Yogurt Marinated Chicken Thighs

I have an enormous appreciation for Mediterranean kitchen. Maybe because Azeri food is very similar to Mediterranean cuisine. Maybe because in my heart of hearts I want to travel so badly and I would start with that part of the world šŸ™‚ maybe one day soon I will šŸ˜‰ who knows.

Anywho…this recipe is super easy and super delicious. The beauty of it is that you can modify however you like. You can add various spices to the marinade, use the whole chicken, just breasts, just thighs or a combination. You can roast it or bake it. Your preference, really.

Yogurt Chicken Thighs

Yogurt Marinated ChickenĀ 

6 chicken thighs (or a whole chicken cut up, adjust to your need/preference)

1/2 cup Greek yogurt (again, I use Fage only)

1/2 cup Plain yogurt (any will do, but I prefer the organic kind)

2Ā tsp salt

2Ā tsp pepper

1 tbsp Turmeric

Olive oil for drizzling over the chicken

** i also used 1 tbsp of a TuscanĀ Seasoning (it’s Ā a mix of dry garlic, onions, bell peppers, oregano, rosemary, lemon peel, sea salt)**

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Preheat the ovenĀ to 375, In a large pan combine everything except chicken. Stir well. Dip every piece of chicken in the yogurt mixture. Use your hands to make sure the yogurt mixtureĀ gets all over the pieces. Don’t be afraid to use too much, you want the chicken to be moist.

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Place the chicken into a pan (if you want to bake it, this will make the dish more wet), or on a roasting pan (which is what I did). Once the oven has preheated place the roasting pan into the oven (on a middle rack) and cook for about 30-45 minutes (depending on which part of chicken you are cooking).

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Serve it with potatoes or rice. I made some plain white rice in a rice cooker. I also made a neat little salad that I tried at my favorite Italian restaurant in Manhattan – Da Marino. It so simply delicious that I curse myself for not making it every day:

Take about 3 medium size tomatoes and 1 cucumber. Chop them up into a medium size pieces (closer to small than medium) and place them in a deep place. Pour a little bit of olive oil over the vegetables. Now chop up 2 cloves of garlic and add those to the plate (I would suggest smashing the garlic for more flavor). Now add salt and set aside for about 30 minutes. The juices will run and IT WILL BE DELICIOUS!

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Yum yum!

Greek Yogurt Muffins

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day…That is the mantra I try to live by, especially during school and work times. So sometimes I get it into my head that I must prepare things for breakfast so my husband and I would have no choice but to eat it. And I’ve tried many recipes some of which have been a major fail. For example, I’ve tried making those egg “McMuffins”…yeah…did not turn out so great. I’ve also tried making various muffins a few times. Some have been better than others. Until yesterday…I finally found a recipe for the most moist and healthy muffin.Ā I actually had to combine two recipes and tweak them…one was too healthy for me and ended up not being moist enough. The second one called for butter, which I thought defeated the purpose of a “healthy” breakfast. So without further ado, here it is.

Greek Yogurt Muffins

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup greek yogurt (I loveĀ Fage)

2/3 cup milk

1 egg

a splash of orange juice

1 cup cranberries


Preheat the oven to 350. (I really don’t know why people even say this. Of course you need the oven on šŸ˜€ )

Combine all the dry ingredients together and mix. Add in the egg, yogurt and milk and whisk until combined. If you feel that the batter is too thick, add in more milk, if you feel it’s too runny add in more flour. Pour in the orange juice and fold in the cranberries. I use the jumbo muffin pan because it’s easier to just make a one serving muffin for me. I also use an ice cream scooper to scoop in the batter into the pan. Don’t fill the batter up to the brim, because the muffins WILL RISE. Bake for about 25-30 mins or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Keep in mind that these muffins will be moist and the greek yogurt will make them more runny than the regular muffins, and the toothpick will not come out completely dry. Just use your judgment.

Note: the cranberries I used were tart. They made the muffins very tart. Which is ok by me, gives me an excuse to spread jam or Nutella on them. But if you’d like them sweet, I would suggest tossing the cranberries in with 1 tbs of sugar and setting aside for 30 mins or so. If you choose this route, I would reduce the sugar that will go into the batter.

Ready. Set. Eat.

Up a creek without a paddle: copying restaurant recipes

We all have those special dishes at restaurants that we just LOVE and must have each time we go there. I have a few of those; and I do not even attempt to copy them at home. I know it will not work. Besides, I am not really all that adventurous when it comes to trying and re-capturing a recipe. I am more of a follow-a-recipe type of a gal, until I get super comfortable with the recipe.
But something happened two weeks ago. My husband and I went to a Turkish Restaurant in New Haven, CT for lunch. Why Turkish? Well, because it’s pretty close to Azeri food and because my husband lived in Turkey for a looong time while studying. He loves the food. And even though he won’t admit it, he misses it a lot.
SO…we went to a Turkish Restaurant (here it is by the way, you can look at their menu http://www.saraykebab.com). We were VERY hungry. I like to pretend that I eat a lot, but my husband actually DOES. He loves to eat. And I mean LOVES it. He will get angry if you leave him hungry on purpose for any longer that he needs to be hungry. 3 out of 5 times during a week, the second thing he will tell me when I get home is “I am hungry”.
So knowing that, you will now understand why we ordered about 5 appetizers and two entrees. Some of the dishes we ordered, I’ve made or at least tried before. For example, my husband ordered Lahmajun: a very thin pizza with ground meat, tomatoes and peppers. That I’ve made before. We ordered a yogurt drink Ayran (one of the best things I’ve had in my life btw). I’ve made that at home as well. And then we ordered this: Haydari. It’s also a yogurt appetizer but none like I’ve had before: it was DELICIOUS. It’s sort of a dip. Sort of little piece of heaven filled with garlic. Oh, I love garlic. You can never have enough garlic in my opinion (ok, that’s a lie… you can definitely have enough garlic). But you now know why I was so partial to this dish. We attacked that appetizer with some very yummy bread and I vowed to make it at home, because it had but 3 ingredients.

I am usually the type of a person that once i get something into my head, I MUST DO IT. No matter how tired I am, no matter how I feel, I have to prove something to myself. So on a very busy and tiring tuesday evening, I went ahead, repeated it and: success.

Turkish Yogurt Appetizer: Haydari

1 cup of Greek Yogurt (my absolute favorite is Fage)
1 large garlic clove, or 2 small ones
1 tsp Olive Oil
a pinch of salt
1 tbs of cold water

Pour yogurt into a bowl, crush garlic into it, add salt and add water. Mix well. Pour the mixture into a deep desert plate, spread it out evenly. Carefully pour the olive oil over the plate, don’t worry about it not being pretty, it is supposed to spread out. Garnish with some mint or basil leaves. Enjoy!

Pretty, isn't it?

Pretty, isn’t it?

That was easy!