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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Whole Wheat Pita Bread Take II

Happy 2012 everyone! We ate our black eyed peas yesterday so hoping that 2012 will be a great year here.  

I am not one to typically make resolutions with the new year as I feel that you can make a change any day of the year. The hubby and I did sit down on New Year’s Eve to make a 30 Things before 30 list. Kind of a bucket list of things we want to do before we hit 30 years with goals and fun things to do 🙂

Resolutions aside, I am ready to get back into our routine after the holiday hoopla. I sat down this past weekend to make a menu plan for the week and realized that I hadn’t planned out our meals since the end of November. With a meal plan ready to go for the next week, we’ll hopefully be back on track. While they aren’t actually on my menu for this next week, these pitas would certainly help this plan. Stuffed with meat and veggies for a fulfilling lunch or with peanut butter and a banana for breakfast, they meet the qualifications necessary for a great meal.

If you’ve read my blog for awhile, you know that this is not the first time that I have attempted to make pita bread at home. I am not sure if it was the recipe or more experience using yeast, but this recipe seemed to go much more smoothly than the previous one. Pita success.These even made great homemade pita chips 🙂 Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Whole Wheat Pita Bread
From Annie’s Eats

Ingredients:
2-1/4 tsp. instant yeast (1 pkg)
1 Tbsp. honey
1-1/4 cups hot water (105-115 F), divided
1-1/2 cups bread flour, divided
1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour, divided
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. salt
cornmeal for sprinkling

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the honey, yeast, and 1/2 cup of the water. Stir gently to blend. Whisk 1/4 cup of the bread flour and 1/4 cup of the whole wheat flour into the yeast mixture until smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside until doubled in bulk and bubbly, about 45 minutes.

Remove the plastic wrap and return the bowl to the stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook. Add in the remaining 3/4 cup of warm water, 1-1/4 cups bread flour, and 1-1/4 cups whole wheat flour, olive oil and salt. Knead on low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Transfer the ball of dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place for about 1 hour until doubled in bulk.

Place the oven rack in a middle position. Place a baking stone in the oven (if using) and preheat to 500 degrees F. 

Once the dough has risen, transfer to a lightly floured surface, punch down the dough and divide into 8 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball. Flatten one ball at a time into a disk and then stretch into a 6-1/2 to 7-inch circle. Transfer the rounds to a baking sheet or other work surface sprinkled lightly with cornmeal. Loosely cover with a kitchen towel and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes or until slightly puffy. 

Transfer 4 pitas to the stone or baking sheet. Bake for 2 minutes, until puffed and a pale golden color. Gently flip over using tongs and bake for 1 minute more. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

Pork Souvlaki with Tzatziki Sauce

Grilling. It has to be synonymous with summer, and the smell of dinner cooking away outside has to be one of my favorite smells in the world. When you combine grilling with one of our favorite cuisines (Greek), I am game. Thus, as soon as I saw this recipe for grilled pork souvlaki on The Blest Nest, I knew we would be making them soon! 

Greek and other Mediterranean dishes aren’t foods that either of us grew up eating, but they are something that we have come to love since we first tried them in pharmacy school. Lemon, oregano, garlic, chickpeas, olive oil. What’s not to love? Not only is it GOOD, but it can be pretty healthy for you too. Double win 🙂

While we have made a couple other Greek meals at home, this pork souvlaki has to be the best one yet. It is really simple to make. No more complicated than your standard skewers in that you marinate the meat for several hours and then throw it on the grill. My only change was to grill the pork and vegetables on separate skewers to account for different cook times. Sometimes the veggies will finish cooking before the meat is done, and if they are on different skewers, you can simply take them off the grill. I made my own whole wheat pitas for this, but you could easily use some from the store to make this doable for a weeknight meal. Done and done. Enjoy! 

(Printable Recipe)

Pork Souvlaki with Tzatziki Sauce
Adapted from The Blest Nest

Ingredients:
Pork Souvlaki:
1 large lemon, juiced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp. dried oregano
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs. pork tenderloin, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 medium yellow onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 green or red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup feta cheese
whole wheat pitas

Tzatziki Sauce:
1 cup lowfat Greek yogurt
1 large cucumber, peeled and finely chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. dried dill (or 1 Tbsp. fresh if you have it)
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt

For the meat, in a ziptop bag, combine the lemon juice, oil, soy sauce, oregano, and garlic. Swish to combine. Add pork cubes and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2-3 hours (can be made in the morning for that evening). If using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for at least 30 minutes prior to grilling. If using metal skewers, the soaking step is not necessary.

