Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki

Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki

One of our family traditions are Sunday night barbecues when family and friends drop by for dinner and a visit.  Everyone looks forward to this weekly event.

Sometimes coming up with a different menu for the barbecues can be a challenge.  Last week we decided it would be Greek night so my daughter-in-law and I  made Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki Dip.

We love Greece and Greek food.  We’ve been trying different recipes to  replicate the souvlaki and tzatziki we enjoy whenever we’re in Greece.

This weekend we made Tzatziki exactly how the owner of The Music Cafe in Myknos, one of our favorite cafes in Greece, taught us.  It was delicious.

I decided to try my hand at creating a new recipe for the souvlaki.  I marinated the chicken overnight in yogurt and spices, it turned out tender, juicy, and delicious!  The yogurt keeps the chicken tender and juicy and fresh dill gives them the extra yum!

Tzatziki is a yogurt dip or sauce.  It can be served with fresh crusty baguettes for dipping, and used as a sauce over the chicken.  Either way it’s delicious.

Both the Tzatziki and Souvlaki are easy to make.  The chicken should be marinated over night or for at least 3 hours, the longer it marinates in the fridge the tastier and tender it will be when grilled.  The Tzatziki can be make ahead of time and chilled in the fridge until ready to serve.

Both dishes will now be permanent additions to our Sunday night barbecues.  Here are the recipes, perhaps you can try them out this coming Memorial Day.  Both recipes can be doubled or tripled for larger gatherings.

Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki

Chicken Souvlaki

Makes 9-10 kebobs

Ingredients:

2 lbs. thawed chicken tenderloins – if the pieces are too large you may have to cut them in half lengthwise to make strips no larger than 2″ wide.

1 cup WHOLE milk plain Greek yogurt.  Be sure it’s whole milk, the fat free or 2% won’t work.

1 tbls. minced garlic

2 tbls. olive oil

1 tsp. dried or fresh oregano – crushed or minced

1/2 tsp dried or fresh rosemary – crushed or minced

1 tbls. fresh dill – finely chopped

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.

Add chicken strips; mix well making sure the chicken is well coated in the yogurt mixture.

Cover with plastic wrap and marinate at least 3 hours or overnight in the fridge.  It’s a good idea to stir the chicken several time while it’s marinating to ensure all pieces are coated with the yogurt mixture.

Place the marinated chicken on skewers – two pieces fit nicely on 12″ skewers.

Grill on medium heat until chicken is well cooked.  About 5-6 minutes on each side.  Don’t over cook the chicken, it will become dry and hard.

Serve immediately with Tzatziki, and whatever side dishes you prefer.

Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki

Tzatziki

Makes 2 cups

Ingredients:

2 medium cucumbers

2 cups WHOLE milk yogurt

1 tbls. olive oil

1 tbls. minced garlic

2 tbls. fresh minced dill

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Salt to taste

Directions:

1.  Peal cucumber, cut in half lengthwise, and scoop out the middle part including the seeds.

2.  Finely grate cucumber in to a mixing bowl.

3.  Squeeze out as much liquid as possible from the grated cucumber, discard liquid and keep the grated cucumber.

4.  Add yogurt to cucumber and mix well.

5.  Add olive oil, garlic, and dill to the mixture and mix well.

6.  Remove lemon seeds and squeeze lemon juice into the mixture and mix well.

7.  Add salt to taste.

Chill until ready to serve.  Can be served as sauce for the Chicken Tzatziki or as a dip with crusty fresh bread or pita chips.  If serving as a dip portion into small bowls and drizzle with olive oil before serving.

Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6 Servings 15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
10 Minutes 3 Hours
Servings Prep Time
6 Servings 15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
10 Minutes 3 Hours
Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6 Servings 15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
10 Minutes 3 Hours
Servings Prep Time
6 Servings 15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
10 Minutes 3 Hours
Ingredients
Servings: Servings
Instructions
Souvlaki
  1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Add chicken strips; mix well making sure the chicken is well coated in the yogurt mixture.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate at least 3 hours or overnight in the fridge. It's a good idea to stir the chicken several time while it's marinating to ensure all pieces are coated with the yogurt mixture.
  4. Place the marinated chicken on skewers - two pieces fit nicely on 12" skewers.
  5. Grill on medium heat until chicken is well cooked. About 5-6 minutes on each side. Don't over cook the chicken, it will become dry and hard.
  6. Serve immediately with Tzatziki, and whatever side dishes you prefer.
Tzatziki
  1. Peal cucumber, cut in half lengthwise, and scoop out the middle part including the seeds.
  2. Finely grate cucumber in to a mixing bowl.
  3. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible from the grated cucumber, discard liquid and keep the grated cucumber.
  4. Add yogurt to cucumber and mix well.
  5. Add olive oil, garlic, and dill to the mixture and mix well.
  6. Remove lemon seeds and squeeze lemon juice into the mixture and mix well.
  7. Add salt to taste.
  8. Chill until ready to serve.
Recipe Notes

