Spicy Chicken Shawarma

I’m sure I have mentioned, I have 2 favorite magazines as a source of my most favorite recipes. One of them is Cooking Light, and that is where I found this little keeper.  The recipe calls for tahini which is a sesame seed paste and a staple in the Middle Eastern diet. You can find it at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and I have even heard Costco. Well, I don’t have a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods near me and since the recipe only calls for 1 tablespoon, I am not sure what I’d do with a gallon of it from Costco. If you are in the same boat, you can try making your own but again, that is a lot of leftover tahini. Anyway, you can substitute with hummus which is what I did, or according to Alton Brown, peanut butter will do.

  • 2  tablespoons  finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  crushed red pepper
  • 1/4  teaspoon  ground ginger
  • 1/4  teaspoon  ground cumin
  • 1/8  teaspoon  ground coriander
  • 5  tablespoons  plain Greek-style yogurt, divided
  • 2  tablespoons lemon juice, divided
  • 3  garlic cloves, minced and divided
  • 1  pound  skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, thinly sliced
  • 2  tablespoons  extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1  tablespoon  tahini
  • 4  pitas, halved
  • 1/2  cup  chopped cucumber
  • 1/2  cup  chopped tomato
  • 1/4  cup chopped red onion

Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl; stir in 1 tablespoon yogurt, 1 tablespoon juice, and 2 garlic cloves. Add chicken; toss to coat.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken mixture to pan; sauté 6 minutes or until browned and done, stirring frequently.

While chicken cooks, combine remaining 1/4 cup yogurt, remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice, remaining 1 garlic clove, and tahini, stirring well.

Spread 1 1/2 teaspoons tahini mixture inside each pita half; divide chicken evenly among pita halves. Fill each pita half with 1 tablespoon cucumber, 1 tablespoon tomato, and 1 1/2 teaspoons onion.

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

*Update* My little brother is serving in Afghanistan and a few months back he came home on leave. We decided to have a huge bash to celebrate his safe return and asked him what he wanted. Pork! They don’t get to eat a whole lot of that in the Middle East! So everyone made pork, something pork. I made this, but because of the time the party was, and not wanting to get up in the middle of the night to start cooking, I started the day before. It was way better. So, if you want to do it the short, still tastes good way, this unedited version will do. But try it my new way! Its much better. Now if I could only figure out a way to ship him a pot of it to enjoy before he gets home for good…


I have a very biased view on slow cookers. I hate them. I know there are people that swear up and down that they are the greatest thing since the microwave oven but I beg to differ. I have one, and have tried about 15 different slow cooker recipes and have hated almost every one of the mushy, soggy, under or over cooked disasters that resulted. I guess if you like to muddle your groceries they are great, but I am a food separatist and slow cookers go against every one of my taste bud’s beliefs. Until I found this recipe, that is.

  • 4 lb. shoulder pork roast give or take a half lb
  • any sort of dry rub
  • 3 onions (2 thinly sliced, one diced)
  • BBQ sauce, homemade or your favorite jar of store bought
  • 1.5 cups of water or beer
  • french rolls or hamburger buns

Put the dry rub on the pork. Thinly slice 2 of the onions, put one onion on the bottom of the crock pot, place in the pork shoulder, add the rest of the sliced onion.  add water or beer. Cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours*.

*Updated Version: Cover and cook on low for 12 hours.

When the 4 hours are up, strain pork and onions. Discard liquid. Pull pork from bone in large chunks, return meat and onions to crock pot.

Add BBQ sauce and the last onion, diced. Cover and cook on LOW for 4-6 more hours, stir occasionally and continue to pull the large chunks into bite sized pieces as the meat becomes more tender.*

*Updated version: Cover and cook on low for 2-4 more hours. Stir occasionally, but the large chunks will already be shredded because the meat will be much more tender. After the 2-4 hours, just keep it on warm until ready to serve.

Serve on hearty rolls or buns. Or you could go Mexican, serve with corn tortillas, beans and rice.*

*Updated version: Try on homemade buns and with fresh cole slaw!