To me, Greek food is all about lemon, garlic and oregano. I love these flavors, and they go together so well. Non-garlic lovers probably won’t like any of these recipes, since there’s a lot in all of them.
Eating Greek is another thing I never had the pleasure of doing until I moved to the Pacific Northwest. It started with my friend ordering pita and tzatziki when we went out to a pub for lunch. The garlic/lemon flavor of the dip was so good I couldn’t get enough, and started buying it at the grocery store and would use it for a veggie dip, and I love dipping pizza in it. My husband likes lamb, and a local restaurant has Greek night on Wednesdays – buy one get one 1/2 price – so we went and tried it. I had chicken souvlaki for the first time and fell in love with it, and the potatoes…I thought I might have died and gone to heaven. Since discovering the wonders of Greek food – love, love, love feta cheese and Greek salad dressings, too – I eat it as often as I can, though try to stay away from the potatoes, rice and pitas, even though that’s some of the best parts!
I rarely do a whole ethnic dinner – simply because it’s pretty labor intensive and time consuming – but Greek just calls for it. This is the second time I’ve done this, and the family absolutely loves it. The first recipe for stuffed chicken is a new recipe, and we discovered that the stuffing is so good, I am pretty sure it could be made without the chicken and used as a side dish any time.
I served this dinner with some store-bought pita bread that I brushed with butter, sprinkled with garlic powder and stuck in the oven until the butter melted then cut into wedges. And of course, more lemon! Wedges to squeeze on whatever you want. I add it right on my chicken.
Greek Spinach/Feta Stuffed Chicken
I took two recipes and put them together for this one. The marinade is from a souvlaki recipe I’ve made before, and it’s fabulous, and the stuffing is from a recipe I found on Food.com. The original recipe for the stuffed chicken simply had salt/pepper on the outside of the chicken, but that doesn’t scream Greek to me. Marinading it first…fabulous!
- 4 or 5 skinless chicken breasts or thighs, sliced partway through for later stuffing
- 4 heaping Tblsp minced garlic
- 1/4 cup light tasting oil (olive or grape seed)
- 1/2 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons) Fresh is best!
- 2 Tblsp dried oragano
I put everything in a gallon sized Ziploc bag and let it set in the fridge at least 24 hours.
- Spinach – Either frozen, thawed and drained or fresh, wilted and well drained
- Crumbled feta cheese
- minced garlic
The stuffed Greek chicken recipe I pulled this from calls for chicken breasts, but I realized at the last minute that I didn’t have any breasts in the freezer, only thighs, so I used them. They worked fine, but are smaller than breasts, so less filling, of course. I realized the stuffing could actually be made in the fry pan and used as a side dish/salad rather than a stuffing…but since this was my first time trying the recipe, I decided to stuff.
I used a few handfuls of fresh spinach and steamed it then squeezed it as dry as possible before mixing in the cheese. The amount of mayo I used was just barely enough to make the mixture sticky enough to hold together, and the garlic, I threw in a heaping teaspoon into the mix.
Once your stuffing is made and your meat has marinaded for at least a few hours – the longer the better – stuff as much of the stuffing as you can into each piece of meat and pin it together with a toothpick if needed. Bake 325 degrees until meat is fully cooked to 165 degrees internal temp. About 40 minutes.
I put it on a baking rack on my pan so that the heat gets it from the bottom as well as top and cooks it faster. I also sprinkled some fresh-cracked pepper on top before I stuck it in the oven, too.
- 2 cups plain Greek Yogurt. I use fat free. I’m not sure it makes a difference, but it must be Greek style for the right consistency.
- 2 cup finely minced English cucumber
- 4 Tblsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 3-4 cloves minced garlic (to taste)
- 2 Tblsp fresh dill, minced OR 2 tsp dried (I just use dried)
- salt & pepper to taste
What I do to get the cucumber small enough… Some people like bigger chunks, but I like them very small, more blended in… I use my OXO slicer on the thinnest setting with the julienne blade in place. Then once it’s julienne, I chop them up into bits with a knife. I just mix all the ingredients together and put it back in the Yogurt container. I let it set at least 24 hours for all the flavors to blend. (This is a variation of a recipe found on www.twopeasandtheirpod.com)
This was my first time using this recipe, and I think I like it so well because it’s nice and lemon-y.
- 2 Tblsp butter
- 1/2 cup finely diced onion
- 1 cup long grain rice – I always use basmati rice because to me it has the best flavor
- 2 Tblsp Orzo pasta (I skipped this since I didn’t have any)
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (fresh squeezed is best)
- 2 Tblsp chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
- In a saucepan, saute onions in butter until tender.
- Add rice and orzo and cook, stirring for 2 minutes.
- Add lemon juice and chicken broth and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.
- Fluff with a fork and stir in parsley.
(recipe from Food.com)
Lemony Greek Potatoes
- 3 lbs potatoes
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup butter, melted (no substitutes)
- 1 teaspoon oregano (or to taste)
- 1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic (optional or to taste)
- salt and pepper
- 1/2-3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (or to taste)
- chopped fresh parsley
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Butter a shallow baking dish large enough to hold the potatoes.
- Peel and cut the potatoes into large wedges or chunks and place into the prepared baking dish.
- In a bowl combine the broth, lemon juice, butter, oregano, salt, pepper and minced garlic (if using); mix well to combine.
- Pour over potatoes in the dish and stir to coat well.
- Cover the dish tightly with foil.
- Bake for about 20 minutes.
- Uncover and turn potatoes.
- Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and return to oven (uncovered). I put them under the broiler so they got a little color.
- Bake for another 20 minutes or so, or until potatoes are done to desired tenderness.
- Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and serve.
(recipe from Food.com)