Tzatziki can be served as sauce for the Chicken Souvlaki or as a dip with crusty fresh bread or pita chips. If serving as a dip portion into small bowls and drizzle with olive oil before serving.

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Salmon & Dill Dog Food Topper

Salmon & Dill Dog Food Topper

Salmon & Dill I think you all know by now that we own a very spoiled and finicky Siberian Husky named Cannoli.  Let me repharse, Cannoli, a spoiled and finicky Husky owns us.  I guess like most pet owners and animal lovers we tend to spoil our fur balls who bring so much joy to our lives.

My husband recently asked me who I spoil more, the grandkids or the dog, LOL!  As if!  The question should be who does HE spoil more. I categorically deny spoiling anyone, people or pets!  After all it was under his watch that Cannoli decided she preferred expensive pouches of Blue Wilderness dog food toppers over the dry food it was supposed to top.  So what does brilliant husband do while sensible wife is away?  Why of course he was feeding  spoiled mutt 4 pouches a day at a cost of almost $2 a pouch on top of her Blue Wilderness dry food (which I’m told she picked out and only ate when absolutely starving).  Ouch!  To be fair she did gain some needed pounds, which my hubby explained was the main goal to begin with.

Well when I got home I had to whip both mutt and husband back into shape!  It wasn’t easy because Cannoli had a very vocal advocate on her side, aka dear husband who called from work several times a day  to ask if Cannoli was eating.  For the first few days Cannoli absolutely refused to eat the dry food, she left it for the wild birds who now due to free food like to hang out in our yard!  I on the other hand was not going to relent, well not at $8 a day anyway.

We tried mixing in canned food instead of the topper.  That had mixed reviews from the miserable mutt!  She didn’t like the pate style, not that I can really blame her, that’s the pureed stuff that really looks unappealing.  She somewhat preferred the grills and stews which were chunks of meats and veggies.  But she definitely didn’t like the dry.  I was baffled, she was originally on Merrick dry food, a very good grain free high protein food that our Doberman Portia thrived on.  I had switched her to Blue Wilderness that other Husky owners were gushing about.  She had liked it!  Of course I had to keep various flavors, she likes variety.  But then for whatever reason she decided she didn’t like it after all.

In the end I switched her dry food to Solid Gold, a holistic and natural brand which my vet assistant recommended and is highly recommended by Pet Food Talk’s review.  But I wasn’t going to keep a variety of flavors this time, she would have to eat the High Protein Barking at the Moon flavor.  I did decide that toppers were a must but they would be homemade, it would be healthier, provide the variety the finicky pup seems to need, and be cheaper.  So I’ve been making homemade dog food toppers for the last couple of months.

(I feel that I must say this for new pet owners.  If you’re going to switch dog food BRANDS do so slowly by mixing small amounts of the new food with the old.  You do this over a week or so increasing the amount of new food mixed in daily.  I usually wait until I’m low on the old food and buy a small bag of the new one to mix until I’m sure that it works for her.)

Anyway toppers are very easy to make and can be frozen until you need them.  I usually cook up a batch, store them in small freezer safe containers (I reuse the round plastic containers from KFC, the red topped ones that the sides come in when you buy individual meals – I’ve been saving them for years and have build up quite a stash.)

I’ve shared my recipes for Beef and Chicken toppers in previous posts.  Today I’ll be sharing a Salmon & Dill topper which is very healthy for dogs.  Salmon is good for dogs, it’s a good source of the fatty acid Omega 3 which keeps her coat shiny and healthy, it also helps boost her immune system.  Dill is also good for dogs, it helps calm their stomach and is rich in vitamins and minerals.  The other ingredients in this topper are 2 types of  squash which also have health benefits for your dog.  They are in potassium which may help in reducing heart failure and Vitamin A and Calcium which help keep a dog’s kidneys healthy.

