This week I decided to pay homage to my Greek heritage. I know I know…you are probably asking…”what is Greek about roasted mustard potatoes?” Well… nothing. BUT I had potatoes that I needed to use, and I wanted to try a new potato recipe. Whenever I make roasted potatoes, I use my Dad’s recipe…YUM! This time, however, I wanted to switch it up a bit, so I searched for a new recipe. I found this one on “Pinterest” aka my new favorite search engine for recipes. It looked yummy, and I had all the ingredients so I decided to give it a try. Well that was the easy part. The hard part of meal planning for me is finding a protein. As vegetarians, it is sometimes difficult to find a protein to pair with vegetables or side dishes. Add to that the fact that I have a family of picky eaters, and it’s almost impossible to make ONE meal that will feed us all. Ryan eats nothing. Victoria eats most of what I make, and is at least open-minded enough to try whatever I make. Dan isn’t a huge fan of most of the vegetarian substitutes that Victoria and I like. For instance, there is a company called “Quorn” that makes delicious alternatives to many chicken products. I love their naked cutlets, their chik’n tenders, and their turk’y roast. Victoria is a HUGE fan of their Gruyère chik’n cutlets. Dan isn’t a fan at all…he has texture issues and therefore doesn’t prefer these products. Ryan of course won’t even taste a Quorn product. Therein lies my dilemma in regards to meal planning. So like I mentioned above, picking a side dish or a veggie is easy…it’s the protein that usually trips me up. I personally love potatoes paired with a vegetarian chik’n, or a veggie burger. So I decided on veggie burgers, and went with tried and true burger recipe…Greek feta and spinach burgers. I make them pretty regularly as we LOVE them…we doesn’t include Ryan of course☺ As a side note, I have to say that I was astounded that while I was at work on Tuesday evening, Ryan asked Dan if he could try a “Babybel” cheese. O.M.G. I almost fainted when Dan told me. Ryan didn’t like the Babybel, BUT he tried it…and all on his own!!!!! Holy cow!!! Maybe there is some light at the end of the food tunnel! Ahhhh to only have to prepare 1 or 2 meals at dinner time?!?!?!? I know I am getting ahead of myself, but just for a moment it was sooooo nice…a Mom can dream right? ☺
So while I was prepping the potatoes and the burgers, I decided to add another side dish to the menu for that evening’s dinner. I searched “Pinterest” again, and I found the recipe for cucumber boats stuffed with feta cheese and dill. Well what is more Greek than feta and cucumbers? I love love love feta paired with spinach, or with cucumbers. I thought the dishes would compliment each other nicely, so I made all three dishes. In a word dinner was “Greek-a-licious.” Dan and Victoria loved the potatoes. I must add that Victoria isn’t a huge fan of mustard. However, she does LOVE the honey mustard at “Red Robin.” In fact, she said when she is old enough to work, she wants to get a job at Red Robin just to learn the recipe, and then quit. Last time we were at Red Robin, I asked our server if the honey mustard was available for purchase. She informed me that they got it from Gordon’s Food Supply. Well we promptly searched the shelves of Gordon’s and came up empty. I think we were misinformed. At any rate, please do not be turned off if you are not a fan of mustard. The end result isn’t “mustardy” at all. These potatoes are really flavorful, and I will definitely make them again. I think the fact that we had no left-over potatoes speaks volumes. The cucumbers are delicious too. In addition to being tasty, they are ridiculously simple to prepare. I love simple recipes, but they make me angry too. I usually get frustrated that I did not come up with the idea on my own. To date I have only created a few recipes. Unfortunately, I am a much better recipe follower than recipe inventor. These recipes are easy to follow, and I am sure they can be tweaked to cater to your family’s tastes. ☺
I mentioned that these recipes were in homage of my Greek heritage. I am an avid fan of Mediterranean cuisine. Having grown up with that yummy food all around me, I have developed quite an appreciation for its healthy and delicious simplicity. I am a vegetarian now, but back in the day I LOVED shish kebab and chicken kebab. I still love a Greek salad, tzatziki sauce, grape leaves, and Greek spinach pie. I have to be honest and say that I prefer Lebanese spinach pies, but the Greek version made with filo dough is rather tasty too. I have actually made the Greek version of my beloved spinach pie, and I have made veggie friendly versions of pastisio, and moussaka. The only thing I am not crazy about are Greek desserts. Don’t get me wrong I love love love desserts, but I am not a fan of honey. Unfortunately, most Greek and Lebanese pastries are drenched in honey…BLECH! They look good, and Dan and Victoria rave about them, but I sadly cannot palate the honey. Maybe I should make baklava, and use agave nectar instead of the honey…hmmm maybe in a future blog?
My Greek heritage comes from my Mom’s side of the family. My Sito Georgia’s father (my Great Grandfather), was Greek. His name was George Cotsepowlous, and my Sito told me his family was from Tripoli. I never had the opportunity to meet him as he died before I was born. I do have a few pictures of him that I absolutely adore. My favorite pictures, are of him in his candy shop, “The Sugar Bowl.” My Sito Georgia used to delight me with stories about her Dad’s candy shop. She told me that when she was young she used to work there, and help him make all the sweet treats. I would have LOVED to have visited his store. Of course, I would also have loved to sample all his yummy candy too. I often think of him while enjoying a sweet treat, and wonder if he made something similar to the delectable that I am enjoying. I have blamed him more than once for my addiction to chocolate. I mean my Great Grandfather was a confectioner, so how could I grow up not loving chocolate??? It’s literally in my genes.♥
Here are the links to the recipes that I used: http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/2012/03/roasted-mustard-potatoes.html