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Yiayia’s Best Greek-American Dishes

Let's celebrate our dear, darling Yiayia...the great cook, expert baker and doting Grandma, determined to put some meat on our bones!

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Nikki's Perfect Pastitsio

My mother used to work so hard in the kitchen to make this classic Greek dish, and the results were always well worth her effort. My recipe for pastitsio is easier, a bit lighter and every bit as great as Mom's.—Nikki Tsangaris, Westfield, Indiana
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Grecian Chicken

The caper, tomato and olive flavors will whisk you away to the Greek isles. This easy skillet dish is perfect for hectic weeknights. —Jan Marler, Murchison, Texas
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Double Nut Baklava

It may take some time to make this rich, buttery treat, but it's well worth the effort! The blend of coconut, pecans and macadamia nuts is irresistible. —Kari Kelley, Plains, Montana
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Athenian Chicken Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Mozzarella and feta cheese make one delicious duo in this upscale grilled cheese that also features tender Athenian chicken and fresh herb flavor. —Michael Cohen, Los Angeles, California
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Baklava Cheesecake

With sugared cranberries and rosemary sprigs, my unique baklava cheesecake makes a grand display for office parties and other special events. —Aryanna Gamble, New Orleans, Louisiana
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Lemony Mushroom Orzo Soup

My grandmother used to make a similar classic Greek soup, avgolemono, every Sunday after church. Here’s my version of her recipe. The kids and I came up with this variation while experimenting with different ingredients. I think my yia-yia would be proud. —Nick Haros, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
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Greek Grilled Chicken Pitas

I switched up my mom’s recipe to create this tasty pita pocket variation. It’s one of our favorite grilled chicken recipes and is perfect for warm days. The creamy cucumber sauce goes great with the fresh, crunchy veggies. —Blair Lonergan, Rochelle, Virginia
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9-Layer Greek Dip

Instead of serving the same taco dip at every family event or potluck, try this light, cool and refreshing Greek dip. It looks and tastes healthy—and it is. —Shawn Barto, Winter Garden, Florida
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Spanakopita Mashed Potatoes

I learned to cook by watching my mom in the kitchen. Most of the recipes I make use only five or six ingredients, and have a healthier bent. I created this recipe after I tried a spinach-topped baked potato. Flecks of red and green from the potato skin and spinach make these potatoes look festive and special. By leaving the potatoes unpeeled, you not only keep some nutrients, you also save on prep time.—Ashley Levy, Columbia, Maryland
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Streuseled Zucchini Bundt Cake

Inspired by an abundance of zucchini, I found a new way to use it up in this spiced and lightly sweet cake. It even won a blue ribbon at our county fair! —Regina Stock, Topeka, Kansas
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Chicken & Sweet Potato Potpie

Chicken potpie is a top 10 comfort food for me. To save time, we use ready-made phyllo dough and rotisserie chicken, then add sweet potatoes and red peppers. —Jacyn Siebert, San Francisco, California
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Chicken Sausage Pita Pockets

Chicken sausage comes in many flavors, so I try different ones when I make pitas with fresh basil and veggies, inspired by the Greek gyro. —Christina Price, Colorado Springs, Colorado
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Baklava Tartlets

Want a quick treat that's delicious and easy to make? These tartlets will do the trick. You can serve them right away, but they're even better after chilling for about an hour in the refrigerator. —Ashley Eagon, Kettering, Ohio
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Fig & Wine-Sauced Chicken Kabobs

The well-balanced blend of flavors in these kabobs make them extra special. Figs give the dish a beautiful fruity quality.—Barbara Wheeler, Royal Oak, Michigan
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Frozen Greek Vanilla Yogurt

It's so simple and easy to make your own frozen Greek yogurt, you might even want to get the kids in on the fun. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Greendale, Wisconsin
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Kourabiedes (Greek Butter Cookies)

I had to bake something from my heritage for school. So, I made this heavenly kourabiedes recipe. —Rebecca Sprague, St. Louis, Missouri
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Mediterranean Turkey Panini

Panini are sandwiches that are pressed and toasted. I love making different panini recipes for my fellow teachers and friends. For potlucks, make several and cut them into fourths. The turkey panini sandwiches work well as an appetizer for any occasion. —Martha Muellenberg, Vermillion, South Dakota
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Garden Cucumber Salad

If you like cucumber salad like I do, this one’s a cool pick. It’s a mix of fresh veggies, feta and Greek seasoning and so refreshing when the sun’s beating down. —Katie Stanczak, Hoover, Alabama
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Greek Chicken & Artichokes

Because it’s so easy and fast, this recipe was a perennial favorite with my friends during our college years. I’ve also added olives and onions to the mix to give it a little something extra. —Caitlin Chaney, Palm Harbor, Florida
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Company Turkey Potpie

