Friday, March 26, 2010

Chicken pita w/ avocado tzatziki and my 100th post!!!

***This is officially my 100th post!!!  I completely skipped over my one year blogoversary b/c I wasn't paying attention but then I was looking on my blogger home page today and omg!  It said 100 posts!***

There are often times I have to make dinner for one and have a hard time making a complete meal w/out having TONS of leftovers. Mac and cheese is something I will make if it's a weeknight and I can take some to work the next day (my mother HATES my mac and cheese, she's a blue box kinda gal).  But there are other nights (the occasional Friday night) when I go to the grocery store, not wanting anything pre-made, not wanting anything that'll make enough for ten people, not wanting anything complicated.  
Well I was browsing my Google reader the other day and saw a blog that led me to another blog.  (I honestly don't remember the post that led me to this post, but it was from the same blog, so I don't feel as bad-Sorry Val!).

Val is one of the people who helped start BloggerAid which is a FANTASTIC organization whose main goal is to stop world hunger.  They even put together this amazing cookbook to help their cause.  This cookbook is awesome.  There are some great recipes in there and I can't wait to buy a new copy (a friend stole mine!!) so I can cook them!  :)
Anyways, check them out!

Back to this dinner.  It was great.  The idea for making a chicken pita from Shannalee from  She made some chicken pita sandwiches one night at her brother's a couple of months ago and somehow, it popped in my head not too long ago and I just HAD to have a chicken pita. 
Well, of course it needs tzatziki.  But as much as I like 95th Produce's tzatziki, I also remembered Val's post for an avocado tzatziki from Cat Cora's cookbook, and well...  I HAD to have that too.  :)  I didn't have either recipes used with me at the time and when I got home my computer decided to hate me, so I winged it. 

The chicken.
(inspired by Shannalee and the Greekness in me)

Chicken Breast(s)
Lemon Juice
Olive Oil
Black Pepper
Sea Salt
Garlic Powder
Dried Oregano
Dried Basil

Get out a bowl.  Cut the chicken into strips or cubes, depending on how you like it.  Place it in a bowl and squeeze the juice of one lemon over it.  Pour a bit of olive oil, just enough to coat the chicken.  
Crack some black pepper over the top, sprinkle some sea salt, toss in a bit of oregano and basil and coat with garlic powder.  
Cover it with plastic.  Let it sit for a while.  

See all of the delicious spices mixed in with the tangy lemon and mellow olive oil?  That's the beginnings of a beautiful marriage of flavor!
Yes, I am a dork.  Are you just figuring this out???

During that "while" make a side.  You need some veggies right?  Well, here's what you're gonna do.  You're gonna make my FAVORITE veggies.  Roasted Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.  Yum.  

Clean and cut the bottoms off the Brussels sprouts and then cut them in half.  Then, cut the cauliflower into florets. Place them into a small (or large, depending on how many people you're serving) casserole dish, like this (yes, I am a total sell-out, but I actually have this...)
Toss in some coarsely chopped garlic, fresh cracked black pepper, and sea salt.  Coat w/ olive oil.  

Bake for about 45 mins (longer if you have more).  Check after 30 mins

"While" you are still waiting, you can make the avocado tzatziki.  Yum

The avocado tzatziki. 
(Inspired by Val and Cat Cora and more Greekness in me)

1 avocado
2 cups of Greek yogurt (what ever fat amount you want!)
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 grated cucumber (don't use the seeds!!!)
Wee bit of sea salt and white pepper
Splash of lemon juice 

After grating the cucumber, either squeeze the excess water out of it by placing it in a paper towel and squeezing it all out, or let it sit for a long time in a strainer.  I prefer the quick method.  :)
Put the yogurt in a bowl, dump the grated cuke on top, add the garlic (more the merrier!), sprinkle a wee bit of salt and white pepper and mix.
Mash the avocado prior to mixing it into the tzatziki.  Once it's mashed thoroughly, squeeze the "splash" of lemon over it and mash a bit more.  Mix it into the tzatziki until it is well blended.  Season a bit more to taste.  :)

Before we get to the chicken, make sure you have your toppings ready.  If you just like pita, chicken and tzatziki, that's fine, but if you really wanna be Greek, like me :) then you need to get some tomato and red onion.  Just slice a bit of both however you'd like and you're golden.

Now back to the chicken.

Get out a pan (size depends on how much your are making).  Get it hot.  Once it is hot, dump the chicken w/ all of the juice and oil into the pan.  There should be more than enough liquid so you won't need to add more.
Let it cook in the liquids until it's done.  You may need to move the chicken around a bit so all sides can cook, but it really requires minimal work. See, I was snapping pictures while it sat there:

Okay, so not the whole time, but I did snap a few.  This one was the clearest.  Darn night cooking.

So once the chicken is THOROUGHLY done (I don't want anyone dying here! If you can't tell, take the largest piece out and cut it in half.  What does it look like?  If it's still pink, toss it back in and go for a bit longer), take out the chicken pieces of the pan and place them into a separate bowl.  You are going to pour the remaining liquids into the garbage.  Don't pour it down the sink!  There is fat in there that will solidify in your drains!

By now, the veggies in the oven should be done, so grab those and let them cool to hot, but not scalding.

Use the pan to warm the pita.  The pan should still have some liquid on it, but not enough to drench the pita, which will be perfect.  Just warm the pita on both sides, collecting some yummy flavor onto it.

Assemble however you'd like.  I put the chicken down, then the tomato and onion and then the tzatziki.  I HAVE to have it just like that.
It's the OCD in me.  Sorry.
 Yummmmm look at that chicken.  Yummmmmmmmmm.  This chicken was so tender and juicy, it was PHENOMENAL.  Mmmm.....

 And then the veggies
Oh Lord yum.

I was so proud at how all of this just came together w/ perfect timing.  I've never been so perfect on my timing.  Go me.

Anyways, this was some major deliciousness.  Seriously.  I'm not kidding.

Oh, btw, the avocado tzatziki held up well for a couple of days. I obviously had more than what when on the sandwich, but I used it for a chicken salad I made the next day (to be posted later).  And then I still had more, which I put on a Subway sandwich at work the following Monday.  So versatile.  :)


Conor @ HoldtheBeef said...

What a dinner, and thanks for introducing me to avo tzatziki! So happy to find another brussel sprout fan too :)

NikiTheo said...

I crazy love Brussels Sprouts. The produce market didn't have any this week and I about nearly cried.

Maria said...

That sounds so good! I love that take on tzatziki ... it seems like a really great spin on a Greek classic. Oh, and I love brussel sprouts too!

Memória said...

Congrats on your 100th post!! I've never made tzatziki. Yours looks fantastic!

Jane said...

This looks awesome! Thanks for adding it to my sandwich Linky! Have a great week!