Sheet Pan Chicken Gyros with Lemony Yogurt Sauce

Chicken gyros--baked in the oven--are a wonderful weeknight dinner option! Lemony yogurt sauce makes these tender herbed chicken strips even more amazing. These gyros are great served with pita, rice, and lots of fresh veggies.

Chicken gyros–baked in the oven–are a wonderful weeknight dinner option! Lemony yogurt sauce makes these tender herbed chicken strips even more amazing. These gyros are great served with pita, rice, and lots of fresh veggies.

Chicken gyros--baked in the oven--are a wonderful weeknight dinner option! Lemony yogurt sauce makes these tender herbed chicken strips even more amazing. These gyros are great served with pita, rice, and lots of fresh veggies.

Back to school is here! At my house, it has come and gone. This week marks my husband’s second full week teaching at his new school and things are going well. His schedule is a little more flexible than last year, which has been so nice. Ben gets home earlier–even when he picks up our little guy at daycare. This means dinner isn’t quite as rushed and we have a little more family time in the evening. I’m sure things will ebb and flow a little as the year goes along, but so far, I’m just trying to enjoy the reprieve while it lasts! Especially since it’s still summertime, technically.

Chicken gyros--baked in the oven--are a wonderful weeknight dinner option! Lemony yogurt sauce makes these tender herbed chicken strips even more amazing. These gyros are great served with pita, rice, and lots of fresh veggies.

One way I’ve been trying to make the most of these longer late summer nights is by keeping dinner simple. I’ve probably talked about that a gazillion times since I went back to work after baby was born, but it’s still true. I can’t tell you how many meal planning and prep schedules, systems, and calendars I’ve tried to get my life in order. I haven’t paid for any yet (and don’t think I will). At some point, I’d love to write a post detailing my meal planning system, as it is… because I ***think*** I finally have something down that works for us. YAY! But I don’t know if anyone is really interested in that sort of thing–are you?

Chicken gyros--baked in the oven--are a wonderful weeknight dinner option! Lemony yogurt sauce makes these tender herbed chicken strips even more amazing. These gyros are great served with pita, rice, and lots of fresh veggies.

But anyways, the meal I’m sharing today… Sheet Pan Chicken Gyros with Lemony Yogurt is completely a by-product of my simple weeknight dinner theme. I know these aren’t true chicken gyros BUT they are truly delicious! Slicing the chicken before baking allows for quicker cooking… and seasoning the chicken with olive oil, lemon juice, and plenty of herbs makes sure your chicken is moist (sorry) and not a gross dried out mess. To dress up the chicken, be sure to serve it with some fresh pita, chopped veggies, and a super delicious (and EASY) lemony yogurt sauce. Sometimes I’m tempted to skip sauces when making recipes… “oh, I’ll just use hummus instead.” But seriously guys… please don’t! This lemony yogurt sauce is just THREE ingredients–plain greek yogurt, lemon juice, pepper. That’s it. Whisk together and enjoyyyy! This dinner is the best.

one year ago: Baked Burritos with Pinto Beans and Kale
two years ago: Zucchini Apple Walnut Muffins
three years ago: Baked Honey Chicken Nuggets with Homemade Chick-Fil-A Sauce
four years ago: Churro Cheesecake Bars
five years ago: Pesto Potato Salad
six years ago: Salmon with Lemon, Tarragon, and Garlic Sauce
seven years ago: Summer Mexican Soup

Sheet Pan Chicken Gyros with Lemony Yogurt Sauce

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 30 minutes
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Chicken gyros--baked in the oven--are a wonderful weeknight dinner option! Lemony yogurt sauce makes these tender herbed chicken strips even more amazing. These gyros are great served with pita, rice, and lots of fresh veggies.

inspired by my sheet pan chicken fajitas

Ingredients:

for gyros

  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • juice of 2 lemons (approximately 1/2 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

for lemon yogurt sauce

  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt (full fat!)
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • freshly ground black pepper

for serving: pita, romaine lettuce, chopped tomatoes, sliced red onions, feta, lemon yogurt sauce, hummus, greek lemon rice, etc.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with foil, parchment, or a silpat for easy clean up. Alternatively, you could just spray with nonstick cooking spray. Spread sliced onion and chicken on the baking sheet. Season with oregano, dill, garlic powder, pepper, and salt. Drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil, then toss everything together with your hands. This could all be done in a bowl if you prefer… but I prefer fewer dishes! Spread in an even layer.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked.

