Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Greek Turkey Meatball Gyros

I don't know if you've ever had an authentic Greek Gyro, but they're AH-mazing.  I'm a really big fan of Greek food, it's very acidic and flavorful with tons of herbs and spices.

They're actually not all that unhealthy as they are, but you want to make sure you don't get a ton of salt and the pitas that you get at restaurants can be thick and chewy.  (And so yummy).  In my opinion, especially when you're watching what you eat or how much you spend, it's always a better option to make it at home.  These meatball gyros are FULL of flavor, and surprisingly easy to put together.   There are a few components, but you can use store bought items, or just leave some out and make it your own!

I started with the pickled onions.  If you've never had pickled onions, GET ON IT.  They are SO easy to make, and add such bold flavor to dishes along with a nice crunch. They also last forever in the fridge.  I used a recipe that I found online after searching on my phone, and I cannot for the life of me find it now.  I wish I could, so I could give the author credit but here's what I did:

Pickled Onions: 

1 large onion, sliced thin
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp whole peppercorns
1/2 tsp pink sea salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tbsp honey

Place the sliced onions in a mason jar.  Heat the rest of the ingredients, just to a boil on the stove and pour over the onions.  I pushed the onions down to make sure they're in the brine.  Refrigerate and allow to rest for at least 24 hours.

(Now, pickled onions are life and SO good on these gyros but you don't need 'em.)

The second component was the tzatziki. It's a delightfully cool, refreshing, tangy sauce that makes gyros more then just a heavy sandwich.  You can use store bought if you have a favorite but it's delicious and better for you if you make it yourself.

Homemade Tzatziki

Two cups Greek Yogurt  (I like Fage)
2 garlic cloves FINELY minced or mashed
1 large cucumber
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp fresh dill
1 tbsp fresh parsley

Peel the cucumber, slice in half and remove the seeds with a spoon.  Place a paper towel in a large bowl, grate cucumber into a the bowl, or run through a food processor and pulse a few times til it's nice and chopped up and place on top of the paper towel (you want to try to get most of the liquid out).

Add Greek Yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, sea salt, dill and parsley to a bowl.  Add the grated cucumber and stir to combine.  Refrigerate.

Now, for the meatballs.  They're not unlike my usual recipe for turkey meatballs but with a few twists.

Greek Turkey Meatballs

One lb. ground turkey (94% fat free)
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup whole grain bread crumbs
1/4 cup feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp garlic powder
1/2 tbsp paprika

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place a piece of parchment paper or tin foil on a rimmed baking sheet.  Stir all ingredients to combine.  Form into about 1/8-1/4 cup sized balls and drop onto the baking sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes. (Broil for the last minute to get them nice and brown on top).

Those are all the components, now for the assembly.  I use these amazing pita breads from Joseph's.  They're made with oat bran, flax and whole wheat.  Only 60 calories, and 8 grams of carbs for the WHOLE THING!  I warmed them up over the toaster, flipped on both sides for about a minute and placed on a plate.  On goes the meatballs, then the tzatziki, then some shredded lettuce and those amazing pickled onions!

It's a great summer dish, and a great low calorie option! I hope you enjoy it!
(I served with zucchini chips, here's the recipe:

Tips:  Make these with lamb!  Or you can grill up some delicious marinated chicken!  Go nuts!

(21 Day Fixers:  For the gyro, I counted 4 small meatballs for a red, the pita was 1 yellow (if you use a different brand, I would cut it in half and use it that way for 1 yellow or just count 2).  Green for the lettuce, and red for the tzatziki. I didn't count the feta because I used 1 blue for the entire pound of turkey!)

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Lemony Quinoa and Kale Salad

Barbecue Season has arrived my friends!!!! 

Obviously everyone tends to appreciate the more "meaty" aspects of a barbecue.  The kebabs, steaks, hot dogs, burgers, veggie dogs, etc...drool, drool, drool. 

