An Introduction

Hi, and welcome to my little corner of the world wide interwebs! I’m Elly, I’m  32, and I live in Chicago.  Since 2006, I’ve been married to my amazing husband and best friend, Tom (Yeah, I know, everyone says that, right? But it’s true. Tom and I were great friends for 3.5 years before dating).  We  welcomed our gorgeous baby boy, Zachary, into the world on April 2, 2010.  We decided to make My Big Fat Greek Family sweat it out for a few years. And now, of course, they’re  putting the pressure on for #2. Zachary became a big brother when our youngest, Ian, was born in March 2013.  Not only are our boys amazingly wonderful and insanely cute, they are also good eaters. VORACIOUS eaters. I fear for the high school years.

I’m somewhere between a first and second generation Greek (my mom was born in Greece and my dad was the first generation to be born in the States). I do like to cook Greek food (hence the OPA! in my blog title), but it comprises just a small fraction of our meals, as I love experimenting with other foods, ethnicities and taste combinations. But, just for kicks, here’s a picture of me enjoying a piece of my grandma’s (yiayia’s) plasto, which is a savory greens pie. Mmm.

nom nom nom nom nom nom


I started this blog as a way to cure some boredom once I finished grad school and had a lot of time on my hands. It was a way for me to document my recipes (if you know any Greeks, you know they don’t use recipes so trying to figure out how your grandma makes something over the phone is pretty near impossible). It has now helped me do that, sharpen my photographing skills a little bit (I’m still learning), and introduce me to a world of other amazing bloggers.

Some other things I enjoy include music (I’m one of those old-schoolers who still purchases CDs), vodka tonics, filling up my DVR,  making lists, and learning things from my son (who is now a toddler, which means I should probably get working on his baby book).

After rereading this about section, I’ve decided I am also a big fan of parenthetical asides (obviously).


Connect with Me

Email: ellysaysopa [at] gmail [dot] com





Press/As Seen On:
Click here for a list of websites that have featured elly says opa! 

Product Testing:
I am willing to sample and blog about products, provided that the product is something I’m interested in and would eat (or use) myself. As you can see from my blog, I am all for natural ingredients and am not into artificial ingredients, partially hydrogenated anything, and so on. If you’re interested, contact me at the email above! My new policy states that a reader should be given the chance to win the same product I am reviewing, so please only contact me if you are willing to provide a second item for a reader.

Advertising and Link Exchanges:
I am not currently interested in new advertising on my blog, nor do I participate in link exchanges.

This site carries a Creative Commons License.  All texts and images ©2006-2014 by Elly Says Opa! Do not use any of my photos without permission. If you use/link any content from my blog, please attribute them to elly says opa! and link to the original post.

Creative Commons License

elly says opa! is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

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{ 70 comments… read them below or add one }

Fran December 10, 2008 at 6:24 pm

Hi elly,
I’m not one to be jealous of others because it’s one of the 7 sins but…I envy you your young age of 27 yrs. …spit, spit… (I’m quite a bit older) You have so many years of great recipes and experiments ahead of you. Mmmmm.
I found you recently and I enjoy your blog. Keep it up!!


Fran December 10, 2008 at 6:30 pm

Oh, and your baklava french toast is ….fantastic. I make my “sandwiches” and soak in my french toast mixture overnight. Out of this world!!


Susan from Food Blogga December 18, 2008 at 9:25 am

How freakin cute are you in this pic? And now with the new site, I can finally leave comments! Yay! :)


Yeehaw Murghi January 1, 2009 at 7:15 pm

Very cool, you’ve got a new site. Okay, I’m being a nerd here, but what kinda software do you use for this? I think Vox is nice, but it’s a bit of a pain in some aspects — like people having to register in order to leave comments, and things like that, so I’ve been wondering about finding something else.


elly January 1, 2009 at 8:14 pm

Yeehaw – I use wordpress. It’s similar to Vox in terms of the formatting/posting but it’s easy to import/export files (unlike vox), you can connect it to a personal domain, etc. Eventually I would like to be a little more technilogical and manage my own domain/SQL but for now this works great.


Kanella January 13, 2009 at 4:10 pm

As a fellow Greek woman from Michigan I can very much relate to many of your blog entries. I must say you are a very talented woman and I am so glad I ran across your blog. Best of luck and I for one can’t wait to see what you post next.