For the tzatziki sauce, squeeze as much water from the cucumber as possible using a clean dish towel or paper towels. Combine with the yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, dill and salt. Let the flavors marry in the refrigerator while the skewers are cooking.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Remove the pork from the marinade and set aside. Boil the marinade for 5 minutes to kill any bacteria because you want to use it to baste the skewers. Thread pork and pepper and onions onto separate skewers. Cook for 10-15 minutes or to desired tenderness. Baste the meat occasionally and turn skewers frequently for even cooking. The vegetables will not take this long to cook. Remove them when the vegetables are tender and begin to brown around the edges. 

Serve the pork, vegetables, and tzatziki over whole wheat pitas. Top with cherry tomatoes and feta cheese. Enjoy!

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Can I get a woo hoo! I finally got my Authorization to Test (ATT) today to take my board exams! I’ve been trying to study, but it’s a little hard to concentrate without a test date looming. I have two of them now – one next week and one the week after. So, if my posting is a little less frequent, please forgive. My nose will now be to the grindstone. These should be the last tests I’ll have to take in my professional life, and I promise that I will be back after the 9th in full force. 

Outside of all that hoopla, it’s Memorial Day Weekend and the unofficial start to summer! Hope you all have some fabulous plans with friends and family (much better than my dates with my books). Please remember to think of our troops during our celebrations this weekend, as part of the holiday is to honor their service to this country. 

While this hummus may not quite be patriotic, it is “redish,” and I thought it would make a great last minute dish if you are still looking for something to take to that Monday barbecue. Hummus is always a great appetizer, and roasted red pepper has to be my favorite variation that I’ve tried. It also can make out to be healthier side because the chickpeas give it quite a bit of fiber and vegetables make great dippers (not that pita chips don’t). It doesn’t melt and transports well, so there really isn’t any excuse not to bring this along. I know I will dig in if you do 🙂 Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
From The Best Light Recipe

Ingredients:
1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. tahini
3/4 cup jarred roasted red peppers, drained, rinsed, and patted dry with a paper towel
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 small garlic clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press (1/4 tsp.)
pinch cayenne pepper

Process the chickpeas, water, lemon juice, tahini, roasted red peppers, 2 teaspoons of the oil, salt, garlic, and cayenne together in a food processor until very smooth, 1 to 1-1/2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Transfer the hummus to a serving bowl; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the flavors meld, about 30 minutes. The hummus covered, can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature. To serve, make a well in the center of the hummus, and drizzle the remaining teaspoon of olive oil in the well (can skip this step). Serve with pita chips, crackers, or desired vegetables for dipping.

I am linking this to Mangia Mondays.

Mediterranean Stuffed Chicken Breasts

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a non-group blog, so I thought I’d share the first “real meal” that I made in our new home. Sorry Derek, while it is quite delicious, Subway doesn’t count as making dinner 🙂

The recipe comes from the June 2010 issue of Cooking Light. Having this magazine with us was actually a little serendipitous. I have a file folder of recipes that we usually browse through to pick our weekly meals.  Unfortunately, this magazine was back in Nebraska along with my previously mentioned SMS book, so I was without my recipes. Thankfully, mom had given me this magazine just before leaving on our drive down to Arizona.  

We actually made 2 recipes out of this issue while I was down there, and I now have several more on my “to make” list. If you like cooking magazines, this is a great issue! My husband actually picked this one out, and the fact that it only has 5 ingredients was definitely a bonus!

The verdict: other than the fact that I need to work on my chicken-stuffing abilities, the dish was great. I’ve only done stuffed chicken breasts a couple of times, and I need to work on getting a pocket that goes most of the way through the breast without poking through the other side (oops). The recipe does call for kalamata olives. Kalamata olives are a type of olive that is commonly seen in Greek-flavored dishes. They can be a little pricey, but the flavor really shines through in these chicken breasts making it worth the money in my opinion. Now, someone just needs to teach me how to grow fresh basil without killing the plant 🙂 

Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Mediterranean Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Cooking Light June 2010

Ingredients:
1 large red bell pepper
1/4 c. (1 ounce) crumbled feta cheese
2 Tbsp. finely chopped, pitted kalamata olives
1 Tbsp. minced fresh basil (1 tsp. dried basil)
8 (6 oz) skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Preheat the broiler. Cut bell pepper in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place pepper halves, skin side up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Broil 15 minutes or until skin is blackened. Place in a sealed food storage container. Let stand 15 minutes. Peel and finely chop.

