Tag Archives: greek

Mediterranean Chicken Pasta

Like the years before, halfway into Fall, I actually begin to crave something other than rich soups, stews and casseroles…weird, right?  I also did not want to take the time needed to make a few of those yummy, indulgent dishes.  So instead, it was back to a favorite, trusty 30-minute meal!  Another plus, it’s a bit on the healthier side compared to the latter mentioned too!   Keeping myself in check for that Thanksgiving feast this week!

*Another great thing about this dish is you can easily make it to your liking by choosing regular or gluten-free noodles, chicken, shrimp, halibut or no protein at all!  Please make it your own!

The Starting Lineup

Blackened Chicken

  • 1 lb Chicken breasts
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • cooking oil
  • Fresh lemon

Pasta

  • 12oz pasta noodles of choice, boiled and drained
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jar Roasted Piquillo (or red) Peppers, drained and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup chicken (or vegetable) broth
  • 1/2 cup (8oz) heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • Kosher salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled, plus more for garnish
  • Kalamata olives, no seeds
  • Chopped fresh basil

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CHICKEN:

In a bowl, blend all of the dried and ground herbs together.  Squeeze the fresh lemon and a bit of cooking oil over the chicken breast and sprinkle the spice blend evenly over the chicken.   You can pan sear, bake or grill the chicken till cooked through and juices run clear.  Tent with foil and set aside as you prepare the sauce.

NOODLES:

Prepare about 2 minutes less than package directions.   Drain.  Set aside.

SAUCE:

Have a large skillet and your food processor (or blender) at  hand.

In your skillet over med-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter.  Next, add in the onions and garlic and sauté for 3 minutes or until softened.  Next, add the chopped and drained piquillo/red peppers and cook for another 3 minutes.

Transfer the veggie mix from the skillet to a food processor or blender.  Blend till fairly smooth, some chunks left are ok!

To that same large skillet, melt the remaining butter over med-high heat and pour the pepper puree back in.  Next, whisk in the broth, and a pinch of salt & pepper.  Finally, whisk in the heavy cream and parmesan cheese till smooth.

Add the cooked pasta, Kalamata olives, 1 cup feta cheese and fresh cut basil to the sauced skillet, toss to coat.

Serve with the blackened chicken, sliced, over top and sprinkle with a bit more feta and fresh basil.  Enjoy!

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Greek Tzatziki Chicken Pasta

Going “global” with this one guys!  Now as y’all know, I basically have two types of cuisines that I prefer to eat…constantly.  Mexican and southern comfort food!!  I do however branch out from time to time and THIS time it’s with my likely 3rd choice, Greek!

Now I used to live by this AMAZING restaurant called “Pita Jungle”, that without fail catered to my cravings of this ethnic fare..saltiness of feta cheese, brininess of kalamata olives, fresh vegetables and the Greek’s unique spices has me every(damn)time.  The only bad part of always getting my ‘fix’, was moving away and having nothing silimilar nearby.  It was time to create my 2nd masterful Greek dish and THIS one is silly easy!

This Greek inspired chicken pasta is full of flavor, yes, BUT it’s also healthy for you too!  Heck, get yourself another helping! 😉  Using non-fat greek yogurt and fresh produce brightens this dish and leaves you not feeling heavy in the least.  *I also used fantastic gluten-free noodles that really help with that after dinner bloated feeling.  Lastly..this dish is also so versatile that it is equally delicious served warm OR cold!  So it’s a fabulous choice for a leftover dinner or lunch at work too!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 lb chicken breasts/tenders
  • 1 cup kalamata olives
  • 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cucumber, seeded/cored and sliced
  • 1/4-1/2 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 package penne noodles

Tzatziki Sauce

  • 2 cups non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 large cucumber, seeded and finely diced
  • 2 tsp dill, fresh is best if you have it
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Greek Chicken Marinade

  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 salt and pepper, each.  

Alright friends!  In a large gallon size ziplock bag, add in all of the marinade ingredients followed by the chicken.  Seal and place in a dish (to avoid spillage) and into the fridge.  Allow to marinate for about 3 hours.  Do not go too much longer as the citrus in the marinade will change the texture of the chicken.  *You can make the marinade without the lemon juice if you’d like it overnight and add it in later.

Assuming the chicken has been marinating away and it’s time to finish the meal, you’ll next prepare the Tzaziki sauce and again, it’s just as easy as the marinade!  After you dice up the cucumber, simply whisk together all of the above mentioned ingredients, cover and set aside.  *If preparing this in advance, please keep refridgerated until ready to use.  

Onto the vegetables!  Rinse, cut, chop, dice, seed etc. etc. etc. your yummy veggies while also bringing a large stockpot of salted water to a boil.  *I sprinkled a bit of salt and pepper over the vegetables for added flavor.

In a skillet over medium/medium-high heat with 1Tbsp of oil and 1Tbsp of butter, add the marinaded chicken.  Cook through and set aside.  Add the noodles to the boiling water and cook to package directions.  

