Thursday, January 14, 2016

Week 3 - Greek

I wasn't sure what to make for the Greek challenge. We love Greek food and have made some pretty good Greek dishes at home already (some of our favorites are the maroulosalata and the baked langostino tails), so it was hard to choose what to make next. So much of Greek cuisine (and Mediterranean cuisine in general) is all about the ingredients, just really fresh vegetables and meat/fish and herbs. It's the middle of the winter, so there wasn't going to be a whole lot of "fresh" going on in our kitchen. The one thing I knew I wanted to use was crumbled feta since we currently have a Costco sized container in the fridge, so I combed through my recipe e-files, and decided to adapt this recipe for a Greek turkey, rice and feta casserole from Cookin' Canuck.

The ingredients I used for the challenge (adapted from the original recipe) were:

- 1 lb ground turkey ($4.06)
- 1 tbsp olive oil ($0.20)
- 1 small onion, chopped ($0.15)
- 1/3 head of garlic, minced ($0.08)
- red pepper flakes ($0.05) 
- dried oregano ($0.10)
- salt and pepper ($0.05)
- 2 cans of diced tomatoes ($1.50)
- 2 cups of cooked brown rice ($1)
- crumbled feta cheese ($1.50)
- 1/2 bunch of parsley, leaves chopped ($0.50)

The total cost of the recipe was approximately $9.19. Not too bad since it was largely meat-based.

I generally followed the steps from the recipe, but here's how it went for us:

1. Heat olive oil in pan and saute onion and ground turkey, breaking up ground turkey as it cooks. (Our turkey took a little longer than usual to cook since it hadn't fully thawed out despite sitting in running cold water in the sink for more than an entire episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. It also released more water than expected into the wok (skillet needed washing) but that wasn't an issue.)

2. Once turkey is cooked, add garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. (I didn't measure any of the amounts. The amounts in the original recipe just seemed so small to me for the amount of turkey and other ingredients, so I used much more, but I just don't know how much more.) Mix well and then add the diced tomatoes (with water).

3. Bring tomato-turkey mixture to a boil and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes. (During this time, A also helped out by breaking up the tomatoes into smaller pieces. Normally this isn't an issue for diced tomatoes, but the diced tomatoes in the Costco cans are more like tomato pieces than diced in our opinion.)

4. After that, add the cooked rice, some feta (about 1/4-1/2 cup), and parsley. Mix together well. Taste when done and adjust the seasonings. (I added more of everything - red pepper flakes, oregano, salt, and pepper.)

5. Grease a large baking pan and then add turkey-rice mixture to the pan in an even layer. Add more feta cheese to the top. (I didn't measure but it's much more than the 1/4 cup from the recipe.)

6. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes and then eat!

I really liked this casserole. It was hearty and tasted healthy. I got a good amount of the seasonings, but A thought that it was very light on seasonings and needed more. I think it could have used more feta cheese, but I was trying to be good and keep it a little bit healthier. I'm not sure if I would make this again since the flavor profile is a little similar to a Mediterranean pie I've made before (but not yet written about), and I think we liked that better (even if this is healthier). Glad we tried this though.

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