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Turkey Gyros

Greek Easter is a BIG celebration in my half Greek half Italian home. Really any excuse to gather with family and feast is always a must. Normally the holidays include really indulgent, stick to your ribs recipes. Since spring is upon us and summer is right around the corner, so I decided to lighten things up a bit for our Greek Easter celebration. A famous classic dish of Greece is the gyro. Thinly sliced spit roasted spiced lamb meat, served on pita bread, with a cucumber yogurt sauce. The flavors explode in your mouth, but unfortunately it’s a very rich, very indulgent dish. .
For our Greek Easter celebration I am using a healthier option, ground turkey instead lamb and giving my guests the option to remove the pita and serve them in lettuce cups. I am topping my gyros with a lighter yogurt dressing and a cool crunch of small diced cucumbers and thinly sliced red onion.
A cool, light, yet flavor packed way to celebrate with loved ones without stretching your waist line.

I love taking traditional recipes and finding a healthier way to enjoy them without sacrificing flavor.

Turkey Gyros

(serves 8)
  • 2 lbs ground dark turkey meat (make sure it’s very cold)
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons ground rosemary
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

    Yogurt Sauce:

  • 2 cups Reduced fat organic yogurt
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsely
  • lots of fresh cracked pepper. (approx ¼ teaspoon)

    For garnish:

  • 1 english cucumber, finely diced
  • 1 cup baby tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  • ½ large red onion, peeled and sliced thin
  • ¼ cup chopped mint
  • ½ cup chopped parsley

  1. Place the onion, and garlic into a food processor, pulse until finely chopped. Next add the turkey, and seasonings. Turn the food processor and let the meat whip for about a minute, until it turns into a tacky paste. Place the meat mixture into a bowl and chill for at least 2 hours.

    While your turkey is resting, make the yogurt dressing. In a large bowl combine the yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, dill, parsley and pepper. Mix to combine.

    When your turkey is ready, form them into 4 evenly shaped “logs”. Preheat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat and add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook the turkey in batches for about 4-5 minutes per side. The outside should be nice and golden brown.

    Remove from the heat and let them rest for about 5-10 minutes on your cutting board. Slice each loaf vertically into thing slices, place the slices onto a sheet pan. (Note: the inside may still be a bit raw, that’s okay because we are going to cook them again) For better slicing results pop them into the refrigerator and let them cool completely (around 30-40 minutes)

    In the same skillet heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over high heat. Lay each slice of turkey in the pan and cook for 1 minute a side, or until nice and brown.

    To assemble the gyro, place a few slices of gyro meat onto a pita bread or into a lettuce cup. Spoon some of the yogurt sauce on top and top that with some diced cucumber, baby tomatoes, a few slices of thinly sliced red onion and fresh herbs.


GLOWFEST 2016

“Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Weight Watchers through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Glowfest, all opinions are my own.” “When women support each other, incredible things happen” I recently attended an incredible event put on by POPSUGAR and Weight Watchers called Glowfest, where people gathered […]


TASTES LIKE HUGS IS HERE!

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the first of MANY e-cookbooks! I put a lot of heart and soul into this little thing, so I hope you enjoy it!  Included in this e-cookbook are some of my best recipes yet! Including how to make a killer homemade gluten free pasta, biscuits and gravy, soups, cocktails […]


Dinner Party for under $30 and A Night of 1000 Dinners

“140 million children have lost one or both parents. For every three months spent in an orphanage, a child loses one month of developmental skills. Worldwide Orphans brings play, education, health and psychosocial development to orphans and vulnerable children through our programs focused on attachment, early intervention, healthcare and the arts. We work closely with communities to build capacity and raise awareness of the critical importance of play to help address the effects of trauma in children.”

– Worldwide Orphans

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Recently, I have been fortunate enough to get involved with an incredible charity called Worldwide Orphans and this week I am participating in their “Night of 1000 dinners” to help raise awareness and funds for orphans and at risk children. Worldwide Orphans is an incredible organization that was introduced to me by my friend Connie Britton, who’s giant heart for others and dedication to making the world a better place inspires me everyday. When she mentioned the idea of Night of a 1000 dinners, I jumped at the opportunity.

