Potatoes. Oregano. Feta. Lemon. HELL YEAH. I picked up almost all of this from Trader Joe’s for under $10, and most of the rest of it I already had in my pantry. Good, cheap, filling side dish. And made of noms.

Crispy Oregano Smashed Potatoes with Feta and Lemon
Makes enough for 2 with leftovers, even more so for 1

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs mixed baby potatoes (I went with red, honestly)
  • 2 meyer lemons, quartered (original recommends half a lemon, it can do with more)
  • 4 T olive oil
  • 6 cloves minimum garlic, minced (original recommends 2 max. come on.)
  • .25 c dried oregano (original recommends fresh, I used my dried leaves, and it still packs a good punch)
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 2 T grated parmesan cheese (I used parmigianno reggiano from TJ’s that I had on hand)
  • 6 oz feta crumbles (I just went with the max on this, also skipped fresh basil)

Preheat your oven to 425. On a large baking sheet, toss together 1 T olive oil, the lemons, potatoes, and a pinch of sea salt.

Original recipe recommends roasting for 20 minutes, but depending on the size of your potatoes, this can take up to 35 minutes. Be sure to remove the lemons after the 20 minutes, though, and let them rest. Check on the potatoes every ten minutes after twenty minutes, and see which are tender enough to stick a fork into. If they’re ready, use the back of the fork to smash to about a quarter-inch thickness (see pic 3), and let the smashed potatoes roast with the ones that aren’t quite ready yet.

In the time between checking on your potatoes, combine your minced garlic, 2 T olive oil, and oregano in a small bowl (see pic 2). Once your potatoes are all smashed, spoon the mixture over them (pic 5), and then sprinkle sea salt and fresh ground pepper and your parmesan over them, and roast another 20-25 minutes, until they’re golden and crisp (pic 7).

While they roast, finely chop your lemon, peel and all (pic 4), and add to a small bowl with the remaining 1 T olive oil and a pinch of salt (pic 6).

Once you remove the potatoes from the oven, put them in a large bowl and toss them with the roasted lemon dressing and feta (pic 8), and enjoy!

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I want to start this recipe with a disclaimer. Tieghan makes amazing recipes. A lot of her stuff is in my arsenal, or on my to-try list. HOWEVER. I usually end up cutting out upwards of three or four ingredients of hers per recipe, because as nice as those things are, they’re there more for garnish, and don’t really add anything to the dish. Here, I cut… three things, but we’ve still got a damn amazing recipe here. 

The most expensive things you will likely have to get are the cherry tomatoes and the feta, but the rest you likely either have in your pantry/fridge, or can find them nearby for reasonable prices. You can still make this for a pretty reasonable price, and it makes enough for you to have leftovers and then some. 

Twenty Minute Mediterranean Hummus Noodles with Blistered Tomatoes

Ingredients

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 6 baby bell peppers (I used about half of what the original recipe recommends, found them cheap at my local grocery, look for sweet snacking peppers)
  • pinch sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 4 T olive oil, divided
  • .75 lb thin spaghetti, or your personal preferred thin pasta (I went angel hair here)
  • .75 c of your favorite hummus (roasted garlic, here)
  • 1 c pasta cooking water (drain this off right before you’re done!)
  • 1 c fresh basil (I tore it, Tieghan isn’t really clear on if it needs to be chopped, diced, left whole, etc)
  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • .25 c kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1 T oregano, chopped
  • 1 T balsamic vinegar
  • 4 oz feta crumbles

Take a pot of water, salt it, and bring it to a boil.  While the pot warms up and begins to boil, take a large grill pan, pour 2 T olive oil in, and heat over high heat. Once heated, add the cherry tomatoes, baby bell peppers, and a pinch of sea salt and pepper, and grill until the cherries begin to wrinkle and grill marks appear on the peppers, flipping from side to side. The difference between pictures one to three here is about 10 minutes’ time, and pic 3 is what it should look like at the end of that time. Remove the pan from heat and set aside.

Once the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook according to instructions, until al dente. Right as it finishes, scoop off one cup of the water the pasta’s cooked in, and add it to a medium sized bowl. Then drain the pasta, and let it sit a minute while you get the next part ready. 

To the pasta cooking water, add the hummus, fresh basil, and red pepper flakes, and whisk together until you’ve got a thin sauce (see pic five). Let it sit a bit to thicken. Then, take your pasta, and toss it to coat with the sauce. 

