Turkey Chili

 

 

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Heaven Sent Peanut Butter

I love Tuesdays. Let me rephrase that…I love Tuesday mornings that I have off of school and work. Because I am still in school, my schedule is relatively inconsistent. Sometimes I have class on Tuesday mornings or sometimes I have a clinical or shadow experience. But not this morning. This morning was all to myself. And this spin bike. Oh, and this pilates mat.

Heaven Sent Peanut Butter

I am pretty lucky to work at a gym that provides a free membership. Even better, I can walk to one of the locations. If I don’t have something going on on Tuesday mornings, I make sure I dedicate my morning to exercise. I dedicate it to me.

All too often, as I’m sure many of you do the same, I don’t spend enough time for myself. I don’t even have children yet, so I can’t imagine how mothers do it. But I know it is important to spend some time for you. I strongly believe that if you are making yourself the best you you can be, you can better help those around you–and that’s what I strive to be about.

What will you do for yourself this week?

As a full-time undergraduate student, part-time graduate student, wife, and with two part-time jobs, my schedule can get pretty crazy. I tend to be a very organized person and I love to make to-do lists and cross them off. I love the feeling of accomplishment–even if it is the littlest task. This week I found a new printable from this website. In an effort to keep this week organized and “get-er-done”, I thought I would try out this new form of a to-do list. Check it out to see if it will work for you!

Heaven Sent Peanut Butter: Weekly Organization

But now for today’s recipe. That’s why you originally came, right? Well today’s recipe comes from my husband’s family cookbook. My mother-in-law spent A LOT of time putting together cookbooks filled with all kinds of family favorites, some of which I hope to share with you here. Some will just have to stay a family secret though! ūüôā

Heaven Sent Peanut Butter: Turkey Chili

The recipe today is slightly adapted based on my liking–or based on things I had around the house. Today I added chopped red pepper since I had some left over from the weekend and didn’t want it to go to waste. Apparently today’s recipe turned out “awesome” because my husband just walked in to the room and asked, “Where did you get that chili recipe? It was AWESOME.” Since it’s husband approved, I think you’ll enjoy it too!

Heaven Sent Peanut Butter: Turkey Chili

Turkey Chili

Makes approximately 7 servings 

  • 1.5 pounds ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1, 28 ounce can, no-salt added diced tomatoes (fire roasted tomatoes make a great addition!)
  • 1 can condensed tomato soup
  • 1, 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 2 ounces canned chopped green chilies
  • 1 medium red pepper, chopped (optional)
  • 1, 15.5 ounce can reduced-sodium black beans, undrained

In a large saucepan, brown ground turkey and onion. Drain any residual grease. Add all of the remaining ingredients, except the black beans. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 1 1/2 – 2 hours and stir occasionally. Add black beans and heat through.

Serve with corn chips, cheddar cheese, sour cream, plain greek yogurt, and/or crackers.

*Note: I love making this big batch and freezing several individual servings in my pyrex glass containers. Perfect for dinner next week or when you are too lazy to cook dinner on an upcoming night!

Crockpot Caesar Chicken Sandwiches

Wow, what a crazy few weeks it has been! My weeks have been filled with lots of school work, but lots of fun events as well. This past weekend we celebrated the marriage of my cousin Alex and her new hubby Josh. We traveled to Iowa City for the event and we had a great time! It is always awesome to see other couples who you can tell, just by looking at them together, that they are perfect for each other. Congratulations, Alex & Josh! We love you!

The weekend prior we had virtually all of my closest friends out for a Brewers tailgate! My sister and I refer to this as the “Annual Brewers Weekend”. It has been about 6 years now, I believe, since we started the annual event. It started as a way for our friends from Minnesota to learn the real way to tailgate–the Wisconsin way! Now the weekend includes our college friends from UST and our friends living in the area and is simply an excuse to get to together–no matter the distance between us–and eat & play! I look forward to the Brewers Weekend every year because we still have a huge sleepover all together at my parents house. I know the weekend may change in this aspect over the years, but I hope the event continues for many, many years to come.

The whole group at the Annual Brewers Weekend!

The whole group at the Annual Brewers Weekend!

With all of these events, school, and work it has been pretty crazy! This week alone I have 3 mid-term exams and a research proposal due. With all the craziness, my husband and I are working hard on staying active and making health choices. I think we all know that when things get busy, we tend to eat poorly.

