Today I'm going a little “off-script” to share a recipe that I have been excited to post. Here's your curve ball for the week, Lisa!
Summer is nipping at our heels…the days are getting longer and hotter. For me, it's the time of year when I don't want to heat up the house by turning on the oven. So I work even harder to make quick, easy, no fuss meals.
I grew up on boxed mac and cheese, boxed rice, store-bought sauces and salad dressings, and…you get the idea. Easy to throw together, partially already prepared foods. My personal mission for the last several years has been to make more of my own foods, sauces, breads, salad dressings, etc.
Learning to make food from scratch
My biggest reason for shifting from highly processed foods to making homemade items is that I wanted to get rid of the junk ingredients that are harmful to us. By making more things from scratch, I have complete control over what I put into the food that my family eats. We don't toss partially hydrogenated oils or high fructose corn syrup into our food, for example! And yet so many people (including us for a long time) eat many processed foods that contain those ingredients. 🙂
Creating dishes from scratch didn't come naturally at first. I had much to learn in terms of making healthy food delicious! One of the challenges I have faced on this cooking journey is a feeling of overwhelm when I'm trying to make something new that I've never made before. Through experience over time, I have come to enjoy the process of creating a new dish because it allows me to learn and experiment. Now, rather than being intimidated, I see creating homemade dishes as a fun challenge to overcome.
I happen to love gyros! I also love tzatziki sauce and pita bread. Throw in some veggies to round it out (and maybe some hummus), and I'm one happy lady.
A couple of years ago I decided that I wanted to undertake learning to make my own gyros. However, for a long time, tzatziki sauce was a sticking point for me because it seemed so iconic and daunting. I felt like it was one of those dishes that was perhaps best left to the “professionals” to make. But then I remembered other dishes that were daunting to me at first and now seem easy and second nature to make (homemade chicken noodle soup is one example).
So I began the way I begin developing most of my recipes…by researching which ingredients commonly go into the dish. Then I experimented. A lot. My family got tired of eating gyros for dinner (I couldn't stop…I was on a mission, after all!).
After many attempts and slightly varied versions of the recipe, I can now say that I have finally tackled it and am thrilled with the results! I've made tzatziki many times over the last few months and have compared it with restaurant versions that I enjoy. My version is just as tasty, and I know exactly what is in it. The time has come to share my final product with you!
My recommendation is to make the tzatziki sauce either in the morning (if you have time) or the day before so that the flavors have time to marry before you serve it. It will taste yummy if you make it and serve it immediately; however, it will taste incredible if you give it some time to marry. The other benefit to making the sauce ahead of time is that it makes your meal prep faster!
Cook up some Greek chicken to enjoy an amazing and flavorful meal that doesn't heat up the house. Pile up your choice of cucumber, tomatoes, onion, spinach and/or kale leaves, and feta cheese on top of your favorite pita or flatbread. Don't forget to top with that tzatziki sauce!
Did I mention that this dish is perfect for summer?
Tell us in the comments – what is a dish that feels daunting to you to make from scratch?
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