September has already entered and along with it fall as well. Although temperatures in Greece are still high, if one observes carefully, notices that some leaves have started to fall here and there, days are shorter than nights and summer heat is replaced by a cooler breeze that obliges you to use a light sweater or jacket at nights.
Along with September and fall comes the beginning of the school year for all children. In Greece schools start on September 11th. I know for my friends in the US this is a very tragic date full of sadness and bad memories. I still remember that day when I was watching on TV all this madness that was going on. I was much stressed as well, because my brother was working in a company at Wall Street back then and we didn’t know what was going on. Thankfully, that day he was studying for his exams and he was at his apartment far away from the incident. So many innocent lives gone in minutes. I hope one day everyone on this earth irrespectively of country or race will enjoy safety, freedom and prosperity. I think that would be the most important achievement of humanity!
But going back to schools, let me talk to you a little bit about our educational system. The basic education in Greece consists of six years in elementary school and six years in high school. Completing high school, children sit for exams by which they either enter a university or not. According to their grades and their stated preferences, they have several choices regarding specific areas of interest and locations of universities.
In Greece education is public, meaning that children have the choice of going to school and university for free. If one passes the exams, he/she can study for free at any of the State’s universities. Of course there are private schools and private colleges. Private schools are equal to public schools according to the State, but private colleges do not have the same validity with the public universities. The degrees from the State’s universities are the only ones the government recognize as valid for anyone who wishes to work at the public sector. In the private sector, each company sets its own standards, nevertheless, public university degrees are considered to be stronger and more reliable than the private college’s equivalent.
Because of how this system is structured and because exams from high school to university are challenged by many for their validity, educational structure and reliability, many parents decide to send their children abroad to study. That’s why you will find Greek students in many countries around the world.
So, schools will start shortly and my son will start as a student on the 5th grade of elementary school. New class, new teacher, new lessons are coming. To tell you the truth, he is not very eager to start, but neither was I when I was at his age lol. Nevertheless, as I explained to him, school is necessary for him to acquire knowledge and be able to become a valuable member of society.
To celebrate fall and beginning of schools I made these delicious Chicken Pockets Filled with Feta Cheese and Yogurt. You cannot believe how tasty they were. Unfortunately, since this was a new recipe I came up with, I was reluctant to bake too many of them. That was not a good choice! The chicken breasts were so good that both my husband and son came for a refill and sadly I didn’t have any. But I promised to make them again next weekend with double the quantities I made the first time.
Chicken Pockets Stuffed with Feta and Yogurt
4 chicken breasts
2 tbsp olive oil
3 small or two large green peppers, cut in four
8 kalamata or green olives, chopped
3 pickled cucumbers, chopped
3 tbsp feta cheese per breast, crumbled (total 12 tbsp)
2 tbsp yogurt per breast (total 8 tbsp)
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp fresh basil, chopped
½ tsp dried oregano
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
4 dried tomatoes, chopped
2 fresh tomatoes, sliced and each slice cut in half
½ cup chicken stock
Preheat oven to 200° C/ 400° F.
Take a deep baking pan.
Place the pieces of the green peppers in such way as to cover the bottom of the pan.
Pour the 2 tbsp of olive oil.
Cut the chicken breasts lengthwise paying attention to not cut completely.
Stop the knife before the edges of the breast forming a pocket that will receive the filling.
Salt and pepper them.
In a bowl mix the olives, the pickled cucumbers, the feta cheese, the yogurt, the sugar, the fresh basil, the dried oregano, the onion, the garlic and the dried tomatoes.
Take each breast; put the one half slice on the one inside side and another one on the other inside side of the pocket.
Put about two to three spoonfuls of the filling in the pocket and place the chicken breast with this side up on the baking pan.
Repeat with the rest of the breasts.
Place the remaining halved slices of tomato in between the chicken pockets.
Be careful to choose a baking pan in which the breasts will be somewhat squeezed and thus they will remain in their place as they cook.
Pour the ½ cup of chicken stock.
Bake for one hour.
Remove, let it rest for 10 minutes and then serve.
It goes perfectly with French fries and/or baked potatoes.
- 4 chicken breasts
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 small or two large green peppers, cut in four
- 8 kalamata or green olives, chopped
- 3 pickled cucumbers, chopped
- 3 tbsp feta cheese per breast, crumbled (total 12 tbsp)
- 2 tbsp yogurt per breast (total 8 tbsp)
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp fresh basil, chopped
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 4 dried tomatoes, chopped
- 2 fresh tomatoes, sliced and each slice cut in half
- ½ cup chicken stock
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 200° C/ 400° F.
