Tag Archives: greek yogurt

Lamb Meatballs with Herbvocado Sauce

2 Aug

I LOVE lamb and am lucky enough to have a pretty good supply of it in my freezer.  Right now, I have quite a few packages of ground lamb and they are practically burning a hole in my apron pocket.  Last week, I gave lamb burgers a try.  While I found the flavor delicious, they did not hold a nice flat patty shape, and instead puffed up like giant meatballs.  They were tasty, but a little hard to eat.  So this week when I decided to give it another go, I thought dude, why fight it.

Let them be meatballs.

This recipe is super easy, takes just a few minutes of prep, and only a few more to cook.  I served the meatballs with a some sides – pita bread, tomatoes, cucumbers, and kalamata olives – and a healthy serving of Herbvocado Sauce.  The meatballs make a tasty dinner but would also be great to serve as appetizers.  Everybody loves meatballs!  Well, not my kids, but that might have more to do with the MEATBALL OVERDOSE OF 2007 more than anything else.

Lamb Meatballs with Herbvocado Sauce
Serving size: 5 or 6 meatballs + 1/4 c. sauce
Serves: 6

MEATBALLS
1 lb. ground lamb
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 T. fresh herbs, finely chopped (mixture of mint, oregano, parsley)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

SAUCE
6 oz. nonfat Greek yogurt
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into chunks
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 T. light mayo
1 T. lemon juice
2 T. fresh herbs, finely chopped (mixture of mint, oregano, parsley)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a bowl combine together ground lamb, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper, until the herbs and garlic are evenly distributed.  Form meatballs about the size of a small superball (little bigger than a quarter in diameter).  This should make about 30-32 meatballs at this size.

Over medium heat, place meatballs in a large skillet and partially cover.  Cook for about 5 minutes and turn.  Reduce the heat to medium low and cook for an additional 5 minutes, then turn.  Cook for another 1-3 minutes until the meatballs are cooked all the way through.  Take care not to overcook or they will get a bit dry.

Remove the meatballs from the skillet and set on a paper towel covered plate to soak up some of the grease.

While the meatballs are cooking, make the sauce.  In a food processor add avocado, garlic, mayo, and lemon juice.  Pulse until starting to blend together.  Add Greek yogurt and pulse until smooth.  Remove from food processor and add herbs, stirring until well mixed.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve meatballs with a side of sauce.

Estimated calories:  204 cal/serving

Print it: Lamb Meatballs with Herbvocado Sauce

Herbvocado Sauce

1 Aug

In the past few years, Greek yogurt has gone from relatively unknown to everybody’s food BFF.  It’s in EVERYTHING.  And while I like the way it tastes with a little fruit and honey, I find it to be way too sour for my taste to eat it plain.  Even when used in place of sour cream in recipes, it still seems a too sour.  BUT, it is so packed with protein and low in calories that I keep trying to find ways to work it into my diet.  And you know what makes everything better?  No, this time the answer is not bacon, but bacon’s championship counterpart THE AVOCADO.

Creamy and fat tasting, an avocado proved to be just what the Greek yogurt needed to help counter the sourness.  With a garden-load of fresh herbs staring me in the face, I decided to throw some in to add flavor and texture to the sauce.  The result is a thick, flavorful, healthy, protein-packed dip.  Describing it to my son, he said that Greek Yogurt Sauce with Avocado and Fresh Herbs would take so long to say that no one would want to eat it.  He said that if it were him, he’d give it a better name.

Herbs + Avocado = Herbvocado. Kid named, mom approved.

So far, I’ve used this sauce as a dip for vegetables, meatballs, and to top a burger.  It would be great used in place of ranch or blue cheese and served with hot wings.  Add a little water to the dip to thin it out and it would make an excellent salad dressing or a sauce drizzled over grilled vegetables.  It is versatile, light, and delicious.

Herbvocado Sauce
Serving size: 1/4 c.
Serves: 6

6 oz. nonfat Greek yogurt
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into chunks
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 T. light mayo
1 T. lemon juice
2 T. fresh herbs, finely chopped (mixture of mint, oregano, parsley)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a food processor add avocado, garlic, mayo, and lemon juice. Pulse until starting to blend together. Add Greek yogurt and pulse until smooth. Remove from food processor and add herbs, stirring until well mixed. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Estimated calories: 62 cal/serving

Print it:  Herbvocado Sauce

Notes:
– The amount that this recipe makes will vary slightly based on the size of the avocado.
– Each 1/4 c. serving of this dip contains around 3.5 g of protein.  That’s as much as half an egg a 1/4 c. of cooked beans!  For dip!

Creamy Cucumbers with Tomato & Mint

5 Sep

If you have a garden, or if your neighbor has a garden, there’s a good chance that you are staring down a pile of cucumbers.  This time of year, the novelty of fresh cucumbers has worn off just enough that simply salting them and placing them on a plate for a snack or side is no longer enough.  The days of enjoying the crisp light flavor is over, now you need to make your way through them and get everyone else in the neighborhood to do the same.  I picked a few from my mom’s garden this weekend, each one so long that when lined up on the countertop it looked like I was manufacturing temporary peg legs for vegan pirates.  Long cucumber story short: we have a lot of cucumbers.

