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Ahhh, the cucumber, when picked from the garden by the bushels one often wonders, “besides sandwiches, what do I do with all these green squash looking things?”  My grandma resolves to pickling the be-jeebers out of them (we’re talking vats and vats of pickles here folks).  Which are good, but one can only consume so many pickles in a lifetime.  Solution #2, my Greek chicken salad pita pockets, a refreshing use for this member of the gourd family.

Another easy use for cucumbers ~ spa cucumber-lemon water.  Slice fresh cucumbers and lemons, add to a pitcher of filtered water and voila!

Red ripe tomatoes, salty Kalamata olives, sweet sun-dried tomatoes and creamy chickpeas tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette with fresh herbs and baked chicken, wow, no pickling needed.  One glorious step further, stuff all this in a wheat pita pocket and you’ve got hand-held cucumber-tomatoey-feta cheese Greek goodness.  GREEK CHICKEN SALAD PITA POCKETS

serves 8

  • 1 lb CHICKEN BREASTS, BONELESS, SKINLESS
  • SEA SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE
  • 1 CUCUMBER , deseeded & chopped
  • 2 RIPE TOMATOES, chopped
  • 1 small RED ONION, diced
  • 2-3 JALAPENO PEPPERS, diced (or to taste – I used 3)
  • 15 oz GARBANZO BEANS (CHICKPEA), rinsed & drained
  • 1/3 cup TOMATO, SUN DRIED, PACKED IN OIL*
  • 1/2 cup WHOLE KALAMATA OLIVES, pitted, chopped
  • 1 tbsp OLIVE OIL, EXTRA VIRGIN
  • 2 tbsp BALSAMIC VINEGAR
  • ½ LEMON, juiced
  • 3 cloves GARLIC, minced
  • 2 tsp MUSTARD, DIJON*
  • 4 oz FETA CHEESE, crumbled*
  • 1 tbsp FRESH PARSLEY, chopped
  • 9 or 10 FRESH BASIL LEAVES, chiffonade or chopped
  • 8 tbsp ROASTED RED PEPPER HUMMUS (optional)
  • 8 WHOLE WHEAT PITA BREAD ROUNDS, cut in half

GLUTEN FREE OPTION: Omit pita pocket and make into a salad (pictured below). Make sure the purchased asterisk ingredients above are gluten-free.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray. Sprinkle both sides of chicken breasts with salt and pepper, then place in prepared pan, cover and cook 25-30 minutes, or until cooked through. Let cool and slice (this step may be done ahead of time or use leftover chicken).

2. While chicken bakes make the dressing. In a large bowl whisk together olive oil, vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, salt, pepper and garlic. 3. Chop cucumber (if not using seedless, remove seeds – see below), tomato, jalapeno, sun dried tomatoes in oil, onion, olives and add to the vinaigrette. Fold in chickpeas and crumbled feta cheese.

halve & then quarter cucumber, diagonally slice each quarter point to remove end with seeds as picture above, then chop

squeeze out or remove inside seeds and juice with hands or a small spoon as pictured, then chop

halve and remove seeds and ribs with a small spoon, then chop

chop and add with the oils

4. Chop parsley and chiffonade (slice) basil. to basil chiffonade…..stack a few basil leavesroll them up like a cigarthen slice diagonally down the roll with a sharp knife (sorry I don’t have 3 hands to accurate show this step)

5. Stir herbs into salad, just until combined. Cut each pita bread round in half.  Spread 1/2 T. roasted red pepper hummus (optional), about 2 ounces sliced chicken (hot or cold) and 1/2 cup Greek salad in each pita half. Serving size: 2 Greek stuffed pita halves.look for the healthy bargains: these were on special for $1.00! (just needed to be used ASAP)

NUTRITION INFO PER SERVING (w/ hummus): 385 calories, 10g fat, 3g sat fat, 40mg cholesterol, 50g carb, 10g fiber, 3g sugar, 24g protein

cucumber image source: http://www.ecblendflavors.com/cucumber-eliquid-flavor/

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