Lemony Chicken with Homemade Pita and Tzatziki Salad: #198 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

June means summer is almost here, and the weather is good enough to fire up the barbecue. How about a tangy lemon garlic marinade and a bright cucumber mint salad to go with your freshly baked pita bread? Sounds good to me! You’re all invited for dinner. 🙂

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($23 total)

Chicken and marinade:
2 pounds organic chicken breast – $11.98
6 tbsp olive oil – $0.60
3 tbsp soy ginger sauce or teriyaki sauce – $0.46
1 tsp garlic powder – $0.28
2 tbsp cumin – $1.40
2 lemons, juiced – $0.40

Salad:
2 cucumbers, diced – $2.58
2 tomatoes, diced – $1.98
1/4 cup yogurt (unsweetened almond milk yogurt works great) – $0.31
5-7 leaves mint, chopped up – $0.96
1 lemon, juiced – $0.20
1/2 tsp garlic powder – $0.14
Salt and pepper to taste

Pita:
1 tbsp active dry yeast – $0.50
1 tsp brown sugar – $0.01
1 cup hottest tap water – free
1/4 cup whole wheat flour – $0.04
2 1/2 cups flour – $0.40
1 tsp salt – $0.05
2 tbsp olive oil – $0.20

Directions

1. Arrange the chicken breasts in a glass dish and pour all the marinade ingredients over top. Turn the chicken breasts over a few times to coat evenly, then cover and let the chicken rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Put all the salad ingredients in a bowl and mix well to combine. Cover and let rest in the fridge until ready to serve.

2. Make the dough: in a small non-metal bowl, gently mix the yeast, brown sugar, and water. Let it sit for 5 minutes to form a thick foam on top – this is how you know the yeast is active and ready to go.

Then mix in the whole wheat flour and 1/4 cup of the white flour, and stir well. Let it sit uncovered in a warm place for about 15 minutes. It will get nice and frothy.

Add the rest of the flour, salt, and olive oil, and stir with a wooden spoon to bring it together into a ball of dough. Knead well for 5 minutes until the dough gets nice and smooth. Only add more flour if it gets so sticky that it won’t come off your fingers.

Put the dough in a large metal bowl, cover with cling wrap, and let it rise in a warm place for about 1 hour until it has doubled.

After it has risen, punch down the dough and divide it into 8 balls. Roll each ball out on a lightly floured surface, and cook it like a pancake on an un-greased frying pan over medium heat. When the first side has nice bubbles on it (2-3 minutes), flip the pita over with a spatula and cook the other side for 2-3 more minutes until it has nice brown spots all over it. Repeat with the remaining balls of dough.

3. Store your pitas on a plate wrapped in a clean dish towel to keep them warm and fresh. Meanwhile, BBQ the chicken breasts at 350F, turning occasionally, until you can slice through them and there is no more pink inside.

Serve the pita with 1/2 chicken breast and a refreshing bowl of salad on the side. Feel free to dip the pita in the salad juices for an extra treat. Hope you enjoy this delicious, Greek-inspired dinner!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 1 = >3 hours
  • Servings: 2 = 4-6 servings
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness:  3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 2 = moderate impact (chicken)
  • Nutritional value: 3 = optimal nutrition
  • TOTAL: 14/18

If any of you amazing home chefs tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Juicy Jerk Chicken: #150 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

My husband remembers eating jerk chicken at a favorite Jamaican restaurant when he was younger. I researched it, and it turns out the key ingredients to the seasoning are chili, nutmeg, and thyme – not a combination I would have thought to put on chicken. So we made our own marinade, he barbecued it, and we all enjoyed a juicy jerk chicken dinner with rice and asparagus.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($5.50 total)

2 large chicken breasts – $3.27
1/2 tsp each ginger, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, and nutmeg – $0.70
1 tsp Cajun seasoning, which is mostly chilies (chili powder could work too) – $0.28
1/4 cup soy sauce – $0.40
1/4 cup olive oil – $0.40
1/4 cup brown sugar – $0.13
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar – $0.27

Directions

1. In a small bowl, mix all the marinade ingredients – all the ingredients except the chicken. Mix well.

2. Pour the marinade over the chicken breasts in a glass dish. Cover and let it sit in the fridge for at least 1 hour (or 30 minutes room temperature if you’re pressed for time). Turn the breasts over several times during the marinade time to coat evenly. Preheat the barbecue near the end of the marinade time, then cook well on each side until there’s no pink in the middle.

