Category Archives: yogurt

Chicken Korma


It isn’t quite spring around here but the tease of warmer weather and definitely longer days has me thinking about ways to lighten up my menus.  On sunnier days stick to your ribs stews are loosing their appeal and have me seeking out lighter fare. But lighter doesn’t have to mean less flavorful as this quick dish from the  Noble Pig attests to.

The rich and tangy flavors of cilantro, cumin and ginger add spice to ground chicken (you can substitute turkey if you prefer) while the peas and fresh cilantro add brightness and the necessary vegetables that make this a complete dinner option. Its fast, delicious and sure to please.


1 large red onion; 1/2 chopped, 1/2 sliced
1 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more for brushing
3/4 pound ground chicken
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt plus more for garnish
1/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/4 chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
4 pitas, for serving

  • Combine the chopped onion, ginger, garlic, coriander, cumin  1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 cup of water in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse  until a thin paste forms.
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onion and cook until golden, 4 minutes.
  • Add the ginger paste and cook, stirring, until most of the water is cooked out, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the chicken and cook until opaque, breaking up the meat.
  • In a small bowl mix the yogurt with 1/4 cup water, add to the pan and simmer over medium-low heat until the meat is cooked through, 2-3 minutes more.
  • Add the peas and the cilantro and season to taste with additional salt if desired.
  • Meanwhile, heat another skillet over high heat. Brush the pitas with oil, season with a tiny amount of salt and toast in the skillet, about 1 minute per side.
  • Divide the chicken mixture among the pitas.

Serves 4

Beef Gyros


I’ve always been a huge fan of Greek food. Regardless of the season the tangy Greek flavors of feta cheese, oregano and fresh dill inspire images of sun drenched Greek beaches. And this time of year, when the weather is especially gray and dreary, I find myself longing for a Greek Island getaway. When that isn’t possible, I head to the kitchen and cook up my own Greek feast.

These gyros, adapted from Peanut Butter and Peppers, comes pretty close to channeling the Greek Island experience. Here beef is substituted for the traditional lamb (which is also delicious but sometimes difficult to find). The meat is marinated in a lemon-oregano mixture which ensures that every bite is juicy and flavorful. As a finishing touch the entire gyro is topped with Tzatziki Sauce- the yogurt, dill and cucumber sauce that Greece is famous for.

So here’s to getting your own dose of the Greek Islands. Enjoy!


For the Tzatziki Sauce

1 cup Greek yogurt

1 cup cucumber, diced small

3 tablespoons fresh dill, diced small

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 dash salt

1 dash pepper

For the gyros:

1 pound beef steak tips, cut into bite size pieces

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon dried oregano

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

4 cups salad greens

2 tomatoes, sliced

¼ cup feta cheese crumbles

4 pita breads

  • To make the tzatziki sauce, place the cucumber and half of the yogurt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until smooth.
  •  Add mixture to a medium sized bowl and stir in remaining yogurt, the dill, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir well to combine.
  • Add additional salt, if needed  and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • To prepare the gyros, combine the garlic, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  • Add the meat to a zip top bag or bowl, and pour marinade over the beef. Refrigerate for 1 hour up to 4 hours.
  • When you are ready to cook, set grill to medium low heat
  • Place the meat on the grill, (you can place meat on skewers if you prefer) and cook on each side for about 4 minutes or until they are done to your preference.
  • Let the meat rest for 5 minutes.
  • Evenly divide the meat on a pita shell, top with the salad greens, tomatoes, feta cheese and the Tzatziki Sauce.

Serves 4


Raspberry Yogurt Cake


I love this cake from the Reluctant Entertainer. First of all, it is a one bowl cake that is so easy to make; it really comes together in a matter of minutes.  If you choose to serve it as part of a brunch (as I do), simply take your butter out of the refrigerator the night before and it will be the perfect consistency for creaming in the morning. The yogurt ensures that the cake is moist and flavorful. When raspberries are in season use them and you will have the perfect summery cake. I’ve also made this cake with blueberries as well and they are just as good. You can use just about any fresh fruit, just make sure it is perfectly ripe since the fruit is center stage with this cake. Enjoy!