While chicken is cooking, prepare lemon yogurt sauce by whisking together greek yogurt with lemon juice. Season with pepper as desired. Chill until ready to serve.

Serve chicken in a pita with romaine lettuce, chopped tomatoes, sliced red onions, feta, lemon yogurt sauce, hummus, greek lemon rice, or any other desired toppings. Enjoy!

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Mexican Lasagna

Mexican Lasagna… this epic (vegetarian) meal is weeknight-friendly, pantry-friendly, and oh so tasty! I definitely need to make this dish more often. Enjoy!

Mexican Lasagna... this epic (vegetarian) meal is weeknight-friendly, pantry-friendly, and oh so tasty! I definitely need to make this dish more often. Enjoy!

Lasagna… one of my favorite dinners of all times. I don’t get people who say it’s complicated. Sure, it’s a little more involved than tossing together sauce and noodles, but all it takes is a little layering and baking and then you have an amazing cheesy comfort dish that pretty much everyone loves. Right?? Right.

Normally, I’m a regular lasagna girl. I have several lasagna recipes on my site but my go-to is my Mom’s (and Grandma’s) lasagna. I made it on Friday, actually, with a fussy baby (who didn’t sleep the night before) attached to my leg. Fun times. But sometimes you want something a little different. You still want the lasagna experience, but with a new palate of flavors. (Yes, I totally think in those terms. Please let me know I’m not alone.) Enter… MEXICAN Lasagna. All the goodness of lasagna mixed with all the goodness of taco night!

Mexican Lasagna... this epic (vegetarian) meal is weeknight-friendly, pantry-friendly, and oh so tasty! I definitely need to make this dish more often. Enjoy!

This is an epic fusion dish that I do not make often enough. The recipe, as is written, is vegetarian–but if that’s not your thing, add some meat. Chicken, beef, chorizo… they’d all work I think! I usually have most of the ingredients in the pantry and fridge, so even though it’s (gasp) lasagna, it’s totally possible as a weeknight “what do I make for dinner” recipe. Busy weeknight WIN! Enjoy!

one year ago: Awesome Kale Salad
two years ago: Cheesy Veggie Pasta
three years ago: Chocolate Cream Filled Cupcakes
four years ago: Double Chocolate Banana Muffins
five years ago: Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
six years ago: Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken
seven years ago: Potato Soup

Mexican Lasagna

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 60 minutes, includes baking
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from Annie’s Eats

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed — I usually cook my black beans from scratch and use 1 1/2 cups
  • 1 1/2 cups corn kernels — fresh (usually about 3 ears) or frozen
  • 4-5 green onions, green and white parts sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro + more to serve
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • black pepper
  • 1 – 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 9 no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 8 ounce shredded Mexican blend cheese — I’ve also used sharp cheddar, pepper jack, or monterey jack

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 9×9 inch square baking dish with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, toss together black beans, corn, green onions, cilantro, oregano, garlic powder, cumin, and pepper.

Spread 1/4 of the crushed tomatoes on the bottom of the prepared pan. Top with 3 lasagna noodles. If necessary, break them to fit the pan. Spoon 1/3 of the black bean mixture over noodles, then spread with tomatoes and 1/3 of the cheese. Repeat to use up remaining ingredients: noodles, beans, tomatoes, cheese, noodles, beans, tomatoes, cheese.

Cover pan with foil, then bake for 35-45 minutes until noodles are fully cooked. Remove foil and bake for 3-5 minutes, until cheese is melty and golden brown.

Allow lasagna to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!

Note: I’ve also used 12 lasagna noodles and made this in a large oval serving dish. I’m sure a 9×13 dish would work as well.

Black Bean Burgers #CookoutWeek

The BEST black bean burgers you will ever have! Promise. These burgers are a great addition to your next cookout… even if you aren’t a vegetarian. (And let me say… your vegetarian friends will love you for having these on hand too!)

