Greek Chicken Gyros, OPA!

Oh boy do I love me a gyro! More broadly I LOVE Greek food; tzatziki, hummus, feta, pita – all delicious, and this slow cooker version of the classic Greek gyro is no exception, it will surely bring a fervent ‘OPA’ to your lips.

I know some folks are wary of a slow cooker; it’s true at some point we’ve all ended up with some beige, bland, and watery mystery meat but I assure you this recipe will yield fabulous results! Still skeptical? Check out these tips for the best slow cooker results.

The main part of this recipe is the Slow Cooker Shredded Greek Chicken but with some extra toppings and additions you can transform this delicious meat into one mean Greek Chicken Gyro! Here’s how it all goes down:

For the Slow Cooker Shredded Greek Chicken you’ll need:

  • 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (could use thighs)
  • The juice of 1 lemon (FRESH SQUEEZED ONLY!)
  • ¼ c water
  • A drizzle of olive oil
  • A heavy drizzle of red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed (or more if you’re not in a smooching mood)
  • ½  an onion, diced
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • A pinch of allspice
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Salt ‘n’ pepper
  • You can also sprinkle some fresh oregano into the finished product if you have it on hand, however it’s not necessary

Shredded Greek Chicken

Toppings & Extras:

  • Pita/Naan
  • Tzatziki
  • Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • Tomato, chopped
  • Cucumber, chopped
  • Red onion, finely sliced
  • Feta, crumbled

Toppings for Gyros

Mix all of the ingredients for the shredded chicken in a bowl (minus the chicken itself). Place the chicken in your slow cooker and pour the mixture over chicken. Cook on low for 8-9 hours. SO EASY!

You can also do this the night before and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to go, in the morning just pop the uncooked chicken and marinate in your slow cooker and cook all day. I actually prefer to do it this way as it serves as some extra marinating time for the chicken and keeps it extra juicy.

Once your chicken is cooked through shred it up with a couple of forks and pour out any excess liquid. Now all you have to do is assemble, layer a pita with tzatziki (or hummus for dairy free), chicken, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onion, and sprinkle with feta.  Eat up!

Greek Chicken Gyros

Oh and consider making your own tzatziki! All you need to do is chopped some fresh mint and dill, shred a ¼ of a cucumber (just on a box grater – depending on the type of cucumber you have you may want to seed it first by running the tip of a spoon along the seeds to remove), crush some garlic and add all that to some plain Greek yogurt. I also like to add in some lemon juice and salt ‘n’ pepper.

Cheers!

Recipe adapted from Six Sisters Stuff.

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Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burritos with Spicy Avocado Sauce

You are going to need some serious fuel to keep your energy up checking out all the incredible events going on this weekend so I give you Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burritos with Spicy Avocado Sauce! These are one of my favorite things to put in my food hole; they are vegetarian (and could also be made gluten free by using a suitable tortilla), healthy, filling, and most importantly insanely delicious. They have a few more steps than I generally like to work with but trust me they are so worth it!

Burrito Half

For the burritos you will need:

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, chopped in 1/2 -1 inch pieces
  • 14oz can of black beans (or brown beans)
  • 1c frozen corn
  • 1c of shredded cheese (Monterey jack or sharp cheddar are perfect)
  • 1 package of tortillas (6 tortillas)
  • 3 tbsp. chopped cilantro
  • Olive oil (for an extra kick try the harissa oil from evoolution)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Red pepper flakes

For the Spicy Avocado Sauce:

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2-3 tbsp. Greek yogurt
  • Small handful of cilantro (I use the stalks in this, lots of flavour there!)
  • 2 green onions (roughly chopped)
  • 6-10 dashes of Worcestershire
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Hot sauce (to taste)
  • Water (depending on the consistency you want you can add some water to thin out the sauce)