Now remember this is a dog food topper.  It’s designed to make dry food more appealing.  It is not meant to replace commercial dog food.  I use only about a 1/4 to top her Solid Gold dry food.  If you’re looking to eliminate commercial dog food from your dog’s diet that’s fine, but you must use a balanced recipe to ensure your dog gets the proper nutrients.  Commercial dog foods are balanced to provide your pet with the nutrition they need, homemade food may lack some essential vitamins or minerals your pup needs.  You may have to give your dog supplements to meet her needs.  Before you switch to homemade dog food consult your vet and find a good well balanced recipe.

Having said all that here’s the recipe for Salmon & Dill Dog Food Topper!

Ingredients:

Salmon & Dill

1 Lb. Fresh Salmon with skin, cut into chunks

1 small Long green squash (also called Opo, bottle squash, or Calabash found in Asian Markets), peeled, seeds removed, and cut into chunks

1/2 Yellow Winter Squash, peeled, seeds removed, and cut into chunks

1 Can Low Sodium Chicken Broth

4-6 sprigs of fresh dill, chopped

1 Tbls. Olive Oil

Directions:

Heat oil in frying pan.

Add Salmon and cook until it’s no longer opaque.  It should turn somewhat white in color.

Add squashes and cook about 2-3 minutes.

Add broth and simmer until squash is tender.  No more than 10 minutes.

Stir in dill.

Cool then portion out in freezer safe containers.

Toppers should keep in the freezer about a month.  Thaw them out as needed.  I’m not sure if it keeps more than a month because we use it all within a month.  The containers I use hold about 1/2 cup of topper which is good for 2 feedings.  I thaw one out a day and store in the fridge until I’m ready to use it.

 



Salmon & Dill Dog Food Topper
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Salmon & Dill Dog Food Topper
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in frying pan.
  2. Add Salmon and cook until it's no longer opaque. It should turn somewhat white in color.
  3. Add squashes and cook about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add broth and simmer until squash is tender. No more than 10 minutes.
  5. Stir in dill.
  6. Cool then portion out in freezer safe containers.
Recipe Notes

Toppers should keep in the freezer about a month. Thaw them out as needed. I'm not sure if it keeps more than a month because we use it all within a month. The containers I use hold about 1/2 cup of topper which is good for 2 feedings. I thaw one out a day and store in the fridge until I'm ready to use it.

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The Best Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches

The Best Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches

I just love tea parties!  It’s the easiest way to entertain.  There’s not much cooking involved, it fits most any budget, it’s so easy to plan, and it sounds so “high society”!   Tea parties are great for most events including bridal and baby showers, birthdays, Mother’s Day, or just because days!

Now that the weather is much warmer you can even host your tea party out doors.  Spring and Summer are perfect for vintage tea parties in your yard, balcony, or patio.

Best Egg Salad As I’ve mentioned not much cooking involved and fits most budgets.  This is true, your menu can be tailored to your budget and culinary expertise, just so long as sandwiches are part of the menu, yes those dainty little crustless sandwiches cut into triangle, circles, or whatever shape you like.

All you really need for tea parties, other than tea or a beverage you prefer, are those little pretty sandwiches, and a sweet or two.  Scones are traditionally part of the menu, but these days it’s not really a must have unless you really want to include them.

The sandwiches don’t have to be fancy, just tasty and pretty.  You can serve pretty much any kind of sandwich as long as you make them small and dainty.  Believe it or not I’ve served PB&J for a children’s tea party, cut into cute shapes with cookie cutters of course.  The kids loved it!

But for an adult tea party you’ll probably want something a bit more upscale, not that PB&J isn’t good enough, it happens to be one of my personal faves!

For easy tea parties I like to serve cream cheese sandwiches.  They’re so easy and you can find a variety of flavored cream cheese spreads (strawberry, pineapple, and salmon) in the dairy section of most grocery stores.  They’re easy and very inexpensive.  Spread them on different types of bread, white, wheat, or what ever, cut them into small triangles and you’ve got a sandwich variety fit for a tea party.  If you want to get a bit fancier cucumber sandwiches are a nice touch although they require a bit more prep.

Another favorite of mine are Egg Salad sandwiches.  They are super easy and quite inexpensive, not to mention delish!  You can even make the filling the day before and store it in the fridge until ready to use.

Here’s my favorite Egg Salad Tea Sandwich.  Hope you love it too!


