Chicken Shawarma Salad and Tahini Honey Yogurt Dressing

Salads are not among my favorite things to eat. I tolerate salads. I know salads are good for me, so I consume them as an obligation to my body’s health and well-being. That obligation takes away from the enjoyment; just a little. Even though I am not much of a salad person my sister, one of The Twins, has cultivated a new and recent love of salad so when I asked for a recipe request, she spoke up first.

This challenge, to come up with a salad for dinner, was not the most exciting for me. I started doing some research, however, and recalled the beautiful salads I have seen on the food blog Half-Baked Harvest. It occurred to me that I don’t have to limit my salads to an uninspiring combination of romaine lettuce, assorted veggies and a protein.

I was inspired by flavors of the Middle East. After studying several dishes, I collected some spices and sought ways to incorporate several of those flavors into this salad. This includes lots of lemon, some honey and various herbs.

To my surprise, it was fairly enjoyable. Actually, it was better than that. It was delicious! Who knows what my future dabblings in salads will produce?

Chicken Shawarma

  • 1 lb chicken tenderloins
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • ½ tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp salt
  • pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ c olive oil

Herb Rice

  • 1 c brown long grain basmati rice
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp alt 
  • 2 c water 
  • 2 tsp mint 
  • paprika
  • lemon zest


  • ½ c vegan sour cream
  • 1 tbsp tahini  
  • 1/2 tbsp honey
  • salt to taste
  • ¼ c olive oil
  • 3 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp lemon Juice


  • pomegranate kernels
  • pine nuts
  • cucumber
  • tomato
  • black sesame
  • mini garlic naan (recipe from Sprinkle and Sprouts)
  • 6 c baby kale mix

Chicken Shawarma

Whisk together the honey, paprika, cumin, lemon juice, salt, pepper garlic, crushed red pepper flakes and olive oil in a bowl. Add the chicken into the “marinade”.

Allow it to sit for about 15 to 30 minutes, then skewer the chicken. Cook on a grill pan for about 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Herb Rice

Cook rice as instructed. Add salt and butter to the rice and water. Once cooked add in mint, paprika and lemon zest, and fluff.


Combine all ingredients in a bowl and put in an airtight container.

Salad Assembly

Plate your baby kale mix, add the rice, then any of the toppings of your choice. I used pomegranate kernels, pine nuts, cucumber, tomatoes and black sesame seeds. Add mini garlic naan on the side. And drizzle the dressing on top.

Mediterranean Smothered Chicken

I have a great affinity for Mediterranean food and thought I should expand my repertoire of Mediterranean dishes. I didn’t stretch myself much with this one, but it was an eye opener.

One thing I realized is that I’d limited the entire culinary Mediterranean to a single country. How did I cook all these years and never consider more than Greece?! I had thought of Italy, but summed them up as primarily a pasta place.

There’s an entire eastern Mediterranean region that I’d never considered. When I did, I stumbled upon something resembling a spicy Yemeni chimichurri sauce known as Schug. As I researched the sauce, I learned a bit about the Eastern Mediterranean. In retrospect, it only makes sense that there is an Eastern and Western Mediterranean cuisine. My mind had never considered the idea. *shame*

Armed with my newfound recognition of cuisine from another region of the Mediterranean, I set out to combine the familiar flavors with these new flavors to create this dish.


  • 4 large Chicken Breast, halved
  • 10 oz. serrano chiles, seeds removed and halved
  • Kalamata Olives
  • Black Olives
  • Sun-Dried Tomatoes in oil
  • Lemon
  • ½ red onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 12 oz jar artichoke hearts, roughly chopped

Schug Inspired by Tasting Table

  • 1 cup parsley
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon ground cardamom
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 10 oz. Serrano chiles, stems and seeds removed, halved
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • Feta cheese, crumbled

Salt your chicken breast and set in the refrigerator about an hour ahead. This helps to make the chicken more tender.

In the meantime, prepare the Schug. Add the serrano chiles, parsley, lemon juice, cardamom, coriander and salt into your food processor and puree. Adjust salt and serrano chiles to your preferred taste.

*If you aren’t a tremendous fan of heat, I suggest you cut back about 2 oz of the serrano chiles.

Remove chicken from oven and slather your chicken in the green sauce. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 375 F. Place chicken in a pan and cook in oven for about 30 minutes or until fully cooked.

While the chicken is cooking grab a large cast-iron skillet and place on medium to high heat. 

Toss in the red onions and garlic and cook until fragrant.  Then add in the sun-dried tomatoes with about 1tbsp of the oil, artichoke hearts and olives.

Remove chicken from oven and pour the sundried tomato mixture over the chicken breasts.

Squeeze some fresh lemon juice on top along with some crumbled feta and serve.

I served it on top of this Mediterranean Orzo Salad from Foodie Crush.

Cinco De Taco Tuesday

I don’t know why some people make a big deal out of Cinco de Mayo. Well I have an idea, but that’s a topic for another day. Happy Cinco De Taco Tuesday! This year it seems epic enough to acknowledge since most of us can’t go anywhere, and I suggest you try making your own taco buffet!

