Greek Party
by Melanie Foster
  Create a simple and delicious meal inspired by the flavors of popular Greek dishes. Make homemade gyros with tzatziki, a creamy cucumber accompaniment, lemon chicken skewers with hummus, and a rice and olive salad with white balsamic vinaigrette.
In addition to the recipes, you will also need the following for this meal:
  1 pkg  pita bread pockets
  1 pkg  pita bread folds
  2   tomatoes

by Melanie Foster
serves: 8
  Quick and easy. Store bought can't even compare.
  15 oz   garbanzo beans, canned
  2   garlic cloves
  3 Tbsp   lemon juice
  1/4 cup   sesame tahini (sesame seed paste)
  1/4 tsp   ground cumin
  1 tsp   salt
  1/2 tsp   pepper
  Drain garbanzo beans, reserve liquid. Puree beans and garlic cloves in a food processor or blender until it's a fine mash. Add remaining ingredients plus ¼ cup bean liquid. Blend until smooth. Makes about 2 cups.
Lemon Chicken Skewers
by Melanie Foster
serves: 4
  Use the best ingredients you can find for this deliciously simple recipe. Goes well with Tzatziki Sauce for dipping.
  1 lb   boneless skinless chicken breast
  1 tsp   coarse Kosher salt
  1 Tbsp   lemon juice, fresh
  1 Tbsp   extra virgin olive oil
  Cut the chicken into strips and put in a zip-top bag. Pour the salt, lemon juice and oil into the bag and seal. Squish the ingredients around in the bag until well coated and refrigerate from 1-24 hours.

(You can also freeze the bag at this point and the meat will marinate as it thaws out when you are ready to use.)

Preheat your broiler or grill. Thread the meat onto 6-inch skewers and grill or broil with high heat about 2-3 minutes per side, or until they are a bit browned and the juices run clear.

You can also make this with whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
Meatloaf Gyros
by Melanie Foster
serves: 6
  Cook this tasty meatloaf ahead, then just slice thinly and pan fry for tasty Greek sandwiches.
  1 lb   ground beef
  12 oz   ground lamb
  6 cloves   garlic, minced
  2 tbsp   dried oregano
  1   egg
  2 tsp   salt
  1 tsp   pepper
  Mix meat and firmly pack into a loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 1 to one hour and fifteen minutes, until firm and golden brown. Let cool at least 4 hours, or refrigerate overnight. Slice thinly. Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and sauté the sliced meat in a single layer until brown and slightly crisp on the edges, turning once, about 2 minutes per side.
To serve, heat pita bread in the skillet after the meat is all heated or under the broiler until heated.
Serve with sliced tomato and onion, Tzatziki Sauce, sour cream or any other favorite sauce.

Rice and Olive Salad
by Melanie Foster
serves: 6
  With roasted tomatoes and feta cheese. Great for a picnic, can be served cold or room temp.
  1 cup   long grain or basmati rice, uncooked
  1 pint   grape tomatoes, rinsed
  1/2   red onion, sliced
  1   small bell pepper, any color
  3/4 cup   kalamata or mixed olives (6 oz)
  3/4 cup   feta cheese, crumbled or diced (6 oz)
  6 Tbsp   olive oil
  1 1/2 Tbsp   lemon juice
  1 Tbsp   white balsamic vinegar
  2   garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  1 tsp   dried oregano
  1/2 tsp   salt and pepper to taste
  Cook the rice as the package directs and pour into a large bowl to cool.

Place whole tomatoes on a rimmed cookie sheet, sprayed with cooking spray. Roast in the oven (or in a perforated grill pan on the grill) at 400 for about 10 minutes until they begin to burst.

Slice the onion thinly and submerge in a bowl of icy water for 10 minutes, drain and set aside.

Dice the green pepper. Pit the olives if neccesary and cut in halves or quarters.

In a jar with a screw-top lid add the oil, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Shake vigorously.

Place all the vegetables and cheese into the bowl with the rice and toss gently. Add the dressing and toss again. Serve immedientely or chill.

Variations: Use leftover rice. Use brown rice. Use romaine lettuce instead of rice. Add cucumber in place of or in addition to any of the vegetables. Add canned garbanzo beans. Add leftover chicken or tuna for a main dish salad. Serve in a pita pocket as a sandwich.
Add a spoonful of plain yogurt to the dressing for a creamier version (especially if using lettuce instead of rice).
Tzatziki Sauce
by Melanie Foster
serves: 6
  Cucumber-yogurt sauce perfect to serve with Meatloaf Gyros.
  1 cup   plain yogurt
  1   cucumber, peeled, seeded, grated
  2 tbsp   lemon juice, or less to taste
  2 cloves   garlic, minced
  1/2 tsp   salt
  1/4 tsp   pepper
  Mix everything together and chill. If you want a thicker sauce, grate the cucumber and squeeze as much liquid out of it as you can before adding it to the yogurt. Or use Greek yogurt which is thicker because it’s strained of its excess whey.