the marinade.  Add all the ingredients together for the marinade.  Our marinade will be full of protein in addition to all these flavors because of the Greek yogurt.

1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt  +  1 Tbsp finely diced garlic  +  2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tsp red wine vinegar  +  2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (~1 large lemon)

1 Tbsp dried oregano.  Now mix it all together.  Now smell it.  Mmmmm....

Okie dokie.  Step 2.  Let's prepare the chicken.  I purchased "thinly cut" chicken breasts as a time saving step.  These have already been cut in half.  If yours aren't you may need to cut the top from the bottom.
I placed them into a big gallon-sized zip-top bag and pounded them out, just to make sure that they were uniform thickness.  That will accomplish a few of things.  First, it will make sure that they cook uniformly.  Second, it will tenderize them.  Third, if they are even thinner, they will cook even faster.
Now dump the marinade into the bag over the flattened chicken.
You can work the marinade around to make sure it's all evenly distributed and then just shove the chicken in the fridge somewhere for a few hours and go about your business.  I love marinating things in a zip-top bag.  It takes up so much less space because you can just squish it somewhere.
Allow the chicken to marinate anywhere from 1 hour to about 3 hours.  In my opinion, the chicken after the 3 hours is best.

Grill on a really nice and hot grill or grill pan.  Now is when you want to add the salt and pepper.  I like to cook with kosher salt.  I find it harder to oversalt.  

Leave it alone while it's cooking.  It should release easily when it's ready to turn.  See the beautiful grill marks it will leave?  If you don't have a grill pan, you really should ask Santa for one.  :)  Allow the chicken to rest a few minutes before cutting into it.

While the chicken is resting, you can warm your flatbreads.  I don't recommend trying to serve them cold.  They will just tear.  If you don't have a gas stove, you could wrap them in a damp towel and steam them in the microwave a bit.  But blistering them over the fire is my favorite way to do it.  Be sure you use some long-handled tongs for this job! 
See how pretty?  Do both sides, obviously.
Now build your gyro.  Take your warm flatbread.  Slice up that juicy chicken.  Add some homemade tzatziki, and all the trimmings!  *Tip - You can pick up these little pop up foil sandwich wrappers in the grocery section that sells plastic wrap, aluminum foil, etc.  That way, you can serve it just like the street venders.  Another plus, it really helps to hold them together while you eat them, or wrap them up to go in someone's lunch.

TaDA!  How gorgeous is this?!  And oh my gosh, it was so juicy and delicious!

You may be wondering if my gyros passed the test with Mr Picky Palate?  He said they tasted very much like what they had in Greece and the flavors were right.  He gave the official stamp of approval.  Except in Greece, they serve them sprinkled with smoked paprika on top, so he added some to his.  I tried it.  It did have a nice flavor sprinkled over the top... so that gives you something else to consider.  Ha!

I hope you enjoyed this simple and delicious recipe!
There are hundreds more in my Recipe Index, just waiting to be chosen and cooked!  You can also visit my Film strips for pinning page, to see whole recipes at a glance, and to click-and-go right to the recipe.

The Menu Musings cookbook is sure to be a hit at your house, and will make great gifts!  For more information, here is a link!
Connect with me.    
If you are new to MenuMusings, click here to subscribe so you won't miss a thing!  I'll send you notifications of new posts to help you avoid that proverbial cooking rut.  You can also follow me on Pinterest and on the MenuMusings facebook page.

Also, Please be sure to visit my YouTube Channel for short video tutorials on selected videos.  Watch me explain the steps of the recipes in just a few minutes!  Just one more way that I'm giving you the tools to get in that kitchen!!! Aren't you curious?  Click and see how many there are!  :)

Here's just one delicious example - Roasted Red Pepper and Basil Pesto Penne. Yum!!

Here are some bonus recipes for you!
Prosciutto and Phyllo Wrapped Asparagus Appetizers

Pizza Poppin' Muffins

Alice Springs Chicken

Crock Pot Pork Chops

High Class Shepherd's Pie

Coconut Praline' Cake

Crab Rangoons

Written Method:
First - I do highly recommend the homemade tzatziki with this recipe!  You will be happy you did.  :) It is not hard to make at all.  It's actually best if you make it ahead of time - several hours or even a day ahead.

For the marinade.  Add all the ingredients together for the marinade.  Our marinade will be full of protein in addition to all these flavors because of the Greek yogurt.

Step 2.  Prepare the chicken.  I purchased "thinly cut" chicken breasts as a time saving step.  I placed them into a big gallon-sized zip-top bag and pounded them out, just to make sure that they were uniform thickness.  That will accomplish a few of things.  First, it will make sure that they cook uniformly.  Second, it will tenderize them.  Third, if they are even thinner, they will cook even faster. Now dump the marinade into the bag over the flattened chicken.  You can work the marinade around to make sure it's all evenly distributed and then just shove the chicken in the fridge somewhere for a few hours and go about your business.  I love marinating things in a zip-top bag.  It takes up so much less space because you can just squish it somewhere.  Allow the chicken to marinate anywhere from 1 hour to about 3 hours.  In my opinion, the chicken after the 3 hours is best.  Grill on a really nice and hot grill or grill pan.  Now is when you want to add the salt and pepper.  I like to cook with kosher salt.  I find it harder to oversalt.  Leave it alone while it's cooking.  It should release easily when it's ready to turn.  See the beautiful grill marks it will leave?  If you don't have a grill pan, you really should ask Santa for one.  :)  Allow the chicken to rest a few minutes before cutting into it.

While the chicken is resting, you can warm your flatbreads.  I don't recommend trying to serve them cold.  They will just tear.  If you don't have a gas stove, you could wrap them in a damp towel and steam them in the microwave a bit.  But blistering them over the fire is my favorite way to do it.  Be sure you use some long-handled tongs for this job! Do both sides, obviously.

Now build your gyro.  Take your warm flatbread.  Slice up that juicy chicken.  Add some homemade tzatziki, and all the trimmings!  *Tip - You can pick up these little pop up foil sandwich wrappers in the grocery section that sells plastic wrap, aluminum foil, etc.  That way, you can serve it just like the street venders.  Another plus, it really helps to hold them together while you eat them, or wrap them up to go in someone's lunch.

Monday, December 8, 2014

eat.drink.MISSISSIPPI Magazine Article

I am overjoyed and completely honored to be featured in the December/January 2015 issue of  the eat.drink.MISSISSIPPI magazine!  Of course, I would encourage you all to rush out and pick one up, but I realize that only a portion of you are here in my fair state... so I am bringing Mississippi to you. After all, this IS the "Hospitality State."  :)

I do realize the text is small, but it's the best I can do for you, my friends.  Thank you so much for your continued support and for sharing Menu Musings with your friends.  It is because of you that I am able to reach people.  When people send me private messages of their kids helping out in the kitchen, making recipes, spending time learning kitchen skills and sharing that time together... it truly makes me so happy!

Of course you can find this recipe for Prosciutto and Gruyere Stuffed Chicken Breasts here on the blog with step-by-step photos.

You can also watch a short video tutorial on the recipe from the list of my YouTube Videos.

Order a copy of the Menu Musings Cookbook!

Why don't you pop on over to my Recipe Index for more great recipe ideas that you can cook with YOUR family!

Here are some bonus recipes for you:






Saturday, November 29, 2014

Easy Beef Lo Mein

My son woke up one day last week with the flu.  Ughh!  Y'all have all been there, I'm sure.  You instantly have to switch modes, change the game plan, call the doc, get them on meds, the whole deal. Towards the end of the day, I asked him what he would like for dinner.  I thought the answer may be something like "soup."  Much to my surprise, the answer was "something Asian."  Okayyyyy...  "Surprise me," he said.  I sat there with a blank face for a good five minutes, I'm sure.  HaHa!!

This beef lo mein was very simple to make.  Basically, I marinated the beef for a while, cut up all my veggies, then stir fried everything in the wok before adding my noodles.  Okay - so this is quite an Americanized version.  I didn't run by the Asian market for fresh lo mein egg noodles, I'll admit.  But I figure you guys will probably have more access to linguine, too, right?  Remember... this is the fast and easy version.  I'm sure if you use the real noodles, they would be phenomenal.  :) 

Print this Recipe!

Ingredients:  (serves about 6-8)
  • 1 3/4 pound top sirloin steak, cut into thin strips
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce + 2 Tbsp (divided)
  • 3 Tbsp canola oil, plus more for cooking
  • 16 oz linguine noodles (or fresh lo mein egg noodles)
  • 3 - 4 cups shredded Napa cabbage
  • 4 oz bean sprouts
  • 2 medium carrots thinly julienned 
  • 1 red pepper, julienned
  • 8 oz sugar snap peas
  • 4 green onions/scallions, cut into 2 - 3" pieces
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp + 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • kosher salt to taste
  • 1 tsp chili garlic sauce
  • 1 Tbsp light brown sugar
Step-by-Step:
The first thing I did was to get my meat "marinating."  I got the butcher to cut the steak for me into thin 2-3 inch strips.  *Just ask them!  It's a big time saver for you.  I added 3 Tbsp soy sauce, 3 Tbsp cornstarch, 3 Tbsp canola oil, and 1/4 tsp baking soda.

*I read that adding a little baking soda to the beef helps to tenderize it, so I decided to give this method a try.  For my 1 3/4 pounds of beef, I went with 1/4 tsp baking soda.  I was pleased with the outcome and texture of the beef.

Now we can just sit this aside for a while while we get all the other stuff cut up, etc.
I will have my linguini noodles cooked, thoroughly rinsed, drained, and ready to add later.
 
Before you begin cooking, have ALL of your vegetables cut up and ready to go!  From here, everything goes really quickly. 

