Instant Pot Beef Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce

Instant Pot Beef Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce

Gyros seem to be getting trendy, even the fast food chains are putting them on their menus.  Makes sense I guess since Gyro (pronounced YEE-roh) can be considered fast food meaning you can grab a sandwich and eat it on the go.  Gyro meat can be either beef, pork, chicken, lamb, or a combination of these meats.  The meat is usually ground up and cooked on a vertical spit then thin slices are shaved off as needed to make plates or sandwiches.  Having grown up in New York City gyros have always been a familiar food, I remember seeing the big hunks of meat rotating behind a window at the corner deli or diner.  Anyway trendy or not we love Gyros, specially beef gyros!

We always grab a gyro or two when we’re in Greece and sometimes in NYC, I mean it’s not like we’re going to set up a huge vertical spit and roast meat for hours.  That’s why the  Instant Pot is a great addition to my kitchen!  I can make Beef Gyros anytime I have a yen for them.  The beef gyros made in my Instant Pot tastes pretty authentic and can be made in about half an hour!  Doesn’t beat a trip to Athens or Santorini, but it hits the spot!

The Beef Gyros I make in the Instant Pot are tender, juicy, and tasty; in short perfect!  We slather the pita with homemade Tzatziki, a creamy cucumber yogurt sauce, then fill it with meat and veggies, delicious!

Here’s the recipe for Instant Pot Beef Gyros and Tzatziki Sauce, hope you love it as much as we do!

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The Beef

Ingredients:

2 Lbs. Chuck roast sliced into thin strips about 1/4″ long – cut meat against the grain

1 Large White Onion thinly sliced

1/4 Cup Olive Oil

1 Tbs. Garlic Powder

1 Tbs. Oregano

1 Tsp. Sea Salt

1 Tsp. Black Pepper

1/4 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice

1/2 Cup Beef Broth

Shredded Iceberg or Romaine Lettuce

Sliced Tomatoes

Sliced Purple Onion

Sliced Cucumbers

1 Tbs Apple Cider Vinegar

Fresh Pita Bread or Naan

Directions:

Place all the ingredients except the Pita, Lettuce, and Tomato in the Instant Pot

Cover and make sure the valve is in the “Sealing” position

Turn pot on to Manual – high pressure

Set timer to 30 minutes

Once timer goes off allow the pot to sit for 15 minutes.  Then switch the valve to “venting” and allow the pot to depressurize.

Remove cover and stir.

While you’re waiting for the meet to cook make your Tzatziki Sauce and prepare your veggies

Place shredded lettuce, sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions on a dish and sprikle with Apple Cider Vinegar then set aside until ready to use

Tzatziki Sauce

Ingredients:

1 Cup Finely chopped cucumbers – remove seeds before chopping

1 Cup plain whole milk yogurt

2 Tbs Fresh Dill chopped

1 Tsp Garlic finely minced

1/4  Tsp Salt

Directions:

Take the cucumbers and squeeze out the liquid.  Squeeze out as much liquid as you can.

Place cucumber in bowl and add in rest of the ingredients and mix very well.

Refrigerate until ready to use.

Sandwich assembly:

Cover pita bread with a damp paper towel and warm in the microwave for about 15-30 seconds

Place one pita bread flat on a piece of aluminum foil

Spread bread with Tzatziki Sauce

Place a layer of shredded lettuce over sauce

Remove desired amount of meat from pot and drain liquid then place over lettuce

Add cucumber, onion, and tomato slices on top then add more tzatziki sauce if desired

Roll sandwich and foil, use the foil to hold the sandwich together.  Peel off foil as you eat.

You can also make a plate or bowl instead of a sandwich.  Any left over tzatziki can be used a dip, just place in a dish or bowl and drizzle with olive oil.  Dip pita chips in the sauce for a great snack or appetizer!

 

Instant Pot Beef Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce
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Instant Pot Beef Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce
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Ingredients
Tzatziki Sauce
Servings:
Instructions
Beef
  1. Place all the ingredients except the Pita, Lettuce, and Tomato in the Instant Pot
  2. Cover and make sure the valve is in the "Sealing" position
  3. Turn pot on to Manual - high pressure Set timer to 30 minutes
  4. Once timer goes off allow the pot to sit for 15 minutes. Then switch the valve to "venting" and allow the pot to depressurize.
  5. Remove cover and stir.
  6. While you're waiting for the meet to cook make your Tzatziki Sauce and prepare your veggies
  7. Place shredded lettuce, sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions on a dish and sprikle with Apple Cider Vinegar then set aside until ready to use
Tzatziki Sauce
  1. Take the cucumbers and squeeze out the liquid.  Squeeze out as much liquid as you can.
  2. Place cucumber in bowl and add in rest of the ingredients and mix very well.
  3. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Assembly
  1. Cover pita bread with a damp paper towel and warm in the microwave for about 15-30 seconds Place one pita bread flat on a piece of aluminum foil Spread bread with Tzatziki Sauce Place a layer of shredded lettuce over sauce Remove desired amount of meat from pot and drain liquid then place over lettuce Add cucumber, onion, and tomato slices on top then add more tzatziki sauce if desired Roll sandwich and foil, use the foil to hold the sandwich together.  Peel off foil as you eat. 
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Beef Kabobs in Vinaigrette Marinade