Many cultures have dishes that combine cream and cucumbers.  One of my favorites comes from my friend Sevda’s mom, who makes a dish with wilted cucumbers, cream and sugar.  It is deliciously light in flavor, but not all that low in calories.  I decided to start out with the same basic approach used in that dish by wilting the cucumbers in salt slightly before assembling the final dish.  To make the dish a bit healthier, I used fat-free Greek yogurt in place of the cream – this added a bit more body, a slightly sour flavor, and some protein to the dish.  And as long as I was making changes, I decided to add some flavors from traditional Turkish cucumber dishes, and threw in some mint and garlic.  The resulting recipe no longer resembled either sources of inspiration, but was a tasty compilation.

Creamy Cucumbers with Tomato & Mint
Serves: 4

2 c. cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced
Kosher salt
1 c. fat-free Greek yogurt
1/2 c. tomatoes, diced
1/4 c. onions, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 T. fresh mint, sliced
2 t. honey
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the cucumbers in a bowl and sprinkle with salt, stir to combine.  Place in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes so that the cucumbers will wilt slightly.  Rinse thoroughly, and then drain excess liquid.  Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Estimated Calories:  60 cal/serving

Print it: Creamy Cucumbers

Notes:
– To make this a complete meal, consider adding cooked shrimp or cannellini beans
– To add more nutrients, serve on top of mixed greens
– To soak up the delicious sauce, toast a baguette and rub a clove of garlic over the cut surface, then serve on the side

Pesto Mashed

17 Aug

Confession: I love mashed potatoes.  So much.

But really, they just are not that good for you.  It is a big pile of carbs and dairy, and sometimes just serves as a container to hold a sea of gravy.  If I never post again, you’ll know it is because I was struck by lightning for saying such harsh words about one of the world’s finest foods.

Let me make up for it.  This recipe is delicious, flavorful, has that mashed potato flair, and is HALF the calories of the standard variety.  If you’re like me, that means you can have TWICE AS MUCH if you want, or save those extra calories to splurge on something else.  Pesto Mashed combines potatoes and cauliflower with the creamy goodness of Greek yogurt, flavored by the herby-garlic Deep Green Pesto.  This dish is fast and easy to make, can be made ahead and reheated, and is even better on the second day. 

[Dude! isn’t that the same, horrible photo from yesterday?  Yes, yes it is.]

Pesto Mashed
Serves: 6
Serving size: 1/2 c.

 
1 lb. red potatoes, peeled and diced
1 lb. frozen cauliflower
1/3 c. greek yogurt
2 T. deep green pesto
2 T. water
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large pot, place potatoes and cover with water, with about an extra 2” of water.  Bring to a boil, then add cauliflower.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. 

While they are cooking, combine the yogurt, pesto, and water in a large measuring cup.  Stir to combine.

Remove the potatoes and cauliflower from the heat, drain, and then return them to the pot.  Mash with a potato masher until creamy.  Add the yogurt mixture and stir to combine.  Season with salt and pepper.

Estimated Calories:  84 cal/serving

Print it: Pesto Mashed

Fire & Ice Shrimp Salad

18 Jul

 This week, it has been piping hot in much of the country.  In our area, the heat and humidity have combined to make the outside feel like a sauna.  The kind of sauna that I would love at a spa, but hate to encounter every time I step out the door.  This kind of heat makes doing anything feel awfully taxing, especially cooking.  Yesterday, the idea of turning on the stove, oven, or even the microwave seemed almost more than I could bear (side note: I would have made the worst pioneer ever). 

I pulled a bag of shrimp from the freezer and thawed 6 oz (for the size I was using, there were 18 shrimp).  After thawing, I removed the tails and chopped them up, then added some chopped veggies.  This completed the work portion of the recipe, which was good because I was hot already.  I made a light dressing using reduced-fat mayo and greek yogurt, then tossed in a bit of heat with garlic and tabasco.  There are more ingredients and actual measurements below, but my point is this: the entire recipe is complete after a bit of chopping and stirring. 

This recipe is easy, delicious and flavorful.  Having said that, I feel like I should also point out that if you have children like mine, they will not eat this.  But that is okay, because you will want to keep it all for yourself.

Fire & Ice Shrimp Salad
Serves: 3
Serving Size:  ½ c.

6 oz. cooked shrimp, peeled and chopped
1 roma  tomato, seeded and chopped
½ cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 green onion, chopped
2 T. reduced fat mayo
2 T. greek yogurt
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 t. lemon juice
1 t. water
½ t. Worcestershire
6 shakes tabasco

In a large bowl, add shrimp, tomato, cucumber, and green onion; stir to combine.

In a food processor, add mayo through Tabasco and pulse until well blended.  Spoon onto shrimp mixture and stir well until everything is mixed and evenly coated. 

Refrigerate for at least one hour, stir, then serve.

Notes:

  • This salad can be eaten with a fork or placed on top of lettuce leaves for a pretty side dish or starter.
  • I served it as a light lunch and used bell pepper, cucumber, and crackers to scoop up the shrimp salad.  The calories will vary based on what you serve as the sides for this dish.  Veggies are the lowest (1/3 bell pepper = 12 calories, 1/3 cucumber = 15 calories, flatbread crackers = 10 calories each)
  • This salad has a slight kick to it.   Adjust the heat by increasing or decreasing the amount of Tabasco.
  • This can be made up to 2 days ahead, but is best on day one.
  • This can easily be made non-dairy by substituting non-dairy sour cream for the greek yogurt. 

 Estimated Calories:  81 cal/serving (salad alone),  178 cal/serving (as shown in photo with sides for scooping)

Print it: Fire & Ice Shrimp Salad