1/2 cup butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons, for the berries

3 eggs

1 1/2 cup plain yogurt

1 teaspoon. almond extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups fresh raspberries, or fresh fruit of your choice

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 10-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray then set aside.
  • Combine the butter, sugar, eggs, yogurt and almond extract in a large mixing mow. Beat with an electric mixer until just combined.
  • Add in the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda and use a rubber spatula to fold the dry ingredient into the batter until just combined.
  • In a small bowl combined the berries with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar.
  • Sprinkle the sugared raspberries over the top of the cake.
  • Bake for 50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a cake plate.

Yields: 12 slices


Blueberry Tea Cake


I’m a huge fan of summer berries and going back to my Maine roots, blueberries are by far my favorite of all the berries. And because I am a native Mainer, when it comes to blueberries, in my opinion wild ones are far superior to cultivated ones. Smaller in size and darker in color, wild blueberries are sweeter and yield more of a “summer taste”. Unfortunately, fresh wild blueberries aren’t easy to find in many parts of the world so fresh cultivated ones will do in a pinch–because after all, fresh blueberries are better than no blueberries at all.

When you’ve had your fill of blueberry pies, pancakes and muffins and you’ve canned more jam than you can possibly eat and/or gift (can you tell what I do will all my fresh berries?), it is time to look for alternative uses for these sweet little berries.  And when that time comes, look no further than this easy and flavorful tea cake from Williams Sonoma. The cake comes together quickly and with just a hint of spicy cardamom and a generous amount of fresh blueberries, it is the perfect snack or lunchbox treat. Of course, fresh wild blueberries are best but lacking them, feel free to substitute cultivated ones or even frozen berries. If you do use the frozen version, be sure to lightly dust them in flour before adding them to the batter. This will prevent them from “bleeding”.



8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar

2 tablespoons dark rum

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 cup plain yogurt

2 cups fresh wild blueberries

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting (optional)

  • Preheat an oven to 350°F. Coat an 8 inch square baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cardamom. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and brown sugar until thick and fluffy.
  • Using a wooden spoon, stir in the melted butter, rum and lemon zest.
  • Add the flour mixture in two additions, alternating with the yogurt, and stir until just smooth.
  • Using a rubber spatula, fold in the blueberries.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and smooth the top with the spatula.
  • Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes.
  • Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool completely in the pan.
  • Using a fine-mesh sieve, dust the cake with confectioners’ sugar.

Yields: 1- 8 inch square cake


Peach Pancakes


Who doesn’t love pancakes for breakfast? In my house they are always a hit on weekend mornings. Some people prefer thinner pancakes but to me those are crepes. Don’t get me wrong; we love crepes too but for me a pancake is big and fluffy and as my husband says, a meal unto itself.

To make my fluffy pancakes I use the same basic recipe then add in what ever fruits are in season. This time of year that means peaches. The markets are filled with the juicy fruit and with a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg they are the perfect addition to these pancakes. Top with warmed maple syrup and a side of bacon or sausage if you like, and breakfast is served. These disappear like, well, hot cakes so make a double batch. Leftovers are perfect popped into the toaster during the week.



2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

4 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

4 tablespoons melted butter

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup plain yogurt

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 large ripe peaches, pitted and cut into 1/4 inch pieces

  • Lightly grease a griddle and pre-heat it to medium-high.  It is ready when a drop of water immediately sizzles when placed on the griddle.
  • In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, combine the melted butter, eggs, yogurt, milk and vanilla extract.
  • Make a small well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the egg mixture. Fold gently to combine. Do not over mix.
  • Add the peaches and fold to combine.  You should have some small lumps in the batter.
  • Drop the batter by the ladle onto the hot griddle.
  • Cook until small bubbles form around the edges of the pancakes, about 3-4 minutes.  Flip the pancakes and cook an additional 2-3 minutes or until browned.
  • Repeat the process until all of the remaining batter has been used.
  • Serve with butter and warmed maple syrup or molasses if desired.