Ingredients:

6 Large Hard Boiled Eggs

1/2 Cup Mayonaise

1 Tsp. Sea Salt

1 Tsp. Black Pepper

3 Sprigs Fresh Dill, chopped

6 Slices White Bread

6 Slices Wheat Bread

Butter, Softened

Directions:

Boil eggs – I find the best way to make hard boiled eggs is to place them in a saucepan and fill with water until the eggs are covered with water; place on stove and bring water to boil; turn off stove and cover saucepan with good fitting lid; let eggs sit in water until it cools about 1 hour or so.

Peel hard boiled eggs and chop in to small pieces and place in mixing bowl- I usually take the peeled egg and place it horizontally into an egg slicer and slice; then I lightly pinch the slices together and replace them vertically into the egg slicer.  You end up with uniformly chopped eggs.  Just dump them in the mixing bowl and do the same with the remaining eggs.

Add mayo and mix well.

Add salt, pepper, and dill.  Mix very well to distribute spices evenly.

Spread one side of each slice of bread with a thin layer of butter.

Spread a small scoop of egg mixture on top of the buttered slice of bread.

Top with a second slice buttered side down.

Cut off crust with a sharp knife.

Cut into 4 triangles or squares with knife or in to desired shapes using a cookie cutter.

Cover with a damp cloth then wrap with plastic wrap, store in fridge until ready to serve.

 

The Best Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches
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The Best Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Boil eggs - I find the best way to make hard boiled eggs is to place them in a saucepan and fill with water until the eggs are covered with water; place on stove and bring water to boil; turn off stove and cover saucepan with good fitting lid; let eggs sit in water until it cools about 1 hour or so.
  2. Peel hard boiled eggs and chop in to small pieces and place in mixing bowl- I usually take the peeled egg and place it horizontally into an egg slicer and slice; then I lightly pinch the slices together and replace them vertically into the egg slicer. You end up with uniformly chopped eggs. Just dump them in the mixing bowl and do the same with the remaining eggs.
  3. Add mayo and mix well.
  4. Add salt, pepper, and dill. Mix very well to distribute spices evenly.
  5. Spread one side of each slice of bread with a thin layer of butter.
  6. Spread a small scoop of egg mixture on top of the buttered slice of bread.
  7. Top with a second slice buttered side down.
  8. Cut off crust with a sharp knife.
  9. Cut into 4 triangles or squares with knife or in to desired shapes using a cookie cutter.
  10. Cover with a damp cloth then wrap with plastic wrap, store in fridge until ready to serve.
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Cucumber Dill Hummus

Cucumber Dill Hummus

Cucumber Dill Hummus
I remember when Hummus wasn’t exactly a household staple and it was just plain and simple “Hummus”.  It was the basic dip that we served at home made with pureed chick peas, garlic, lemon juice, and tahini.  Today it’s become totally mainstream and is sold in most grocery stores.  Not only does eveyone enjoy this traditionally Middle Eastern dip, it now comes in so many different flavors.

I made this Cucumber Dill Hummus to be a refreshing change from just regular hummus.  It turned out great and goes very well with chicken kebobs or chicken shawarma wraps.  It’s similar to Tzatziki, the cucumber yogurt dip we love, but without the dairy.  My grandson Jett who has dairy allergies loves it!

It’s simple to make, you can use a food processor or blender, either one works well.
Ingredients:
1 medium sized cucumber – peeled, seeds removed, cut into large chunks
1 cup chick peas – Garbanzo beans
Juice of 1 Lemon
2 tbls. minced garlic
1 tsp. sea salt
3 sprigs of fresh dill
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (optional)
Directions:
Place cucumber chunks in food processor or blender – blend until very finely chopped and a bit liquidy
Add Chick peas – blend until it’s a soft paste
Add garlic and salt – blend well
Add lemon juice and dill – blend until dill is finely chopped
Move to serving bowl or dish.  Drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil if desired.
Serve as a dip or spread.  Refrigerate unused portions.
Cucumber Dill Hummus
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
1/2 Pint 15 Minutes
Servings Prep Time
1/2 Pint 15 Minutes
Cucumber Dill Hummus
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
1/2 Pint 15 Minutes
Servings Prep Time
1/2 Pint 15 Minutes
Ingredients
Servings: Pint
Instructions
  1. Place cucumber chunks in food processor or blender - blend until very finely chopped and a bit liquidy
  2. Add Chick peas - blend until it's a soft paste
  3. Add garlic and salt - blend well
  4. Add lemon juice and dill - blend until dill is finely chopped
  5. Move to serving bowl or dish. Drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil if desired.
  6. Serve as a dip or spread. Refrigerate unused portions.
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