- Take a deep baking pan.
- Place the pieces of the green peppers in such way as to cover the bottom of the pan.
- Pour the 2 tbsp of olive oil.
- Set aside.
- Cut the chicken breasts lengthwise paying attention to not cut completely.
- Stop the knife before the edges of the breast forming a pocket that will receive the filling.
- Salt and pepper them.
- In a bowl mix the olives, the pickled cucumbers, the feta cheese, the yogurt, the sugar, the fresh basil, the dried oregano, the onion, the garlic and the dried tomatoes.
- Take each breast; put the one half slice on the one inside side and another one on the other inside side of the pocket.
- Put about two to three spoonfuls of the filling in the pocket and place the chicken breast with this side up on the baking pan.
- Repeat with the rest of the breasts.
- Place the remaining halved slices of tomato in between the chicken pockets.
- Be careful to choose a baking pan in which the breasts will be somewhat squeezed and thus they will remain in their place as they cook.
- Pour the ½ cup of chicken stock.
- Bake for one hour.
- Remove, let it rest for 10 minutes and then serve.
- It goes perfectly with French fries and/or baked potatoes.
- 4 στήθη κοτόπουλου
- 2 κ.σ. ελαιόλαδο
- 3 μικρές ή δύο μεγάλες πράσινες πιπεριές, στα τέσσερα
- 8 πράσινες ελιές, ψιλοκομμένες
- 3 αγγουράκια τουρσί, ψιλοκομμένο
- 3 κ.σ. φέτα τριμμένη ανά στήθος (σύνολο 12 κ.σ.)
- 2 κ.σ. γιαούρτι ανά στήθος (συνολικά 8 κ.σ.)
- 1 κ.σ. ζάχαρη
- 1 κ.γ. φρέσκο βασιλικό, ψιλοκομμένο
- ½ κ.γ. αποξηραμένη ρίγανη
- 1 μικρό κρεμμύδι, ψιλοκομμένο
- 1 σκελίδα σκόρδο, λιωμένο
- 4 λιαστές ντομάτες, ψιλοκομμένες
- 2 φρέσκες ντομάτες, κομμένες σε φέτες και κάθε φέτα κομμένη στη μέση
- ½ φλιτζάνι ζωμό κότας
- Αλάτι και πιπέρι
- Προθερμένετε το φούρνο στους 200° C.
- Πάρτε ένα βαθύ ταψί.
- Τοποθετήστε τα κομμάτια της πράσινης πιπεριάς με τέτοιο τρόπο ώστε να καλύψουν τον πάτο του ταψιού.
- Ρίξτε τις 2 κουταλιές της σούπας ελαιόλαδο.
- Βάλτε στην άκρη.
- Κόψτε με ένα κοφτερό μαχαίρι τα στήθη κατά μήκος προσέχοντας να μην κοπούν στα δύο.
- Το μαχαίρι πρέπει να σταματήσει πριν φτάσει στις άκρες σχηματίζοντας μία τσέπη που θα τη γεμίσουμε.
- Αλατοπιπερώστε τα.
- Σε ένα μπολ ανακατέψτε τις ελιές, τα τουρσί, τη φέτα, το γιαούρτι, τη ζάχαρη, το φρέσκο βασιλικό, τη ρίγανη, το κρεμμύδι, το σκόρδο και τις λιαστές ντομάτες.
- Πάρτε ένα στήθος βάλτε μία μισή φέτα ντομάτας από τη μία εσωτερική πλευρά του στήθους και άλλη μία φέτα από την άλλη.
- Βάλτε περίπου δύο με τρεις κουταλιές από τη γέμιση και τοποθετήστε το στήθος με αυτή την πλευρά επάνω μέσα στο ταψί.
- Κάντε το ίδιο και για τα υπόλοιπα στήθη.
- Βάλτε τις υπόλοιπες φέτες της ντομάτας ανάμεσα στα στήθη.
- Επιλέξτε ένα ταψί όχι πολύ μεγάλο έτσι ώστε τα στήθη να στριμώχνονται ώστε να παραμείνουν στην ίδια θέση όσο μαγειρεύονται.
- Ρίξτε το ½ φλιτζάνι ζωμό από κοτόπουλο.
- Ψήστε για μία ώρα.
- Βγάλτε το από το φούρνο, αφήστε το να ξεκουραστεί για 10 λεπτά και σερβίρετε.
- Πάει τέλεια με πατάτες τηγανιτές ή/και πατάτες φούρνου.
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