Two days of the week, I am at school at least 12 hours (straight!). When I come home after those days, the studying or work isn’t done yet. The other days of the week, I am usually at school for about 6 hours and then head to work for the night. This makes it really hard to want to make healthy dinners. Since yesterday was one of my 12 hours days on campus, we decided to try a new crockpot meal. My husband started the meal in the crockpot between his day at the hospital and his day at the pharmacy. When I got home later that evening, I finished preparing the meal. Luckily there were few dishes and little clean-up required so I could get back to work after my brief dinner break.

Heaven Sent Peanut Butter: Crockpot Chicken Caesar Sandwiches

Crockpot Caesar Salad Sandwiches

Recipe Adapted from: The Girl Who Ate Everything

Makes:  8 Sandwiches

WW+: 8 points per sandwich

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds, boneless chicken breasts
  • 3/4 cup light caesar salad dressing
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
  • 8, 100% whole wheat sandwich thins (or, buns of your choosing)

Place the chicken breasts in a slow cooker with 1-2 cups water. Cover and place on medium-high heat for about 3 hours.

Remove the chicken from the slower cooker and place on a cutting board. Drain (or even clean) the slower cooker pot. Shred the chicken into small pieces. I find it easiest to use two forks to pull the meat apart.

Place the shredded chicken back into the slow cooker. Add the dressing, parsley, pepper, and parmesan cheese. Mix well. Cover and cook for 30 minutes on high heat, or until the mixture is hot and the cheese is melted.

Spoon approximately 1/2 cup onto each sandwich roll. Top with shredded romaine lettuce. Enjoy!

Easy Skillet Sesame Chicken

Every once and a while I get a craving for Chinese food. Not just any Chinese food though, it has to be from Emperor’s Kitchen–my favorite place for take-out as long as I can remember. I admit it, I don’t venture out too much in the Chinese food world. My order is almost always the same: Sesame Seed Chicken, Chicken Fried Rice, and an Egg Roll. I might order Chinese food maybe 2-3 times per year. Yeah, it isn’t often, but when I get it it is sooooo yummy! I would probably get it more often if it wasn’t so unhealthy. Talk about deep fried, sugary, fatty chicken plus a few vegetables. So when I found this healthified sesame chicken over at How Sweet It Is¬†I knew I had to try it. I admit that it doesn’t match Emperor’s Kitchen, but this healthy alternative hit the spot for dinner.¬†

Interestingly enough, I actually didn’t even add the sesame seeds to mine. So if you really love them, don’t forget to add them to yours!¬†

Heaven Sent Peanut Butter: Easy Skillet Sesame Chicken

 

Easy Skillet Sesame Chicken

Recipe Adapted from: How Sweet It Is

  • 2 pounds chicken breast, diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil (or olive oil)
  • 2 cloves garlic, mined
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2-3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • Brown rice & your choice of vegetable for serving

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together chicken broth, brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, garlic, soy sauce, and vinegar. Set aside. 

Over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil and grapeseed oil in a cast iron skillet (or other oven safe skillet). While it heats, toss the diced chicken breast with the salt, pepper, and flour. Once the oil is hot, at the chicken to the skillet in a single layer. Cook until seared and golden on one side, flip, and cook until golden again. Pour the set aside chicken stock mixture over the top and toss to coat. Turn off the heat. Place the oven safe skillet in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Sever the chicken with steamed vegetables and brown rice. 

Heaven Sent Peanut Butter: Easy Skillet Sesame Chicken

Enjoy!

 

Caesar Pizzsalad

Let me tell you about another foodie item that blew my mind. When I say “blew my mind”, picture the man from this AT&T commercial. Exactly what I’m thinking with those soft pretzels dipped in hot fudge¬†and this… a caesar salad pizza, or better said as a PIZZ-SAL-AD!

When we headed up to visit a great friend in Appleton, Wisconsin, we went out to dinner and one of the pizza selections was a “Pizzsalad”. I didn’t even know how to pronounce it…you maybe having trouble too, but I can’t help you much over typed letters. The pizza was literally a pizza topped with caesar salad. It was DE-LI-CIOUS! I told myself right then and there that I was going to be making my own version of this as soon as I got home. Well…that was in the beginning of June. But the pizza hadn’t slipped my mind. Although, it wasn’t until it appeared on another menu last weekend while visiting more great friends in LaCosse, Wisconsin that I knew I had to make this pizza… I mean salad…I mean pizzsalad, once and for all.