The first thing we are going to get cooking is the beef, then we will set it aside.  Get your wok or skillet really hot (like almost smoking).  Add a couple tablespoons of oil and quickly sear the strips of beef.  It shouldn't take long at all.  Just a few minutes.  Then take the beef out and set it aside.  
canola oil
marinated beef strips
Except for my green onions, I added all of the veggies to the wok.  It will look like an enormous amount at first... but something weird happens, and it just wilts down to hardly anything.  Stir fry on medium-high'ish for a minute or so. 
2 med carrots. 1 red bell pepper. 4 cups Napa cabbage.
2 cloves garlic. 8 oz sugar snap peas.
stir fry a couple of minutes
Then start adding in the seasonings....  the rice vinegar....
3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
the chili garlic sauce... *Control your heat here!
1 tsp chili garlic sauce
toasted sesame oil...
3 Tbsp + 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
 Do you wonder, at this point.... What happened to all of my wonderful Napa cabbage?
brown sugar...
1 Tbsp brown sugar
bean sprouts...
4 oz bean sprouts
Now just let all that cook for a few minutes until the firmer vegetables (like the carrots) begin to get tender.

Now add in the drained linguine (or lo mein noodles if you are using them), as well as the beef.
16 oz cooked, rinsed, drained linguine noodles
Stir fry another few minutes and adjust seasonings with additional soy sauce, salt, etc.  Mine tasted a bit "flat" without the addition of a bit more salt.  Hard to believe, right?  But we just added a lot of pasta to this.  
seared beef
Give everything a good stir.  Add in the green onion tops.  
4 green onions/scallions cut into 2-3 inch pieces
2 Tbsp soy sauce
Plate and serve.
Are you are still wondering about the patient?  Turns out, this was just what the doctor ordered!  Well, not really.  The doctor prescribed some pretty expensive medicine.  But the patient really enjoyed his dinner.  So that made for one happy mama... and one satisfied patient!  :)  This dinner had a little something for everyone.  Those of us who loved veggies had plenty.  The pickier ones had enough noodles and beef to definitely have their fill.  All-in-all, definitely a winner.  And for me - a great lunch for the office the next day!  WooHoo!!

I hope you enjoyed this simple and delicious recipe!
There are hundreds more in my Recipe Index, just waiting to be chosen and cooked!  You can also visit my Film strips for pinning page, to see whole recipes at a glance, and to click-and-go right to the recipe.

The Menu Musings cookbook is sure to be a hit at your house, and will make great gifts!  They are over 350 pages of full color recipes!  For more information, here is a link!

Also, Please be sure to visit my YouTube Channel for short video tutorials on selected videos.  Watch me explain the steps of the recipes in just a few minutes!  Just one more way that I'm giving you the tools to get in that kitchen!!! Aren't you curious?  Click and see how many there are!  :)

Here's just one example - High Class Shepherd's Pie.  Yum!  

Connect with me.    
If you are new to MenuMusings, click here to subscribe so you won't miss a thing!  I'll send you notifications of new posts to help you avoid that proverbial cooking rut.  You can also follow me on Pinterest and on the MenuMusings facebook page.

Here are some bonus recipes for you!
Muffin Tin Drop Biscuits - only 4 ingredients!

Easy Meatball Sub Casserole

Mediterranean Chicken Pasta

Black Iron Skillet Deep Dish Pizza

Cranberry Orange Muffins with Brown Sugar Pecan Crumble Topping

Creamy Chicken Piccata

Written Method:
The first thing I did was to get my meat "marinating."  I got the butcher to cut the steak for me into thin 2-3 inch strips.  *Just ask them!  It's a big time saver for you.  I added 3 Tbsp soy sauce, 3 Tbsp cornstarch, 3 Tbsp canola oil, and 1/4 tsp baking soda.  Now we can just sit this aside for a while while we get all the other stuff cut up, etc.  *I read that adding a little baking soda to the beef helps to tenderize it, so I decided to give this method a try.  For my 1 3/4 pounds of beef, I went with 1/4 tsp baking soda.  I was pleased with the outcome and texture of the beef.

I will have my linguini noodles cooked, thoroughly rinsed, drained, and ready to add later.

Before you begin cooking, have ALL of your vegetables cut up and ready to go!  From here, everything goes really quickly. 

The first thing we are going to get cooking is the beef, then we will set it aside.  Get your wok or skillet really hot (like almost smoking).  Add a couple tablespoons of oil and quickly sear the strips of beef.  It shouldn't take long at all.  Just a few minutes.  Then take the beef out and set it aside.  

Except for my green onions, I added all of the veggies to the wok.  It will look like an enormous amount at first... but something weird happens, and it just wilts down to hardly anything.  Stir fry on medium-high'ish for a minute or so, then start adding in the seasonings:  The rice vinegar, chili garlic sauce (Control your heat here!), toasted sesame oil, brown sugar, bean sprouts.   Now just let all that cook for a few minutes until the firmer vegetables (like the carrots) begin to get tender.

Now add in the drained linguine (or lo mein noodles if you are using them), as well as the beef.  Stir fry another few minutes and adjust seasonings with additional soy sauce, salt, etc.  Mine tasted a bit "flat" without the addition of a bit more salt.  Hard to believe, right?  But we just added a lot of pasta to this.  Give everything a good stir.  Add in the green onion tops.  Plate and serve.

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