The BEST black bean burgers you will ever have! Promise. These burgers are a great addition to your next cookout... even if you aren't a vegetarian. (And let me say... your vegetarian friends will love you for having these on hand too!) #CookoutWeek 2017

I’m not vegetarian, but I still love me some black bean burgers! I have been making this recipe for many years now and they’re always a huge success. My meat lover husband (and carnivore son… seriously, that kid enjoys his protein. Usually. Except last night when he threw his turkey sloppy joes all over the floor until we let him feed himself with a fork. Yup.) enjoys these burgers every time I make them, much to his surprise.

Back in my grad school days we got into eating more vegetarian food as a way to save money, save the earth (Meatless Monday and all), and to experiment in the kitchen. I made various bean burgers. Most were edible, some were good, some were complicated, some were dry, some fell apart, and some went in the trash (when I didn’t use my husband’s lunch to finish them *ahem sweet potato burgers ahem*). But these… these black bean burgers have stuck around. They’re made with quinoa, sauteed carrots and onions, and a few standard pantry spices/seasonings like paprika, cumin, cinnamon, oregano, ketchup, soy sauce, and Sriracha. Even though you won’t find any meat in them, they still have a hearty, burger-like texture with a ton of flavor that you are sure to love. You can top these burgers with all your fave burger toppings–cheese, avocado, tomato… the possibilities are endless!

The BEST black bean burgers you will ever have! Promise. These burgers are a great addition to your next cookout... even if you aren't a vegetarian. (And let me say... your vegetarian friends will love you for having these on hand too!) #CookoutWeek 2017

One of my favorite aspects of these burgers is that they freeze SO WELL. I’m not just saying that; they really do. I love making a double batch of these burgers on the weekend. After eating one fresh, I like to freeze the rest on a baking sheet for a few hours, then transfer them to a zip-top bag. They can last up to two months in the freezer and still taste great, but I usually find that we’ve eaten them much faster than that! They’re wonderful to pull out of the freezer for a quick weekday lunch. Even if I don’t have burger buns on hand, they’re great with a lettuce wrap, on a salad, or even just eaten alone. Plus, if you have a bag of these in the freezer, you’ll be set when vegetarian friends and family come over for a cookout. There’s nothing worse than realizing you don’t have anything on hand for them to eat… and these black bean burgers taste way better than the frozen kind you can buy at the grocery store. Your vegetarian friends are sure to appreciate you after that… and your meat-eating pals may even be swayed with how tasty these burgers are! 🙂 Enjoy!

Don’t forget to enter the #CookoutWeek 2017 giveaway, happening NOW! Lots of great prizes and an easy entry!

Tell me: what’s your favorite vegetarian dish for a cookout?

Check out some other delicious cookout recipes shared today for #CookoutWeek here!

one year ago: Avalanche Cookies
two years ago: Peach Cobbler Scones

three years ago: Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
four years ago: Double Chocolate Strawberry Shortcakes
five years ago: Cilantro Lime Hummus
six years ago: Rhubarb Muffins

Black Bean Burgers

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 45 minutes
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The BEST black bean burgers you will ever have! Promise. These burgers are a great addition to your next cookout... even if you aren't a vegetarian. (And let me say... your vegetarian friends will love you for having these on hand too!) #CookoutWeek 2017

from Bake Your Day

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup vegetable broth (sometimes I use chicken broth instead)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 medium carrots, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • salt
  • 1 – 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed (about 1 1/2 cups black beans)
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce (Worcestershire sauce works in a pinch too)
  • 1-2 teaspoons Sriracha
  • 1/2-1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • olive oil, for cooking
  • to serve as desired: buns, lettuce, tomato, onions, cheese, avocado, mayonnaise, etc.

Directions:

Prepare quinoa as directed on package, using broth instead of water.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Saute carrots and onion until soft, about 7-8 minutes. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, another minute. Remove from heat and stir in spices: paprika, cumin, cinnamon, oregano, and cayenne. Season to taste with black pepper and salt.

In a food processor or large bowl, combine black beans and cooked carrot mixture. Pulse together a few times to break down the black beans. A potato masher is a great tool for this if you don’t have or don’t want to use a food processor. Beans still should have some substance to them, so don’t obliterate them completely.

