Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Greek Night

Day # 2 of the week I had my favorite smoothie for breakfast, shared with my little minions of course, they love it! Lunch is always busy and I feel like I never have time to make a great lunch, so I went with leftover chicken salad from the weekend. I found this great recipe on Pinterest that does not use mayonnaise and is loaded with good stuff like blueberries, grapes, almonds, almond butter and a little bit of reduce fat Feta....sounds a little strange but it was really good! We then stuck to the plan and had Greek for dinner. Just a quick tip, I do have a Pinterest board labeled "Yummy things I've Tried" so if you're looking for more good recipes that I have actually made and liked, you can check it out here!

So, back to the Greek. We choose to source our beef locally so that we can support local farmers, know where our beef comes from, know that we are eating lean beef and just feel overall better about the food we are putting in our bodies. I happened to have a pack of "stew meat" in the freezer  which is basically just pieces of sirloin. There is enough in a pack for two meals (bonus for us, for the time being....I'm sure soon enough my 3 boys will be gobbling up more than I can make!), so I let it thaw out in the fridge overnight, then took half out of the back and threw it in a hot skillet with a little bit of olive oil. Once it was browned on most sides, I threw it in a crock-pot on a bed of thinly sliced yellow onions (the kind I usually keep on hand in the pantry), and then threw on the marinade of olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, oregano and garlic. I let that go for 4 to 6 hours - I didn't get around to having this ready until 10 or was a long morning! You could of course slow cook the beef all day if you wanted. I also prepped some really yummy and healthy homemade tzatziki sauce. You can follow the recipe here or you can but the pre-made stuff at the store. Either way, if you get the kind made with plain non-fat greek yogurt it's pretty good, and adds some good protein for you. A little bit before dinner I chopped up tomatoes, thinly sliced some red onion and chopped up some iceberg lettuce. For dinner then the boys packed their pitas into whole-grain pita pocket and I threw all the toppings on a bed of quinoa I had cooked earlier this week and store in the fridge for various meals throughout the week. Quinoa packs a good punch of protein as well and is a whole grain rather than a pasta, thus gluten free and considered a complex carbohydrate. 

Overall, it was really yummy, and there was just enough of the toppings and and meat left for me to eat for lunch on Wednesday! noted above, I don't like to spend a lot of time/dishes on lunch, so try to clean out the fridge of leftovers. I've included a few pictures and the recipe I used below. Also, I'll leave you with a dance video of my little guys. We have been cooped up in the house quite a bit lately with the sub-zero temps and last week we decided to have a little dance party. Enjoy the sophisticated dancing of L&L :)

Beef Gyros & Homemade Tzatziki Sauce

For Beef:
1 lb. of stew beef or sirloin pieces chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Warmed pita folds
Sliced tomatoes, red onion and lettuce, for serving

1.  Heat 1 T olive oil over medium-high heat in a skillet while slicing the beef.  Pat beef dry with paper towels to remove any moisture.
2.  When oil is warmed add beef to skillet being careful to place in one row only.
3.  Brown beef for 3 to 5 minutes on each side.  Drain off any excess liquid.  Transfer meat to slow cooker.
4.  While beef is browning combine ¼ cup olive oil, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper and lemon juice in a small bowl.  Place sliced onions in bottom of slower cooker, then top with browned meat. Pour over the meat and toss to coat, in the slow cooker.
5.  Cover and cook on LOW for 6-10 hours (depending on your slow cooker) or until beef is extremely tender.  (If it’s not tender, it’s not done yet).
6.  Remove lid and salt and pepper to taste.  If desired, break up the meat into smaller bite-size pieces.
7.  Serve beef over pita folds with Tzatziki sauce, onions, tomatoes and lettuce.

Tzatziki Sauce Recipe - Greek Yogurt and Cucumber Sauce
1 to 1 ½  cups Greek Yogurt (strained with a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer for 2 hours)
Juice of ½ a lemon (about 1 to 2 Tbsp.)
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 small to medium cucumber, seeded and diced
about 1 T kosher salt for salting cucumbers
1 T finely chopped fresh dill
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Strain the yogurt in a cheesecloth or in a fine mesh strainer over a bowl for a few hours to get rid of all excess liquid. Peel cucumber, then cut in half lengthwise and take a small spoon and scrape out seeds. Discard seeds. (If you use the small seedless or European cucumbers with few seeds, you can skip this step.) Slice cucumber, then put in a colander, sprinkle on 1 T salt, and let stand for 30 minutes to draw out water. Drain well and wipe dry with paper towel.

In food processor with steel blade, add cucumbers, garlic, lemon juice, dill, and a few grinds of black pepper. Process until well blended, then stir this mixture into the yogurt. Taste before adding any extra salt, then salt if needed. Place in refrigerator for at least two hours before serving so flavors can blend.

1 comment:

Alicia said...

Those dancing boys are so dang adorable! I had to show off the video at work haha miss you all!