I don't think everyone appreciates the accompaniment of a beautiful salad.  This Kale and Quinoa salad is absolutely perfect on a hot summer day! Although I'm not one to talk smack about some yummy, creamy, mayonaisy potato salad,  this is a much better alternative.  Tons of flavor, nice and refreshing, and full of superfoods!  Kale is loaded with antioxidants, minerals and nutrients and quinoa is full of protein and provides energy! 

Ditch the mayo, and try this salad at your next barbecue.  It's so flavorful, you won't even miss it! 

Lemony Kale and Quinoa Salad

Lemon Vinaigrette: 

3 lemons, juiced 
2 cloves of garlic, minced 
3 tbsp dijon mustard 
3 tbsp honey 
1/4-1/2 cup olive oil 
Sprinkle sea salt and pepper 

Mix together the lemon juice, garlic, dijon and honey.  Drizzle in the olive oil while whisking the mixture rapidly until it becomes thicker and creamier.  You may not need the whole 1/2 cup, use your best judgement.  You can also add or subtract some honey or dijon, make the taste work for you.   Once it's combined, place in the refrigerator to chill. 

For the Salad: 

1 large bunch of kale, stems removed and torn into bite sized pieces.  Or half large bag of pre-cut kale.  (You want about 6-7 cups) 
2 cups cooked and cooled quinoa 
4 radishes, sliced thin 
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced thin 
1/2 bulb of fennel, sliced thin 
1/2 cup toasted, chopped pecans. (to toast, add to a hot pan and keep moving until they're brown). 

In a large bowl, add all of your ingredients.  Add half the vinaigrette at first, and mix together with your hands.  Really massage the dressing into the kale, the citrus in the vinaigrette will soak into the greens and make them more tender.  Once it's all combined, taste test and add more vinaigrette if needed.  


(21 Day Fixers- The salad itself is green, the dressing is orange, and the nuts are blue). 

Tips:  Go crazy!  Add halved grapes, pine nuts, sprouts, dried fruit, avocado, etc.  The dressing is versatile and will taste good with just about anything. 

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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cake

It's not really a big secret that I don't come up with a lot of dessert recipes. 

Don't get me wrong, sweets are my life but I don't usually have a knack for how things work, because baking is more scientific then cooking.  Baking powder, baking soda, flour, etc.  There need to be precise measurements and ain't nobody got time for that.  I'll slap some peanut butter on a piece of Ezekiel bread and add a few chocolate chips and some honey in a pinch.  Or I'll refer to Skinnytaste because that lady is a freakin' genius.  (See: Black Bean Brownies). 

This cake just sort of got thrown together on an evening that I was truly in the mood for chocolate chips and oats (seriously...that happened.) 

I hope you'll check it out, you won't be sorry! 

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cake 

1/2 banana-mashed 
2 tsp peanut butter
1/4 tsp vanilla
3 tsp honey
2 tbsp almond milk 

1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp whole wheat flour 
1/4 tsp baking powder 
1/4-1/2 cup of oats (I used gluten free rolled oats, about 1/2 cup).

Preheat the oven to 350.  In a large bowl, mash the banana and beat together with the wet ingredients.

In a separate bowl, add 1 tbsp cocoa powder, 1 tbsp whole wheat flour, 1/4 tsp baking powder, 1/4-1/2 cup oats. Mix together and add to wet ingredients, beat to combine.

Stir in 2 tsp dark chocolate chips, unsweetened coconut, pecans.

Pour into a small ramekin sprayed with coconut oil and bake 350 for 30 minutes. 

Serve hot, room temperature, or cold! Trust me, it's delicious any way! Enjoy!

(21 Day Fixers- I ate half and counted 1 yellow, 1 yellow treat, 1/2 purple, 1 blue, 1 orange, 1 tsp.) 

Tip- Use what you like! Leave out the chocolate chips and use dried fruit, nuts, Go nuts! 

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