Kiki January 26, 2009 at 11:37 am

Kalispera apo Londino. Se diavazoume edw k ena mina peripou k den boroume na ksekollisoume! Filia, Kiki


Elizabeth Pentheroudaki January 28, 2009 at 2:09 pm

Hi Elly
I am a big fan of yours! Congratulations on the amazing job you have done. You inspired me and I have recently created my own page with recipies…but I am afraid in Greek only !
So If you can read Greek please visit bettyscuisine.blogspot.com
and let me have your comments!


Kiki February 2, 2009 at 10:37 am

hey quick question – how do you measure the calories in your dishes? I’ve always been so curious of how one would go about doing that… let me know! thanks x kiki


elly February 2, 2009 at 10:55 am

Hi Kiki! I use sparkrecipes.com for the nutritional information.


Katerina July 25, 2009 at 8:24 pm

Hi Elly!

My name is Katerina, I grew up in Athens and have been in US for 6 years now. I love your website, recipes, pictures and humour, eisai thea! I’m actually going to try and make the Raspberry Buttermilk cake tomorrow!! Will let you know how it goes, filakia!


Ariana October 13, 2009 at 3:33 pm

Hi Elly, guess you can change the bio part about you not having kids “much to my Big Fat Greek family’s dismay”. Congrats on the wonderful news!

I’m a Chicago girl (sorta, Park Ridge). Always looking for suggestions on great Greek restaurants. Which are your favorites? Thanks. Great blog!


elly October 20, 2009 at 10:46 pm

Hi Ariana. We recently tried Taxim in Wicker Park and it was fabulous! Slightly more upscale and a little different than your standard Greek food. In Greektown, I like Greek Isles and Rodity’s is pretty good too.


Courtney Sterndale October 22, 2009 at 5:14 pm

I love you’re story Elly.It sounds cool


Elly October 30, 2009 at 9:27 pm

My name is Elly! Same spelling, too. Though this Elly is not so much a cook…so, I’m crazy jealous.


Andrea G (formerly grrrlfrnd2000) December 11, 2009 at 12:12 pm

I just found this blog off of Annie Eats! Congrats on the upcoming baby, I hope all is well with you and Tom!


Joanna February 3, 2010 at 11:23 am


Can you please contact me at Yiannab@yahoo.com?

I couldn’t find any contact infromation on your site.




Ann February 10, 2010 at 1:49 am

Hello, Elly–

I’d like to subscribe to your site.
Yay for good food!


elly February 10, 2010 at 9:43 am

Hi Ann! I *just* added a side bar link where you can subscribe to the blog via email. Hope this helps (you and others)!


Stephanie February 25, 2010 at 3:47 pm

Hi Elly,

Google Reader suggested your blog for me today, and I just love it! We seem to have a lot in common (only I’m Italian, not Greek), and I absolutely love your writing style. Some of your dishes are making me hungry — and I just ate lunch! Can’t wait to try some of them out.


Gina Hieber February 27, 2010 at 11:36 pm

Hi Elly –

Ran across your blog while searching recipes to get me through lent with some type of flavor. I gave up sugar, wheat and dairy. Yeah, I know, what was I thinking but I did. Although I found lots of yummy things here I cannot wait to try the Pastitsio.

We grew up next door to a Greek family that ended up becoming our extended family. My “Aunt” Tula made an amazing rice pudding with a greek custard. It had a hard milk shell with a rich and creamy inside. Pure Joy! If you have a similar recipe I would love if you posted it.

Thanks for blogging. I have found some great vegetable recipes to try in the meantime but honestly I am looking forward to the Pastitsio!


elly February 28, 2010 at 6:07 pm

Hi Gina. Thanks for visiting! I don’t think I have ever had a rice pudding with a hard milk shell. Sounds very interesting! I have yet to blog rice pudding/rizogalo so I will have to do that soon.


Gina Hieber February 28, 2010 at 8:08 pm

Maybe I am misrepresenting this, my Aunt Tula used a greek custard for her rice pudding. When it set, the milk in the pudding formed a bit of a heavier layer that was just joy to break through cause that meant you got to the wonderful creaminess of the pudding. Either way, it was AMAZING!

I look forward to your rizogalo post!


my little expat kitchen March 17, 2010 at 5:36 am

Hello Elly. I just discovered your blog through Maria’s (Kali Orexi) and it looks fantastic. Lovely recipes and photographs as well :)
I’ll be visiting you often!


elly March 17, 2010 at 10:19 pm

So glad you found me and as a result I found you, Magda! I’m already loving the first post I see on your blog for ravani :)


fitandfortysomething March 22, 2010 at 8:05 am

just had to stop by and say Opa! I am a Greek girl as well. Dad from Greece and Mom from New York but her parents from Greece…..


frabala March 23, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Geia!!!!!!!!!!!! Opa opa opa…..

