Lemon Chicken with Homemade Pita and Tzatziki Salad: Recipe #198

June means summer is almost here, and the weather is good enough to fire up the barbecue. How about a tangy lemon chicken 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 for Lemon Chicken with Pita and Tzatziki

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 of your lemon 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!

Mandarin Orange Chicken at Home: #147 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

When you can’t get out to a Chinese restaurant, or want a healthier alternative made fresh in your kitchen, try this recipe! Kids love it too, and everyone went back for second or third helpings. The orange sauce is delicious. We served it in bowls on a bed of rice and stir-fried cabbage.

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

Ingredients ($11.50 total to serve 5 people)

Orange sauce:
1 cup orange juice – $0.75
1/2 cup brown sugar – $0.26
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar – $0.54
1/4 cup soy sauce – $0.40
1/2 tsp ginger – $0.14
1/2 tsp garlic powder – $0.14
1 tbsp cornstarch – $0.10

Chicken:
3 large chicken breasts, chopped into bite-sized chunks – $6.54
3 eggs, beaten – $0.87
2/3 cup flour – $0.10
2/3 cup cornstarch – $1.20
1/2 cup canola oil for frying in batches – $0.37

Directions

1. Prepare your ingredients. In a medium pot, mix all the ingredients for the sauce. Bring to a boil, then turn it down to medium low heat and simmer for several minutes, stirring frequently, until it gets nice and thick. Turn down to low and move on to the chicken.

Put the eggs in one bowl and the flour and cornstarch mixture in another bowl. Working in batches, dip several chunks of chicken into the egg mixture, then use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the flour mixture. Cover them in flour and put on a plate to be ready to cook.

2. Cook the chicken. Pour 1/3 of the canola oil into a large pan and turn it up to high heat, almost maximum but not so hot as to make the oil smoke. Drop 1/3 of the floured chicken into the oil and cook it for several minutes, turning the pieces over frequently, until they are nice and golden on the outside and you can cut into one without seeing any pink inside.

Repeat this process until all the chicken is cooked, then return all the chicken to the pan and pour the sauce over top. Mix well.

3. Serve in individual bowls over rice, stir-fried vegetables, or noodles. Mandarin orange chicken is a crispy, juicy, sweet and savory, delicious treat for the whole family!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 2 = 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
  • Nutritional value: 1 = eat rarely
  • TOTAL: 13/18

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

Mini Chicken and Leek Pot Pies (Dairy-Free): #117 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

When we were in Scotland, we had to visit the Queen’s castle there. And at the lovely Balmoral, we discovered this cookbook. It has some fantastic recipes, including mini chicken leek pies. I adapted it to a dairy-free version here. These make great picnic snacks too if there are any leftovers from dinner. 

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

Ingredients ($9 total)

PASTRY:
1/2 cup margarine – $1.24
2 cups flour – $0.32
1 tsp salt – $0.05
2 tsp sesame seeds – $0.10
2 tsp poppy seeds – $0.10
4 tbsp water – free
1 egg yolk – $0.29

FILLING:
1/2 lb chicken breast, chopped into bite-sized pieces – $2.99
1 large leek – $1.49
2 tbsp margarine – $0.31
2 tsp each thyme and oregano – $1.12
2 eggs – $0.58
1/4 cup plain soy milk – $0.09
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the 1/2 cup margarine, flour, salt, and seeds. Rub it together with your hands until it turns into fine crumbs. In a small bowl, mix the water and egg yolk, then add slowly to the flour mixture while stirring together.

Use your hands to bring the dough together into a ball, but don’t over-knead or it will become tough. Cover the ball in cling wrap and put in the fridge for 20 minutes while you make the filling.

2. Cut the leek into quarters lengthwise, then slice finely. In a large pan, cook the leeks in the 2 tbsp margarine for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Next, add the herbs and chicken, and cook until the chicken is no longer pink.

In a small bowl, mix 1 egg, plain soy milk, salt and pepper together, then pour this over the chicken and leeks and stir to combine. Put the finished filling in the fridge for 20 minutes (or freezer for 10 minutes) before filling the pies.