Beef Kabobs in Vinaigrette Marinade

Grilling is always fun.  We have a family barbecue every Sunday.  It’s lots of fun and a great way to catch up with each other after a busy week.  One of the problems I run in to is finding new recipes to grill.  Sure hot dogs, burgers, and steaks are easy, but every now and then we need a change. That’s why I’m always in search of a new barbecue recipe.  I like to try them out during this weekly family dinner, and if everyone likes it we make it part of our menu.

vinaigrette marinade

Last month I tried this new marinade, mostly because I had all the ingredients in the pantry.  But also because I love balsamic vinegar, which is the main ingredient to this recipe.  I call it Beef Kabobs in Vinaigrette Marinade.

 

The best part about marinades is that it flavors your meat with very little work.  It’s simple, just toss the ingredients together, soak the meat, and let the marinade do the rest of the work!  I marinate my meat in the refrigerator overnight.  The longer is marinates the more flavorful it will be, but you don’t want to marinate it more than a day or so, because when marinated too long the meat starts getting this tough jerky like texture and it may eventually spoil.  If for some reason we don’t use the marinated meat the next day I freeze it, marinade and all.  That way I just thaw it out when we’re ready to grill.

Just before grilling I skewer the beef cubes on bamboo skewers, but you can use metal skewers if you have them.  We do have a bunch of pretty metal skewers we brought home from Turkey one year, but cleaning them after the barbecues is an extra chore I can do without.  When you do use bamboo skewers remember to soak them in water for about 10 – 15 minutes before putting the meat on, it keeps them from burning when you pop them on the grill.

Another helpful tip when grilling is to not over cook the meat.  Grill meat until it is just about done to the way you want it (rare, medium, well).  In short remove it from the grill before it is the desired “doneness”.  Place grilled meat in a covered pot or roasting pan and let rest covered for 5 minutes before serving.  This allows the meat to finish cooking and to release its juices.  Try it out!  You’ll end up with tender juicy meat!  It works for steaks too!

Having said that here’s my recipe for Vinaigrette Marinade!  By the way you can use the same marinade on chicken, lamb, or shrimp.  Just don’t mix the meats, make a separate batch of marinade for each type of meat or seafood.

 Ingredients:

3 Lbs.  Beef Tenderloin cut in 1″ cubes (you can use your favorite beef cut)

1 Cup Balsamic Vinegar

1/2 Cup Olive Oil

2 Tbs. Finely Minced Garlic

1 Tbs. Fresh or Dried Rosemary

1 Tbs. Fresh or Dried Oregano

1 Tsp. Sea Salt

1 Tsp. Ground Black Pepper

1 Large Onions cut into large chunks

1 Large Green Pepper cut into large pieces

1 Basket Mushrooms, washed and patted dry

Directions:

Combine Balsamic Vinegar, Olive Oil, and seasonings in a large ziplock bag.  Seal bag and shake to combine all the ingredients together.

Vinaigrette MarinadeAdd meat cubes to the marinade.  Seal bag and shake to cover all the meat.

Refrigerate at least 3 hours, for best flavor marinate in the fridge overnight.

 

 

About and hour or less before grilling place meat, onions, peppers, and

Vinaigrette Marinade

mushrooms on skewers.  Alternate meat with veggies.

Grill over medium heat until meat is just about done the way you want it.

Place skewers in a large pot or roasting pan with a lid.  Cover and let stand 5 minutes to allow meat to finish cooking and release its juices.

Serve hot with rice, potatoes, and other sides.

