Great Summer Meal

souvlakiCredit: google

Have you ever been sitting in the kitchen staring at a couple of pounds of meat, wondering what you can make that will keep everyone happy? This meal is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. 

Having cooked this meal a thousand times for four to four hundred, I can tell you it is easier to cook and prepare than you thought. Don't purchase prepackaged souvlaki in stores. I will show you how to make your own, it will be tastier and cheaper.

A common misconception is it has to marinate over-night. It would be better of course but 30 minutes to an hour will suffice. 

Don't forget about tzatziki, that garlic yogurt dressing that's so hard to say and even harder to find. I will give you a quick recipe that is 25 % the price and just as good.

If you are going to produce this meal you might as well go crazy and do the whole thing.  I'll give you recipes for Greek salad and rice as well. I put a little spin on both that is a little healthier but just as tasty.

souvlakiCredit: google

 I am not much for measuring ingredients because I cook to taste. Remember cooking is an  art, baking is a science. (I'm a crappy baker). So I will try to make this easy to understand and create.  Always try and have fun in the kitchen otherwise it's a tedious bore.

Cooking to me is creativity at its finest, because you can see and taste your results almost immediately. I look at a food recipe as a guideline, meant to be fine tuned and tweaked to your liking.


Ingredients for Souvlaki

2 lbs of chicken or pork, or even beef or lamb. Whatever you like. Chicken and pork are the easiest though. The other meats actually do need to marinate overnight because they are a lot more fibrous and could be tougher.

1 cup of olive oil or vegetable oil.

6 tablespoons of assorted spices, such as Rosemary, Basil, and Oregano.

Juice of 1 lemon plus zest of half the skin.

1 teaspoon of pepper,1 teaspoon salt.

2 heaping tablespoons of chopped garlic. I use the store-bought stuff because it's easier. ( I'm sure a lot of chefs are cursing and swearing over this, but to heck with them). 

1 tablespoon of paprika. Optional

tzatzikiCredit: google

Ingredients for Tzatziki

1 cup of yogurt or sour cream.

1/4 cup of shredded cucumber.

1/2 teaspoon of dill.

1 tablespoon of lemon juice, zest of 1/2 lemon.

1 teaspoon chopped garlic.

riceCredit: google

Ingredients for Rice

2 cups of basmati rice. This what I prefer, but use what you want

1 teaspoon olive oil.

1 teaspoon salt.

greek saladCredit: google

Ingredients for Greek salad

1 head of iceberg lettuce.

3 large tomatoes. 

1/2 a red onion 

1 cucumber.

1 tin of Kalamata olives (pitted, otherwise somebody might have a nasty surprise). Omit olives if you want.

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese.


olive oilCredit: google

1 lemon.

1/2 cup olive oil.

1/2 teaspoon salt.

1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

1 teaspoon dried oregano.

1 teaspoon chopped garlic.




Roughly chop up meat into 1-2" lumps and place in bowl.

Zest half your lemon skin then squeeze juice out of whole lemon and place both in another bowl.  Pour oil and all other ingredients into it and stir with fork or finger(who cares you are going to get them dirty in a minute).

Now here's the dirty part or sensual( if your partner is helping). Pour the assorted ingredients on to chopped meat and massage with hands for a minute or so. Really get it mixed up good. Put plastic wrap on meat and store till ready to cook.

Now go wash those hands, because they will stink. Heres a tip, as you wash your hands rub them up and down the stainless steel in sink, it removes the garlic smell. Don't ask me how, but it does seem to work.


Put two cups of rice into a pot with tight-fitting lid. Put a dash of oil and a dash of salt. Mix it up, I generally swirl it around till the rice looks shiny.

Pour 3 and 3/4 cups of water over it. Place on stove bring and to boil then shut off element or gas and place cover on pot. Leave rice alone for 20 minutes or so and it will be perfect.


Roughly chop lettuce and tomatoes, dice cucumber, finely slice onion and mix all together with dressing. Sprinkle olives and feta on top.

Dressing                                                                                                                                        Add garlic and dry spices into a container that you can seal and shake. Squeeze that lemon in there and add the oil. Simply shake it up!


This one is easy as well. Mix the plain yogurt or sour cream with all other ingredients, season with a little salt and pepper to taste and that is it!

Ok, back to souvlaki. Now you can grill this outside (preferable) or you can bake in oven. Stick meat on skewers ( I like to use the metal ones, instead of wooden or bamboo). However many you want per skewer, it's your rules.

grillCredit: google


Then place them gently on a moderately heated grill. It is a good idea, but not imperative to lightly brush grill with vegetable oil before grilling. It reduces sticking of the meat. Turn now and then till they start to brown.

I hope you have a temperature probe (I tell everyone this, it's very important for your health not to under cook, and bad for your taste buds to over cook). When the chicken or pork has reached an internal temperature of 170 it is ready.

Now if you family or your partner is not impressed with this, well.......... there's always peanut butter!

peanut butterCredit: google


The Olive and the Caper: Adventures in Greek Cooking
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