Greek Night – Chicken Gyros & Baklava Parfaits

I have decided I don’t share nearly enough recipes as I feel I should.  There are some recipes I feel are too sacred to share, even though i’m sure most of them aren’t that big of a secret.  Tonight I wanted to make a healthy dinner but without feeling like I was missing out.  I decided to go with a Greek theme since there are so many flavorful ingredients from the Mediterranean.  The only catch is that I cannot have lemon juice.  I just wanted to share that beforehand since i’m sure many people will wonder why I left out such a key ingredient.

I pondered for a while what my menu should be.  I had some inspiration from my favorite local restaurant – Christy’s Pancake House.  My absolute favorite dish to get there is their Chicken Gyro.  It gives me the opportunity to have the convenience of eating out but still eating responsibly.  I figured I could save some money by learning how to make a rip off of my favorite dish.  I decided my menu would be Chicken Gyros, Greek potatoes, watermelon, and the real kicker was the dessert – Healthy Baklava.  I was very unsure of how the dessert would come out but I figured i’d wing it, if it turned out bad then nobody had to know about it!  I will apologize before hand – I never measure.  I can give you my ingredients but I always go by taste.

For the chicken gyros:

  • Ground Chicken
  • Chopped Garlic
  • Marjoram
  • Rosemary (Finely chopped or put through a spice grinder)
  • Greek Oregano
  • Sea Salt
  • Pepper
  • Red Wine Vinegar

I mixed up all the ingredients very well in a large bowl.  Do not skimp out on the spices, more is better.  Since I used ground chicken it takes a lot more seasoning to be delicious than using beef or lamb.  It does not take alot of red wine vinegar, probably only about 2 tablespoons for 1 pound of chicken.  I formed my meat into long oval pattys because I put them in a whole wheat pita rather than using a bun.  I sauteed my pattys in a small amount of extra virgin olive oil until seared on both sides and cooked throughout.  The garnish I used for my gyros were – tomato, red onion, lettuce, cucumber sauce (recipe follows)

For the Cucumber Sauce

  • Greek Yogurt
  • Fresh Mint
  • 1 English cucumber finely diced
  • Sea Salt
  • Chopped Garlic
  • Red Wine Vinegar

Let this mixture sit in the fridge for at least an hour to let the flavors meld.


Greek Potatoes

  • 4-5 Baking Potatoes skins on, cut into wedges
  • Greek Seasoning
  • Olive Oil
  • Feta Cheese
  • Chopped Kalamata Olives

Cut potatoes into wedges, I cut mine into 8ths.  Toss the potato wedges in olive oil and Greek seasonings.  Bake the potatoes in a 400 degree oven until browned and cooked through.  After letting the potatoes come to room temp toss them in chopped Kalamata olives and feta cheese.  Add salt if needed but the feta and olive add more than enough.

Last but not least – DESSERT!

I was worried that I would not be able to post about this.  I was positive that this was not going to go very well.  I had googled Baklava Parfait in hopes that I could get some tips on what they used for the phyllo dough.  I didn’t find any hits – weird huh?  This made me really feel this would be a flop!  I decided to do it anyway, I’m a rebel like that.  I used things I had on hand mainly because I didn’t want to spend money on something that may be going straight to the garbage.  I had walnuts and brown sugar on hand.  I figured I could toss the walnuts in some butter and cover in brown sugar and toast in the oven until it gets caramelized.   I then took the Greek yogurt I had left over from the cucumber sauce and mixed in vanilla, loads of honey and cinnamon.  The phyllo was the stumper.  I knew it had to have a very buttery flavor or it would just not have the same flavor profile.  I found some 100 calorie pack Lorna Doone cookie packs.  Sure, why not.

I mixed up my yogurt, toasted my walnuts, crushed up my cookies and found a neat martini glass set my boyfriend had.  Believe it or not, It was incredible!  The toasted walnuts with brown sugar had that perfect gooey, caramel-ly goodness that real baklava had.  The yogurt had the perfect amount of sweetness, and the cookies had a great hit of buttery flavor I was hoping for.   This is what my big experiment ended up looking like –

Baklava Parfait

  • Greek Yogurt
  • Honey
  • Cinnamon
  • Walnuts
  • Brown Sugar
  • Butter to coat
  • Sea Salt
  • Any type of butter or shortbread cookie, crushed

Mix yogurt, honey, cinnamon – refrigerate until ready to use

Coat walnuts in melted butter, toss in brown sugar and sea salt.  Bake in the oven at 400 degrees until brown sugar begins to melt and almost turn to brittle.  Let cool fully

Crush cookies

Find your favorite parfait glass layer cookie, yogurt, walnuts, a little squiggle of honey and repeat as much as you can.