Quick and Easy Chicken Gyros

No long-winded story to weave here. This is just a total win for a busy weeknight. Seriously. It’s healthy and fresh and takes less than 30 minutes start to finish. INCLUDING a super easy homemade tzatziki sauce that you might want to put on everything! Shall we? Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
quick homemade tzatziki sauce
* 1/2 a large cucumber, seeded, peeled, diced
* 4t minced garlic
* 2T dried dill
* juice of 1/2 a large lemon
* 1/2-1t salt
* 1/4t freshly ground black pepper
* 1 1/2C plain Greek yogurt

* 1lb thin cut chicken breasts
* Greek seasoning (Italian seasoning would work too)
* olive oil
* 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
* 1/4-1/2 a red onion, thinly sliced
* pitas
* crumbled feta cheese

WHAT TO DO
Make your tzatziki! Put all the tzatziki ingredients in a blender. Purée until blended. Taste and adjust salt/pepper/lemon to taste as needed.

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Pay each chicken breast dry, and then sprinkle generously with Greek seasoning. Cook a few minutes per side. Thin cut breasts cook really quickly. You don’t want them to overcook and dry out, so really just 2 minutes or so per side should do it. Cut each breast into thin strips.

Assemble your gyros. Either fill your pitas or top them with a few pieces of chicken, some fresh red pepper strips, some onions, and crumbled feta. Spoon some of the tzatziki sauce on top and enjoy!

Toaster Oven Parmesan Toasts

These are so simple it’s almost a joke. The benefit-to-effort ratio is heavily off balance here. They are so good. And with 4 ingredients and 5 minutes to the whole shebang, how can you go wrong?? I served these alongside this also-absurdly-easy — and luscious — garlic and mushroom soup and they were PERFECT. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* 1 loaf French or Italian bread, sliced thin on a diagonal
* olive oil
* freshly grated Parmesan cheese
* pinch of salt
* optional: dried or fresh parsley

WHAT TO DO
Place your sliced bread on the tray of your toaster oven in a single layer. Brush each slice with olive oil, and then grate the Parmesan over the oiled bread. Sprinkle with just a pinch of salt and set for two cycles on the toaster function at a medium toasting level. You want golden and crispy, not browned and hard! That’s it! Sprinkle with some parsley if you like (or don’t!). Voila!

Meatless Monday: Broccoli Lasagna

We’ve hit the part of winter when I just want deep, heavy, rich comfort food all the time. Chicago has this terrible sweet spot at this point in the season when it’s just grey all the time. Like, grey-grey. And indulgent comfort food seems like the only proper response. Except that, sigh, it’s not (isn’t it?).

This lasagna kind of turned out to be the best of both worlds. It’s lasagna, and if that’s not comforting, I don’t know what is. But it’s fresh and much lighter than a traditional lasagna, so you can feel better about the third and fourth helpings you’re definitely going to want. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* 15oz package part-skim ricotta cheese
* 1 egg
* 1t salt
* 1/2t ground black pepper
* 1T oregano
* 1 small head broccoli, broken down into tiny florets
* precooked lasagna noodles
* 1 jar your favorite marinara sauce
* 1 8oz package shredded cheese (mozzarella or an Italian blend)
* garlic powder

WHAT TO DO
Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a bowl, mix together the ricotta, egg, salt, pepper, oregano, and broccoli florets.

Spoon a bit of the marinara sauce into the bottom of an 8X11 to just cover the bottom.

Place a layer of noodles over the sauce. Spoon half of the ricotta mixture into a layer over the noodles. Pour half the marinara sauce over the mixture. Sprinkle garlic powder generously over the sauce, and then add half of the cheese on top. Repeat.

Bake in the preheated oven, uncovered, until the cheese melts and begins to brown, 30-49 minutes or so. Allow to sit/cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Meatless Monday: Cauliflower Farro Bake

I’ve been collecting farro recipe ideas since I discovered this wonderful ancient grain. It’s got loads of heath benefits, it’s hearty and filling, and it’s got a lovely nuttiness that makes it great on its own or with other ingredients. I found this lovely idea over on the wonderful Smells Like Home blog, and her recipe was adapted from another fan favorite blogger, Smitten Kitchen‘s pasta version. I’ve been cooking a lot of mushrooms lately, so I adapted it myself, using the basic recipe as a jumping off point. And if ONE PAN MAGIC + Kid-FRIENDLY + NO LEFTOVERS isn’t a selling point, I don’t know what to tell ya! Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* ½ cup dry farro
* olive oil
* 1 small cauliflower, broken down into small florets
* 1 small sweet onion, chopped
* 2t minced garlic
* salt
* freshly ground black pepper
* 1/4C cooking sherry
* 2T unsalted butter
* 3T flour
* 1 1/2C vegetable broth (chicken broth us fine, too)
* a few sprigs fresh rosemary
* 1/2C grated Parmesan cheese
* 4 oz mozzarella, cubed small
* handful thinly sliced fresh basil
* crushed red pepper flakes, optional

WHAT TO DO
Preheat oven to 400 F.

Heat a few glugs of oil in a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cauliflower and cook until the florets begin to soften amd brown. Add the onions an garlic, and season to taste with salt and pepper, then cook until the onions soften and become somewhat translucent.

Add in the sherry to the pan and stir to scrape any bits up from the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 1 minute. Add the butter, and when it’s melted, sprinkle the flour over the pan and stir it in so everything gets a little coat. Add the broth slowly, stirring as you go, then add in the rosemary.

Simmer 2-4 minutes, stirring frequently, until the sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat and stir in the farro and cheeses.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the edges are bubbly. Remove the rosemary sprigs and sprinkle with the fresh-cut basil. serve immediately with a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes.