lattice chicken pot pie
Mexican street corn pasta
chicken Ghiveci
creamy chicken tortilla soup, jalapeno jack popovers
butter basted ribeyes, twice baked potatoes, broccoli
brisket tacos, pinto beans
pork souvlaki, naan

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Chocolate Glazed Doughnuts

chocolate glazed doughnutsAh the doughnut pan, it is both a blessing and a curse. Miss F asks for doughnuts nearly every day for breakfast. So on the days when we have no where to school, no gymnastics, no dance class and no swim lessons...I break out the doughnut pan and we make doughnuts. She insists on eating them whole, but uses a fork to stab the doughnut and eat her way around. I adapted the recipe from the chocolate iced doughnuts since they are Miss F' favorite to make a chocolatey doughnut with a simple powdered sugar glaze. The doughnuts themselves are not overly sweet, but the glaze more than makes up for it.
Chocolate Glazed Doughnuts 
makes 12 doughnuts

1 tablespoon butter, melted
¾ cup buttermilk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups cake flour, sifted
½ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt

½ cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
¼ teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 425. Spray your doughnut pan with non-stick spray.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the melted butter, buttermilk, and beaten eggs. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, cocoa and salt. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir together until just combined.

Carefully spoon the batter into the prepared doughnut pan about 2/3 full. Bake for 7-8 minutes, or until the tops of the doughnuts spring back when lightly touched.

While the doughnuts are baking, prepare the glaze by mixing together the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla together in a shallow bowl.

Allow to cool in the pan for a couple minutes. Remove the doughnuts onto a rack to finish cooling and dip the doughnuts into the prepared glaze.
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Monday, November 28, 2011

Crockpot Hawaiian Chicken

crockpot hawaiian chickenThere is just something about pineapple rings that is nostalgic. I picture them laying on top of cottage cheese that is set on a lettuce leaf, with a maraschino cherry in the center of course. No matter how you 'slice' it, they look dated (or nostalgic if you are trying to be nice.) Nonetheless, pineapple slices work perfectly in this recipe. I adpated the recipe from Stephanie Cooks, adding soy sauce to make it more savory than sweet. This is an easy meal, just steam some broccoli on the side and you are set for dinner.  Add a maraschino cherry to the center of each pineapple ring and you are dining in the 1970s.
Crockpot Hawaiian Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 (20 ounce) can pineapple slices, juice reserved
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Juice from one lemon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Place chicken in slow cooker sprayed with non-stick spray. Place pineapple slices over chicken. In a small bowl, combine pineapple juice, brown sugar, soy sauce, lemon juice, ginger and cornstarch and stir until combined. Pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours or high for 2 ½ to 3 hours. Serve over rice.
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Friday, November 25, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

chocolate chip cupcakesAt Miss F's school, they celebrate birthdays with a small party at the end of the school day, Miss F request chocolate chip cupcakes. She loves to snack on a chocolate chip or ten while I am baking. Interestingly enough, her grandad always requested white cake with chocolate chips in it for his birthday. So I decided to recreate it in cupcake form. The issue with grandad's cake was that the chocolate chips always sunk to the bottom. I got mini chocolate chips in order to address the sinking issue. It wasn't 100% effective, but they worked much better than the regular size chocolate chips. The white cake recipe is adapted from The Joy of Baking and the chocolate frosting recipe is my mom's. All the kids seemed to favor the frosting and one of the kids in her class pretended the cupcake was a phone. Thank goodness he had eaten most of the frosting off the top of the cupcake first.
Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

2 large eggs, separated
1 ¾ cups sifted cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated white sugar, divided
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
½ cup milk
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
¾ cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in center of oven. Prepare 24 cupcake pans with paper or foil liners.

While eggs are still cold separate the eggs, placing the yolks in one bowl and the whites in another bowl. Cover the two bowls with plastic wrap and allow the eggs to come to room temperature before using (about 30 minutes).

In a mixing bowl sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In bowl of electric mixer, beat the butter until soft (about 1-2 minutes). Add ¾ cup of the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.

With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.

In a clean bowl of your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining ¼ cup of sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. With a rubber spatula gently fold a little of the whites into the batter to lighten it, and then fold in the remaining whites until combined. Do not over mix the batter or it will deflate.

Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans and smooth the tops with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Cool the cupcakes on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Frost with chocolate buttercream when cooled.

Chocolate Buttercream

1 stick butter, softened
3 cups confectioner's sugar
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 to 6 tablespoons milk

Cream together butter, 1 cup of the sugar, cocoa, vanilla and 1 tablespoon of the milk. Slowly add the remaining milk and sugar, alternating. Makes 2 cups.
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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Duchess Potatoes

duchess potatoesI got this recipe from Pinterest, it was originally published here.  I didn't pipe the potatoes, so the presentation isn't as pretty, but I was just making these for a weeknight dinner, so presentation wasn't so important.  And I am not good at piping.  And piping something hot sort of scares me.   These potatoes remind me very much of my favorite potatoes, truffled potatoes.  These would be great for a dinner party because you could prepare the ramekins beforehand and just bake them when you are ready to serve.
Duchess Potatoes

2 pounds potatoes
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons salted butter
¾ cup grated cheddar cheese
½ teaspoon ground white pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon water

Peel potatoes, add to pot, cover and bring to a boil. When the pot comes to a boil, add salt to taste. Cook until fork tender, about 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mash potatoes while hot and ensure that there are no lumps. Add butter, white pepper and cheese to potatoes while it is still hot. Mix thoroughly and taste for seasoning (salt and pepper). Mix in beaten egg ensuring that it is fully incorporated into the mixture. Snip one bottom-end of the plastic zip bag about ¾-inch across. Add the potato mixture to the bag and squeeze the top in order to force the mixture through the hole in the bag. Pipe the potatoes into the ramekins going in a circular motion until the ramekin is filled about 1 above the rim. Repeat until all the bowls are filled. Transfer the bowls onto baking sheet/tray. In the small bowl, add the paprika and ½ teaspoon water and make into a paste. Using the pastry brush, lightly brush the edges of the potatoes. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the edges are lightly brown.
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Monday, November 21, 2011

Eat to the Beat: "Me In Honey" Loukoumades

loukoumadesOne of my most favorite bloggers, Elly of Elly Says Opa, is celebrating her fifth blogging anniversary with a blogging event called "Eat to the Beat."  The idea behind it is to blog a recipe that somehow relates to a favorite song.  I lucked on this, since I have been wanting to make Elly's own recipe for Loukoumades, the Greek honey doughnut balls that we love eating at the Greek Festival.  And honey ties in perfectly with one of my favorite songs from high school, Me in Honey by REM.  The whole album of Out of Time reminds me of my days in high school, I listened to that CD over and over again.  I always liked Me in Honey because it featured Kate Pierson of the B-52s, she has the coolest voice.  Happy fifth anniversary to Elly Says Opa!

2 ¼ teaspoons dry active yeast
1 cup warm (100-110 degrees) water
½ cup milk (brought to room temperature)
2 ¼ cups flour (maybe more)
1 ½ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup water
½ cup honey
½ cup sugar

Vegetable/neutral oil for frying
Powdered sugar for topping

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Sift together the flour, salt and sugar. Add that, along with the milk, to the yeast. Add more flour if necessary to achieve a thick pancake batter like consistency. Cover the bowl with a clean towel and let it rise in a warm place (80-85 degrees) for about 2 hours.

When the batter has risen (it will be about 3 times its original size) heat your oil to about 365 degrees (if you have a candy thermometer) Coat a metal soup with oil and use it to drop the batter by the teaspoon full into the hot oil. Fry until just golden brown and then put them on a cooling rack placed over a pan (to catch the oil).

To make the syrup, bring the honey, sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan. Boil for a couple minutes to thicken slightly and then skim the foam off the top. Pour the mixture over the fritters. Top with powdered sugar. Serve immediately.
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Friday, November 18, 2011

Recipe Swap: Crockpot Spaghetti and Meatballs

crockpot spaghetti and meatballsThe theme of this week's recipe swap was One Pot Meals. I received Crockpot Spaghetti and Meatballs from The Cookaholic Wife. I am not a big fan of meat sauces on my pasta, so meatballs are perfect for my family since both C and Miss F love meat.  I adapted the recipe a bit because I didn't want to use jarred sauce.  This recipe is a keeper.  The meatballs were a huge hit with Miss F and surprisingly, I really enjoyed them as well.  The house smelled amazing all day as the sauce simmered away.  The meatballs held together beautifully and were perfectly cooked.  Thanks so much to A Taste of Home Cooking for hosting another fantastic swap.
Crockpot Spaghetti and Meatballs

½ pound ground beef
½ pound Italian sausage
1 egg
½ cup bread crumbs
1 teaspoon oregano
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 - 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes
6 ounce can tomato paste
½ cup red wine
½ onion, diced
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound dried spaghetti

In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, sausage, eggs, bread crumbs, oregano, garlic, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Form the meat mixture into 16-20 meatballs. In the crock pot, add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, onion, basil, oregano and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine. Add the meatballs into the crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours. About 15 minutes before serving, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add in the spaghetti noodles and cook according to package directions. Drain and serve meatballs and sauce over noodles.
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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Truffle Butter Turkey

Truffle Butter TurkeyMy friend Courtney raved about this turkey recipe. It wasn't so much a recipe, as it was an idea of adding truffle butter to the turkey. I love turkey, I love truffles, I certainly love butter. This was a no brainer. Truffle butter turkey was happening. I always buy an extra turkey around the holidays to store in the freezer to have a Sunday in the winter. The gravy was amazing, the truffle flavor was present, but not overpowering. I always stuff my turkey, no matter what Alton Brown says, I think it is the only way to go. Stuffing from the bird is a thing of beauty. And it is all the more beautiful flavored with truffles.  This recipe is a combination of my family recipe for drunken turkey, with the addition of truffle butter and some Martha Stewart gravy thrown in for good measure.
Truffle Butter Turkey

1 whole fresh turkey
½ cup unsalted butter
2 cups dry white wine
4 bay leaves
1 3 ounce container truffle butter
1 cup chicken or turkey stock.

Pan drippings
1 cup dry white wine
¼ cup flour
4 cups chicken or turkey stock
2 tablespoons butter
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Let turkey stand at room temperature for 1 hour. Combine butter, wine and whole bay leaves in small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 425 with rack in the lowest position. Rinse inside and outside of turkey and pat dry with paper towels. Place turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a roasting pan. Tuck wings under turkey. Season cavity with salt and pepper and fill cavity with stuffing. Using your fingers to gently pull the skin from the turkey, spread the truffle butter between the turkey skin and the meat. Pour stock in the bottom roasting pan.

Place turkey, legs first, into oven. Roast for 30 minutes, then baste with wine butter mixture. Reduce temperature to 350 and roast, basting with wine butter mixture every 30 minutes for 2 ½ hours. Add more stock to pan if necessary to prevent pan drippings from burning. Roast until skin is golden brown and thickest part of thigh registers 165 on a meat thermometer. Transfer turkey to a rimmed baking sheet, reserving pan juices and roasting pan, let rest for 30 minutes before carving.

Pour reserved pan juices into a gravy separator and let stand 10 minutes. Pour or spoon off fat.
Place reserved roasting pan on 2 burners over medium heat. Add wine and bring to a gentle simmer, scraping brown bits with a wooden spoon. Whisk flour and stock in a large bowl until combined. Add defatted pan juices, whisking to combine, then pour into roasting pan. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half and thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove pan from heat and whisk in butter. Strain through a sieve and discard solids. Season with salt and pepper.
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Monday, November 14, 2011

Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes

cookies and cream cheesecakesI made these adorable cupcake sized cheesecakes for our girls' weekend to Galveston. They are simple to make and you get to take some aggression out when you crush the cookies for the batter.  These were even easier for me because Miss F helped get the cupcake liners ready, she'll do anything for an Oreo cookie reward.  The Oreo cookies make a perfect "crust" for the individual cheesecakes, so cute!
Martha Stewart's Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes Recipe
makes 30

