Souvlaki Gyros

Chicken gyros have long been one of my favorite meals to make at home – not to mention one of my most popular posts here on the site. Last summer, at a friend’s cookout, our good friend Pete (who happens to be Greek) make some delicious soulvaki kabobs to throw on the grill and share with everyone. I was completely blown away with the flavor, and couldn’t wait to try them out for myself in place of the chicken in my gyro recipe.

I used a boneless pork butt that I trimmed and cut down into bite-sized pieces, but a tenderloin would be fine as well – if you wanted a little less prep work. It’s a very basic marinade of lemon juice, red wine vinegar, plenty of garlic and oregano, and olive oil. It requires a longer soak time than the chicken, but the tenderness of the meat and flavor you get in the end product are well worth it in the long run!

It’s skewered then thrown on the grill. Once the meat was cooked we piled it into warm homemade pita bread, topped with a cool and creamy tzatziki sauce, and topped with lots of fresh veggies. We all agreed that we liked it as much, if not more, than the chicken version. It’s something fun and different for cookouts this summer, and one that I know we’ll be making again and again. Opa!

Roasted Garlic Smashed Potatoes

Guys, this is one of my favorite side dishes of all time – and frankly I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to share it here on the blog. Slow roasted garlic, butter, fresh parsley, and tender red potatoes mashed up into a delicious heap of goodness.

It’s a nice change of pace from the traditional mashed potatoes and gravy, and the flavor is just wonderful. It takes a little bit more time and forethought, as you have to roast the garlic ahead of time before mashing the potatoes – but trust me, it’s worth it! Roasting the garlic, as opposed to just using garlic powder, really mellows and deepens the flavor – so it doesn’t have that harsh bite that many garlic mashed potatoes have.

I like to add parsley, for a little pop of color and bright flavor, but it’s great with other herbs as well – I’ve used some chopped rosemary and thyme in the past, and both were wonderful. This side dish would be great on your Easter table, paired with ham or turkey. Or, it’s always my go-to side to serve with a homey traditional dish like meatloaf. It’s a favorite in my family, and I know it will be one in yours as well.

Raspberry Cupcakes

I love making cupcakes. Coincidentally, I also love eating them. The flavor combinations are endless, and there is always a new recipe or spin that I want to try. The lemon cupcakes with blackberry buttercream have long been one of my favorites, so I thought a twist on those would be fun. A raspberry twist!

Went a little lighter on the lemon flavor in this version by just adding a bit of zest, and I also added some chopped raspberries into my usual vanilla cupcake batter. I loved seeing berries dotted throughout the cake once they were baked. It added a surprise burst of berry color and flavor, and added even more moisture to an already deliciously moist cake.

For the frosting I just add a bit of raspberry puree to my traditional vanilla buttercream – it gives it a gorgeous pink hue and natural raspberry flavor. A garnish of a single fresh raspberry really sets them off just perfectly.

They really are beautiful, and taste even better than they look – if you can believe it. A wonderful way to celebrate this warm spring weather that is finally gracing us with it’s presence. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Bean & Cheese Enchiladas

If I had to choose a favorite cuisine, it would be Mexican. It’s something that I really came around to during my first pregnancy, and it definitely stuck with me. Sadly, our only local Mexican restaurant closed it’s doors a few months ago – which means we have to drive 40 minutes north or south to go out…and that’s really sucked this time around as far as pregnancy cravings are concerned.

I already have a few really good enchilada recipes up my sleeve, but sometimes you just need something super-quick and easy. That’s where these bean and cheese enchiladas come in. I almost always have all the ingredients on hand to make them, they come together quickly, and they’re filling and delicious.

If you’re worried about spice, don’t be – they aren’t spicy. The green chilies are very mild, but add a nice bite of flavor. I wrote the recipe using canned pinto beans, but I’ve been soaking my own beans lately and doing it the “old-fashioned” way. If you’re down with that – you’ll need about 3 cups of dried beans. I’ll cook them with a smoked ham hock, ham base, or some bacon for a little extra flavor. But,  rest assured they’re great with canned beans too! Also, take a few minutes and make your own enchilada sauce. It literally takes less than 5 minutes to throw together, and the results are so much more delicious (and economical!) than the stuff from the can. Just saying…

They’re gooey and delicious with the use of flour tortillas and plenty of cheese. We all really loved them, Andrew declaring that they’re his second favorite enchiladas – right behind the beef. Which is really saying something considering that my chicken version was the favorite meal in the house for quite a few years!