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Go Strained or Go Home -- Top 5 Uses for Greek Yogurt

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Nonfat Greek yogurt should be in your life. I don't know how else to put it. Since it's strained to remove excess whey, it has a thicker, almost creamier consistency than its non-strained counterparts. And in some cases (be sure to check your labels), it can contain twice as much protein.

It can be a delicious, healthy alternative to sour cream or mayonnaise, mixed with berries and honey for a light snack, or used as a tenderizer for meat and poultry. I use it regularly in my kitchen, and you should, too.

Here are my top 5 uses for Greek yogurt:

5. In Creamy Salad Dressings

Thick, strained yogurt makes a wonderful substitute for mayo in salad dressings. Mix it with chunks of blue cheese, a splash or two of milk, and freshly grated black pepper for a thick, satisfying blue cheese dressing. Add chopped fresh herbs like dill, parsley and chives along with garlic powder, onion powder, salt, black pepper and a splash of buttermilk to make a lightened-up ranch. Or try using it in your favorite coleslaw or egg, tuna and chicken salad recipes instead of fatty mayo.

4. For Tzatziki Dip

Tzatziki, or cucumber-yogurt dip, has been a favorite of mine since my first trip to Greece at the tender age of 16. I fell in love...and not with a strong, shirtless handsome local boy as I had envisioned, but with the fan-fucking-tastic food there. Mix Greek yogurt with grated cucumber, minced or grated garlic, lemon juice, chopped fresh dill, salt and lots of freshly ground pepper. Then serve it alongside marinated chicken kebobs, dollop it into a spicy lamb gyro or use it as a dip for toasted pita and fresh vegetables...or just use it for your french fries; it goes really, really well with french fries.

3. Smoothies

Who doesn't love smoothies? If you don't you're a d-bag, because they're healthy and delicious. Blend Greek yogurt with fresh raspberries, strawberries, agave nectar or honey and a few leaves of fresh mint. Or just add it to your favorite smoothie recipe to boost the amount of protein and overall creaminess.

2. For Baking

Mix Greek yogurt into the batter for an incredibly moist, velvety lemon pound cake. Or substitute it for sour cream in this light & fluffy banana bread. Better yet, mix it with vanilla extract and powdered sugar for a take on cream cheese frosting, or make a tart and sweet chocolate frosting for cakes and cupcakes by mixing it with melted chocolate chips.

1. As Sour Cream

Anything sour cream can do, Greek yogurt can do better. Use it for a French onion veggie dip, smear it inside fluffy breakfast burritos, spoon it onto crispy, stuffed baked potatoes, serve it with pico de gallo alongside homemade fajitas, add a dollop to a bowl of creamy butternut squash soup or a thick, spicy chili. The possibilities are endless.

What are your favorite Greek yogurt recipes? Any favorite brands? Do share!

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