42 Oreos, 30 left whole, and 12 coarsely chopped
2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
1 cup sour cream
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Place 1 whole cookie in the bottom of each lined cup. With an electric mixer on medium high speed, beat cream cheese until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Gradually add sugar, and beat until combined. Beat in vanilla. Drizzle in eggs, a bit at a time, beating to combine and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in sour cream and salt. Stir in chopped cookies by hand. Divide batter evenly among cookie-lined cups, filling each almost to the top. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until filling is set, about 22 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Refrigerate at least 4 hours (or up to overnight). Remove from tins just before serving.
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Friday, November 11, 2011

Beef Tenderloin with Herb Butter

beef tenderloin with herb butterOne of the best things about our local Asian grocer besides the fact that there is a BYOB crawfish restaurant inside the store, is that you can get beef tenderloin there for $4.99 a pound. There is no point in cooking with a cheaper cut of beef, because nothing is really cheaper than that. And nothing tastes better than tenderloin.  This is my friend Courtney's recipe.  She is a fantastic cook.  Her recipes never disappoint (fat bread and Jambalaya-Mary-laya.)  And she shares my love of the Asian grocer tenderloin.  We had fajitas made with it at her birthday party a few weeks back.  Beef tenderloin fajitas...yum.
Beef Tenderloin with Herb Butter

1 (3-pound) center-cut beef tenderloin roast
Cracked black pepper
Tony Chacheres Cajun spice
1 tablespoon olive oil

Set oven temperature to 475°F. Pat tenderloin dry. Rub oil over tenderloin, then sprinkle with Tony’s and black pepper liberally, rubbing. Put tenderloin on rack in roasting pan and roast 10 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 425°F and cook until thermometer inserted diagonally into center of meat registers 125°F, 20 to 25 minutes for medium-rare with instant read thermometer. Let beef stand on rack in pan 10 minutes before serving covered in foil. Cut beef into ¼ to ½ inch-thick slices and serve with a dot of rosemary butter on top.

Herb Butter

1 stick salted butter
2 teaspoons rosemary sprigs, finely chopped (can also use thyme or any other favorite herb)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard

Cream the butter and blend in the rosemary. Mix in the pepper, lemon juice, garlic and mustard. Spoon the mixed butter onto a sheet of plastic wrap and roll into a log shape. Place in the freezer to chill for half an hour, then remove to keep in the refrigerator until ready for use.
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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Thai Chicken and Broccoli

spicy thai chicken and broccoliThis was not a fun dinner. Miss F was not a fan of the "mell", she thought something smelled bad. C was suspicious and then refused to eat the dish since he suspected it contained fish sauce. This made Miss F refuse to eat it, which is a shame because I know she would have liked it, since the flavors are similar to Drunken Noodles. C cooked chicken nuggets for her and said "no more fish sauce." Sigh. I thoroughly enjoyed this stir fry adapted from "300 Best Stir-Fry Recipes" by Nancie McDermott. Ah well, more leftovers for me.
Thai Chicken and Broccoli

1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon black soy sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
½ cup chicken broth
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
2 cups of bite size broccoli florets
½ teaspoon chili paste
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon garlic

Combine in a small bowl start with the oyster sauce, black soy sauce, fish sauce, and broth. Set aside.

Heat pan on medium high until hot then add oil, swirl the pan to coat the bottom, then add the chicken. Stir fry the chicken until just cooked through, add the broccoli and stir fry for 3 minutes more. Make a well in the center and add chili paste, garlic and ginger. Sauté for about 30 seconds, toss to combine.