Prepare grill to medium-high heat. Combine bell pepper, cheese, olives, and basil. Cut a horizontal slit through the thickest portion of each chicken breast half to form a pocket. Stuff 2 tablespoons of filling into each pocket; close the opening with a wooden toothpick. Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper. 

Place chicken on a grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill 6 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from grill; cover loosely with foil, and let stand 10 minutes. 

Yield: 8 servings

Mediterranean Wrap

Finals. Check. Marathon. Check. Woo hoo! What a week. I finished my first marathon in 4 hours and 26 minutes which translates to just over 10 minute miles. I’m still a little bit in awe of the race. I really didn’t start “feeling it” until mile 23. It was about that time that I swear I had the best slice of orange that I’ve ever had in my life from one of the aid stations along the course 🙂

Even with all the stuff going on, it’s no secret that we try a lot of new recipes. Good or bad, it seems that we rarely make things twice. Many of these recipes come right out of the blog world, but I also have that stack of cooking magazines that I’m sure most of us do. However, I don’t really seem to make recipes out of the magazines as often as I would like. They go into my pile and the recipes unfortunately get forgotten once menu planning starts.

When I got the June 2010 issue of Eating Well, I knew we needed to make this recipe right away. Before this recipe, I had never cooked with couscous. It had been on my list of things to make, but much like the magazines it got pushed aside. 

Well, I’m glad we didn’t wait to long on these wraps because these were amazing! The hubby is still talking about them a week and a half later. I’d recommend splurging on the fresh mint if you don’t already grow your own. We don’t always cook with fresh herbs because we live in an apartment and have limited growing space, but the fresh herbs really make these wraps! The magazine suggests that these wraps be served with a green salad and a crisp glass of white wine. Sounds great to me!

Try them out next time you are looking for a lighter meal. We loved them!

(Printable Recipe)

Mediterranean Wraps
Adapted from Eating Well June 2010

Ingredients:
1/2 c. water
1/3 c. whole wheat couscous
1 c. chopped fresh parsley
1/2 c. chopped fresh mint
1/4 c. lemon juice
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. salt, divided
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 lb. chicken tenders
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 c. chopped cucumber
4 sun-dried tomato FlatOut Flatbreads

Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir in couscous and remove from the heat. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Set aside. 

Meanwhile, combine parsley, mint, lemon juice, oil, garlic, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Toss chicken tenders in a medium bowl with 1 tablespoon of the parsley mixture and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Place the tenders in a large nonstick skillet and cook over medium heat until cooked through, 3-5 minutes per side. Transfer to a clean cutting board. Cut into bite-sized pieces when cool enough to handle.

Stir the remaining parsley mixture into the couscous along with the tomato and cucumber. To assemble wraps, spread about 3/4 cup onto each wrap. Divide the chicken among the wraps. Roll the wraps up like a burrito, tucking in the sides to hold in the ingredients. Serve cut in half.

Chicken Shawarma

It’s good to get a more savory dish up here. I’ve had quite the string of desserts going, but worry not. I promise I’ve been eating more than cookies and cake 🙂

The hubby and I made this recipe a couple of weekends ago. It’s been at least warm enough around here to melt most of the snow, so we decided that meant it was warm enough to break out the grill! I saw this recipe here on blogchef.net, although Bobby says that it was originally from Cooking Light. Blogchef.net really is a great site. We’ve made tons of recipes from there! Check it out, especially if you enjoy Chinese food!

The chicken in this dish is amazing. We easily could have eaten it straight of the grill without any of the other garnishes. The sauce actually ended up tasting a lot like hummus from the garlic, tahini, and lemon juice. Together – it was culinary bliss. Especially since “real meals” have been a welcome change for me in the past couple weeks, somehow oatmeal, PB&J, and lunch meat sandwiches don’t quite satisfy just the same. Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Chicken Shawarma
Adapted from Cooking Light

Ingredients:
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into strips
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. curry powder
2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 c. plain reduced-fat Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp. tahini
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
4 pieces whole-wheat flatbread
1 c. romaine lettuce
2 tomatoes, diced

In a medium bowl, combine lemon juice, curry powder, olive oil, salt, cumin, and minced garlic. Add chicken and toss to coat. Let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. To prepare the sauce, in a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, tahini, lemon juice, and 1 clove minced garlic. Set aside.

