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Debra Caffrey is the Education E-newsletter Editor for FredParent. She also writes, blogs, and assists with events. She is the proud mom of 8-year-old Aidan. She is passionate about cooking, meal planning, and smart grocery shopping, and is excited to share her ‘Practical Pantry’ with you.

 



Practical Pantry

Greek yogurt is all the rage these days, and with good reason. It fares better than regular yogurt to some degree in terms of lower sugar and sodium content. But both Greek yogurt and regular, low-fat plain yogurt are about equal when it comes to calories. Further, regular yogurt actually has more calcium than Greek yogurt. For most people, I think the appeal of Greek yogurt comes down to consistency – regular yogurt is notorious for being runnier and thin compared to the thick, uber-creaminess of Greek yogurt. Unfortunately, Greek yogurt can also be much more expensive! Want my secret to making your own “Greek” style yogurt for a fraction of the cost? All you have to do is drain your regular yogurt to attain the same rich results! Here’s how to get that wonderful thickness:

  • Several hours before use, line a small bowl with paper towels and drop your regular yogurt on top.
  • Cover, refrigerate, and allow to “drain.” The liquid will saturate the paper towels leaving behind a much thicker yogurt on top! That’s it!

You can utilize this technique for everyday snacking, for making creamier baby and toddler food, enhancing smoothies and shakes, or as an ingredient for my favorite way to use plain yogurt – Tzatziki! There is nothing more refreshing and delicious than a good Tzatziki sauce, and the best part is – it’s super healthy! If you are not familiar with Tzatziki sauce, it is a traditional Greek yogurt and cucumber based condiment served with grilled meats, vegetables, and gyros. It’s also lovely as a dip. It can be bought in pre-packaged containers or fresh in the expensive olive/salad bar, but to make it yourself costs pennies and is SO easy! I like to serve it up with my version of a “deconstructed” gyro – all the flavors of the classic dish but in a slightly healthier adaptation. I pair Tzatziki with grilled chicken or another protein, grilled pita bread, grilled red onion and zucchini, and a crisp Greek salad. Every element is nutritious, inexpensive, and just as appetizing as a plate in a Mediterranean diner! Here’s my personal version of Tzatziki. Happy yogurt-making!

Debra's Easy Tzatziki Sauce

Ingredients:

  • One cup fat free or low-fat plain yogurt, drained
  • Approx. ¾ one cucumber, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • One tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • One tbsp fresh dill or oregano
  1. In a food processor (or blender), combine chopped cucumber, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and fresh herbs. Pulse until combined and smooth.
  2. Transfer this mixture into a bowl, and add the yogurt. Stir to combine.​

 

      3. Chill sauce until ready to serve. Enjoy! 

 

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