Chicken Shawarma Fries with Mediterranean Salsa and Garlic Sauce

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Does anyone else falter slightly when asked which food is their favorite? Please tell me I’m not alone here.

I feel like I like so many different flavors that it is hard for me to pick, although I will admit that Mediterranean is amongst my favorite. As long as we stay away from goat cheese. I just can’t do the “tang” and that flavor stays on anything it remotely touches on a plate. Goat feta/cheese = not for me. Cow feta = I could eat with a spoon.

I first talked about these Shawarma topped fries in my menu plan, but at the time, I wasn’t sure if I would serve this over fries or rice. I will admit I’m glad I went the fry route. Crispy skinned potatoes also are awesome. That said, I’m sure rice would work too and as long as you’re using a packet, would make this quicker for a weeknight meal.

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My recipe tips would be to be sure to cut the potatoes on the thinner side as this will allow for more crisping. I would also recommend spraying your foil with non-stick spray for the fries. Mine stuck to the foil a bit despite the olive oil (which was slightly disappointing as I lost the crispy sides on some of them). I also subbed some of the mayo out for plain Greek yogurt on the sauce, and it worked well for us.

Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Chicken Shawarma Fries with Mediterranean Salsa and Garlic Sauce
Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

Ingredients:
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. allspice
pinch cinnamon
pinch cayenne pepper
salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. thin boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1-1/2 lbs (2 large) Russet potatoes
salt and pepper
non-stick spray

For the Mediterranean Salsa:
2 vine-ripened tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 medium cucumber, peeled and chopped
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup packed Parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1 lemon, juiced
Cavendar’s Greek Seasoning, to taste

For the Garlic Sauce:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 lemon, juiced
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt
water to desired consistency

Add 1/2 lemon juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, spices, and garlic to a large ziplock bag. Squash to combine. Add the chicken and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to 12 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray. Lay the chicken in a single layer and bake for 12-15 minutes or until cooked through, flipping the chicken halfway through. Allow to set for 5-10 minutes prior to cutting into bite-sized pieces. Set aside

Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees.Re-spray the foil with non-stick spray (or replace the foil). Slice the potatoes thinly into fries (can leave the skins on). Toss in a bowl with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until crispy, stirring halfway through.

Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients for the salsa in a medium bowl. Stir to combine and set aside. Add all the ingredients for the garlic sauce in a bowl. Mix. Add water, a little bit at a time, until you reach your desired consistency.

Top the fries with the chicken, salsa, and garlic sauce. Serve.

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Roasted Poblano Salsa Chicken Enchiladas

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First of all, Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I have a very non-Irish dinner idea for tonight.

One thing my husband will readily tell you is that I’ve never been the cleanest cook. There’s a reason the dogs in this house hang around in the kitchen if I’m working in there. Nonetheless, please tell me I am not the only person who gets cilantro EVERYWHERE whenever I try to use it in my kitchen. Chopping it is the worst. I swear I’ll find it for days after I thought I had cleaned it up. I thought I would be smart making the salsa for these enchiladas and just add it to my blender straight off the bunch. I was going to blend it anyway, right? No, there was still cilantro on the floor and somehow on the opposite kitchen counter…

This becomes a real problem for me as Mexican/southwest flavors are some of my favorite things for dinner.

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Enter these enchiladas from Iowa Girl Eats. I wish you could even just smell this salsa over the blog world. So. Good. I warmed up a leftover enchilada for lunch this week, and all of my coworkers were wondering what smelled so good!

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The entirety of this dish does take a little bit to put together. First, you make the salsa, then cook the chicken, grate the cheese (ugh, but worth it), assemble, and bake. I really think the salsa is what makes this dish. I almost can’t wait to make this again this summer with some garden tomatoes as it was great with mid-March grocery store tomatoes. Don’t substitute traditional enchilada sauce here. It isn’t hard and is worth the time. Find a day/weekend where you can set aside time to make it. I promise you won’t regret it!

I’m sure you could make these quicker by making the salsa and chicken ahead of time. IGE recommends that it can be made up to 3 days in advance, but I’m finding myself wondering if it would be freezable as that would make the time commitment for this next to nothing (probably almost a 30 minute meal).

Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Roasted Poblano Salsa Chicken Enchiladas
Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

Ingredients:
For the Roasted Poblano Salsa:
1-2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
4 vine-ripened tomatoes
1 poblano pepper
1 small red onion, peeled and halved
1 head garlic, top 1/4-inch sliced off to reveal cloves
1/4 cup packed cilantro
1 lime, juiced
1 Tbsp. salt
1-2 tsp. black pepper

For the Enchiladas:
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 – 1 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 – 1 tsp. black pepper
8-10 fajita-sized whole wheat tortillas
8oz freshly shredded Queso Quesadilla (by refrigerated tortillas at the store)

For the Cucumber Pico de Gallo:
2 vine-ripened tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 jalapeño, finely chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, minced
1 lime, juiced
salt and pepper to taste

For the salsa, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray. Add tomatoes, poblano pepper, and onion to the baking sheet then brush with extra virgin olive oil to coat. Place the head of garlic in the middle of a smaller piece of foil and drizzle generously with olive oil. Seal the garlic into a pouch of foil and place on the baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes, flipping everything but the garlic halfway through. Decrease the heat on the oven to 350 degrees.

Once cool enough to handle, transfer the tomatoes and onion to a food processor or blender. Cut the top off the poblano pepper and remove any seeds and membranes. Add to the blender. Squeeze all of the garlic cloves out into the blender (they should be soft). Add cilantro, lime juice, 1 Tbsp. salt, and 1 tsp. black pepper. Process until smooth then taste and add more salt and/or pepper if desired.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken, onions, garlic salt, and black pepper and sauté until the chicken is cooked through. Set aside.

Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray. Spread 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the prepared salsa into the bottom of the dish. Wrap each tortilla with a scoop of the chicken, 1-2 Tbsp. of salsa, and 1-2 Tbsp. shredded cheese. Place seam-side down in the baking dish. Repeat until all the ingredients have been used. Cover the enchiladas with salsa; you may have some salsa leftover. Top the enchiladas with the remaining cheese and eat the remaining salsa with chips if desired.

Spray a large piece of foil with non-stick spray and cover the baking dish (with spray-side down). Bake for 20 minutes. Switch oven to broil, remove the foil, and cook 2-3 minutes longer or until the cheese begins to brown. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes after baking.

While the enchiladas are baking, add the remaining chopped tomatoes, cucumber, jalapeño, onion, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper to a small bowl. Toss to combine. Top each enchilada serving with a scoop of pico de gallo.

SRC: Watermelon Cucumber Salad

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One of the things I love about having a garden is how exciting it is when your plants do well. Our cucumber plants are kicking out cukes like it is their job (guess it kind of is?). This is great because not only do I know EXACTLY where my food came from, but homegrown food always tastes so much better than produce from the store. These cucumbers actually have flavor!

I tell you that to tell you this – the recipe I chose from my Secret Recipe Club blogger this month, Cooking Rookie from Cook Book Trial and Error, could not have come at a better time! Her watermelon cucumber salad is a unique combination of flavors, one that I am certain I never would have come up with on my own. In addition, the recipe is very customizable. Want more watermelon and less cucumber? Go for it. Want to add some mint. Try it. One thing to note is that this salad can get a little watery if you let it set for awhile. We just drained off the liquid after storing it for awhile. Nonetheless, you may want to wait to mix it up until just before serving.

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Any way you do it, I would recommend this as a great, refreshing way to enjoy that summertime produce! 

(Printable Recipe) 

Watermelon Cucumber Salad
From Cook Book Trial and Error

Ingredients:
2 cups cubed watermelon (1/2-inch cubes)
1 large cucumber, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup chopped pistachios
1/4 cup feta cheese
1/2 tsp salt (more or less depending on salt level of your feta)
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1-1/2 tsp. olive oil

Combine the above ingredients just before serving. Enjoy!

Tangy Cucumber and Avocado Salad

I know it is ridiculously hot just about everywhere right now, but I still have a love affair with summer. What other time of year is it okay to pile your plate with fresh, in-season produce and call it a meal? I know as the temperature goes up it certainly has me actually craving things like large salads or vegetable combos to get my fill at meal time! 

This is a salad that I adapted from allrecipes.com to use some of the produce that we were getting from our garden. The cucumbers and tomatoes in this are all ours! Sadly, our cucumber plants have since burned-out in the heat, but my yellow bell tomato plant is still producing those little guys like they are going out of style! The salad makes a great side to just about any main dish you are serving – think grilled chicken, steak, burgers, brats, heck even a Mexican-themed meal would go here, or you could mix in a grain and call it a meal. Love it! Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Tangy Cucumber and Avocado Salad
Adapted from Allrecipes.com

Ingredients:
2 medium cucumbers, cubed (can peel them or leave it on, your choice)
2 slightly firm avocados, cubed
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
4 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
2 Tbsp. red onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced 
1/4 tsp. salt
black pepper to taste (freshly ground if you have it)
1/4 lemon, juiced (or about 1 Tbsp.)
1 lime, juiced

In a large bowl, combine cucumbers, tomatoes, avocado, and cilantro. Stir in garlic, onion, salt and pepper. Squeeze lemon and lime juice over the top and gently stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.