 

 

Beef Kabobs in Vinaigrette Marinade
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Tender, juicy, and flavorful grilled meat that's perfect for any cook out.
Beef Kabobs in Vinaigrette Marinade
Print Recipe
Tender, juicy, and flavorful grilled meat that's perfect for any cook out.
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Combine Balsamic Vinegar, Olive Oil, and seasonings in a large ziplock bag. Seal bag and shake to combine all the ingredients together.
  2. Add meat cubes to the marinade. Seal bag and shake to cover all the meat.
  3. Refrigerate at least 3 hours, for best flavor marinate in the fridge overnight.
  4. About and hour or less before grilling place meat, onions, peppers, and mushrooms on skewers. Alternate meat with veggies.
  5. Grill over medium heat until meat is just about done the way you want it.
  6. Place skewers in a large pot or roasting pan with a lid. Cover and let stand 5 minutes to allow meat to finish cooking and release its juices. Serve hot with rice, potatoes, and other sides.
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The Best Chicken Marsala Recipe

The Best Chicken Marsala Recipe

Chicken Marsala

One of my favorite dishes is Chicken Marsala.  I’ve tried many different recipes in my quest for the perfect one; tweaking each one until it was just right.

Here is the recipe I use and my family loves it.  The sauce in this version is thicker and creamier than other versions due to the heavy cream and corn starch.  If you want a thinner sauce please read the notes at the end to see what ingredients can be omitted or substituted.

This recipe is very easy to make and should be served soon after cooking.  Left overs can be refrigerated, in fact it tastes even better the next day!

I serve Chicken Marsala with garlic mashed potatoes or my cousin’s “poor man’s pasta” the recipe for that is at the bottom of this post.

The Best Chicken Marsala

Ingredients:

1 lb. mushrooms
4 tbls. butter
2 tbls. minced garlic
1 cup Marsala wine
1 tsp. corn starch dissolved in 1/4 cup water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken tenderloins, pounded to 1″ thickness
2 tbls. olive oil
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. ground sea salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
10 oz. cherry tomatoes, halved
Fresh parsley chopped

Directions:

1.  Wash mushrooms and pat dry.  Slice into thin slices.

2.  Melt 2 tbls. butter in large sauce pan over medium heat.  Add sliced mushrooms and cook until golden brown, about 5-10 minutes.

3.  Add garlic and wine to the mushrooms.  Lower heat and gently simmer until wine reduces, about 15 minutes.

4.  Add cream, corn starch, and sea salt.  It should thicken slightly.  If it’s too thick add more wine to desired consistency, but not more than another 1/2 cup.  Set aside. *

5.  Combine flour, ground sea salt, black pepper, and garlic powder in a shallow bowl.

6.  Heat oil and 2 tbls. butter in a skillet over medium heat.

7.  Toss chicken tenders in flour; shake off excess; fry in olive oil/butter until cooked thru and is golden brown.

8.  Pour Marsala sauce over chicken.  Add cherry tomatoes.  Simmer until tomatoes are soft, but not mushy.

9.  Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.

* For thinner sauce OMIT heavy cream and corn starch in step 4.  Add salt and set aside.  Cook chicken as directed.  In step 9 BEFORE you sprinkle with parsley stir in 2 more tbls. butter, stir until butter melts.  Sprinkle with parsley.

Poor Man’s Pasta

Ingredients:

1 lb. Pasta
3 tbls. butter
1/4 shredded fresh parmesan cheese

Directions:

1.  Cook pasta as directed on box.

2.  Drain pasta.

3.  Melt butter in skillet over medium heat.

4.  Add cooked pasta.  Toss in butter until pasta is covered.

5.  Add parmesan cheese.  Toss pasta until cheese is evenly distributed.

6.  Serve hot.

The Best Chicken Marsala Recipe
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6 Servings 15 Minutes
Cook Time
30 Minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 Servings 15 Minutes
Cook Time
30 Minutes
The Best Chicken Marsala Recipe
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6 Servings 15 Minutes
Cook Time
30 Minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 Servings 15 Minutes
Cook Time
30 Minutes
Ingredients
Servings: Servings
Instructions
Chicken Marsala
  1. Wash mushrooms and pat dry. Slice into thin slices.
  2. Melt 2 tbls. butter in large sauce pan over medium heat. Add sliced mushrooms and cook until golden brown, about 5-10 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and wine to the mushrooms. Lower heat and gently simmer until wine reduces, about 15 minutes.
  4. Add cream, corn starch, and sea salt. It should thicken slightly. If it's too thick add more wine to desired consistency, but not more than another 1/2 cup. Set aside.
  5. Combine flour, ground sea salt, black pepper, and garlic powder in a shallow bowl.
  6. Heat oil and 2 tbls. butter in a skillet over medium heat.
  7. Toss chicken tenders in flour; shake off excess; fry in olive oil/butter until cooked thru and is golden brown.
  8. Pour Marsala sauce over chicken. Add cherry tomatoes. Simmer until tomatoes are soft, but not mushy.
  9. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.
Poor Man's Pasta
  1. Cook pasta as directed on box.
  2. Drain pasta.
  3. Melt butter in skillet over medium heat.
  4. Add cooked pasta. Toss in butter until pasta is covered.
  5. Add parmesan cheese. Toss pasta until cheese is evenly distributed.
  6. Serve hot.
Recipe Notes

For thinner sauce OMIT heavy cream and corn starch in step 4.  Add salt and set aside.  Cook chicken as directed.  In step 9 BEFORE you sprinkle with parsley stir in 2 more tbls. butter, stir until butter melts.  Sprinkle with parsley.