Kimchi Chicken Tacos

·        1 lb. Ground Chicken
·        2 tbsp Soy Sauce
·        Salt, to taste
·        Pepper, to taste
·        Garlic Powder, to taste
·        1 tbsp Paprika
·        Spicy Kimchi, roughly chopped
·        Tomatoes, diced
·        Green Onions
·        Cilantro, roughly chopped
·        Sour Cream
·        Lime
Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes
·        2 cups masa harina
·        2 ¼ c of hot water
·        2 tsp salt

Grab a large skillet and turn the stove on medium-high heat. Cook and break up the ground chicken until fully cooked. Add in the soy sauce, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Be sure to taste and season according to preference.


Mix masa harina flour and salt in a medium sized bowl.  Add hot water until it comes together enough to make a dough.

Divide the dough into two ounce balls dough balls. I chose 2 oz. because I wanted mine to be the size of a street taco.

Use a Ziploc bag to line the tortilla press then place a dough ball in the middle and press until about 5” in diameter.

After making sure your skillet is on medium- high heat, place your tortillas in the pan for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until there’s a little char. Move cooked tortillas to a plate and repeat making tortillas until the dough is used up.


Grab your tortilla and fill with the ground chicken. Top with tomatoes, kimchi, green onions, sour cream and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges to squeeze on top.


I also got to flex my carpentry skills by making the taco stand you see in the photos. I’m part of a large family so a stand that fit about 15 tacos was a “necessity”. My stand was modeled after this one on Curbly. I really impressed myself with this meal.

An Inspired Loaf of Meat

I am not a fan of meatloaf. What’s appetizing about slab of meat topped with ketchup?! Just does not appeal me. One of my younger sisters will tell anyone, without hesitation, that she hates meatloaf. The moment she heard it was on the menu, she complained and was disappointed with me for choosing such a blah meal. I, however, had no intention of preparing a blah meatloaf.

Inspired by the Barbacoa Melt at Toasted, I decided to try my hand at converting myself and convincing our resident contrarian that meatloaf can be appetizing. And by George (whoever he is!) I think I’ve done it!

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Barbacoa Meatloaf

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  • 1.5 ground beef
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 c parsley, fresh
  • ¼ c cilantro, fresh
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 3 tbsp chipotles in adobo, chopped
  • ¼ c green chiles, canned, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ c cotija, crumbled
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • Salt
  • Pepper

For vegetarian version

  • 1 Lightlife Plant Based Burger patty
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp parsley, fresh
  • 1 tsp cilantro, fresh
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp chipotles in adobo, chopped
  • 1 tbsp green chiles, canned, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 5 Ritz crackers, crushed 


For the meatloaf:

  1. Preheat oven to 400ᴼ.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the meat or meat substitute with the eggs, parsley, cilantro, lime juice, chipotles, green chiles, garlic, cotija, oregano, salt and pepper.* Mix until well combined.
  3. Place in a greased loaf pan and bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until the center is fully cooked.
  4. Remove loaf from oven, allow to rest for about 10 minutes and flip the meatloaf out of the pan onto your serving dish.**
  5. Top with chimichurri and allow to cool to a bearable temperature of consumption.
  6. Adorn your loaf with pickled red onions and serve.

*5 Ritz crackers for the personal vegetarian loaf

** Spare yourself the flip and shape your raw meat in a loaf pan then flip that onto a greased 9×13 pan

     and proceed with instructions.

Give this recipe a try and let me know your thoughts on it, especially if it adds meatloaf to your favorite food list.

Here’s to making the most of a bland dish!

Spice It Up

New places, new foods, new experiences; I welcome them all. When it comes to cooking new recipes, I am hesitant to leave a perfectly good recipe behind to take liberties with it. While meal prepping for my 3rd or 4th Whole30, I decided to experiment with flavors of India.  I gathered whatever I could find in the cabinets, stumbled across Garman Marsala, and tossed it all into the ground chicken.

It was  बहुत सुन्दर (bahut sundar)! That’s Hindi for très magnifique, according to Google Translate. And très magnifique translates to very magnificent, according to my rudimentary French.

I encourage you to ditch the cookbook and flex your culinary muscles. Share what you come up with. You can start by tweaking this simple recipe!

Spiced Meatballs

  • 1.5 lbs. ground chicken
  • 1 tbsp Grapeseed oil
  • 3 tbsp Greek Yogurt
  • Ginger
  • Garman Marsala
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Crushed Red Pepper
  • Turmeric
  • Garlic
  • Granulated Garlic

Preheat oven to 350 F

Combine all ingredient in a bowl and combine.

Roll into balls and place on greased pan.

  • I measured each meatball out to 1 oz each.

*Tip:  I oiled my hands to prevent the meat from sticking to my hands.

Bake for 15 minutes or until cooked thoroughly.

Note: These meatballs are perfect to freeze and reheat as needed. Let the meatballs cool completely before putting them into freezer bags, and then pop ’em into the freezer.