Spray grill grates with cooking spray and pre-heat the outdoor grill. Place chicken strips on the grill (can place on skewers if desired). Grill for 4 minutes on each side or until chicken is fully cooked. Place pitas on grill rack and grill for 1 minute on each side or until lightly toasted. Place 1 pita on each plate. Top with chicken, lettuce, tomato, and sauce.


Whole Wheat Pita Bread and Baked Falafel

I’m not sure what convinced me that we needed to make these. We have been on a Mediterranean-flavor kick lately and have really enjoyed trying out a lot of new foods. I saw this recipe for homemade pita bread here on Simply Life a couple days ago and decided to try it. My confidence has been growing with yeast breads, and in the post-test hiatus, I have a little bit more time this weekend.

 
Look, it grew! I even did this one without my bread machine since it’s still at my in-laws from when my husband made pizza for the Super Bowl. 
One caution in making the pita bread is that it bakes at 500 degrees F. You may want to make sure that you have a clean oven.  Just saying that your kitchen might get a little bit smoky and the fire alarm may or may not go off if it isn’t. Not that I would know…
Well, what better to pair pita bread with than hummus and falafel? Okay, so falafel may not be the first thing that most people think of, but I have been attempting to replicate the falafel at this little Lebanese restaurant right by our apartment. Their food really is amazing! I’ve tried once before, but the recipes have been really different. Pinto beans and cilantro in one, and garbanzo beans and parsley in another. 

Both recipes were good, but I have to say I prefer this one over the other. While we aren’t to restaurant standards yet, this recipe is a lot closer to the flavors of the dish they serve there. The patties also held their shape a lot better making them much easier to flip in the pan.
I served the falafel patties with the pita bread and some tzatziki sauce that we had leftover from some chicken gyros. Pretty good meal if I do say so myself. The hubby has been snacking on the leftover pita bread all day, so it must have passed the test 🙂


Whole Wheat Pita Bread
Ingredients:
1 pkg. quick rising yeast
1/2 c. warm water
1-1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1-1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1-1/4 tsp. salt plus an extra pinch
1 tsp. sugar
1 c. warm water

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 c. warm water. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Let sit for 10-15 minutes.

Combine flour and salt in a separate bowl. Make a small whole in the center of the flour and pour yeast mixture into the center. Slowly add in 1 cup of warm water and stir together. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes.

Lightly coat large bowl with non-stick spray and place dough in the bowl, turning the dough over so it is completely covered with spray. Cover the bowl with a cloth and let sit for about 90 minutes in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size (I turned the oven on and set the bowl near the oven to keep it warm).

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Place the rack at the bottom of the oven, and put the baking sheet in the oven to preheat it. 
Separate the dough into 12 equal balls and place them on a lightly floured surface. Cover with a cloth and let them sit for about 10 minutes. Roll out each ball of dough into a circle. Bake a couple at a time on the baking sheet, allowing room between circles, for about 4 minutes. Turn the dough oven and bake for an additional 2 minutes. Serve warm.

Baked Falafel
Ingredients:
1/4 c. chopped onion
1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
non-stick spray

Place garbanzo beans, parsley, garlic, cumin, coriander, salt, and baking soda in a food processor. Process until the mixture is coarsely pureed. Mix garbanzo bean mixture and onion together in a bowl. Stir in the flour and egg.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 9×13-inch pan with non-stick spray. Warm a skillet on the stove-top over medium-high heat. Spray with non-stick spray. Form the mixture into patties and set in the skillet. Cook until golden brown or about 3 minutes on each side. 

Place patties in the pan (or alternately if you have an oven-safe skillet, you can just put this in the oven) and bake until heated through, about 10 minutes.

Hummus Pizza

Pizza time! In all honesty, Tessa and I could probably have a blog devoted solely to our many adventures in pizza making. We enjoy making pizza so much that it is really difficult to convince either one of us that going out for pizza is worth it! The one exception to this rule is Mama’s Pizza here in Omaha, but that is a story for another day. 