So making these bad boys will probably take you 45 minutes  – 1 hour, however to save yourself time you could roast the sweet potatoes and make the Spicy Avocado Sauce on a prep day if you have one so they are ready to go when you are! Here’s how the burritos come together:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425. Arrange the chopped sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle with your oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (to taste). Bake these for 20-30 minutes, checking on them once about half way through and giving them a little mix around on the tray
  2. While the sweet potatoes are baking make your Spicy Avocado Sauce. Toss all of the ingredients (except water) into a food processor, magic bullet, or bowl and whiz it up. If you’re using a bowl you’ll want to chop your herbs finely and likely omit the water all together, giving more a guacamole texture – which would be delicious. If you’re using a food processor have a taste and see what the texture is like, I usually add about ¼ cup of water.  Let this hang out in the fridge until ready to serve
  3. Drain and rinse your beans in a colander. Once rinsed I throw the frozen corn in there as well and run some warm water over the works. Transfer this mixture to a mixing bowl and add your chopped cilantro.
  4. Shred the cheese and fix yourself a cocktail!
  5. Once the sweet potatoes are done add them to the bowl with the beans and corn
  6. Lay out the tortillas and start assembling:
  7. Add a ½ cup to ¾ cup of the sweet potato filling, a sprinkle of cheese, and a dollop of the avocado sauce – wrap that bad boy! For tips on how to wrap a burrito click here. If you are a notoriously pathetic burrito wrapper try covering the tortillas in tin foil and heating them up for a few minutes in the oven with the sweet potatoes – this makes them more pliable.
  8. Place the burritos in a baking dish and put them into the still hot oven for 10 minutes, just until you can feel that they are a little crispy on the outside.
  9. Once they are crisp they are good to go. I like to serve mine smothered in more Spicy Avocado Sauce and topped with more shredded cheese, sliced green onion, cilantro, and even a little finely chopped red onion if you have it on hand.

Burrito Smoothered

These are great the next day for lunch or you can freeze the left overs and have them for several months! I really love this meal because you really know what you’re eating and they feed a crowd (for cheap)!  And if you have left over Spicy Avocado Sauce don’t throw it away! It’s a mean substitute for mayo on a BLT and I’ve also used it as a base for a BLT pizza before (instead of pizza sauce), hell I love this sauce so much I’d spread it on my toast!

Cheers!

Family Day Long Weekend Lineup YEG

HAPPY LONG WEEKEND (and Valentine’s Day)!

I cannot wait for this long weekend! I think it is well deserved after weeks of sub-arctic temperatures and aren’t we a bunch of lucky Edmontonians because there is SO much to do in the city this weekend!

Downtown-Skyline-Edmonton-Alberta-Canada-01A

Apart from the always amazing City Market Downtown (in City Hall for the season) and Strathcona Market there are mad festivals and events happening! You could check out:

Winter Fest – A three day Music Festival featuring local and North America’s best Folk & Roots Performers

Silver Skate Festival – The biggest winter celebration in Edmonton! Taking place in Hawrelak Park, you can go skating, check out performances from local artists, and visit the FIRE sculpture!

Winefest Edmonton – Need I say more?!  Tickets are still available for Saturday February 15th afternoon and who doesn’t like a little day drunk every now and again?

Could Nine Refinery at the Art Gallery of Alberta – Float away on Cloud Nine, your AGA’s latest Refinery late-night art party! Inspired by the elevating elements of our popular exhibition Of Heaven and Earth: 500 Years of Italian Painting from Glasgow Museums

Sailin’ On Valentines Pop Up Brunch – I have yet to try Edmonton’s first…and probably only ALL vegan food truck, hopefully this Sunday February 16th will be my chance!

And that’s not even mentioning the CRAY amount of romantic Valentine’s options out there! You could watch the classic Casablanca at Metro Cinema or head down to the Edmonton Valley Zoo and check out their Animal Attraction evening (including drinks and dessert) or even make googly eyes at your lover over a four-course dinner at Fort Edmonton Park. You can read about all these events and more in this Edmonton Journal article. Now, I don’t want to hear anybody whining about having nothing to do this weekend or being bored at home – get going!

Cheers!

Hearty (the air is so cold it hurts my face) Winter Vegetable Soup

You know those days when it takes all your restraint not to pick up the phone and call for delivery or hop in the car and bust over to one of your favorite go-to joints? Last night happened to be one of those days! But there is a solution – you need something fast, easy, and delicious, you need Hearty (the air is so cold it hurts my face) Winter Vegetable Soup.

cold-air-hurts-face-funny-264x264

This soup is so easy it barely warrants a recipe at all and you can substitute ingredients with whatever you have on hand (no pasta in the pantry? Try diced potatoes!) but I’m willing to bet most of you have a lot of these ingredients already kicking around. If you don’t, these items are super cheap at the store! All you need to cook up a delicious bowl of comfort is:

  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme (or rosemary or another hearty herb)
  • 28oz (1 lg. can) of chopped tomatoes
  • 1.5L of water of stock
  • 1c of pasta
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

For some extra yums make some Parmesan Toasties:

  • Bread (ciabatta, French loaf – anything really)
  • Olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese (or any cheese you have on hand)

This soup takes about 30 minutes from start to finish; it’ll be ready before the delivery guy even makes it to your door!

