Get Off The Couch and Cook

Get Off The Couch and Cook -

Gyro Pizza (with homemade tzatziki and Greek seasoning)

gyropizzatitleIf you are not familiar with the Greek sandwich called a gyro (pronounced YEER-oh), it is meat, usually lamb and/or beef, that is cooked on a vertical spit then the meat is shaved off and served on warm pita bread with onion, tomatoes, and a yummy yogurt sauce called tzatziki.  There are, of course, many versions of gyros but the one I described above seems to be pretty common here in the U.S.

The first one I remember ever having was from a food truck at the Park Point rummage sales as a kid.  Hmm… just like the egg salad from last week, Park Point holds another food memory for me…. I remember that first intoxicating bite like it was yesterday.  I’d never in my life had anything that tasted like that.  The sweet, garlicky, creamy sauce mixed with the warm pita bread and cold tomatoes and freshly carved meat with a unique yet familiar flavor (which I learned later in life was cinnamon being used in a savory form) made my mouth feel like it was dancing.

gyropizza1Since then, I’ve had gyros pretty much anywhere I’ve been able to get them.  Even the ones that were mediocre still made me happy.  I even tried some horrid boxed version when I was in my 20’s that you could make at home.  They were okay at best but still satisfied that occasional craving I get for gyros.

Now that I am older and wiser about food, I realized that I could make these at home fairly easily.  Minus cooking the meat on a vertical spit.  But… even better… I realized I could combine yet one more thing with my love for pizza.  A gyro pizza is certainly something I’ve never heard of before.  Gyro nachos, yes. In fact, Cassie’s post about her gyro nachos is what got me started on thinking about this gyro pizza.  I also made her Ten Minute Tzatziki as is.  All I did was double it to get enough for 2 pizzas.

gyropizza3I normally prefer a thin crust on my pizza so when I make my pizza crust, I typically split a single batch in half for 2 pizzas.  This pizza did better with a thicker, more substantial crust since it’s supposed to mimic the pita bread of a gyro.

I actually made 2 pizzas even though I’m going to give you the directions below for just 1.  This has worked out really well for lunches this week at work.  Because the crust is fully baked before being topped with the tzatziki sauce and because it is nice and thick, it held up really well in the refrigerator.  And yes, I ate it cold. 🙂

gyropizza5

Gyro Pizza
By: 
Cuisine: Greek
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 12 pieces
 
Ingredients
  • 1 recipe of Ten Minute Tzatziki (see recipe below)
  • 1 batch Quick Pizza Crust
  • 1 Tbsp Greek seasoning (see recipe below)
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • ¼ c water
  • 2 oz crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 c shredded lettuce
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • Optional: chopped onion, sliced olives
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. Make the tzatziki sauce and refrigerate until ready for use.
  3. Mix the yeast, sugar, and water for the dough.
  4. While the yeast is blooming, make the Greek seasoning and set aside. Spray a large 15"x10" baking sheet with nonstick spray and sprinkle with cornmeal. Set aside.
  5. Add the flour, salt and olive to the yeast mixture to form your dough and let rest for about 10 minutes.
  6. Just before you start to form your crust, heat a large nonstick pan over med-high heat.
  7. Press the dough evenly in the prepared baking sheet and poke holes all over it with a fork to prevent air pockets while the crust cooks. Place it in the oven and bake 15-22 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. After placing the crust in the oven, add your ground beef to the skillet and cook, stirring, until no pink remains and the meat is crumbled. Drain off any grease. Add 1 Tbsp of the Greek seasoning and water. Mix well and let simmer until the liquid has evaporated. If it has finished cooking before the crust is done, just remove it from the heat and set aside.
  9. Remove the crust from the oven and let it cool slightly. I use this time to shred my lettuce and chop the tomato.
  10. To build the pizza, spread the tzatziki sauce evenly over the warm crust. Top with the cooked meat, crumbled feta, lettuce and tomato.
  11. Cut into pieces and serve.

 
Ten Minute Tzatziki
By: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 1.5 cups
 
Ingredients
  • ½ large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced small
  • 1 c plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp minced jarred garlic
  • 1 Tbsp dried dill
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, mix all of the ingredients well.
  2. Cover and refrigerate at least 10 minutes before serving.