Hello from Salonica!


Shanon May 19, 2010 at 3:11 pm

Hi Ellie! I just found your blog through Annie’s Eats. And I just bookmarked about 1000000 of your recipes. So excited to try everything!


lindsay madsen May 19, 2010 at 5:33 pm

I am sooo glad to have found your blog! I love Greek food. We have some pretty great Greek restaurants out here in Vegas (in fact, one is called Opa!), but I’ve been searching everywhere for some grilled vegetables–the medely they serve at many restaurants. I think your lemon potatoes are the ones I’m looking for…any other vegetable varieties you could share?

Thanks for posting your secrets! :)


elly May 20, 2010 at 7:20 am

Hi Lindsay! Thanks for stopping by. One of my favorite Greek dishes is called Tourlou…sometimes also called briam. It’s a long-baked veggie medley and SO good. Here is the link: http://ellysaysopa.wordpress.com/2008/09/17/tourlou-tourlou. Here is a recipe for okra, which is easily adaptable to both green beans (make as is) os peas (sub dill for parsley): http://ellysaysopa.com/2008/04/15/greek-style-okra. Enjoy! :)


Chris Senne May 20, 2010 at 4:53 pm

Hi Elly,

I just found you today, and I’m so excited to start trying some of your recipes! Keep up the great work!

Take care,


lindsay madsen May 21, 2010 at 11:39 am

You are awesome :)


Cortney July 27, 2010 at 4:49 pm

Hi Elly, I just stumbled upon your blog today while surfing the web for some yummy Lebanese recipes. I have been dating my boyfriend for over a year and a half now and he was born in Beirut, Lebanon. Needless to say, I have been immersing myself in the Lebanese culture, mainly focusing on the food. I love that it is your favorite food to eat…his mom is an amazing cook and I can’t wait to start making her recipes. I found some great recipes as well on your site and can’t wait to try them. The Greek style is so similar…so I am a new fan of your site. Thank you for sharing!


elly July 27, 2010 at 7:57 pm

Thanks for stopping by, Cortney!


Maria Sideris August 7, 2010 at 3:07 pm

Hi Elly!

As a fellow Greek-American I really look forward to following your work! Im only 17, but Im always looking for food blogs to inspire me in my cooking adventures! I just discovered this a few minutes ago, and after I read your ‘about’ I cant wait to venture deeper into it and read all about your amazing creations! Thanks for sharing everything with us :D


Elizabeth September 24, 2010 at 3:51 pm

I just found your blog when I was searching for recipes for Kritharaki. I’m only one-quarter Greek, but my Yia-Yia used to make this for our family and we loved it. It’s my sister’s birthday so i wanted to see if I could make it for her. It’s something that seems never to be available in Greek restaurants here in Chicago (where I live as well) – -is that true, or am I missing it? Glad to have found you and congratulations on your son!


elly September 25, 2010 at 7:34 am

Hi Elizabeth. When I hear kritharaki, it just means orzo pasta to me. Do you mean the orzo with meat and tomato-y type sauce? If so that can be called youvetsi (baked) or manestra (stovetop). The Greek restaurants I’ve been to usually have youvetsi. I’m not sure if you mean something else though! I have a recipe for both of those on my blog.


Barbie October 12, 2010 at 2:09 pm

wow i just spent most of my lunch hour bookmarking recipes on your blog!! I love greek food and i am really loving your blog.

I’m new at blogging and I am trying to get better at it and add more options and features etc.

Thanks for being such a great inspiration to this Detroit girl!


Caterina Borg October 19, 2010 at 11:38 am

Hi Elly!
Yasou Elly mou! I just wanted to say hi (from a fellow Greek girl) and to let you know that I have added yout to my list of blogs that I follow on http://www.goodfoodgourmet.com. I have been following your blog for a while now, and love your style. You actually inspired me to create a page ‘for a well stocked pantry’ on my blog! I would love for you to visit…Many thanks again! Caterina


180turning30 October 28, 2010 at 11:29 am

Hi Elly, I absolutely love your blog! My mom is Greek and it’s such a wonderful thing to see the recipes that my Yia-Yia and Thia have made through the years explained in such a clear, fun to read way. I recently started a blog myself at http://180turning30.wordpress.com/, I hope you’ll check it out. Thanks so much for sharing!

