Thursday, September 25, 2008

Greek Chicken Pitas

I envisioned a nice split pita sandwich until I realized that the pita bread I bought wasn't split! So, I ended up topping the pita bread with the chicken and cucumber/salad mix and then eating it with a knife and fork. It tasted great!

1 large bone-in, skin-on chicken breast
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil
zest of one lemon
1 garlic clove, minced
4 cups torn romaine lettuce or bagged salad
1/4 c ranch dressing
1/2 cucumber, diced

Rub the chicken breast with the salt, pepper, lemon zest, garlic and drizzle of olive oil, making sure to rub under the skin as well as on top of the skin. Finish off with a final sprinkling of salt and pepper. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Remove meat from the bone and shred or cut into large cubes.

Mix the salad with the cucumbers. Toss with the ranch dressing. Stuff the inside of half a pita round with 1 cup of the salad mix and 1/4 of the chicken. Or, if not using split pita, lay half of a pita round on a plate. Top with 1 cup salad mix and 1/4 of the chicken. Enjoy! You can also drizzle a nice spoonful of hummus on top.

Hummus with Homemade Pita Chips

Mundo and I love this recipe. Tahini only comes in a huge jar, so I keep mine frozen and defrost it in the microwave when I want to use it. It will go bad if it's kept in the fridge for too long. You can use store bought pita chips, but it's a lot cheaper to make your own and these sure do taste good! You can make them with wheat pita as well as white. Hummus is usually a great crowd pleaser and would make an excellent dip to serve at a party.

For the Pita Chips:
1 package pita bread
canola oil for drizzling
table salt or sea salt

Cut each pita bread round into four slices across. Then, cut each slice in half (one pita bread round should yield 8 slices). Place in a large bowl. Drizzle with canola oil and toss to coat. Lay in one flat layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Bake at 350 for 8 minutes on each side, or until nice and light brown and crispy.

1 can garbanzo beans (also called chickpeas) rinsed and drained
Juice of one lemon
2 tbsp tahini (sesame seed paste-usually in the peanut butter section)
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
salt to taste
olive oil for drizzling
paprika for garnish

Place all ingredients except olive oil and paprika in a food processor. Process for about 30 until ingredients combine. Pour in about 1/4 cup water until a smooth paste forms. It may be slightly chunky. Spoon into a serving dish. Sprinkle with paprika and drizzle with olive oil. Refrigerate before serving. Serve cold with pita chips.

Tabouli (Greek Salad)

This is a very light, healthy salad that would be great served alongside grilled chicken or fish as well as with my chicken pita.

3/4c water
3/4 c bulgur (aka cracked wheat- you can buy it at any whole food stores or in the heath food section at Kroger)
1c minced fresh parsley
1 green onion minced
1/2 cucumber diced
1/4 c diced roasted red bell pepper (jarred bell peppers work great in this)
1 small clove garlic, grated or minced
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp lemon juice
zest from half a lemon
1 1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
freshly ground pepper

In a glass bowl or measuring cup, combine the water with 1/4 tsp salt and 1 tsp olive oil. Microwave for three minutes. Add the bulgur and cover with plastic wrap. Allow it to sit for 20 minutes, or until all of the water is absorbed and the bulgur is tender. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients. Stir in the bulgur and refrigerate before serving.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Creamy Potato Soup and Green Salad with Sweet Balsalmic Glazed Red Onions

It's been a while since I've posted, as we've been hosting our friends who evacuated due to Gustav. They have 6 beautiful children, who were am
azingly well behaved despite cramped quarters and the craziness of last-minute evacuations. I decided I needed to keep it simple the day after they left, as I was a little tired and not really in the mood to cook for any length of time. This soup recipe, served with a nice green salad and toasty bread, was perfect. It's actually lowfat and only takes about 30 minutes to make, including prep time and cooking time.

2 stalks celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 carrots, diced (or about 10 baby carrots)
2 tbsp. butter
6 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 c. chicken broth
3/4 tsp Tony Chacheries cajun seasoning or seasoned salt
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups milk (I used skim and it tasted great)
3/4 cup low fat sour cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Optional Toppings:
cooked turkey bacon, crumbled
shredded cheddar
finely sliced green onion
sour cream

Sautee onion, celery and carrots in the butter along with the dried thyme, Tony's, garlic powder, pepper and salt. When you begin to see light brown on the bottom of the pan, add the potatoes and chicken broth. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, until the potatoes are nice and soft and can easily be mashed with a fork.

Mash vegetables with a potato masher. Add the milk, sour cream, and cheese. Cook, stirring constantly, until sour cream is incorporated and it comes together into a nice, creamy soup.

Sweet Balsalmic Glazed Red Onions

1 large red onion, sliced into 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick slices.
Salt and pepper
olive oil
balsalmic vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the onion slices on a cookie sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and balsalmic vinegar. Toss with your hands to make sure they are nicely coated. Bake for 15 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature before serving. These taste SO sweet and yummy on a salad. I made a dressing using a store-bought italian dressing packet and added about 1/4 cup extra vinegar, instead of the large amount of oil. (I filled my dressing carafe to the vinegar line with red wine vinegar. Then, I added 1/4 c. balsalmic vinegar, 3 tbsp water, the seasoning packet and oil to the oil line).