 
Greek Seasoning
By: 
Cuisine: Greek
Makes: 2 Tbsp
 
Ingredients
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp dried basil
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp dried dill
  • ¼ tsp dried marjoram
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp dried parsley
  • ¼ tsp dried rosemary, crushed
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp dried thyme
  • ⅛ tsp nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Mix well in a small bowl.
Notes
Adapted from food.com

 

 

BYO Burrito Bowl: Fajita-spiced Chicken

fajitaspicedchickentitleNow, there is a little bit of a disagreement between my husband and I regarding what goes inside an actual burrito.  For him, it’s just beans, beef, and cheese.  For me, it’s chicken, cheese and veggies.  Since he’s wrong we’re both right, I definitely had to make both for our Build-Your-Own Burrito Bowl night.  As an added bonus, using both meats was also a nice option.

This is fairly similar to the taco seasoning from yesterday but just different enough to notice.  It’s a little less spicy and just a little bit sweet which complements the chicken.  It may compliment the chicken, too, but I don’t speak spice so I can’t really say for sure.

I know I adapted the fajita seasoning mix from another recipe but I couldn’t find my hard copy and I didn’t write down the source on my official adapted copy.  I want to say I adapted this from Alton Brown but I cannot find his version if I did.  If I ever figure out where the original came from, I will certainly give credit where credit is due!

fajitaspicedchicken1It’s really important when cooking the chicken for this that you do not cook it all the way through before adding the spice mix and water otherwise your chicken will be DRY.  The very first time I made chicken fajitas, I made that mistake.  I’ve seen a lot of recipes that marinade the meat first but I like this version because 1) I don’t have to plan ahead by 24 hours and 2) I can change my mind if I want to.  That happens a bit.  I will have something planned for dinner but when it comes dinner time, I’m not exactly in the mood for that so I end up doing something else with the same ingredients.

Last night, I was supposed to try a new recipe that called for beef, mushrooms, and tomatoes in a brothy sauce over noodles.  It sounded good when I planned to make it but my soup aversion got the best of me when it came time to cook so we ended up having seared steak with mushrooms, roasted tomatoes and pan-fried potatoes.  Almost the same ingredients but completely different meal.  I may not have been able to do that had the steak been marinated for something specific.  Know what I mean, Geraldine?

Fajita Seasoning
By: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 2 Tbsp
 
Ingredients
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp ground cayenne
  • ¼ tsp cumin
Instructions
  1. Mix all together well. If not using right away, store in airtight container.

Fajita-spiced Chicken
By: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 1.5 pounds
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1.5 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into 1" pieces
  • 1 recipe of fajita seasoning, above
  • ½ c water
Instructions
  1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
  2. When it starts to shimmer, add the chicken and cook for 2-3 minutes without stirring. Flip the pieces over and cook another 2-3 minutes.
  3. Mix in the seasoning and water and stir to coat well.
  4. Cook 5-7 minutes, stirring often, until the chicken is cooked through and the liquid has mostly evaporated.

Do you ever have nights where you are not in the mood for what you had planned for dinner?  What do you usually do when that happens?

BYO Burrito Bowl: Beef with Taco Seasoning

tacobeeftitleEver since I discovered how easy it is to make my own taco seasoning (thanks to Alton Brown), I have never purchased the packaged stuff.  I’ve used it to make taco meat like above as well as using it with chicken for tacos, burritos, Mexican pizza, Mexican pasta, and even my beloved Omnomnom.  There is no MSG and no added anti-clumping agents… AND I can make this as low-salt as I wish.  It’s got a nice spice to it but it is not overpowering (though that can be adjusted in either direction depending on taste).

tacobeef1This worked really well for the burrito bowls we made and complimented tomorrow’s fajita-spiced chicken quite nicely for those of us who two-meated it.  I also made myself a taco salad with it the following day at work; it reheats in the microwave beautifully!  Yeah, I actually reheated something at work.  I do that sometimes. 😉

My version is just slightly adjusted from Mr. Brown’s.

Taco Seasoning
By: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Makes: ¼ cup
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1½ tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • ¼ tsp ground cayenne
Instructions
  1. Mix all together well. If not using right away, store in airtight container.
Notes
adapted from Alton Brown

Taco Beef
By: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 1 - 2 pounds
 
Ingredients
  • 1 - 2 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 recipe taco seasoning, above
  • ½ c water
Instructions
  1. In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, cook the beef, stirring to crumble, just until there is no pink left, about 5 minutes. Drain off the grease and return to the heat.
  2. Mix in the ¼ cup of taco seasoning and the water. Stir to mix well and coat the beef.
  3. Cook, stirring often, until the liquid has evaporated, about 5-7 minutes.
Notes
I use the same amount of seasoning whether I make 1 or 2 pounds of taco meat. The flavors are such that they can carry through twice as much ground beef without diluting.

Tomorrow…. fajita-spiced chicken!

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