Once the chicken has cooled slightly, roughly chop into bite size pieces.

Drain the al dente noodles and pour into a 2-qt casserole dish or large serving bowl.

The finish line has arrived…Now it’s just time to cross it!

Simply add the vegetables and olives to the penne pasta, pour on your finished tzatziki sauce and gently toss together with the crumbled feta cheese.  

Serve with extra lemon slices and perhaps a bit more feta cheese and a pinch of fresh dill, enjoy!!  

Chicken Gyros (w/ baked Greek fries & tzaziki sauce)

The Starting Lineup

Marinade

  • 1 package chicken tenders, or breasts cut into strips
  • 5 Tbsp EVOO, divided (3:2)
  • 3 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper 
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • Juice of 1 lemon  

Garnish

Side Dish

In a large ziplock bag, combine all of the marinade ingredients (zip up and give a good shake)..*Remember to just use 3 Tbsp of the extra virgin olive oil.  The remaining 2 Tbsp’s will be for cooking the chicken. 

 Now add the chicken into the bag of Greek flavored marinade.  Again, zip tight and place the filled bag into a large bowl, etc to catch any possible mishaps (you do NOT want this bag to accidentally break in the fridge..lots of cleaning!). Place in the refridgerator and let marinate for 1-3 hours (take out of the refridgerator 30 minutes prior to cooking/grilling. 

 In the meantime, do what you please, but I suggest prepping your veggies.  I.e. Slicing the onions, crumbling the feta, preparing your flat bread (unless bought). 

 After time is up, have either your grill ready to go or a hot pan/grill pan…what have you (even baked or broiled).  Cook the chicken until no longer pink, transfer to a plate and let rest for 5 minutes. 

 It’s finally assembly time!  Aka, the BEST time!  Place a few cooked chicken strips onto a warmed flatbread/pita pocket, next add on your desired toppings and serve with a drizzle of tzaziki sauce and a yummy side!  Enjoy! 

 


Easy Tzatziki Sauce

This sauce has an unbelievably bright and fresh taste to it!  That mix of Greek yogurt, fresh lemon juice and cucumber will wake any flavors up!  

I like to serve this sauce alongside gyros and as a dip to my Greek fries..simple and delicious!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 large cucumber, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 tsp dill, to taste (fresh is best, but dried in a pinch)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, to taste
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp EVOO 
  • Pinch each of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper   

Start this easy Greek staple by rinsing and then cutting your cucumber in half lengthwise *You’re welcome to peel the skin, but I like a bit of bright green and texture to it.  Next, remove all the seeds with a spoon by simple scraping them out.  This part is easy … like the entire recipe actually. 

Finally, finely dice the cucumber (teeny tiny pieces) and place onto a paper towel *This will help absorb the extra water from the vegetable.  I even (literally) squeeze out as much moisture as I can so that the sauce isn’t too thin.  Now, mince the garlic and get the dill and lemon ready. 

 In a small bowl, combine all of the above ingredients and give it a good stir.  Cover the bowl with Saran Wrap and let chill in your refridgerator so that the flavors meld together (about an hour).  Meanwhile you can start dinner… Enjoy! 

 

Baked Greek Fries

Baked fries are underrated in my opinion.  They’re basically mini baked potatoes with endless flavor varieties and dip options and who doesn’t love that??  

So since I made my family chicken gyros, but didn’t want the oh-so-obvious “Greek salad”, I thought what about French fries!  Just like when I go to the Greek places on the corner or in the mall..but baked and slightly more guilt-free!   Very yummy!

The Starting Lineup

  • 4 Russet/baking potatoes, sliced lengthwise 
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • Pinch of fresh ground black pepper 
  • 2 Tbsp EVOO 

Optional Garnish

  • Feta cheese, crumbled 
  • Mint, torn  

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Also spray a large baking sheet with non-stick.

Start this tasty and healthier side by rinsing, scrubbing and patting dry your potatoes.  Cut the potatoes lengthwise into “French fry shape” 😉 you’re also welcomed to peel your potato skins off, but I just don’t believe in that!  I love a crispy skin for texture AND flavor…ask my hubby.  I ALWAYS still his leftover baked potato skin at restaurants and at home.  Also a fave loaded appetizer of mine…ok, ok, I digress… 

 Next pat dry your cut potatoes and set aside.  In a large bowl, whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and spices.  Now add your cut potatoes into the bowl and toss to coat.  *you can also place your potatoes onto the sheet tray and pour the sauce overtop and then mix with your hands.  You also do not want to overcrowd your baking sheet (meaning no fries laying overtop eachother.  If needed, do in seperate batches. 

   Place this into the oven and allow to bake for 40-50 minutes, stirring the fries up occasionally till browned.  Once finished and a bit crispy remove from the oven.  Top with a bit of crumbled feta cheese and torn mint if desired. 

 Serve as a side to your favorite flavored gyro or slouvaki and a side of tzaziki sauce for dipping!  Enjoy!

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