Take 1 c of your blistered cherry tomatoes, put them in a small bowl, and smash them lightly with a fork, so that the juices are released. Stir in the oregano, chopped kalamatas, remaining 2 T olive oil, a bit of sea salt and pepper to taste, and balsamic, and toss to combine. 

When ready to eat, take the sauced pasta, add the tomato-olive mix, a few blistered tomatoes and peppers, and feta, and toss to combine, and then enjoy the amazingness!

Want a simple, quick, savory meal that will make your place smell delicious, and will include stuff you likely already have on hand? Then look no further than this. I’ve had puttanesca sauce on pasta before, but the idea of making the sauce into a shakshuka type dish never occurred before Smitten Kitchen put this recipe up. And let me tell you, it is afuckingmazing. So, pick up some diced tomatoes and kalamata olives, and give it a try. 

Eggs in Purgatory Puttanesca
Lasts 3 meals, if eating by yourself

Ingredients

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 T-ish pitted kalamata olives
  • 1 t capers, drained and rinsed
  • 1 anchovy filet (add a few more if you want a more savory flavor)
  • 1 T dried Greek oregano
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes (I went with fire roasted, will probably go with 2 cans next time)
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1-4 eggs
  • .25 c grated parmesan (or, if you have it on hand, parmigiano-reggiano)
  • 1-4 slices of bread

Heat your olive oil in a medium sized pan over medium heat. While the pan warms, take your garlic cloves, kalamata olives, capers, anchovy, oregano, and red pepper flakes, and mince them together until you have a nice small pile. Take the heap, and add it to the pan, stirring and cooking for two minutes, until nicely fragrant.  Slowly add in your tomatoes, and a bit of sea salt, and lower the heat to medium low, stirring and simmering for five minutes. Take a taste of the sauce, and see how you like it. 

Then, make small indentations into the sauce, and crack your eggs into it. Cover the whites with sauce and cheese, and then cover and cook for five minutes, until the whites have set. If you want to toast your bread, now is a good time to do so; if you have a gas stove, just toast it over the burner, or toast it under the broiler for a few minutes. 

Then, scoop out your sauce, and an egg, into a bowl with your bread, and enjoy!

As we start to edge into summer here, my tastes start running a bit Mediterranean. Lately, I’ve been really into lemons and olives, and this recipe came up on a friend’s page. There was a really great sale on chicken thighs not too long after that, and so this happened. 🙂 

Cast iron skillets continue to be pretty awesome, especially since you can start something on the stovetop and then just pop it into the oven, like so. 

Braised Chicken Thighs with Garlic, Lemon, and Greek Olives
Lasts between 4-6 lunches, depending on how many thighs you have per serving

Ingredients

  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 3 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 12 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 large onions, peeled and chopped
  • 1 lemon, sliced thin and seeds discarded
  • 2 T fresh oregano, plus more for garnish
  • 1 c mixed Greek olives
  • Juice of one lemon (if you can find it fresh squeezed, about .25 c)

Bring your chicken to room temperature about twenty minutes before you start cooking it, to remove the chill, and season on both sides with sea salt and pepper. Preheat your oven to 350 while you do this.

In a cast iron skillet, heat your olive oil over medium high heat.  Once heated, add the chicken skin side down, and sear for five to six minutes, until your chicken turns golden brown. Quickly flip the thighs, and add the cloves of garlic nestling them between the thighs. (Wow that sounded dirty.)  Cook two to three more minutes, until the garlic turns golden brown and gets fragrant. Set the chicken and garlic aside on another plate to rest. 

Immediately add your onions, lemon, and oregano, and season with a bit of sea salt and pepper. Cook for six to eight minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions start to wilt, and any brown bits from the chicken cooking start to come off the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat, and nestle the cooked thighs skin side up in the onion mixture. Pour the olives and garlic cloves over the chicken, followed by the lemon juice. Put the pan into the preheated oven, cooking between forty to fifty minutes (the final picture is after 45 minutes). 

Take your pan out of the oven, and then sprinkle some additional fresh oregano over the chicken for garnish, and enjoy!

Shakshuka is something I never thought would go well in sandwich form. Yet, here we are, and Ive got enough for breakfast for at least a week or so.

