It’s All Greek To Me

I’ve mentioned before that I have a crappy appetite.  It’s hard for me to find foods that I really like but when I do I rarely venture far from them *Cough Twinkies and Cheetos Cough* (and yes, they ARE foods. Kind of.) Like a medium rare ribeye, potato wedges and roasted brussel sprouts will always, always always be my all time favorite dinner. Nothing, not even Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food will replace it.

You may have noticed that I have not been posting as much of my normal “OMG, if I eat this my arteries will harden and fall out of my body” type of recipes. That has been a symptom of the above issue. No, I’m not pregnant before anyone guesses that lol. But there HAS been something going on. If you “like” my facebook page, you may have seen an update here and there about exercise and calories (frightening from me I know, but you can take the mental blow. I have faith in you.). Well, about 7 or so weeks ago, I began a pretty frightening undertaking. And part of that included much less of those delicious artery hardening foods. You see, I finally got fed up with my weight. And as of today, I am now 30 pounds lighter than I was about 7 weeks ago with about another 30 to go. It hasn’t been easy because I stopped making (to avoid eating them) all the baked goods I love. Thus why all of you haven’t been getting posts filled with those foods. *Sobs in abject shame* I’M SORRY!!! I’ll try to post more of them!! Seriously, I will. I am now able to have some  faith in my own abilities to stay away from the foods I need to avoid. I also have enough faith now, since I have been doing this for almost 2 months and am 30 pounds lighter, to know that when I DO make the fattening foods, that I can eat a piece and not feel like a failure. It’s hard to explain the way my mind works and the mindset I had. With me, I have always been all or nothing. If I wanted to lose weight and ate something bad for me, that’s it… I was a total failure and I gave up. Not this time though. I have my cheat days (today is one) and I eat what I want then I get back on the proverbial diet bandwagon. And please don’t tell me to not call it a diet but a “lifestyle change”. I’m not that modern lol. It’s a diet. I’m fine with that. It’s just a word used to describe the changes I’ve made.

So today, for said cheat day, I made something that can be either quite good for you or somewhat not, depending on what you do to it before eating it. I absolutely love Greek food and one of the things I get at the fair every Summer is a Gyro. But a good Gyro, made with beef and/or lamb, is hard to do right in a home setting. I don’t like the ground meat ones so there’s where that all or nothing mentality came in. I couldn’t have a huge chunk of meat turning on a spit in my kitchen and one of those cool knives they use to cut the meat, I wasn’t going the beef/lamb route. So I used chicken.

Now is this authentic? Is the Greek government going to call me and give me an award for the best Chicken Gyro ever made? Nope. But is this based on “real” Greek food and does it have a flavor that won’t disappoint? Oh. My. Yes. It does. It is tangy from lemon juice, redolent of oregano, mint, dill and covered in Tzatziki Sauce and Feta cheese. Then, to kill that “good for you” idea, I shoved them in pitas. I mean, really… Gyros with no pita? I’m pretty sure that’s against the law. But it was a honey wheat one in my defense!!! Like one extra gram of fiber and I’m sure the word “grain” was on the package somewhere! *grins*

So c’mon. Get to cooking. Your family will love you and quite possibly erect a statue in your honor. Just make sure they wash their hands first. That sauce drips everywhere.

Don’t be put off by the long ingredient list. Most of it is for either the marinade or the Tzatziki, both of which go together very quickly.

Chicken Gyros With Tzatziki

  • 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • Marinade-
  • 2/3 cup good quality olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • zest from 2 lemons
  • 5 (yes, you read that right) minced garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons Oregano (this is one recipe where I will recommend dried herbs, not fresh. The flavor is stronger generally speaking)
  • 1 tablespoon dried mint
  • 1 tablespoon dried dill weed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1.5 tablespoons kosher salt (or to taste. I usually end up having to sprinkle more on the cooked chicken)
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
  • zest from one orange
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • Tzatziki Sauce-
  • 1 1/2 cups good quality Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (please don’t use fat free in this; it makes it watery)
  • 2 large cucumbers, grated (food processor works well) and then excess liquid squeezed out
  • 2 teaspoons dried dill (I have used both dried and fresh in Tzatziki. In my opinion, the dried works better because the fresh leaves an unpleasant “leafy” texture)
  • To Serve-
  • Pita bread or flatbread
  • Sliced red onions
  • sliced tomato
  • feta cheese
  1. Combine all the marinade ingredients in a large non metal bowl. Stir well to combine. Add in the chicken thighs and stir well to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
  2. Meanwhile, while chicken marinates, make your Tzatziki.
  3. Combine the yogurt and sour cream. Add in the lemon juice, garlic, dill salt and pepper. Stir. Gently fold in the grated cucumber, then the olive oil. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 4. If marinating the chicken overnight, wait until about 2 to 3 hours before serving to make the sauce.
  4. Heat charcoal grill to a medium high heat. If using gas grill, I’m not an expert there but I would guess medium high there too.
  5. Remove chicken from marinade and grill over medium high heat (this could easily be done on an indoor grill pan too) until the chicken has reached an internal temp of about 155, about 4 minutes on each side.
  6. Let the chicken rest for about ten minutes, then serve in/with pita bread, onions and tomatoes and Tzatziki. Sprinkle feta on it. Eat, drip sauce. Enjoy. Write me fan mail.