3. Serve the jerk chicken over rice with grilled asparagus on the side, or with any other side dishes you like. You can also cook the remaining marinade in a small pot and use it as a sauce for the chicken and rice. This makes a very tasty dinner!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings: 2 = 4-6 servings
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness:  3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 2 = moderate impact
  • Nutritional value: 3 = optimal nutrition
  • TOTAL: 16/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Indonesian Chicken Satay with Tangy Peanut Sauce: #45 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

Satay is a traditional Indonesian dish of marinated, skewered, roasted meat. It’s quick and easy to make, not to mention delicious. If you have a barbecue you’ll get a nice roasty flavor, but it should work fine in an oven too. The kids always ask if there are leftovers of this one.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($12 total)

2 lb chicken breast – $6.54
1/3 bottle Trader Joe’s Island Soyaki sauce (or teriyaki sauce) – $1.11
1 13 oz can coconut milk – $1.99
1/4 cup peanut butter – $0.58
1/3 cup brown sugar – $0.31
1/4 cup soy sauce – $0.40
1 tbsp curry powder – $0.70
Juice of 2 lemons, squeezed – $0.40

Directions

1. Cut the chicken breast up into large bite-sized pieces. Put in a baking dish and soak with Island Soyaki marinade. Cover with foil and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Soak wooden skewers in water for about 30 minutes so they don’t burn on the BBQ. Slide the marinated chicken pieces onto the skewers, making sure they’re nice and snug.

2. Put all the remaining ingredients for the peanut sauce into a pot over medium-high heat. Whisk frequently until the sauce bubbles and gets a bit thicker. If you want it even thicker, you can dissolve 1 tbsp of cornstarch in 2 tbsp water and pour that into the sauce while it’s bubbling, then keep stirring continuously for 1-2 minutes until the sauce is just the thickness you want.

3. Cook the skewers in a 350F BBQ or oven for about 5 minutes each side or until the biggest piece is no longer pink inside. Transfer to a plate and serve with a side of the peanut sauce. Other sides we like with this are basmati rice and a cucumber tomato salad topped with a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Enjoy!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 2 = 1-3 hours
  • Servings:  3 = >6 servings
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 2 = moderate impact
  • Nutritional value: 3 = optimal nutrition
  • TOTAL: 16/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Burgers Italian-Style: #7 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

This is my Mom’s recipe for homemade Italian burgers, with some slight modifications to accommodate my kids’ tastes. (Her original method is also below). They’re hearty, flavorful, and comforting for a relaxing barbecue after a long week. Pair with your favorite salad or fries. Good for the whole family!

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($9.50 total)

1 lb organic ground beef – $5.99
1 egg – $0.31
1 cup breadcrumbs – $0.25 (I took leftover bread from the freezer and ground it up in the blender)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce – $0.10
1 tsp oregano – $0.28
1 tsp garlic powder – $0.28
Salt and pepper to taste
8 whole wheat hamburger buns – $2.99
Mozzarella cheese (sliced, optional) – $2.49
1/4 head lettuce, washed – $0.32
Condiments as desired (ketchup, mustard, mayo, relish) – $2.00

Mom says: “This is also the same recipe as for my meatballs and meatloaf.  I use freshly chopped garlic instead of garlic powder. I also do not use oregano, preferring chopped parsley which gives the burgers a burst of freshness.  But my secret ingredient is a generous amount of Pecorino Romano cheese. It keeps the burger moist and adds so much flavour.”

Directions

1. Mix the ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a bowl. Combine with a fork until thoroughly mixed.

Use your freshly washed hands to shape the meat mixture into 8-10 patties. They will shrink in diameter when cooking so it’s good to make them as thin and wide as possible without falling apart.

2. Cook the burgers on a grill or BBQ, about 5 minutes each side or until done in the middle. If using cheese, lay a slice on top of each almost-cooked burger to melt it. You can toast the buns on the grill at the same time as adding the cheese.

3. Assemble the burgers, buns, and toppings as desired. Feel free to get creative with other toppings as well!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings:  3 = >6 servings
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 2 = moderate impact
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 16/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!