The idea is simple. Throw a party, start the conversation, and raise awareness. I believe nothing brings people together like breaking bread at a table, and it’s even better when it’s for a good cause. Food is the powerful language of the world and can be used to gather people in a way that allows us all to feel a part of a community and more importantly, loved. It’s important to share that love with others and that’s why the Night of a 1000 dinners is so important to me.

Too often we take for granted the love that we receive everyday, especially the love that we get from a parent. I can’t imagine going through life not knowing the sweet loving touch of my mother’s hand when I was sad, or my dad’s giant bear hugs whenever I won a basketball game. These kids don’t have that. I believe it’s everyone’s right to know that they are loved by someone, anyone, and why can’t that someone be us? We live in a time where it’s easy to get lost in our own worlds, we are too busy for our own good, and we often don’t make the time for others. This event is a great reminder to all of us that it doesn’t take much to make a huge difference in someone’s life.

Ethiopia (2)

When I sent out my invites I had asked everyone to bring a small donation, an open heart and an empty stomach. Being on a tight budget myself I wanted to create a menu that was delicious, impressive but didn’t cost an arm and a leg. I also wanted to have enough left over to be able to donate some money to the charity as well. Below are two great, inexpensive, healthy, fresh, and delicious recipes that will wow your guests. These recipes are enough to serve 6-8 people for under $30, which is pretty darn good if you ask me! Some of the ingredients you might have in your pantry already, so you can be super resourceful:)
For my menu I decided to serve a Shaved Fennel, Caramelized Corn, and Summer Peach Salad and Shell Pasta with Broccoli Raab and Spicy Chicken Sausage.

peach salad
pasta broccoli raab

Both of these dishes can feed a crowd and hold really well, so if guests come and go you don’t have to worry about being in the kitchen the whole time.

If you can’t throw a party on Saturday, that’s totally okay! People are throwing their own Night of 1000 dinners all month long.

If you have any questions on how to throw your own party and for more information about Worldwide Orphans CLICK HERE. I encourage you to check it out. I promise the reward will be greater than you know!

Recipe

(”serves)
  • 2 large bulbs fennel, shaved or sliced thin
  • 2 large ripe peaches, sliced thin
  • 1 1/2 cups arugula
  • 4 ears of corn
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 lemons, juiced and zested
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shaved
  • kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
  1. Heat a medium skillet on high heat. Cut kernels from corn cob. Add 2 tablespoons oil into the skillet and toss in corn kernels. Cook on high heat for about 3-4 minutes allowing the corn to get some color. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and fresh cracked pepper. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  2. In a large bowl add the shaved fennel, sliced peached, arugula, shaved parmesan, the cooled corn, olive oil, lemon, 1 teaspoon of lemon zest a good pinch of salt and lots of cracked pepper. Toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Gluten Free Shell Pasta with Broccoli Raab and Spicy Chicken Sausage

(serves 6)
  • 1 pound gluten free pasta shells (I used Tinkyada’s) you can also use regular orchiette pasta or shells
  • 1 1/2 pounds spicy chicken sausage, casing removed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for garnish
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 bunch broccoli raab, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper chili flakes
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a good amount of salt so the water tastes like the ocean. Cook pasta 2 minutes under what the package says for the cook time. Drain, but make sure to reserve 1 cup of the pasta water. If you are using a gluten free brown rice pasta, make sure to rinse the pasta well under cold water to remove all the starch. This will prevent the pasta from getting gummy. While the pasta is cooking:
  2. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add 2 cloves of garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, just until the edges start to slightly brown. Remove the garlic and discard. Add sausage into the skillet and using a wooden spoon break up the meat and cook for 8 minutes, or until the meat is brown and crispy.
  3. Add in the broccoli raab, and red chili flakes and cook for another 2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the 1 cup of pasta water, scraping up all the brown bits off the bottom of pan. Add pasta into the skillet and toss to coat. Add in 1 cup of parmesan, the juice and zest of a lemon and mix until creamy.
  4. To serve, place pasta in a large bowl and top with a few good glugs of olive oil, more cheese, cracked black pepper, and red chili flakes.