So I did it. And it was fabulous! I should have brought some to this patient who pleaded for pizza from their hospital window as we went on our evening walk past Froedtert Hospital…

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If you enjoy pizza, caesar salad, and making a new dish for the evening, try out this new recipe that I put together on my own from inspiration from the two restaurants. I’m pretty sure this dish will be making its way to more pizzeria menus…including yours.

Heaven Sent Peanut Butter: Caesar Pizzsalad

Caesar Pizzsalad

    Herbed Pizza Crust:

Adapted from: Mommie Cooks

  • 1 cup warm water (approx. 110 degrees)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 packet yeast
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cup white whole-wheat flour

Caesar Pizzsalad

  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons light caesar salad dressing
  • 4 ounces, cooked & diced chicken breast seasoned with salt & pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced-fat shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2-3 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1/4 cup bite sized¬†croutons

Using your stand mixer attached with a dough hook, add water, sugar, and yeast to the mixing bowl. Mix and let the mixture stand for 10 minutes.

Next, add your garlic, olive oil, salt, basil, and onion powder. Combine. Add your flours and mix until well combined. Your dough should be slightly sticky. If too sticky to handle, add a little more flour. Let the dough sit for 10 minutes and preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Once the oven is preheated, roll out your pizza dough onto your pizza stone or pan. Be sure to use corn meal on your pizza stone or lightly grease your baking pan. Bake the dough for 7-10 minutes.

Next, spread 1/4 cup of the dressing on the crust as your sauce. Layer the cheeses and spread the diced chicken. Place the pizza back in the oven for another 7-10 minutes until the pizza is golden brown.

Lastly, make sure your romaine lettuce is diced or shredded into bite size pieces. Toss the lettuce with the remaining 2 tablespoons of dressing. Spread the lettuce on the pizza and sprinkle on the croutons (we cut up our croutons into even smaller pieces). Take a moment to appreciate your work of art, then devour! Enjoy!!

Heaven Sent Peanut Butter: Caesar Pizzsalad

Slow Cooker Honey Chicken

Last night I had a wonderful dinner with my twin, Lauren, and good friend, Carla. We had great conversation, lots of laughs, and a beautiful evening outside on the patio. To make the evening even better, dinner was easy to make as I decided to set out and try a new slow cooker recipe!

Slow cookers always seem to be winter type dishes, but don’t forget that they are great for summer too! Cooking with a slow cooker in the summer keeps your oven and stove off to keep your house that much cooler. Next time you are craving a healthier Chinese dish or just a tasty, easy chicken dish, try this dish–not only is it husband approved, but friend approved!!

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Slow Cooker Honey Chicken 

Recipe adapted from: Chef In Training

  • 2.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (trimmed if any fat)
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup lite soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 4 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 gloves garlic, minced
  • Dash of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch dissolved in 1/4 cup cold water
  • Sesame seeds (optional)

After trimming any necessary fat off of the chicken breasts, season the chicken breasts with ground black pepper on both sides. Place the chicken breasts in the slow cooker.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the honey, soy sauce, onion, ketchup, olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Stir until well combined. Pour over the chicken breasts in the slow cooker.

Cook chicken on low for 3-4 hours, or until the chicken is cooked (no pink remains). Once cooked, removed the chicken and dice into bite sized pieces.

Next, add the corn starch and cold water to the remaining sauce in the slow cooker. Stir until combined and heat for approximately 10 minutes on high until the sauce begins to thicken. Note: If the sauce does not begin to thicken after about 15 minutes, you can transfer the sauce to a saucepan on the stove and heat on medium-high heat until thickened.

Add the bite size chicken back to the slow cooker with the thickened sauce and combine. Serve over brown rice and with broccoli or other desired vegetables. Enjoy!!

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Cheesy Chicken “Taquitos”

I know it has been a while since my last post. But now we finally have internet up and running at our new place! We have been pretty busy lately with work and being out of town, but we still have had some time to do some cooking and baking!

Earlier in the week I made a cream cheese coffee cake. But it wasn’t blog worthy. It wasn’t the coffee cake I was looking for. It was too bland with little sweetness to it. I’ll keep searching.

