“Greek” Two Ways

Standard

Tomato soup and grilled cheese has to be one of the greatest American classic lunches of all time. It is comforting, satisfying and ultimately delicious. My tomato bisque gets a finish from “Greek” Cream Cheese and Greek Yogurt

Tomato Bisque

  • 2 28 oz. Cans of San Marzano peeled whole tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 quart vegetable stock or broth
  • 4 oz. “Greek” Cream Cheese and Greek Yogurt, softened
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

*this soup will make more than enough for one, so freeze the remainder for another day!

Saute celery, onion, carrot, garlic, thyme and red pepper flakes in olive oil until slightly softened. Add in the whole tomatoes and chicken stock. Let this simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Blend this mixture adding in the 4 oz. of cream cheese a little at a time. Return to the heat making sure to stir in any remaining cream cheese until melted.

Grilled Cheese

  • Non-stick cooking spray (trust me you don’t need the extra butter here!)
  • 1 oz. “Greek” Cream Cheese and Greek Yogurt, softened
  • 1 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 2 slices of any thick cut bread (I used a whole grain loaf)

*I also added thin sliced tomato and turkey bacon to my grilled cheese! #unreal

Beat together with an electric mixer the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, salt and pepper until combined and fluffy. Spread this mixture evenly onto the bread. Spray a non-stick cooking pan with cooking spray generously. Sear the sandwich on both sides until golden brown. If the cheese mixture isn’t warm enough, pop it in an oven for a few minutes. This will only benefit the sandwich and make the cream cheese gooey and delicious.

The Great Greek Alfredo

Standard

Chicken broccoli and ziti and pasta primavera are just two of the many dishes that use an alfredo sauce. It is full of cream and overly heavy. Often times people mess this sauce up because of the roux needed to thicken the sauce or the over reduction of the heavy  cream. Forget the overly complicated techniques. A quick and painless way to a creamier  alfredo sauce is using “Greek” Cream Cheese and Yogurt.

As with most of my recipes, they are easy and home cook friendly. Feel free to adapt the flavorings and ingredients to fit your personal preferences like this Chicken Pasta Primavera Recipe. It is such an inexpensive dish that is always a family favorite.

Chicken Pasta Primavera

  • 1 lb. whole wheat penne (use which ever pasta shape you like, and the whole wheat adds a really nice nuttiness to this dish)
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breast, small diced
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken stock (this amount is varied depending on how much sauce you like!)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4-6 ounces of “Greek” Cream Cheese and Yogurt (I say 4-6 because the more you put the thicker the sauce will get)
  • 1/2 onion, sliced thin
  • 1 cup broccoli florets, blanched
  • 1/2 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced (any variety of mushroom will do, i also love oyster mushrooms)
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 bunch white or green asparagus, blanched
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 lemon, zested

I seasoned with garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and some Italian seasoning. Feel free to play with the amounts on these :-)

Saute the chicken in olive on medium heat until the chicken starts to get some color. Season with salt and pepper. (always important to season as you go) Add in your onion, mushrooms and garlic. Continue to saute these until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms start to gain some golden brown color.

Add in remaining vegetables and season to your liking. Pour in your chicken stock and let this come to a boil and reduce by 1/4. Stir in your “Greek” Cream Cheese Yogurt until combined and creamy. Feel free to reduce this if you want a thicker sauce. The cream cheese addition is lighter than adding all that heavy cream, butter and cheese. The tang from the cream cheese also sets this dish apart. Finish by adding the lemon zest and immediately serve. (this way the vest stays bright and aromatic)

*Go ahead and use any vegetables you want. The star of this dish is the sauce and is complimentary to most any vegetables or meat.

Culinary Wonder: “Greek” Cream Cheese and Greek Yogurt

Standard

Guys… this product is just what the home cook has needed. The whole “low-fat” cream cheese which we all know, is not as tangy or smooth as the full fat version. “Greek” Cream Cheese and Greek Yogurt is dare I say…better than any brand of full fat cream cheese out there today.

Let me tell you why. This product has that beloved tang that cream cheese gives you with an amazing creaminess that is provided from the Greek yogurt. Not only is this product a healthier alternative, the results with my baking and culinary endeavors have been just. that. good.

I will be using this product, testing it out in different savory and sweet recipes. Check back here! More to come…for now check out this excellent substitute for cream cheese frosting!

“Greek” Cream Cheese and Yogurt Frosting

  • 8 oz. whipped “Greek” Cream Cheese Yogurt (The whipped variety is extra fluffy and light!)
  • 4 oz. light sour cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped (feel free to omit, these can be pricey but are so yummy)
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • honey to taste (I say to taste because you can always add but cannot subtract once its in the frosting! I started with a few tablespoons)

Start by using an electric mixer on medium speed beating the cream cheese and sour cream together. Whip until light and fluffy about 1 minute. Add in the remaining ingredients and beat till combined.

*this particular brand of cream cheese has lower calories, as does using light sour cream instead of butter. Honey is also a natural, healthier alternative to white sugar :-)

photo (2)photo (3)

 

I used this batch of frosting on a traditional yellow cake recipe that I lightened up with apple sauce and egg whites.(i know, i know skeptical….but just as tasty I promise)  I garnished the cake with fresh berries to resemble the American Flag, in lieu of the recent tragedies in Boston it is nice to show your patriotism!