All the best,


Ann @ Cooking with Wine February 9, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Just wanted to say how much I love your blog. There are tons of your recipes on my “must make” list on my own blog that I just started. I check on here all the time to see what you’re up to!


Caitlin March 19, 2011 at 4:51 pm

Hey there!
I’d like to pass on a Stylish Blogger Award to you. I love your blog. You can pick the award up on my blog post here:


Karan Bisias March 27, 2011 at 10:31 am

I just found your food blog and I just want to repeat that it is great! After lent I will be trying out your receipes. And your pantry section is very helpful. And like you I married my best friend, a Greek whom I met in Chicago, and we are together almost fifteen truley wonderful years. Keep up the good work!


Dr. Glyn Burgess April 3, 2011 at 6:47 am

Hi Elly,

Just to let you know that on my recommendation, the editor of this section of our website:
..has decided to add your blog link to his next update.

Dr. Glyn Burgess
Site Manager


lorraine s. April 7, 2011 at 12:05 pm

I love your blog…great recipes and stories about cooking and family!!! I’m spreading the word about you to all my foodie friends!! OPA!!


yia yia Angie May 9, 2011 at 1:13 am

Hi Elly
I am new to this blogging.
I just discovered your site through Peter G. I too am a Greek foodie and also love International food. I live in Australia, however I am a true Greek as I was born there many moons ago. My heart is in Greece although I have not been back since 1956. WOW you might say, but, such is life. I love food and love cooking and baking for my family and friends. I will one day create a blog like yours so that my experiences can be shared with others. I have grand children that love to get into the kitchen with their yia yia (grand mother) and they love to make baklava and koulourakia. cheers for now –
yia yia angie


Catherine May 10, 2011 at 1:34 pm

Hi Elly!
Just came across your blog and I’m glad to find someone cooking Greek food
I enjoy reading your blog and your writing style is fun and intelligent!
I can also remember my own yiayia whenever I asked for a recipe she would always give me the same answer: “Koutourou!”. So no recipes from her side and sadly she is long gone but she used to make a wicked backlava and the most amazing french fries in an old style skillet…Oh memories!
Keep it up and thnx for all the lovely recipes. Great blog!


Hi Elly! May 21, 2011 at 3:06 am

Hi Elly! I have just stumbled across your blog (lucky me!). You have a great way with words and you a quirky humour ! I look forward to checking back & trying some of your recipes. They look delish!


Sue January 1, 2012 at 5:57 pm

Hi there and Happy New Years to you and your beautiful family! I just recently found your blog and I love it! I’m not from Chicago but our son lived there for a few years so I am familiar with The Spice House and Rick Bayless’s restaurants and adore both. I buy all my spices and herbs from the house.

Thought I would give a ringing endorsement (and I am in no way affiliated) to Rancho Gordo. Their website….ranchogordo.com sells many varieties of heirloom beans that
have no genetic modifications. Since you seem to like mexican so much, I think you’d really
like these. They are so easy-soak over night-cover with broth and seasonings and cook on low in the crockpot all day. Dinner!!! I always keep the cans on hand but these are just so yummy and fresh that you’ll be in love.


Villy @ For the love of Feeding March 30, 2012 at 5:37 am

Hi! I found the blog by chance and scrolling through it I saw you are doing a great job! Well done, and I’ll be following! Oh, and Kalimera! :)


Caroleena May 16, 2012 at 7:00 pm

Well, today was *supposed* to be productive (housecleaning), but I took a break after I finished the vacuuming & stumbled upon your blog. That was about 2 hours ago…So my productivity took another direction — THANK YOU! Your photos are lovely, your recipes intriguing, and you write very well. I had to subscribe, or I’d be here till tomorrow!


elly May 16, 2012 at 10:26 pm

Thank you Caroleena, you’re so sweet. :)


Molly July 3, 2012 at 9:08 am

Opa! Opa’s an African-derived expression, its forms being “epa” and “eba” in Africa. I’m surprised it ended up in Greece after the Greek invasion in Egypt. I thought the Greeks said “oompa”, when in fact, they actually left it quite close to the original!

I wonder what other African words traveled there. I’ll be sure to tell my linguist fiance, though something tells me he’s already well aware!

Epa é!


Ana July 4, 2012 at 9:41 am

Hi Elly,

I made one of your recipes a few weeks ago and it was just perfect. I am talking about the Plum Cake. I want to make it again but for some reason I can no longer find it on the site. Can you repost it please? Pretty please!