Whisk sauce then add cornstarch and whisk again. Add the sauce to the chicken and broccoli. Stir to combine remove from heat. Serve immediately over rice.
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Monday, November 7, 2011

Chocolate Glazed Pumpkin Cookies

chocolate glazed pumpkin cookiesI first saw these cookies on Pinterest, but it was for a "skinny" version. If I am eating a cookie, I am eating a cookie. So I found the original recipe from Martha Stewart and realized that it was much more my style than the "skinny" version. These were a big hit with Miss F. She snuck a couple before I had a chance to add the chocolate and after I added the chocolate...well...let's just say she ate a lot. These are more like spheres and not so much like cookies, but chocolate glazed pumpkin balls just doesn't sound right.  I think next time I bake these I am going to use an actual piping bag and tip.  I am not so talented with the Ziplock bag method.
Chocolate Glazed Pumpkin Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 can (15 ounces) pure pumpkin puree
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin-pie spice, and salt; set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg; beat until smooth. With mixer on low speed, alternately add flour mixture in two parts and pumpkin puree in one, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix just until combined (do not overmix). Drop dough by heaping tablespoons onto two baking sheets, about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake until puffed and edges are golden, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating sheets once during baking. Immediately transfer cookies to wire racks, and cool completely.

When cookies have cooled, set them (still on rack) over a baking sheet or waxed paper. Place chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water; stir until almost melted. Remove from heat; stir until completely melted. Pour chocolate into a resealable plastic bag. Snip off a corner with scissors or a knife to make an 1/8-inch hole; pipe chocolate over cookies. Refrigerate until chocolate is firm, about 20 minutes.
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Friday, November 4, 2011

Chocolate Buttermilk Cookies

chocolate buttermilk cookiesI have had these cookies pinned on Pinterest for weeks. Once we returned from our vacation in Nevis, I knew it was time to make them since I was wanting to bake and I needed dessert for Miss F's lunch box. Usually, Finley is a big fan of helping me bake. But not with these cookies, she was in a miserable mood after her nap and stirring was not on her agenda. Turns out it was a good thing since the cookie batter needs to chill for three hours, that way I was able to bake them once she went to bed and I didn't have to feel bad about not giving her a cookie after her melt down. These cookies are soft and delicious, thanks to Creative Nirvana for the wonderful recipe.
Chocolate Buttermilk Cookies

2 cups all purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ cup butter, room temperature
¾ cup cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
2 cups chocolate chips

In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, and salt. In another large bowl, combine the butter and cocoa powder. Mix well. Add the sugar, vanilla, buttermilk and eggs while stirring. Add the liquid mixture to the dry mixture. Stir using a spatula at first to gently combine the ingredients, and then mix with an electric mixer to make sure the dough is well combined. Add the chocolate chips and mix well. Place the cookie dough in the refrigerator for 3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350⁰F and line a cookie sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper. Make 1 inch cookie dough balls, and place them on the cookie sheet (I used a cookie scoop). Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies smell done. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to completely cool.
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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pork Shawarma

pork shawarmaWhen I saw a recipe for Chicken Shawrma on Budget Bytes, I was curious. I am normally not a huge fan of "sweeter" spices in meat marinades, but I was trying her recipe for Naan, so I decided to give it a go. But I didn't have any chicken and wasn't in the mood to endure Costco to get some. So I made it with pork instead. And that turned out to be a genius decision. Miss F adored the pork almost as much as she liked the Naan. I loved it to, it was so moist. We don't have a grill, so I used a grill pan and it worked great. The pork was so tender and full of flavor, but not overpoweringly "sweet" like I worried it might be.  This would be equally fantastic on either homemade Naan or Pita breads.
Pork Shawarma

2 thick cut pork chops
½ cup Greek yogurt
2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice from ½ a lemon
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves

1 cup Greek yogurt
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice from ½ a lemon
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ cucumber, seeded and chopped

1 tomato, chopped
½ cucumber, chopped
Naan or Pita bread

In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the marinade (yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, cinnamon, oregano, salt, nutmeg, and clove). Add pork to the marinade, coat well, cover and refrigerate for 4-24 hours. Grill the pork until cooked through, let rest for 5 minutes and slice into strips

In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt, garlic, lemon, salt, pepper and cucumber for the yogurt sauce. Place the pork, tomato, cucumber and sauce on Naan or flatbread, wrap and serve.
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