Adding bell peppers heartens up the shakshuka even more, and it turns out that the pita is really good at holding the shakshuka and not making it too messy. I didn’t have za’atar on me, so I ended up mixing ground oregano, marjoram, sumac, and cumin (didn’t have any toasted sesame seeds, just raw); I should probably either buy or make it soon, because I definitely liked the flavor. 

Three Pepper Shakshuka Pitas With Feta and Za’atar

Ingredients

  • 3 T olive oil
  • half a small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed, then minced
  • 2 to 3 bell peppers, cored and sliced thin (use any colors you like)
  • jalapeño, cored and sliced thin
  • .5 t cumin
  • 1 t smoked paprika (I used Spanish)
  • .25 t salt
  • 1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes (recipe recommends fire roasted if you can find them, I went with plain as they’re pretty expensive around here)
  • 6 eggs
  • .5 c crumbled feta
  • za’atar to taste (if you don’t have it, mix oregano, marjoram, sumac, cumin, and toasted sesame seeds)
  • pitas

Heat your olive oil in a large pan over medium high. Once warmed, add your onion and cook until it softens, about five minutes, followed by the crushed, minced garlic, and cook for another minute. Add your bell peppers and jalapeño and saute until they soften, about another five minutes, followed by the cumin, paprika, and salt, cooking for an additional minute.  Then, pour in your can of crushed tomatoes, along with half a can or so of water, and bring to a simmer.  Once simmering, reduce the heat to medium low and let simmer for about fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally and tasting to adjust the seasonings.

After fifteen minutes, make six shallow indentations in the sauce and crack your eggs into them. Cover and simmer for between 3 to 6 minutes depending on how you want your eggs; 3 to 4 minutes gets set whites and loose yolks, 5 to 6 for firmer yolks. Remove the cover and sprinkle with feta and za’atar.

If you’re going to eat these right away, warm your pitas, open them up, and scoop an egg and the surrounding sauce into the pita. If you want more garnish, add more feta and za’atar. 

If, however, you’re like me and you’re taking these to work, put the sauce into a container.  The morning that you’re going to eat them, put an egg and sauce in the pita, and reheat (either by warming up the sauce and pitas separately, or doing what I do and just tossing the thing in a microwave). 

This salad is the perfect dose of summer. I’ve always had a thing for roasted tomatoes, and being able to do it with heirlooms is even better. And fried halloumi? Oh man, it’s like feta but even better.  …And really, thinking about this more, this could also be a great grilled cheese. 

The best thing I can recommend for this herb wise is to use whatever you have either in your garden, or whatever’s cheapest at the farmer’s market that week. I used oregano, basil, and mint from my garden.

Roasted Tomato and Halloumi Salad
Lasts 3 lunches as a side

Ingredients

  • 2 large heirloom tomatoes, thickly sliced
  • olive oil, sea salt, and pepper
  • 1 block halloumi cheese
  • 1/3 c fresh herbs of choice (I used oregano, basil, and mint)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, and line a baking sheet with foil. Place your tomato slices on the sheet, and drizzle with olive oil, sea salt, and pepper.  Roast for twenty minutes, until wrinkly (see pic 2). 

Place a small amount of olive oil in a pan, and heat over medium high heat. Slice your block of halloumi into about six even slices, and add to the pan, frying until golden brown on each side (about three to five minutes). 

Combine the roasted tomatoes and halloumi, toss with the herbs, and enjoy the mouthgasm.

This is the first of many new recipes from one of my favorite new cookbooks, The Cheesemonger’s Kitchen. This is also the first recipe I’ve ever had to order cheese online for (no one around me sells caciocavallo). You may have to do that too, if you don’t have a good Italian store by you.  It’s similar to provolone, but made with a blend of cow and sheep’s milk, and has a sharp, salty taste to it.  Fried cheese on its own is wonderful, but the way this is made, it’s even better.

Fried Caciocavallo
Lasts five lunches as a side

Ingredients

  • .25 c extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 lb Caciocavallo cheese, sliced about .75 in thick (see pic 1)
  • red wine vinegar
  • several sprigs fresh oregano
  • black pepper

Heat your olive oil over medium heat, and add the garlic cloves to the pan, frying until golden brown on each side (about one minute per side). Discard the garlic and keep it on the side. Turn the heat up to medium high, and add the cheese. Fry for about two to three minutes a side, until the edges start to gild. Once fried on both sides, splash red wine vinegar and sprinkle on the oregano sprigs and pepper.  Cook for one minute more, and remove from heat. Repeat until you’ve fried all your cheese.