I didn’t save or print the recipe, I just thought I would always find it here :).
Thank you! Love your cooking and your sense of humor!


elly July 4, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Hi Ana. It’s still there, not sure why you couldn’t find it! http://ellysaysopa.com/2009/09/20/a-year-in-the-kitchen-with-nigel-slater-septembers-plum-cake/


Catherine July 22, 2012 at 11:55 am

hello Elly! Stumbled on your blog and have forwarded to my sisters. my family is from Greece and many settled in the Chicago area. your recipes are very similar to my yiayias, and I especially like the vegetarian and healthy recipes. my second favorite foods are spanish/mexican which you seem to like too. I can’t wait to try your recipes and am making the baked leg quarters today! I didn’t read the pantry section of your blog but I would suggest in your recipe descriptions to maybe put in something about olive oil. I find using the Greek Calamata olive oil gives the dish a definate Greek flavor that one would find missing using Italian or Spanish oils.


Jenny September 18, 2012 at 10:21 pm

Hi, are you “JULAINE59” on allrecipes.com? If not, that user is stealing your photos and posting them as her own. See here:


elly September 19, 2012 at 7:45 am

Nope, I’m not. Thanks for the heads up!


Cindy January 19, 2013 at 12:28 pm

Just stumbled onto your blog and love it! I am not Greek, but grew up in Detroit, where there is a heavy Greek influence. Above that, is that my two daughters and I LOVE greek food, it just about the fav around my house!

Look forward to trying some recipies, especially the saganaki and stuffed grape leaves!
I hope I can find the needed items in this little town in Cental Alabama!

Be Blessed!


Christiana June 2, 2013 at 6:32 pm

Love your website! I feel like your blog is really the first one with Greek recipes to have a really nice aesthetic look! I can’t wait to try some recipes out here. Going to start with Youverlakia :)


Larissa June 21, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Just recently found your website, grew up in a Greek home but I found once I moved away from my family it was much more difficult to make my favorite dishes without help from my Yia-Yia! Your recipes are easy enough to follow that I can do them with my non-Greek roommates (who all love when I cook my Greek dishes!) and really helps bring parts of my family with me while I’m away from home.

Efharistó polí!


Candace August 3, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Just found your blog and so happy I did! I recently married my Greek husband (he’s 2nd generation but we love, love his Greek heritage and practice all of the good Greek life traditions). Over the three years we’ve been together, I’ve been to learn how to cook (but moreso EAT) some amazing dishes through him and his family. Thank you so much for sharing your culinary adventures!


Linda September 1, 2013 at 10:45 am

Wondering if the Tyrokafteri (Spicy Feta Cheese Spread) freezes well. I made it and made a bit too much. :-) Please advise. Thanks…it is yummy!


elly September 1, 2013 at 4:55 pm

Linda, I’ve never tried, so I’m not sure. The texture might change a bit but I assume it will still taste good. Let me know!


Steve January 26, 2014 at 1:18 am

I had only seen my yiayia make Plasto when I was young and have never seen it anywhere until I came across your website. She was also from Karditsa. My grandmother made it the best and we never could make it the same. It has been years since I have had it and your recipe brought back good memories. The taste was just how I remember it. I was so happy to find your website.


elly January 26, 2014 at 9:54 am

That’s great, Steve. Thanks for stopping by. :)


Arlene November 2, 2014 at 2:57 am

I have a question. I am new to your site. I wanted to print the recipe for Chicken Paprikash but there is no ‘print’ to click on and no print version. Can you help?


elly November 3, 2014 at 9:38 am

Hi Arlene. Some of the old recipes don’t have that because it was before I had the ability to do it. I will add it for that recipe in particular. It was my intention to go through and do it for everything but that didn’t happen! I’ll be getting a new site, soon, though, so everything will be fixe. Btw, we just had the paprikash last night. :)


Georgia Moon July 21, 2016 at 11:25 pm

Yiassas Elly
I’ve looked at your website several times, and love all the recipes. You sound an interesting person, where in Greece are you from? We are from the uk but live aboard our yacht and spend the summer sailing round the wonderful Greek islands, visited 42 so far!
I would like to give a link to your site on my blog, and also refer to your fabulous zucchini fritters recipe, as I was telling someone how good they are. Do you think I could use your photo (with credit back to you, of course). Keep up the good work!


elly July 22, 2016 at 12:44 pm

Hi Georgia. Yes, that’s fine to use the pic since you linked here. :) I was born in the US (as was my dad) but my mom was born in Athens. Her parents are from Crete and Zakynthos. My dad’s side is from near Thessaloniki. Thank you for reading!


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