We received a food processor for Christmas from my parents and the exclamation of Tessa when she opened it paved the way for our latest pizza experiment. To quote Christmas morning, she said “Look Derek, now we can make Hummus!” As previously mentioned, we love Greek and Mediterranean food and hummus is always our favorite appetizer. During the process of trying to find a recipe for hummus on Allrecipes, we ran across this unique pizza.

The recipe called for refrigerated pizza crust and a generic hummus spread. Fortunately, we have an awesome recipe for homemade pizza crust, available here, and we found a good recipe for homemade hummus. After Tessa reassured me that garbanzo beans and chick peas were the same thing, the only thing we changed was using both red and green peppers on the pizza. For anyone looking for a unique, but delicious pizza experience, we recommend trying this pizza!!!

Hummus Pizza
Ingredients:
Homemade pizza crust
2 cups canned garbanzo beans, drained
1/3 cup tahini
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, halved
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pinch paprika
1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
1 1/2 cups sliced bell peppers, any color
1 cup broccoli florets
2 cups shredded fat-free Mozzarella cheese

Place the garbanzo beans, tahini, lemon juice, salt and garlic in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Transfer mixture to a serving bowl.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Roll out pizza crust and place on a pizza pan or baking sheet. Spread a thin layer of hummus over the crust. Arrange the sliced peppers and broccoli over the hummus, and top with shredded cheese.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until the crust is golden brown and cheese is melted in the center. Slice and serve.

Chicken Gyros with Cucumber Salsa and Tsatsiki

Last weekend, Tessa was at work all day, studied for classes, and made my class 48 delicious cinnamon rolls. Given her hard work and kindness, I decided I would find a new recipe and make her dinner on Sunday night to show my appreciation. Stating all this, this is the first guest blogger post by Tessa’s husband, Derek. Now I am normally the recipient of all the flavorful creations of my wife, but I have watched closely and she has taught me a thing or two about knowing my way around the kitchen!

I found this recipe on my iPhone on the Epicurious application. Tessa and I have been on a HUGE Greek kick the past month or so and it seems every chance we get, we either go out to eat or cook a Greek dish. Tessa is better about trying new dishes than I am and every time I eat Greek food, I have trouble eluding the Gyros!

This recipe is very simple to prepare, but all the time that goes into making the gyros is pretty active. You start by making the Tsatsiki sauce. This can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator to save some prep time. We substituted normal cucumbers that we cut the seeds out of and finely chopped for the Kirby cucumbers the recipe calls for. The grocery store did not have any Kirby cucumbers and the vegetable guy gave the advice on how to use the normal cucumbers. We also left the mint out of the salsa as it is not in season in Nebraska in the middle of January!


All I can say is, judging by Tessa’s reaction when she got home from work, this recipe definitely made the cut and I might be making more frequent guest posts!!!

Chicken Gyros with Cucumber Salsa and Tsatsiki
Recipe from Epicurious iPhone application

Ingredients:
2 Kirby cucumbers, divided
1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt (3/4 pounds)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, divided
5 garlic cloves, minced, divided
1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped mint
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 rounded teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled
1 (12-ounces) packages naan bread or 4 (8-inch) pocketless pita rounds
1/2 roast chicken , skin discarded, meat shredded (2 1/4 cups)
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced

Preparation of Tsatsiki:
Peel and grate 1 cucumber, then squeeze it with your hands to remove excess water. Stir together with yogurt, 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice, one third of garlic, and 1/4 teaspoons each of salt and pepper to make tsatsiki.

Preparation of Cucumber Salsa:
Cut remaining cucumber into 1/4-inch pieces and stir together with tomatoes, onion, parsley, mint, remaining 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper to make salsa.

Gently simmer oil, oregano, rosemary, remaining garlic, 1/4  teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a small heavy saucepan, stirring constantly, until garlic is fragrant but not browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Toss chicken with 3 tablespoons garlic oil and brush one side of bread with remainder.

Heat bread, oiled side up, in a skillet until golden in spots and has an even coloring. Flip bread and repeat on opposite side.

Spread some of tsatsiki on warm bread and top with chicken and some of lettuce and salsa. Serve remaining lettuce, salsa, and tsatsiki on the side.