So I know this recipe post is similar to my last one, but it is worth it. I told you we were on a guacamole kick, so you can expect to see lost of posts that pair with guac well. Like this one…

Cheesy Chicken “Taquitos”.¬†I put taquitos in quotes because I’m not sure this recipe truly qualifies as a taquito. I’m no expert on Mexican dishes…all I know is they pair well with guac! But I was under the impression taquitos were made with corn tortillas, wrapped small, and usually fried. Well these “taquitos” are none of those. These are made with whole wheat flour tortillas, loaded with cheesy chicken, and baked–not fried.¬†Usually¬†the recipes I post will be what we consider “healthified”–meaning I choose healthier ingredients, or low-fat versions of the ingredient. This one is no different to help healthify the dish. Get your quac out and make this favorite dish of ours tonight!

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Cheese Chicken “Taquitos”

  • 3 cups cooked shredded chicken
  • 6 ounces Neufchatel cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup 0% fat, plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced fat Mexican blend shredded cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper
  • 6 (6 inch) whole wheat flour tortillas
  • Olive oil, for lightly spraying the taquitos

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix together the chicken, cream cheese, yogurt, salsa, cheese, and black pepper.

Prepare a 9×13 pan by lightly greasing the pan.

Add the chicken and cheese mixture to each tortilla, trying to equally distribute the mixture among all 6 tortillas. Roll the “taquito” and set into the pan seam side down.

Once the taquitos are set into the pan, lightly spray the taquitos with olive oil. I used one of these to lightly spray the taquitos. (I use this instead of purchasing Pam or other cooking sprays).

Bake the taquitos in the oven to 375 degrees for about 20 minutes until everything is melted and hot. The tortilla should also be a little crispy. Serve with guac, sour cream, salsa, etc. Your choice. Enjoy!

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Black Bean, Corn, and Chicken Quesadillas

Chicken quesadillas are always yummy. It has to be virtually impossible to screw up a chicken quesadillas. So would I blog about a plain old chicken quesadilla? Of course not! Let’s add some corn, black beans, and some yummy herbs and spices!

I’ve been on a guacamole kick for a little while. And by a little while I mean, almost a year. Before that, I didn’t really enjoy guacamole. I didn’t think it was disgusting or anything, it just didn’t love the flavor. But after my sister made her own version last summer, I can’t get enough of the stuff. My husband and I probably make it, on average, once a week. I usually purchase avocados each time I go to the store and try to put something on the week’s menu that the guac would go well with. This week was these tasty Black Bean, Corn, and Chicken Quesadillas!

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Black Bean, Corn, and Chicken Quesadillas

Recipe Adapted from: Sugared Whisk

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
  • 6 ounces chicken breast, cooked and shredded or cubed
  • 1/3 cup water or chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 can reduced-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 ounces light cream cheese
  • 1 cup reduced-fat Mexican blended cheese
  • 6 whole wheat soft taco tortillas

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and corn and saute until the garlic is fragrant. Add the chicken, water (or broth), cumin, chili powder, oregano, black pepper, and black beans and bring to a light boil. Simmer for approximately 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the cream cheese until it is melted and well blended with the rest of the ingredients.

Next, you can choose to heat another pan on the stove, use a grill, or do what I did, and use a George Foreman grill. Either way, get out the tortillas and lightly brush or spray olive oil on the outside surface. Build the quesadilla by adding the mixture and topping with cheese. Fold the tortilla in half and press together the tortilla. Cook the quesadilla to make sure that both sides are browned and the cheese is melted. Garnish your quesadilla with the toppings of your choice such as guac, sour cream, salsa, etc. Enjoy!!

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The Easiest Parmesan Orzo You’ll Ever Make

A few posts ago I mentioned that my husband and I were in the middle of a move. I’m happy to say the move went well and it is practically complete! We still have some things to hang on the wall, but other than that, we are pretty well settled. The only downfall is that we don’t have internet yet. We still have to wait for installation and it will be another week or so. So for now I am blogging to you for a local coffee shop! My husband had some work to do so I thought I would join him and share one of my favorite dinner recipes with all of you.

The three greatest things about our move are: 1) We can walk so many more places! We live extremely close to the hospital that my husband is at for 6 months of his pharmacy rotations. Better yet, it is the same hospital I will be at during the fall semester. We are in short walking distance from the grocery store, gym, our favorite little coffee shop (hello, free wi-fi!), hospital, countless restaurants, and best of all YO MAMA! Our town’s version of the ever so popular fro yo shops that seem to be popping up everywhere. We haven’t even moved our cars for practically 3 days! Boo ya!