Here's our smart spin on potpie, filled with turkey, autumn vegetables and a creamy herb sauce. Best of all, there's no crust to make—just top with prepared phyllo dough. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Watermelon Cups

This lovely appetizer is almost too pretty to eat! Sweet watermelon cubes hold a refreshing topping that showcases cucumber, red onion and fresh herbs. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Makeover Lemon Pound Cake

For this lovely golden cake, I use fat-free yogurt to trim the calories. It's a comforting dessert for days when it's warm enough to dine outside. —Lauren Gilmore, Pennington, New Jersey
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Greek-Style Pizza

Save yourself a trip to Greece and serve this appetizer pizza at your next party. To ensure a crisp and flaky crust, before assembling the pizza, drain the tomato slices on a paper towel to soak up any extra moisture. —Claire Torrice, Oswego, New York
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Gyro Soup

If you’re a fan of lamb, don’t pass up this Greek-style soup. Seasoned with classic flavors of rosemary, marjoram and mint, it will transport you straight to the Mediterranean! —Bridget Klusman, Otsego, Michigan
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Grilled Greek Pita Pizzas

This easy flatbread pizza captures classic Mediterranean flavors in every bite. It works equally well as a speedy main dish or an appetizer. —Kristen Heigl, Staten Island, New York
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Kourambiethes

My daughter-in-law gave me this recipe. Her grandmother was born in Greece and bakes these cookies for special occasions, including Christmas.—Carol Dale, Greenville, Texas
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Layered Hummus Dip

My love for Greece inspired this fast, easy Mediterranean dip. It is fabulous for parties and a delicious way to include garden-fresh veggies on your menu. —Cheryl Snavely, Hagerstown, Maryland
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Apricot-Blackberry Pie

Blackberries became my favorite fruit after I harvested them from my grandfather’s yard in Greece. I mix them with apricots to make the pie of my dreams. —Simone Bazos, Baltimore, Maryland
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Hearty Chicken Gyros

I love reinventing classic recipes to fit our taste and healthy lifestyle. This recipe is quick to prepare and can be served with oven fries or on its own. You can add Greek olives, omit the onion, or even use cubed pork tenderloin for a new taste. —Kayla Douthitt, Elizabethtown, Kentucky
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Sesame Onion Breadsticks

We’ve enjoyed these golden brown breadsticks at numerous family gatherings over the years. The recipe is a snap to prepare using frozen dough and just five other ingredients. —Mary E. Relyea, Canastota, New York
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Lemony Mushroom-Orzo Soup for Two

Here's a versatile soup that works as an appetizer or as a side for a sandwich lunch. It's loaded with mushrooms and orzo pasta—and lemon livens up its mild flavor.—Edrie O'Brien, Denver, Colorado
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Mediterranean Chicken

As special as it is simple to prepare, this flavorful skillet creation is dressed in tomatoes, olives and capers. It’s a knockout main dish at my house. —Mary Relyea, Canastota, New York
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Sauteed Scallops & Shrimp Pasta

I created this tempting seafood pasta for my wife. It’s a terrific meal served with crusty sourdough. If you don't like spice, skip the red pepper flakes. —George Levinthal, Goleta, California
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Minted Beet Salad

We have neighbors who share vegetables from their garden, and every year my husband and I look forward to their beets. My interest in Mediterranean food inspired this beet salad recipe—the vinegar and oil dressing with fresh mint will tone down the sweetness of the beets, and the kalamata olives add a salty touch. —Barbara Estabrook, Appleton, Wisconsin
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Summer Orzo

Summer Orzo

I’m always looking for fun ways to use the fresh veggies that come in my Community Supported Agriculture box, and this salad is one of my favorite creations. I like to improvise with whatever I have on hand, feel free to do the same here! —Shayna Marmar, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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Spanakopita Bites

For an easy spanakopita, try this version that is made in a pan, then cut into squares. It has all the wonderful taste of the classic version—buttery phyllo with a spinach-cheese filling—but is so simple to do. —Barbara Smith, Chipley, Florida
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Carrot Fruitcake

Even those who don't care for fruitcake love this special holiday dessert. It's a fun way to "dress up" that old favorite, carrot cake. Try it—your friends and family will agree. —Ann Parden, Chunchula, Alabama

Christine Rukavena
Christine loves to read, curate, sample and develop new recipes as a book editor at Taste of Home. A CIA alumna with honors, she creates cookbooks and food-related content. A favorite part of the job is taste-testing dishes. Previous positions include pastry chef at a AAA Five Diamond property. Christine moonlights at a boutique wine shop, where she edits marketing pieces and samples wine far higher than her pay grade.

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