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Sun Dried Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Sun Dried Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Sun Dried Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Here’s a new hummus flavor I whipped up for the family.  It goes great with the Beef Shawarma wraps I make.  It’s very easy to make.  You can use a food processor, but I was too lazy to take out my processor so I made it in my Ninja blender, it worked just as well.
I use sun dried tomatoes I buy in the open markets of Venice.  I store them in the freezer and soak them in water for a few hours before using them.  You can use the sun dried tomatoes they sell in jars at the produce section of your local supermarket.  As for the roasted red pepper I just use the ones in a jar I get from the supermarket.
Ingredients:
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
1/2 cup roasted red peppers
1 cup chick peas – Garbanzo Beans
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbls. sesame tahini
1 tbls. minced garlic
1 tsp. sea salt
Juice from 1 lemon
Extra Virgin olive oil (optional)
Directions:
Place tomatoes in blender or food processor – blend until finely chopped
Add red peppers – blend until finely chopped and mixed well
Add chick peas, oil, tahini, garlic, salt – blend until it becomes a soft paste

Add lemon juice – blend  until it’s absorbed

Move to serving bowl or dish.  If desired drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil before serving.

You can use this hummus as a dip or spread.

Sun Dried Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6 Servings 10 Minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 Servings 10 Minutes
Sun Dried Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6 Servings 10 Minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 Servings 10 Minutes
Ingredients
Servings: Servings
Instructions
  1. Place tomatoes in blender or food processor - blend until finely chopped
  2. Add red peppers - blend until finely chopped and mixed well
  3. Add chick peas, oil, tahini, garlic, salt - blend until it becomes a soft paste
  4. Add lemon juice - blend until it's absorbed
  5. Move to serving bowl or dish. If desired drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil before serving.
  6. You can use this hummus as a dip or spread.
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Margarita Chicken Tacos

Margarita Chicken Tacos

 

If you haven’t guessed by now I love Mexican Food!  I can eat it everyday!  One of my favorite Mexican dishes are chicken tacos.  I love them wrapped in fresh warm flour tortillas.  The chicken filling is real easy to make, if you’re pinched for time you can even use taco seasoning packets to give it that Mexican flavor.  But I like to make it from scratch and sometimes I experiment a bit with the ingredients.  Recently I came up with these Margarita Chicken Tacos, they are delicious!

What makes these Margarita Chicken Tacos different is that the chicken is marinated in, you guessed it, tequila and lime juice; hence the name Margarita Chicken Tacos!  They really are easy to make and are too yummy!

I marinate the chicken about an hour before I sauté it.  I serve it fresh wrapped in warm flour tortillas and topped with chopped cilantro, cheese, sour cream, and salsa.  It’s a complete meal in a tortilla.

Here’s the recipe.  I hope you’ll love it as much as we do.

Ingredients:

8 Pieces Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs – cut into cubes

1 Tbs. Chili Powder

1 Tbs. Garlic Powder

1 Tsp. Sea Salt

1 Tsp. Ground Cumin

1 Bunch Fresh Cilantro – coarsely chopped, divide chopped cilantro in half

1 Med. Onion -chopped

1/4 Cup Olive Oil

1/4 Cup Vinegar

1/4 Cup Tequila

1 Lime

Flour Tortillas

Shredded Cheddar & Pepper Jack Cheeses

Sour Cream

Salsa

Directions:

Combine all the dry seasoning together in a mixing bowl.

Add Olive Oil, Vinegar, Tequila, onion, and 1/2 of the chopped cilantro.

Squeeze the juice of the lime over mixture.

Mix well.

Add Chicken cubes.

Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Sauté in large frying pan about 10 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked.

Serve with warm tortillas and garnishes. You can sprinkle each taco with the remaining cilantro.

 

 

 

 

Margarita Chicken Tacos
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Margarita Chicken Tacos
Print Recipe
Ingredients
Chicken
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Combine all the dry seasoning together in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add Olive Oil, Vinegar, Tequila, onion, and 1/2 of the chopped cilantro.
  3. Squeeze the juice of the lime over mixture.
  4. Mix well.
  5. Add Chicken cubes.
  6. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  7. Sauté in large frying pan about 10 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked.
  8. Serve with warm tortillas and garnishes. You can sprinkle each taco with the remaining cilantro.
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