  1. Chop the onion, carrots, and celery but leave it pretty chunky, it doesn’t have to be perfect! This would also a good time to mince the garlic (or use your garlic press) and turn your broiler on high.
  2. Heat a large stock pot on medium/high and add a little olive oil to coat the bottom of the pot. Once the oil is warm add in the onion, carrots, and celery and let them ‘sweat’ for a few minutes (sweat: let the vegetables soften, the onions will start to become translucent) then add the garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper (to taste) (I also like to add some red pepper flakes for a little spice) and let all that cook for a couple of minutes as well.
  3. Add the tomatoes and water or stock then simmer the works for 10-15 minutes (this would be an ideal time to fix yourself a cocktail…just saying)
  4. Add the pasta (use whatever you have but bite size pieces are nice so if you only have penne or spaghetti break it up into smaller bits) and let that cook for another 8-10 minutes.
  5. While the pasta cooks slice the bread and arrange on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with parmesan  then broil for  1-2 minutes – keep an eye on it, they go quick!
  6. Serve up the soup into bowls a top with the parmesan toasts and a little sprinkle of parsley to make it fancy. Enjoy!

photo

This Hearty Winter Vegetable Soup can easily serve 6 but also freezes well for meals down the road – awesome for all my single ladies (and fellas) as well as large families! Cheers!

A Good Old-Fashioned…Old Fashioned

You know what really hits the spot on a chilly Friday evening? A good old-fashioned Old Fashioned. Now full disclosure, I’m not a big whiskey/rye/bourbon drinker myself BUT my other half loves the stuff. Regardless, it’s always handy to have a classic cocktail recipe up your sleeve when company stops by, you’ll look super classy!

I’m loving the trend towards the old world inspired cocktails that’s occurring in Edmonton right now and I have a suspicion that much of this can be attributed to one man, Brendan Brewster, currently of North 53 fame but from what I understand he also helped craft the incredible Woodwork cocktail list. If you don’t feel like concocting your own Old Fashioned, belly up to the North 53 bar and kindly ask Brendan to mix you up a Smoke + Oak Old Fashioned made with oaken gin (I don’t even know what that means but it’s a beautiful drink).

don-draper

However, if you’re feeling like you’re ready to take the next step towards Don Draper like coolness here is my tried and true Old Fashioned recipe. You’ll need:

  • A rocks glass (a short wide glass)
  • A muddler (or the end of a wooden spoon)
  • Orange Infused Simple Syrup (recipe to below but you could use store bought plain Simple Syrup as well)
  • Maraschino cherries
  • A slice of orange
  • Augusta bitters (available at some Safeway’s, I purchased at the Oliver Square location OR you can be fancy (like me) and go to the Italian Centre and check out the selection of Fee Brothers bitters)
  • Your favorite whiskey/rye/bourbon – My guy prefers Marker’s Mark but she’s a pricey one so we’ve started experimenting with the Wild Turkey (pictured below). Another old standby that I’ve used many times is Canadian Club (which is also Don Drapers go to drink on Mad Men so it’s a safe bet)
  • Still or sparkling water
  • Ice

Ok now I know that sounds like a lot of ingredients for a cocktail but trust me it’ll be worth it! First you need to make a batch of the Orange Infused Simple Syrup (you can purchase plain simple syrup, I’ve seen it for sale at the Italian Centre and sometimes it’s called Cane Sugar Syrup) which will last you months and months and months I promise AND it’s easy peasy!