Stir in ketchup, soy sauce, and Sriracha. Fold in quinoa, 1/2 cup panko, and egg. Mix well to combine. Shape into 1/2 cup patties. If the patties don’t hold together well, gradually add up to another 1/2 cup panko until they do. Place on a plate or baking sheet, then cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes or up to 48 hours before cooking.

When ready to cook, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Cook patties for 4-5 minutes per side, until golden brown and heated through.

Serve on a bun or in a lettuce wrap with your favorite burger toppings and enjoy!

Notes:

These burgers freeze so well! Make a batch or two to keep on hand for busy nights, quick lunches, or vegetarian guests at your next cookout.

If you’re spice averse, you may be wary of the cayenne and the Sriracha. You can omit, of course, but they really aren’t spicy at all! Just FYI. 🙂

Deconstructed Falafel Bowls

Welcome spring with a light and flavorful deconstructed falafel bowl! This vegetarian dinner is so fresh and delicious, perfect for busy weeknights. 

Welcome spring with a light and flavorful deconstructed falafel bowl! This vegetarian dinner is so fresh and delicious, perfect for busy weeknights.

Spring is here! My birthday was yesterday, and #BabyVolde’s is next week. He’ll be ONE on Friday. I can hardly believe it. Last weekend we celebrated his birthday and his baptism. Almost our entire family came down for the occasion. It was a whirlwind weekend (and unfortunately it rained the whole time) but it was so fun.

Our little family

One of the best parts of spring (aside from the great running weather) is all the fresh produce at the grocery store! It’s almost farmer’s market season too. I can’t wait. I foresee quite a few lighter meals in our future, like these deconstructed falafel bowls. Regular falafel, while delicious, are a little too intense for weeknight dinners at my house. All that shaping and frying/baking. Noooo thanks! BUT if you just roast the chickpeas in the oven and layer them up with some grains, a tasty Mediterranean salsa bursting with fresh tomatoes, cucumber, and herbs, and drizzle a tangy tzatziki yogurt sauce over top, suddenly falafels on a random Wednesday night is doable. Even if you have a baby crawling all over the kitchen, getting into evvvvvvverything.

Welcome spring with a light and flavorful deconstructed falafel bowl! This vegetarian dinner is so fresh and delicious, perfect for busy weeknights.

Though they take about 45 minutes to put together, most of that time is hands-off, waiting for the chickpeas to get all crispy in the oven. To make this meal faster, you can prepare the grain base (I used bulgur but anything goes–couscous, quinoa, rice, etc.) and tzatziki yogurt sauce ahead of time. Then, when the chickpeas are cooking you can throw the Mediterranean salsa together in a hurry… and presto! Dinner is served. 🙂 We loved all the textures/flavors in this dish, as well as the temperature contrast between the hot, smoky chickpeas and the cool, creamy tzatziki sauce. This is a great one dish meal that has definitely earned a spot on my spring/summer dinner rotation. Next time, I’ll be sure to pick up some pita bread and hummus to enjoy on the side. Happy Friday!

one year ago: Chocolate Peanut Butter Oreo Dream
two years ago: Spicy Chickpea Bacon Burgers
three years ago: Easy Homemade New York Bagels
four years ago: Kale Fried Rice
five years ago: Lemon Orzo Chicken Soup
six years ago: Mexican Pizza

Deconstructed Falafel Bowls

  • Servings: 3
  • Time: 45 minutes
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adapted from Delish Knowledge; Tzatziki from my blog

  • 1 – 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and patted very dry with towel
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3/4 cup uncooked bulgur, couscous or other grain/grain susbtitute of choice

for the Tzatziki

  • 2 cups plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cucumber, seeded and grated, pressed dry with a clean dish towel
  • 2 teaspoons dried dill (or 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped])
  • 1-2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste

for the Mediterranean salsa

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, minced
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint, minced
  • freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Begin by making the chickpeas. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the chickpeas–they should be very dry–with olive oil, then spread on a baking sheet in a single layer. Cook for 30 minutes, tossing halfway through. Remove from oven and season with cayenne, cumin, and paprika.