2) Our landlord who lives below us work for MillerCoors and left us two 12-packs of beer and some hard apple cider on our stairway. Pretty sure we won’t have to buy beer for quite some time!

3) My kitchen is twice the size it used to be! Okay, so isn’t saying much since our last place was practically the smallest kitchen I have ever been in. But this is a total upgrade in comparison. The lighting isn’t too great to present my pictures to you, but I’ll work on it. But for now, I present to you…THE EASIEST (and tastiest, might I add) PARMESAN BASIL ORZO YOU’LL EVER MAKE! Make this with the Rosemary Almond Crusted Chicken and you’ll have a gourmet dinner waiting on the table in no time.

photo-27

 

Almond Rosemary Crusted Chicken 

Recipe Adapted from: Baking with Blondie

 

  • Approximately, 8-10 small/medium chicken tenders (about 1.5#)
  • 2/3 cup slivered¬†almonds, crushed finely (I bought slivered¬†and placed them in my food processor until they were rather fine)
  • 2/3 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Begin my setting out 3 bowls or dishes that the chicken will be coated in. Bowl 1: Flour; Bowl 2: Whisk together milk & eggs; Bowl 3: Combine bread crumbs, rosemary, crushed almonds, and pepper.

 

Heat approximately 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet on medium heat.

Coat the chicken in flour, then egg mixture, then bread crumb/almond mixture. It is easiest if you try to use one hand for the dry mixtures and one for the wet. Place the coated chicken in the heated skillet. After a few minutes (appox. 3-4), flip the chicken to ensure both sides are golden brown. Once both sides are brown, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for approximately 8-10 minutes until the chicken is completely cooked (internal temperature of 165 degrees). Remove from heat and let the chicken rest for 5 minutes.

Parmesan Basil Orzo

Recipe adapted from: allrecipes.com

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta (I used whole wheat)
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can, reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper (I used bourbon barrel cracked pepper, yum!!)

Melt the butter in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Once melted, stir in orzo and toast the orzo until lightly browned.

Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover. Reduce heat and simmer until the orzo is tender and the broth is absorbed, approximately 15-20 minutes.

Stir in the parmesan cheese and chopped basil. Season with black pepper. Transfer to a fancy bowl, if desired, and garnish with any remaining basil.

Enjoy!!photo-26

Fake Greek

Someone once told me I was a “fake Greek” because I didn’t like Greek olives. Well, it’s true. I really don’t care for olives…or tzatziki sauce on my gyros. Since I’m not 100% Greek, I find this acceptable.

Each week I lay out the dinner menu for each night. I really enjoying cooking and baking, but when I don’t know what to make when dinner is supposed to be ready in a few hours, I don’t enjoy it so much. I also find that planning out the menu in advance saves on money by knowing exactly what to buy at the store, to help utilize items you already have or need to get rid of before they go bad, and planning meals based on the store’s sales that week. I keep my menu on the fridge right next to the grocery list.

photo-20

I plan my meals around my work, my husband’s work, going out of town, date nights, etc. I try to be realistic about what to make based on how much time I will have in the day or the question of: Am I really going to want to cook a time consuming meal if I am the only one who will enjoy it?

Because I found myself having a time constraint, I planned on making Chicken Gyros based on a recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything. Apparently, she would be a better Greek than me since she enjoys the tomatoes and tzatiziki sauce. I’ll leave the toppings up to you, but here is the recipe for the chicken that we really enjoyed and was as easy as could be!

Chicken Gyros

Chicken Gyros

Recipe Adapated from: The Girl Who Ate Everything

  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice, or juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper (I used burbon barrel aged, cracked black pepper…yum!)
  • 1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Approximately 5 pitas

Combine all of the ingredients, except the chicken breast, into a medium size bowl. Whisk together until well combined.

Dice your chicken breast into bite size pieces, all about the same size. Add the pieces of chicken to the marinade and mix well to coat all of the chicken. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Cook the chicken in a skillet until completely cooked with no pink remaining. Transfer the mixture to a bowl or plate and allow it to rest for at least 5 minutes.

Warm your pitas. This will allow the pitas to be flexible enough to fold without breaking. Add sliced red onions, diced tomatoes, shredded cheese, and/or tzatziki to your hearts desire. Enjoy!