3. Roll the pastry out to about 1/8 thick, then cut out circles using glasses you have on hand – a wider one for the base and a smaller one for the lid. Experiment with one first to see the right size depending on your muffin tin size. Press the larger circles into the muffin tin, making sure to get right into the corners.

Fill each pastry cup to the top with the chicken leek mixture. Rub a bit of water around the edge of the smaller pastry circle, and use it to cover the pastry cup. Pinch the edges together so the filling doesn’t leak out during baking.

Beat the last egg and a pinch of salt in a small bowl and brush it over the tops of the pies.

Bake at 400F for 20 minutes until they’re nice and golden. Cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. if you have extra filling leftover that didn’t fit in the pies, serve it as a side dish!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 2 = 1-3 hours
  • Servings:  2 = 4-6 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: 15/18

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

Curried Chicken Salad: #81 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

What to do with all that leftover chicken or turkey from a whole roast? Curried chicken salad is super easy and one of my favorite ways to stretch out leftovers. It’s just chicken, mayo, cranberries, nuts, and curry powder. And everyone gobbles it up!

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

Ingredients ($4 total)

Leftover roast chicken – free
1 cup mayonnaise – $1.00
3 tbsp curry powder – $2.10
1/2 cup cranberries – $0.50
1/2 cup roasted cashews or almonds – $1.00
Any other garnishes you like (green onions, celery, chutney)

Directions

1. Put your leftover chicken pieces into a large bowl, and add all the other ingredients.

2. Mix well until thoroughly combined, and taste for salt/pepper/curry powder. Adjust as needed.

3. Serve in a sandwich, as a snack, or with leftover vegetables from the roast dinner.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings:  2 = 4-6 servings
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 2 = decent meal
  • Environmental impact: 2 = moderate impact
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 14/18

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

Homemade Chicken Stock: #80 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

Why throw out a perfectly good roast chicken carcass, when you can easily turn it into chicken stock for 5 or 6 future meals? It’s just a matter of throwing everything into a pot and letting it simmer for 6-12 hours. As a bonus, boiling the bones pulls out extra nutrients too.

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

Ingredients ($4 total)

roast chicken carcass – free
1 tbsp each oregano, thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper – $3.00
3 carrots, chopped – $0.46
1 onion, quartered – $0.50
Water – free

Directions

1. Pick the chicken meat off the carcass to use in other recipes, then put all the remaining skin and bones in a large pot and cover with water. 

2. Add the onion, carrots, and herbs. Set heat to medium, bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer for 6-12 hours. You could also use a slow-cooker if you have one.

3. Let the stock cool enough to put it into containers, then strain out the liquid from the solid pieces, and store the liquid stock in the freezer. This recipe will fill 5-6 storage containers to add nutritious yumminess to any future recipes that call for chicken stock.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 1 = 3+ hours
  • Servings:  3 = lots of leftovers
  • 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: 15/18

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

DIY Roast Chicken: #79 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

We decided to try our hand at cooking a traditional holiday meal from scratch – roasting our own chicken, making our own stuffing, mashing our own potatoes, steaming green beans, the whole bit. My husband even whipped up an amazing onion gravy, which I’ll have to ask him about. We cooked so much food that it lasted us for 5 separate meals of deliciousness.

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

Ingredients ($16 total)

1 tbsp each rosemary, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, salt – $3.50
1 whole chicken (~5 lbs) – $11.53
2 tbsp olive oil – $0.20
1 onion, quartered – $0.50
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Rinse the chicken under the tap and pat it dry with a paper towel. Coat the chicken with the olive oil, inside and out. Mix the garlic powder, herbs, and salt in a small bowl, then rub the herb mixture over the whole chicken. Stuff any stuffing you like into the chicken cavity.

2. Put the onion and chicken in a baking dish, breast-side down. Cover with a lid or an inverted baking dish on top, and roast for 45 minutes at 350F. Then increase the temperature to 400F, remove the lid, and roast for 20 minutes more. Flip the chicken breast-side up and roast until the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165F, about 30 minutes more.