  1. Measure out equal parts of sugar and water (I usually do 1 cup of each) into a sauce pot
  2. Get an orange and use a vegetable peeler to get larger slices of orange zest but avoid getting a lot of the white pith (it’s bitter), throw the zest in with the sugar mixture and bring the whole thing to a boil
  3. Stir the mixture to dissolve all the sugar. When you notice there is no sugar left in the pot you’re done! Let it cool and then store it (I bought a little olive oil dispenser from the dollar store)

Now the fun part begins! Put on a Frank Sinatra record, change into your dinner jacket, and light up your faux cigarette (no real ciggies please)!

  1. Get a slice of orange and a maraschino cherry or two into your rocks glass. Add in a drizzle of Orange Infused Simple Syrup (honestly, you could even just use a sugar cube for sweetness, I’m not going to tell you what to do) and 7-9 dashes of bitters
  2. Muddle all that up! Which just means bash and crunch everything together to get some of the juices out of the fruit and combined all the flavours
  3. Add in 2oz (ish) of your poison of choice as well as a couple of cubes of ice
  4. Top it with still or sparkling water
  5. Enjoy getting your Friday night buzz on in the classiest possible way!

OldFashioned

Cheers!

Chicken ‘n’ Waffles: Food of the Gods

OK, first blog post…no pressure!

For quite a while now I’ve been grappling with the idea of starting a blog. On one hand I LOVE the idea of sharing recipes and DIYs with friends and the internet at large but on the other hand I wonder if I’ll run out of things to post about in less than a week! It feels like I’m opening the curtains of my life and giving the world a look inside. All that said I have around zero followers right now so let’s give it a whirl!

The premise for this blog will be FOOD! Cooking food, eating food, talking about food, and rarely do I do any of those things without a cocktail in hand – thus Will Cook for Cocktails it is. I’ll also sprinkle in a pinch of DIY (as a fairly new homeowner I have many projects to tackle) and lifestyle posts (I’m a passionate Edmontonian and downtown dweller who loves to talk about this city and all the goings on in it).

But to kick things off it just has to be a food post and one of my all-time favorite things to eat has to be Chicken ‘n’ Waffles! If you’re not feeling up to cooking up your own version of CnW I highly recommend you pay The Common a visit and order up a plate of theirs. These Chicken ‘n’ Waffles have turned friends into foes and lovely polite ladies into gluttonous unrefined sea hags.

Now, many have questioned me about this particular dish, “Really? Chicken and waffles? I don’t get it” and to them I say shut up and eat it! And never once have I heard anything less than orgasmic mummers come out of those mouths.

The CnW recipe I want to share is from a recent Instragram post (@lindsceebee), I dubbed them Mini Chicken ‘n’ Waffles (obvs).

CnW

These suckers are quick and easy! They can be served hot or at room temperature and you can improvise with what you have on hand. Here’s what I used:

  • 1 Package of Kellogs® Eggo® Minis
  • 2-3 Chicken Breasts, cut into 1-1½ inch pieces
  • A bowl of All Purpose Flour (a small bowl, let’s call it 1-1½ cup)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1-1½ cups Kellogs® Corn Flake Crumbs
  • Honey
  • Hot Sauce
  • Green Onion, chopped
  • Any seasonings you like for the Corn Flake Crumbs (salt and pepper, dry mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne, whatever floats you boat)

OK now preheat your oven to 400 degrees and set up your breading station:

  1. Get your flour in a small bowl, next to that crack the egg into a bowl and whisk with a fork (I added a little hot sauce to this, because I’m crazy like that), and next to that fill a bowl with your Corn Flake Crumbs (you could totally use regular bread crumbs or panko but the Corn Flakes give the chicken serious crunch). You can season the crumbs however you like; I kept it simple with salt, pepper, and a little cayenne.
  2. Toss the chicken pieces in the flour first and then coat with the egg mixture and lastly roll in the Corn Flake Crumbs. Once coated line the chicken piece on an oiled baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, turning once halfway through.
  3. When the chicken is almost done toast the Mini Eggos.
  4. Assemble! Top each Eggo with a piece of chicken, and drizzle with honey (you could sub in maple syrup if you prefer) and a little more hot sauce. Top with a sprinkle of the chopped green onion and serve.

photo (2)

There you have it, a perfect game day snack!

If you’re wondering what cocktail I would recommend to wash down a delicious mouthful of Mini Chicken ‘n’ Waffles I would go for a Bud Lime Lime-A-Rita®. Cheers!

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