Vegan stuffed eggplant (Παπουτσάκια νηστίσιμα)

Vegan stuffed eggplant (Παπουτσάκια νηστίσιμα)

A vegan version of a classic Greek dish made with eggplant, lentils and olive oil mashed potatoes.

We wish you could all read Greek! Because if you did, you would realize that the name for this recipe is so much more wonderful in Greek.  The literal translation for παπουτσάκια (pronounced pa-poo-tsa-kia) is little shoes. How utterly adorable and perfect is that! And how much more charming than stuffed eggplant.

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Beans and rice

rice and beans edited-2

This post, and recipe for beans and rice is sponsored by Purolator Tackle Hunger.  We were compensated for our time, and all opinions in this post are our own.

Beans and rice

 

How wonderful is it when the stars align? That’s exactly what happened when we were asked to participate in the Purolator Tackle Hunger game day food drive, which partners with the Canadian Football League to help raise hunger awareness and collect non-perishable food items and cash donations for food banks across the country.  Since its beginning in 2003 the Purolator Tackle Hunger® program has helped deliver the equivalent of more than 13 million pounds of food to food banks across Canada.

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Greek marinated chicken thighs

Greek marinated chicken thighs

Chicken thighs infused with Greek flavours!  So delicious!

Thighs.  For many of us, the mention of thighs immediately causes us to think of swimwear shop changing rooms, gaps that are unattainable and hot wax followed by searing pain.  Well, we’re here to redirect your attention, because some thighs are better than others.

Chicken thighs are a good and generally accessible source of lean protein; although they do have more calories and fat than white chicken meat,  they tend to be more tender and flavourful.  Still, because of the caloric and fat content, you may not want to be eating chicken thighs every day.  So, when you do decide to enjoy them, a great recipe is important.  We’ve got you covered with this recipe for Greek marinated chicken thighs.

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Pasta topped with fried egg

Pasta topped with fried egg

Egg noodles topped with an egg fried in olive oil

Whenever we’re in a rush and need to get a meal on the table quick, we tend to turn to either a pasta dish like spaghetti with olive oil and mizithra, or an egg dish, like an omelette full of Greek flavour.  Pasta and eggs are the start of so many quick, nutritious and easy meals.  In this recipe these two go-to staples are combined to create a recipe that was a regular in our home growing up.

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Grilled steak (Στέικ)

Grilled steak

A deliciously seasoned steak, perfect for barbecue season

Grilled steak

 

There are two types of people in the world, those who gravitate towards the ease and convenience of a gas grill, and those who believe that grilling must be done with charcoal, smoking chips, and some extra time.  There are certainly advantages to both, and truth be told, we wouldn’t deny a meal cooked on either type of barbecue.

Growing up our father had a large round charcoal grill with a green lid  which was kept ready and waiting in the backyard of our apartment building.  This was used when he had many things to cook, either because we were having company, or because it just made sense to prepare several meals in advance given that the charcoal was already burning.  Common sense at all times.

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Fried fish (Ψαράκια τηγανητά)

Fried fish

Tiny fried fish that you can eat from head to tail

Fried fish

 

Summers in Greece mean hours spent in outdoor tavernas, with a clear view of the ocean and the warm sun embracing you.  The heat, the pace of vacation life, the hours before or right after the afternoon siesta all contribute to a feeling that time is endless, and life is best lived unhurried.  But all that relaxation sure works up an appetite, so that taverna table is usually most often filled with mezes and frosty glasses of ouzo or frappé.  Given the scene, some of the best mezes are those that came from the sea you are looking onto.  Octopus, shrimp, calamari are always welcome, as are these tiny fried fish.

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Shrimp saganaki (Γαρίδες σαγανάκι)

Shrimp saganaki

Shrimp cooked in a rich and spicy tomato sauce with ouzo and feta

Shrimp saganaki

 

In Greek cooking there are a whole slew of dishes which are categorized as saganaki.  One of the most popular is cheese saganaki, that meze of fried cheese set aflame with the help of a little ouzo or Metaxa, which causes restaurant patrons to exclaim Opa! in delighted unison.  The term saganaki actually refers to the small, two-handled frying pan in which the food is cooked called a sagani, a derivative of the Turkish word sahan, which means copper dish.  Remember long ago when we told you that Mia Kouppa would also make you smarter?  You’re welcome.

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Herbed orzo with chickpeas (Κριθαράκι με βότανα και ρεβίθια)

Herbed orzo with chickpeas

A delicious meal of fresh herbs, orzo and chickpeas

If you’re looking for a dish to remind you that spring is here, and that the cold winter months are behind you, then this is it.  A simple recipe using orzo and loads of fresh herbs, the colour,  smell and the flavour of this herbed orzo make it clear that sunny days are here…or at least, coming soon.

The fresh taste of this herbed orzo dish is enough to entice you to make it over and over again.  But, an added bonus is that it is quick, easy, economical (super economical if you happen to have your own herb garden) and vegan, making it perfect for meatless Mondays, period of Orthodox lent, and any other time you want a plant-based meal.  The addition of chickpeas ensures that the dish is full of protein and that it is satisfying.

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Pasta carbonara

Pasta carbonara

A classic Italian dish

In partnership with Barilla Canada

Pasta carbonara

 

There’s something about pasta!  Not only are pasta dishes typically delicious (yeah for carbs!), but they are often quick to pull together and so satisfying that a small portion is enough to fill you up.  (Having said that, larger portions are equally lovely!)  When we need a meal in a hurry, we tend to stick to Greek pasta staples like spaghetti with olive oil and mizithra or manestra.

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Potatoes yahni (Πατάτες γιαχνί )

Potatoes yahni

A traditional Greek potato stew

Potatoes yahni

 

Raise your hand if you love pototoes! You there, in the back, holding a fist-full of french fries, we see you!  And we love you!  And, we too love potatoes.  Whether they are roasted in the oven, bathed in all sorts of beautiful Greek flavours, or boiled and mashed and then transformed into the very distinctive Greek garlic spread called skordalia, we adore them.  Potatoes are so versatile, so available, so economical, that it’s no wonder that the rustic cuisine of Greece has taken this commonplace vegetable and made it the star of a stew which we know will find a happy place in your hearts and stomachs.

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