Yields: 8-10 large or 15-16 small pancakes


Pecan Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake


Coffee cake is a classic that never goes out of style. Tender and crumbly with lots of flavorful cinnamon, and perhaps nuts, coffee cake is the perfect mid-morning snack when served alongside a cup of coffee (hence its name). At least that is what my husband’s co-workers said when they devoured an entire coffee cake in less than 10 minutes.

This recipe comes from King Arthur FlourBecause I was gifted with several pounds of pecans I’ve taken the liberty of adding finely chopped nuts into the streusel topping. I love the toasty crunch they add  to the topping. There are two things that you will immediately notice about this recipe; first it makes a large cake. If you prefer, you can cut the recipe in half then bake it in a single 8″ x 8″ cake pan. (You may need to reduce the baking time slightly). The second thing you will notice is that the recipe does call for a lot of sugar. Disliking anything too sweet, I was initially skeptical about the amounts but much to my delight the cake is not sweet. Instead, the generous amount of cinnamon adds spice and complexity to the cake. So bake the cake, pour yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy.


Streusel Topping:

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup toasted pecans, finely chopped

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 large eggs

3/4 cup plain yogurt

1 1/4 cups milk

3 3/4 cups all purpose flour

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a 9 x 13 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  • To make the topping, whisk  together the sugar, salt, flour, and cinnamon.
  • Add the melted butter, stirring till well combined. Set the topping aside.
  • To make the filling, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and cocoa powder in a small bowl Set it aside.
  • To make the cake, use an electric mixer to beat together the butter, salt, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat well combined and smooth.
  •  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  •  In a separate bowl, whisk together the yogurt and milk till well combined.
  •  Add the flour to the butter mixture alternating with the yogurt and milk mixture, beating gently to combine.
  • Pour half the batter into the prepared pan, spreading all the way to the edges.
  • Sprinkle the filling evenly atop the batter.
  • Spread the remaining batter atop the filling.
  • Use a table knife to gently swirl the filling into the batter. You don’t want to stir the filling into the batter, rather you want to create a ribbon of cinnamon filling throughout the cake.
  • Sprinkle the topping over the batter in the pan.
  • Bake until the cake is dark golden brown around the edges and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 55 to 60 minutes.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool for 20 minutes before cutting and serving.
  • Serve cake right from the pan.

Yields 16 pieces

Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins

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Growing up in New England, a rhubarb plant or two was always a mainstay in every garden we had. With toxic leaves and acidic bitter stems one might wonder why anyone would even want to eat this vegetable. (And yes, most people consider it to be a vegetable even though it is most often served in dishes like a fruit). The answer, is because it is so versatile–it is perfect in pies, tarts, muffins, and sauces; it can accompany sweet or savory dishes; and frankly because when cooked with a bit of sweetener, it is just plain good. As a cooler weather vegetable, rhubarb was all but impossible to find in the markets of Mediterranean Albania and I missed it. Each spring I would crave pies and muffins and wonder where I could find myself a few stalks.

Much to my delight, rhubarb is popping up in all of the local markets here in Belgium. Like asparagus and strawberries, once they begin to appear I know spring is really here. So what was the first recipe I made with my initial rhubarb stalks? Classic strawberry rhubarb muffins. The recipe is an adaptation of one from Boston’s Flour BakeryYou may use fresh or frozen rhubarb but be sure to only use fresh ripe strawberries. The recipe makes a dozen generous sized muffins; fill the muffins cups to the rim but do not overfill them. If necessary use a second muffin tin or other small oven proof baking dish for the remaining batter.


