Refreshing Greek-Style Chicken Salad

Refreshing Greek-Style Chicken Salad was chosen and mostly prepared by my lovely wife. The garden fresh cucumber and tomatoes in the salad are a nice accompaniment to the lightly marinated, grilled chicken which is all topped off with a fresh homemade tzatziki sauce.

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Refreshing Greek-Style Chicken Salad
(Adapted from a recipe courtesy of Fine Cooking, August-September 2016)

Serves 4

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
3 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil, for grilling
1 lemon, cut into wedges for garnish

For the salad
2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
1 English cucumber, peeled, sliced in half lengthwise, seeded, and sliced crosswise
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved
1 1/2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp chopped fresh oregano
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the tzatziki sauce
1/2 English cucumber, coarsely grated
2 cups plain greek yogurt
2 garlic cloves, smashed and finely chopped
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 small bunch dill, leaves finely chopped
2 sprigs mint, leaves cut into chiffonade
Pinch of kosher salt

4 whole-wheat pitas, toasted

To prepare the tzatziki sauce: Place the ingredients in a medium bowl and fold together until thoroughly combined. Season with salt. Refrigerate until serving.

To prepare the salad: In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, onion and olives. Toss with olive oil and oregano and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Mix together marinade by combining the lemon zest, garlic, oregano. Season with salt and pepper.

Pound the chicken breasts out to 1/4-inch thickness. Rub with the marinade. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to a hour. Prepare the gas grill for medium-high direct grilling. Drizzle the chicken with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill for 4 minutes without moving the cutlets. Flip and grill for another 2 minutes, until just cooked through. Remove to a plate, squirt with lemon and top with parsley and set aside to rest. Grill the pita on both sides, about 1 minute per side.

Slice the chicken into 1-inch-wide strips. Serve the chicken on the pita with the salad alongside and a generous dollop of tzatziki sauce.

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Chicken Gyros

Chicken Gyros is healthier version of the classic Greek street food. The chicken, substituted for the lamb gyros meat, draws tremendous flavor from the yogurt-lemon-oregano marinade. The preparation is simple and leftovers are super easy because only the chicken needs to be reheated. The Tzatziki Sauce recipe makes more the enough for the 4-6 servings so you’ll have plenty left to use for a dip with baked pita chips or cut fresh peppers, celery and carrots.

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Chicken Gyros

Serves 4 – 6

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced thin

For Marinade

3 large garlic cloves, minced
3 tsp apple cider vinegar
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp Greek yogurt
2 tsp dried oregano
1 pinch kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For Tzatziki Sauce

2 medium cucumbers
2 cups Greek yogurt
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp lemon juice (about 1/2 large lemon)
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 pinch kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For Salad

3 tomatoes, deseeded and diced
3 cucumbers, diced
1/2 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

4-6 pita breads

To prepare the marinade: Mix the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Place chicken breasts in a large zip-top plastic bag. Pour the marinade over the chicken and massage and squeeze out as much air as possible. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 12 hours.

To prepare the Tzatziki: Cut the cucumbers into quarters lengthwise and scrape out seeds. Coarsely grate the cucumber. Wrap the shredded cucumber in a large piece of cheesecloth and squeeze to remove excess liquid. Place the cucumber in a bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Mix to combine. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes to allow flavors to combine, longer if possible.

Combine all of the salad ingredients in a bowl.

Heat grill for medium direct grilling. Remove the chicken from the marinade. Cook until golden brown and cooked through. Set aside and cover with foil. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before cutting.

Warm the pitas. Top each with a generous amount of grilled chicken. Top with salad and tzatziki. Serve warm.

Cut the chicken into 1/4-inch thick slices.

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Lamb Patties with Red Cabbage and Radish Slaw

Lamb Patties with Red Cabbage and Radish Slaw are version of a homemade gyro sandwich with a unique sauce and a flavorful slaw.

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Lamb Patties with Red Cabbage and Radish Slaw
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of BonAppetit.com, November 2014)

4 Servings

2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/4 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
4 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, divided
6 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. ground lamb
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 small head of red cabbage, thinly sliced
1/4 English hothouse cucumber, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced
2 radishes, thinly sliced
4 pita breads

Whisk garlic, yogurt, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons oil in small bowl until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Set sauce aside.

Using your hands, gently mix lamb, onion, parsley, coriander, cumin, 2 tablespoons oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl just to combine. Form into 12 3/4-inch-thick patties. Set aside on a platter.

Toss cabbage, cucumber, radishes and remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 2 tablespoons oil in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. Set aside while grilling the patties.

Heat a flat cast-iron grill plate on the grill over direct medium heat. Working in batches cook until medium-rare, about 4 minutes, per side. Transfer to a wire rack on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet, let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Serve patties on pita with a serving of slaw and a dollop of sauce.

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Lamb Kabobs with Tzatziki Sauce

If you like gyros you will love Lamb Kabobs with Tzatziki sauce. This homemade Greek taste treat is unbelievably easy to make. If you have access to good quality ground lamb, Greek yogurt, and a hot grill, you are all set.

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Tip: Ample Bites uses four pair of leftover wooden chopsticks from carryout sushi for the skewers for the kabobs.

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Serve the kabobs with grilled fresh vegetables such as red onion, red, orange and yellow peppers, and zucchini.

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Lamb Kabobs with Tzatziki Sauce
(Mark Kelly, 2013)

Serves 4

For Lamb Kabobs
1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
1 large shallot, minced
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried thyme
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 whole wheat pitas

For Tzatziki Sauce
2 cups plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cucumber, seeded and chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tsp hot sauce
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
zest of 1/2 lemon
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Put yogurt, cucumber, garlic, hot sauce and lemon juice and zest in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a bowl. Top with parsley and refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the flavors to meld.

Wrap pita in foil. Soak skewers in water for at least 30 minutes.

In a large bowl combine the lamb, shallots, onion powder, oregano, rosemary, garlic powder, cumin, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Form meat around skewers, making eight equal oblong shapes. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the kabobs to firm-up.

Preheat grill to high.

Place foiled packet of pita on grill on a high rack. Brush the grill with oil. Grill the kabobs until charred on the outside and medium-rare on the inside. Turn to char all sides. Total cooking time about 6-8 minutes. To serve place one or two kabobs on each pita and drizzle with Tzatziki Sauce.

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