Semi-Homemade Chicken Shawarma Bowls

We have decided to start a new series on the blog for those nights when you want to get a good dinner on the table but are short on time. Even those of us that love to cook and entertain have those days where spending even an hour in the kitchen is too much. “Semi Homemade Mondays” are meals that combine a few pre-made ingredients from the store and a simple homemade addition to reduce your overall cooking time but still have a balanced meal for dinner. For this first Semi-Homemade Monday we have made Chicken Shawarma Bowls by using chicken shawarma, hummus, and pitas from Trader Joe’s. We’ve added cooked quinoa and an easy cucumber tomato salad to complete the meal and have dinner on the table in less than 25 minutes. 

Semi-Homemade Chicken Shawarma Bowls 
Makes: 4 servings 
Total Time: 25 minutes 

Ingredients for Bowl: 

  • 1 package (1.5 lbs) Trader Joe’s Chicken Shawarma 
  • 1 container hummus 
  • 1 package pitas, warmed for a few minutes in the oven 
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa 

Ingredients for Cucumber Tomato Salad 

  • 1 cucumber, ends removed, cut in half horizontally, and sliced 
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved 
  • 1/4 of a red onion, thinly sliced 
  • 2 tbs fresh dill, minced 
  • 1 clove garlic, minced 
  • 3 tbs olive oil 
  • 1 tbs red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees**. 
  2. Lay the chicken in a baking dish or on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the thighs are cooked through and the juices are clear. 
  3. While the chicken is cooking, pour 3 cups of water into a medium pot. Add the quinoa, bring the water to a boil, and cook over medium-high heat for about 15 minutes, or until the quinoa has popped. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. 
  4. To make the cucumber salad, combine the remaining ingredients (cucumbers – red wine vinegar) in a small bowl. Gently toss to combine and season with salt and pepper. 
  5. When the chicken has finished cooking, remove it from the oven and let it sit for a few minutes before slicing. 
  6. Assemble each bowl with a swipe of hummus, about 1/2 cup – 3/4 cup quinoa, the sliced chicken shawarma, and a good helping of tomato cucumber salad. Serve with warm pitas for the ultimate semi-homemade dinner. 

** This chicken is great on the grill too- the char from the grill is addicting! Cook for about 6 minutes per side on a hot grill, or until the juices run clear and the chicken is cooked through. 


Chicken Skewers with Cilantro Dipping Sauce

The Chickey Gervais Skewers are named after this year’s Golden Globes host, Ricky Gervais. We love these skewers because they are really easy to assemble and always a crowd pleaser at a party. We love the cilantro lime dipping sauce as a pairing  with the onions and peppers for a fresh taste but you could easily swap and serve these with BBQ or hot sauce. For the Golden Globes, we plan to serve all dishes as heavy apps and decided to make half skewers to keep these the right portion. If you are serving them for a summer bbq use full sized skewers and make them an entree. 

Chickey Gervais Skewers – Chicken Fajita Skewers with Cilantro Lime Dipping Sauce
Makes: 12 half skewers; 6 full sized entree skewers
Prep Time: 15 minutes     Total Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients For the Skewers:

  • 1 lb chicken breasts or chicken tenders
  • 2 green peppers 
  • 1 red onion

Ingredients For the Sauce:

  • 1 package cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic 
  • 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the skewers in a bowl of water. Make sure they are fully submerged as this will prevent the skewers from burning while you cook.
  2. Cut the chicken, green peppers and onion into one inch pieces. Assemble the skewers by placing one piece of each the chicken, peppers and onion in a row until the skewer is filled. Leave 1/2 inch of skewer on each side for easy handling.
  3. Season the skewers with salt and pepper and put them in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.*
  4. While the skewers are in the oven, make the sauce. Combine the cilantro, garlic, lime, olive oil and cumin in a blender and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve the skewers on a tray and splash the sauce directly on them or put the sauce in a separate dish for a self-serve option. Enjoy! 

*If you are cooking the skewers in the summer, feel free to cook on the grill! You will follow the same steps but cook on high heat for 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. 


Seal the Deal Prosciutto Stuffed Chicken Breasts

This chicken dish is really the beginning of the story for how Tate’s parents got together. After a few dates in college, Tate’s dad offered to cook a meal at his house. A little nervous, and armed with wine, Tate’s mom agreed. Her hesitation was removed at the first bite of this chicken dish. Crunchy, cheesy and filling – this dish won over her stomach and heart. Flash forward 10 years, and they are still enjoying this dish together.

Seal the Deal Prosciutto Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Serving Size: 4 servings

Cooking Time: 60 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 4 slices provolone cheese
  • 4 slices prosciutto
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs, scrambled
  • 2 cups canola oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbs chopped basil, for garnish
  • 2 cups marinara sauce (click for our favorite recipe)

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Pound chicken breasts to flatten so they are even in thickness. Aim for roughly ¾ inch thick. This will help to cook the chicken evenly.
  • Take a paring knife and make an insert in each breast, leaving at least a half inch border on three sides of the chicken breast to form a pocket for the prosciutto and provolone
  • Take the provolone and prosciutto and roll together and place in the pocket of each chicken breast. Season the outside of each chicken breast with salt and pepper.

Bread the Chicken:

  • Add the salt and pepper to the flour and place the flour, eggs and breadcrumbs in three separate containers
  • Using one hand for dry ingredients and one for wet follow the next steps for each chicken breast:
  • Put the chicken breast in the flour and cover both sides
  • Move the chicken breast to the eggs and cover both sides
  • Move the chicken breast to the breadcrumbs and cover both sides

To Cook:

  • Put the canola oil in the pan and turn heat to medium-high.
  • Once the oil is hot (you can test with a pinch of flour), add the chicken breasts to the pan. Be careful not to overcrowd- you can do this step in two batches if necessary.
  • Cook the chicken about 4 minutes per side, or until the chicken is nice and brown. Transfer to a cookie sheet. If you are doing this in two steps, let the first batch sit out and transfer all of the chicken to the oven at the same time.
  • Place the chicken in the oven and cook until the thickest part of the breast has reached a temperature of 165 degrees- roughly 20 minutes.
  • Serve the chicken on top of the marinara so that it stays crispy! Top with fresh basil.