3 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, at room temperature

1 egg yolk, at room temperature

1 1/3 cups sugar

1/2 cup plus two tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 cup milk, at room temperature

1 cup Greek yogurt, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup fresh sliced strawberries

1 cup fresh or frozen chopped rhubarb

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 12 cup muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. Alternatively line the cups with muffin papers. Set aside.
  • Using a wire whisk and a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  • In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg yolk until creamy. Slowly whisk in the sugar, melted butter, yogurt, and vanilla extract.
  • Pour the butter-sugar mixture into the dry ingredients and fold until just combined. Do not over mix.
  • Gently fold in the strawberries and rhubarb. The batter will be thick and a bit lumpy.
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling the cups to the top but not over filling them.
  • Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the muffins are golden brown on the top and spring back when pressed with a finger.
  • Remove the muffins from the oven and allow to cool in their pans for 20 minutes before serving.

The muffins are best when eaten immediately but can be stored in an air tight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Yields: 12 muffins



Sidney’s Triple Chocolate Muffins

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One of the unfortunate side effects of living in a hotel for a month was each morning’s complementary breakfast. It sounded good but in reality the meal consisted of cold cereal, instant oatmeal, and pre-packaged muffins. Sidney quickly discovered the tasteless chocolate muffins wrapped in cellophane and for him was complete without his eating one. I had hoped that he would forget about them once we moved out of the hotel and into our house but no such luck. Morning after morning Sidney continued to ask for a chocolate muffin. Because he wasn’t going to give up I decided that I could make a muffin that, while still fulfilling Sidney’s chocolate craving, would be healthier than the pre-packaged ones he had fallen in love with.

This recipe is (ironically enough) adapted from Writing With Chocolate‘s Belgian Chocolate Muffin recipe. To add complexity and depth I used three different types of chocolate; bittersweet, unsweetened, and semi-sweet. The chocolate chips add a nice surprise to every bite and if you use miniature chips as I did, it feels like there is extra chocolate. I’ve also used low-fat unsweetened yogurt instead of milk. The result is a chocolate filled muffin without the customary sweetness. The recipe makes either 12 large muffins of nine jumbo muffins but you could also make mini bite sized muffins as well. If you do, simply reduce the baking time to 12 to 15 minutes.


8 ounces dark chocolate (I used Belgian Cote d’Or)

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 whole eggs at room temperature

1 1/2 cups plain low-fat yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Line a 12 cup muffin pan with cupcake papers. Alternatively, lightly spray each cup with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Slowly melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler set of medium-high heat. Stir occasionally until smooth. When the chocolate is completely melted, remove the bowl from the heat and allow the chocolate to cool.
  • In a small bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  • Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Fold in the yogurt and vanilla extract.
  • Gently fold the dry ingredients into the egg and yogurt mixture until just combined. You shouldn’t see any flour streaks.
  • Stir in the melted chocolate then then chocolate chips, again stirring to just combine.
  • Evenly distribute batter between the prepared baking cups.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake the muffins for 30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  • Remove the muffins from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

Yields 9 or 12 muffins depending on their size

Peanut Butter & Banana Snack Cake

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We’re in the midst of moving and as such, I’ve been cooking down the pantry in recent months.  This past weekend I realized just how successful I had been when I faced empty shelves with just a few random cans and jars remaining.  Never one to throw things out unnecessarily, I began to wonder what I could do with my last precious jar of peanut butter.  As luck would have it my all time favorite food blogger had posted a peanut butter based recipe just the day before.  The Yankee Kitchen Ninja, a.k.a. the Ninj had posted a recipe for a peanut butter and banana snack cake that sounded just my speed.  I even had two very ripe bananas on hand.  But because my pantry is bare and I am hesitant to go shopping, I altered the recipe to include items I had on hand.  I think my results are pretty darn tasty.  So if you love peanut butter, this is the cake for you!


2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup white sugar

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

2 ripe bananas, mashed

2 tablespoons melted butter

1/2 cup low-fat milk

1/2 cup vanilla yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla

2/3 cup creamy natural peanut butter

  • Preheat the oven to 375. Lightly coat an 8″ x 8″ square baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, white sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  • In another large bowl, slightly beat the eggs then add the banana, butter, milk, yogurt, and vanilla.  Stir well to combine.
  • Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and stir until combined.
  • Fold in the peanut butter.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • Cool for a few minutes in the pan then carefully turn the cake out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Serves 9

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