3. Remove the chicken from the oven, cut off slices of meat, and serve with stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and green beans. Then take a nice nap. 🙂

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 2 = 1-3 hours
  • Servings:  3 = lots of leftovers
  • 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: 15/18

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

Baked Chicken Parmigiana: #57 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

It turns out you can take our homemade chicken tenders recipe and turn it into a fancy adult version, covered with tomato sauce and melted mozzarella cheese. Delicious! We had it with asparagus-mushroom-pasta and extra pecorino romano cheese sprinkled over the top. 

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

Ingredients ($13 total)

1.25 lb organic chicken breast – $7.37
1 egg – $0.29
1 tbsp mayonnaise – $0.50
2 tbsp flour – $0.02
1 cup breadcrumbs (I ground up some leftover bread in the blender) – $0.25
1/2 cup pecorino romano cheese, grated – $2.00
1/2 can crushed tomatoes, blended – $0.80
1 tbsp garlic powder – $0.70
1 tbsp olive oil – $0.10
1/2 ball mozzarella, cut into thick slices – $1.25
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Slice the chicken breasts in half from the side so they’re pretty thin, then coat in the egg, mayo, and flour (plus some salt and pepper) until they’re nicely covered. Next, coat with the mixed breadcrumbs and pecorino to make a crumb coating, and put on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

2. Bake at 400F for 10 minutes, and while this is cooking, blend the tomatoes with the garlic powder and olive oil (and some more salt and pepper). Once the time is up, open the oven to pour some sauce on top of each chicken breast, then put a thick slice of mozzarella on top. Turn the pan around and cook for another 5-10 minutes until the cheese gets all melted and starts to just burn around the edges. Cut into the thickest piece of chicken to make sure it’s not pink, and then remove from the oven.

3. Make your favorite pasta on the side – we cooked up some asparagus and mushrooms in a garlicky olive oil and mixed it with casarecce pasta. Serve hot and melty, with extra pecorino romano and freshly ground pepper on top if you like!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings:  2 = 4-6 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!

Homemade Chicken Tenders and French Fries: #51 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

On a recent trip to DisneyWorld, we noticed that almost every restaurant served chicken strips and fries as a kids’ meal. Our kids love this American dish too, so I thought about how to make a healthier version: baked instead of fried, and coated in real ingredients like breadcrumbs and almond flour and olive oil. It was a big hit, and surprisingly easy to make.

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

Ingredients ($11 total)

8 Yukon Gold potatoes – $1.44
Water – free
1/4 cup olive oil – $0.40
Salt and pepper to taste
2 lb chicken breasts – $6.54
1 cup breadcrumbs (I ground up some leftover biscuits in the blender) – $0.25
1 cup almond flour – $1.26
1 egg – $0.29
2 tbsp mayonnaise – $1.00
4 tbsp flour – $0.04
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Slice the potatoes into long, thin pieces that look like french fries. Put the sliced potatoes into a bowl, cover with hot water, and let sit at room temperature for about 1 hour. Drain in a colander and pat them dry with a paper towel to remove as much moisture as possible. Arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet, drizzle with the olive oil, salt and pepper, and toss to coat all the fries with the oil and seasonings.

2. Blend the bread/breadcrumbs and almond flour in a blender to combine, then set aside. Slice the chicken breasts into thin strips. Mix the egg, mayo, flour, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add the chicken strips to the egg mixture and stir to coat all the chicken thoroughly. Then dip each strip of chicken in the breadcrumbs and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

3. Bake the fries at 475F for 10 minutes covered in foil, then another 10 minutes uncovered. Turn the fries over with a flapjack. Move the fries pan to a lower rack in the oven, turn the heat down to 390F, and put the chicken in as well, on a higher rack. Cook for 10 minutes, stir the fries again, turn the chicken pan around in the oven, then cook for another 10 minutes. At this point everything should be evenly done and crispy. 

Serve with a side of veggies like green beans, and whatever sauces you like (mayo, ketchup, and sweet chili sauce are our favorites).

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!

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!