While chickpeas are cooking, prepare grain according to package directions. I made bulgur but couscous, quinoa, farro, or even rice would be great choices! Basically, anything goes here.

Next, make tzatziki. In a small bowl, stir together greek yogurt with grated cucumber, then fold in dill. Season with pepper and salt to taste. If desired, add mayonnaise. It adds a little extra tang that I love, but it can be omitted. Cover and refrigerate to let flavors blend. Tzatziki can be made the day before if desired.

Finally, make the Mediterranean salsa. Stir together tomatoes, cucumber, and red onion in a medium bowl. Gently fold in parsley and mint, then season with a bit of pepper. Let rest while chickpeas finish cooking.

 

When ready to serve, place bulgur in individual bowls. Top with chickpeas, Medterranean salsa, and a drizzle of tzatziki. Enjoy!

Lentil Veggie Macaroni and Cheese

Who doesn’t love mac and cheese? This version is fancied up with some lentils and veggies for a more complete version of a childhood favorite.

Who doesn't love mac and cheese? This version is fancied up with some lentils and veggies for a more complete version of a childhood favorite.

When it comes to macaroni and cheese, I usually gravitate towards the baked variety. Don’t get me wrong, a box of Kraft or Annie’s is pretty much always in our pantry for those desperate nights… but when I REALLY want mac and cheese, this is what I’m talking about. Ben and I can make our way through a pan of that stuff in just a few days… it’s crazy good. And now that #BabyVolde is eating more and more of my regular cooking, heaven help us. When I made that mac and cheese a few weeks ago, he gobbled it up.

Sunday dinner… baked mac & cheese with roasted broccoli. All of us loved it (especially #BabyVolde)! 🧀

A post shared by Sarah K. // The Pajama Chef (@thepajamachef) on

While that mac and cheese will always always always be my favorite, sometimes I want mac and cheese… but with a little less cheese and a little more nutrition. Yeahhh… especially since I have a pretty non-picky-baby eater right now and I want to keep it that way. So that’s when I bring in Lentil Veggie Macaroni and Cheese. You still have your cheese and pasta… but with a little extra protein (helllllllooooo lentils) and some extra veggie power. I won’t say the lentils and veggies aren’t noticeable, but they do make this dish a bit heartier and a little healthier. I can’t wait to make it again soon–it’s absolutely delicious!

Who doesn't love mac and cheese? This version is fancied up with some lentils and veggies for a more complete version of a childhood favorite.

One last thing before I go… I did make this recipe into a baked mac and cheese cause that’s my favorite. #crispynoodlesforlife But if that’s not your thing, or you’re in a time crunch, you can omit the panko topping and the baking step, no problemo! Enjoy!

one year ago: Chocolate Chip Butterscotch Bars
two years ago: Butternut Squash and Mushroom Tart
three years ago: Oatmeal Fudge Bars
four years ago: Neely’s Lemon Pasta Salad
five years ago: Pineapple-Apricot Teriyaki Chicken
six years ago: Sweet and Tangy Pork Chops with Pineapple over Coconut Toasted Rice

Lentil Veggie Macaroni and Cheese

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 45 minutes
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slightly adapted from The Lean Green Bean

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces dry pasta
  • 3/4 cup lentils
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3-4 cups mixed vegetables, diced – can be fresh or frozen, or a combination
  • 5 ounces frozen spinach, defrosted – or 3 handfuls fresh baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a large baking dish – 9×13 inches or similar and set aside.

Prepare pasta according to package directions. Prepare lentils according to package directions.

While pasta and lentils are cooking, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds until fragrant, then stir in mixed vegetables and spinach. Saute for 5-10 minutes until softened – less for frozen vegetables and more for fresh. Sprinkle with flour, paprika, and cayenne, then stir to coat. Add milk and cheese, stirring until well combined.

Carefully fold in pasta and lentils, then transfer mixture into greased baking dish.

In a small bowl, melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in the microwave. Toss with panko, then sprinkle panko mixture over the macaroni mixture.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until bubbly. Enjoy!

Note: If baked pasta isn’t your thing or you’re in a time crunch, just omit the panko and baking steps. It’ll be just fine without it. 🙂