25 May 2011, 11:28pm
Of Food and Love recipes:
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  • Of Food And Love: Pita Party!

    In the town where I grew up, I stumbled upon the most fabulous Greek restaurant with my, then, boyfriend (who is now my wonderful husband!).  Anytime we had a few extra bucks, err HE had a few extra bucks, we would head off for Kabob House.  But let me back up a few years to when I was about 19.  I flew to Michigan to visit my cousins and it was there I had my first taste of Mediterranean cuisine.  My cousin insisted I try dolmathes to which I gagged and politely declined, and now, my Kabob House order isn’t complete if I don’t have a steaming plate of that grape-leaf goodness staring up at me.  They are a rich combo of spices, ground lamb, tomato puree and rice rolled into the leaf of a grape.  An acquired taste for sure. (I have yet to make them myself…still working up the courage, it will be a large undertaking)

    But, now, we live in a place where we do not have access to any Greek or Mediterranean cuisine, that is, unless there is a local fair and we immediately rush for the food booths to hunt down the one with the huge flashing red GYRO sign.  A while back I got a hankering for some good Greek and scoured my favorite cooking sites until I found a recipe that sounded like it would be a winner.  Found one and BiNgo. It was.  Please make way in your tummy for Chicken Souvlaki.  The chicken version of a gyro!

    This recipe is so easy to put together.  Really.  It calls for a little pre-prep work and then it’s just you, the sauce, the grill and the pita.

    First, you start with the tzaziki sauce, the tangy, lemony sauce you pour inside the pita to make it all drippy and good.

     

    Get some happy little lemons, Greek Yogurt, cucumber and get to choppin’! Now, if you don’t have Greek yogurt you can also take plain yogurt and set it in cheesecloth to strain for about 12 hours to create a thicker, less watery yogurt.  Either way, both are good.

     

    In order to get the full effect of the sauce, let the flavors marry, make the sauce at the beginning of the day and let it set until dinner time.
    Now for the chicken.  Here is the magic seasoning.  When I first made this recipe, I didn’t have the seasoning mentioned in the recipe so I looked online for a knock-off version.  My first attempt to create my own Greek seasoning was good, my second attempt was even better and then I found the ACTUAL seasoning in Wal-Mart!  Perfect.

     

    Once the meat has marinated for a few hours, get the grill going, throw on the meat, like so and wait.

    ….wait until they are cooked to perfection.  We throw our pitas on the upper rack for a toasty-ish taste.

    I like to buy a packet of the butter lettuce and a couple of “on the vine” tomatoes to accompany my chicken pita.

     

    We eat this with a side of rice lightly salted and peppered.  If only I had some of Kabob House’s secret sauce to put on top.  Yumm.

    A very light and tasty dinner that you’re sure to enjoy…do tell if you have the occasion to make it!

    A little pita deconstructed for the kids, too.

     Chicken Souvlaki with Tzaziki Sauce Courtesy of Tasty Kitchen
    Serves 6
    • 1 lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
    • 4 teaspoons Cavender’s All Purpose Greek Seasoning
    • 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
    • 12 ounces, weight Drained, Non-fat Plain Yogurt OR Greek Yogurt UN-drained
    • 1 whole Cucumber, Chopped
    • ½ whole Yellow Onion, Chopped
    • 2 teaspoons Lemon Juice
    • Salt
    • Pepper

    Preparation Instructions

    Most of this recipe is in the prep. You marinate the chicken for several hours before you grill. I do it before I leave the house in the morning.
    Pound out the chicken breast until they are about 1/2 inch thick.
    Rub down with olive oil then season both sides generously with the Cavender’s Greek Seasoning Salt. I live on the East Coast and have found it in most big grocery chains.
    Wrap the chicken in cling wrap and refrigerate for several hours.
    Grill on a counter top grill or outside grill for that matter about 3 minutes. Let sit for a minute or two then slice into strips.
    The night before, place 12 oz of plain non-fat yogurt in a coffee filter then set in a mesh colander set over a bowl and drain it in the fridge overnight. I do this because I like the Tzatziki thicker so it stays on the sandwich. But if you forgot to drain the yogurt the night before you can use Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is just a tad more expensive than regular yogurt.
    While chicken is grilling, chop up the cucumber and the onion. Mix the cucumber, onion with the drained yogurt, add the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
    I also chop these up before I leave for work in the morning and stow them in the fridge. Just one less step in the evenings when my boys are melting from hunger and I need to feed them within the first 30 minutes of hitting the door.
    Place grilled chicken strips and tzatziki into warmed pitas folded in half and enjoy.

     

     
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