(10 seconds each to read and are almost that quick to prepare)
By Lisa Messinger
Food and Cooking at Creators Syndicate
Greek yogurt invaded supermarkets. Chobani, which the Washington Post calls the best-known brand, saw its sales explode in its first five years from about $3 million to more than $1 billion in 2012, the newspaper reported.
There is good reason Greek yogurt is a fierce competitor when it comes to regular yogurt. It is creamier, akin to mousse, has significantly more protein and less sugar. Many nonfat varieties have been introduced in the marketplace as well in the last few years.
The higher protein content (often 12 to 15 grams per serving compared to 5 grams in many regular yogurts) makes it not only a worthy snack, but a good foundation for a main course. It is the production process itself that is responsible for the better nutrition profile.
The Los Angeles area (including Beverly Hills and Santa Monica) boasts Go Greek, a small chain that prepares its own fresh regular and frozen Greek yogurts in both savory and sweet made-to-order dishes. That's a rarity, however, inquiring at local Greek restaurants as to whether they make their own yogurt is a way to taste fresh versions nationwide. Also, tzatziki, one of Go Greek's offerings, a Greek staple, served with pita bread and raw vegetables for dipping, is available at most Greek restaurants and includes cucumber, mint, garlic, lemon juice, salt and crushed black pepper.
Some of Go Greek's simple, yet flavorful, creations that follow can provide inspiration for dressing up supermarket versions (either plain or flavored) at home, and result in adding even more superfoods to the mix than just the Greek yogurt itself. All ingredients are to taste.
Fun fare like this also proves food preparation can be easy, nutritious, inexpensive, fun - and fast. The creative combinations are delicious proof that everyone has time for creating homemade specialties and, more importantly, the healthy family togetherness that goes along with it!
Another benefit: You effortlessly become a better cook, since these are virtually-can't-go-wrong combinations. They can't help but draw "wows" from family members and guests.
Raisins, apple, pecan, cinnamon, flaxseed and Greek honey.
Sundried tomatoes, fresh basil, feta, pine nuts, olive oil, cumin, salt and crushed black pepper.
Mango, avocado, Serrano chili pepper, olive oil, lemon juice, hemp seeds, salt and crushed black pepper.
Dates, walnut, cacao nib, dark chocolate shaving, carob syrup and Greek honey.
Strawberry, banana, walnut, flaxseed, dark chocolate shavings and Greek honey.
QUICK TIP OF THE WEEK: If you want to give "wheat meat" a thorough try, or, if you've only tasted packaged versions and wondered what homemade might be like, noted Chef Tommy McDonald's 100 vegan recipe collection in Field Roast offers lots of tasty practice. He calls his recipes "artisan" for good reason. Packaged versions are usually plain, McDonald's recipes are anything but and it's most likely the flavors that will linger rather than the fact that you skipped meat. After learning to prepare your own vegan charcuterie, you'll feast on spicy sausage, five-alarm chili, burgundy stew and specialties like pate de Campagne.
Lisa Messinger at Creators Syndicate is a first-place winner in food and nutrition writing from the Association of Food Journalists and the National Council Against Health Fraud and author of seven food books, including the best-selling The Tofu Book: The New American Cuisine with 150 Recipes (Avery/Penguin Putnam) and Turn Your Supermarket into a Health Food Store: The Brand-Name Guide to Shopping for a Better Diet (Pharos/Scripps Howard). She writes two nationally syndicated food and nutrition columns for Creators Syndicate and had been a longtime newspaper food and health section managing editor, as well as managing editor of Gayot/Gault Millau dining review company. Lisa traveled the globe writing about top chefs for Pulitzer Prize-winning Copley News Service and has written about health and nutrition for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Reader's Digest, Woman's World and Prevention Magazine Health Books. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.