My Big Fat Greek Dinner

Celebrations of all kinds can be exciting, but the planning part of it can be stressful for even the smallest of gatherings. Where to have it! How many guests! But more importantly, what food should be there! Whether a dinner for ten or a party of 100, the menu is always the most important detail. Food has the power to bring people together in joy and fill bellies to immense satisfaction. The right choice of dessert or the proper cuisine for a particular occasion can really make a celebration one to be remembered. For your next dinner or event try a theme and stick to the traditions of that theme; the music, the decor, and of course the food will make a splendid time while you & your guests soak up some cultural treasures.


Here at the Personal Touch Experience we love food of all types. And we thought it’d be a great idea to share with you a couple of recipes from one of our favorite cuisines, Greek! From a classic Hummus to a traditional Baklava, we have found a few awesome ways to bring a little Greek into your kitchen and hearts. These recipes are also great for a Wednesday night dinner or festive Fridays at home, because we understand sometimes the toughest decision of the day is what to make for dinner. And if we can lessen the hassle by giving delicious suggestions, then we certainly will! 

 

Classic Hummus (Gluten Free and Vegan), recipe provided below (adapted from Gimme Some Oven)

Ingredients

  • 1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • pinch of salt and freshly-cracked black pepper (to taste)
  • 1/4 cup water, or more if needed
  • optional topping ideas: extra drizzle of olive oil, chopped fresh parsley, crushed red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, toasted pine nuts, chopped roasted red peppers, basil pesto

Directions

  • Add first seven ingredients (chickpeas thru salt/pepper) to a food processor, and blend until smooth. Add in the water and continue blending until the hummus reaches your desired consistency, adding additional water if needed.
  • Garnish with optional toppings and serve immediately, or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days.
GreekLemonChickenSkewerswithTzatzikiSauce3.jpg

Greek Lemon Chicken Skewers with Tzatziki Sauce, recipe provided below (adapted from Recipe Runner)

Ingredients

  • Greek Lemon Chicken Skewers
    • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast, cut into approximately 1 inch cubes
    • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
    • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
    • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • Tzatziki Sauce
    • 1 cup peeled and diced English cucumber, about 1/2 of a cucumber
    • 1 1/2 cups plain non-fat Greek yogurt
    • Juice of half a lemon
    • 1 heaping tablespoon chopped fresh dill
    • 1 teaspoon grated garlic
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • Black pepper to taste

Directions

  • Greek Lemon Chicken Skewers
    • In a large bowl whisk together the remaining ingredients then add in the cubed chicken and toss to coat.
    • Cover and refrigerate the chicken for 45 minutes to 3 hours.
    • Heat the grill to medium high heat.
    • Thread the chicken onto metal or wooden skewers, be sure to soak wooden skewers for 30 minutes.
    • Oil the grates of the grill and place the skewers on them.
    • Grill the chicken for 3-4 minutes then flip it over and grill for another 3-4 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Tzatziki Sauce
    • Peel and dice the cucumber.
    • In a medium sized bowl combine the remaining ingredients and whisk together.
    • Fold in the cucumber and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Mediterranean-Pasta-Salad-4.jpg

Mediterranean Pasta Salad, recipe provided below (adapted from Gimme Some Oven)

Ingredients

  • Mediterranean Pasta Salad:
    • 12 ounces dry pasta (I used farfalle)
    • 1 English (hot house) cucumber, diced
    • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
    • 2/3 cup sliced kalamata olives
    • 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
    • half of a medium red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
    • lemon-herb vinaigrette (see below)
  • Lemon Herb Vinaigrette:
    • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
    • 2 teaspoons dried oregano, minced
    • 1 teaspoon honey (or your desired sweetener)
    • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Directions:

  • Mediterranean Pasta Salad:
    • Cook the pasta al dente in a large stockpot of salted water according to package instructions.  Drain pasta, then rinse under cold water for about 20-30 seconds until no longer hot.  Transfer the pasta to a large mixing bowl.
    • Add cucumber, tomatoes, kalamata olives, feta cheese, and red onion to the mixing bowl, then drizzle all of the vinaigrette evenly on top.  Toss until all of the ingredients are evenly coated with the dressing.
    • Serve immediately, garnished with extra feta and black pepper if desired.
  • Lemon Herb Vinaigrette:
    • Whisk all ingredients together until combined.
Baklava-Recipe-21.jpg

Baklava, a portion of the recipe is provided below, for the full recipe visit Natasha's Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 (16 oz) pkg phyllo dough; thawed by package instructions
  • 2 sticks (1/2 lb) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 lb (about 4 cups) walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice (juice of ½ lemon)
  • ¾ cup water
  • ½ cup honey
  • Melted chocolate chips & chopped walnuts for garnish, optional

Prep

  • Thaw baklava by package instructions (this is best done overnight in the fridge, then place it on the counter for 1 hr before starting your recipe to bring it to room temp).
  • Trim phyllo dough to fit your baking dish. My phyllo package had 2 rolls with a total of 40 sheets that measured 9x14 so I had to trim them slightly. You can trim one stack at a time then cover with a damp towel to keep from drying out.
  • Butter the bottom and sides of a 13x9 non-stick baking pan.
  • Start with your honey sauce (which needs time to cool as baklava bakes).
  • In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup sugar, ½ cup honey, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, and ¾ cup water. Bring to a boil over med/high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then reduce heat to med/low and boil additional 4 min without stirring. Remove from heat and let syrup cool while preparing baklava.