Mediterranean Pico

Mediterranean Pico is the pico you never knew you were missing!

It’s not like I did anything revolutionary here. I make standard pico all the time for our burrito bowls etc. All I did was replace the lime with lemon, the cilantro with mint and parsley, the tomato with…

Ok, so I didn’t get THAT far away from regular pico de gallo. But this is pretty tasty. Use it as a dip with pita chips, a topping for a wrap or gyro, or jazz up just about any meat or grain with a few spoonfuls. Go crazy guys!

Mediterranean Pico


  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 2 persian or mini cucumbers
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives (heaping 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 2 lemons (zest & juice) (about 1 heaping tsp zest and 3 Tbs juice)
  • salt to taste
  • pita chips


Step 1
Pico gets juicy, so prepare to strain off the extra liquid by placing a strainer over a bowl.

Deseed and dice both tomatoes. Toss the tomatoes into the strainer over the bowl and salt them.

Dice the cucumbers and add on top of the tomato in the strainer. Salt the cucumber bits as well, then leave these guys to release their juice while you mix together the rest.
Step 2
In a separate bowl, add the diced onion, chopped olives, herbs, zest.

Mix in the tomatoes, cucumber, lemon juice, and salt to taste.
Step 3
Dump the whole shebang back into the strainer over the bowl, and let the pico hang out like that for at least 30 minutes to get rid of that extra juice.
Step 4
When you're ready to serve it, dump into a bowl with pita chips or use as a delicious condiment with meats, wraps, or whatever!

Chicken Shawarma

I realize that on every damn recipe I post I’m all like, “Oh my gosh! This recipe is SO good!”

I almost want to take it all back… Because this Chicken Shawarma with Secret Shawarma Sauce really IS so so so so good!

We make this almost every week in some form or another, and all four of us LOVE it. Wy always does a wrap (no sauce no cucumbers), Ruby always has it deconstructed (no tomatoes), and Brian and I eat it any which way but loose.

Am I a middle eastern food authority? Hell no. But I do love to EAT middle eastern food, and I’m always trying to learn. I’m sure this is not a traditional shawarma rub or sauce, but it is super delicious. Plus, it’s all ingredients that are easy to find, and it only takes 20 minutes to have a not-too-shabby at-home shawarma fix.

I played around with the spices from a Cooks Country magazine recipe for a shawarma salad and invented my Secret Shawarma Sauce (which I guess is not so secret anymore.) The technique of broiling the rubbed chicken is genius because it gives you juicy chicken with crispy bits. It makes for an irresistible flavor and texture contrast that is just delightful.

And if you find the words “middle eastern” or “shawarma” intimidating when it comes to what you’re willing to put in your mouth (like my mom) just call em Tasty Chicken Wraps and enjoy them all the same.

Chicken Shawarma


  • 12-14 Boneless Chicken Thighs
  • 2-3 Lemons
  • Chopped Cucumber
  • Chopped Tomato
  • Kalamata Olives
  • Cilantro
  • Pita or Naan
  • Fresh lettuce or spinach

Shawarma Spice Rub

  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 2 teaspoons Paprika
  • 2 teaspoons Cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoons Granulated Garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon Coriander

Secret Shawarma Sauce

  • 3/4 cups Veganase (You could use regular Mayo or Greek Yogurt)
  • 1/2 Lemon (juiced)
  • 2-3 Fresh Garlic Cloves (Grated or finely minced)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt (season to your taste)
  • 3/4 to 1 teaspoons Poultry Seasoning (season to your taste)


Step 1
It's nice to know that since I spent so many years as a butcher/meat cutter, you can all depend on me to impart expert advice AND slip you some trade secrets...

De-gunk the chicken thighs.

Ok. So I don't really know what else to call it.

Boneless thighs come packaged with a fair amount of fat and gunk on them. In a slow-cooked dish all of that fatty gunk with render into the meat and disappear. The Shawarma broils for 20 minutes... so go ahead and get most of the gunk off.

Here's both a "gunky thigh" and a lovely "de-gunked thigh".
Step 2
Mix together the salt, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, and coriander in a small bowl.
Step 3
Next, dump all of your de-gunked thighs into a bowl, and rub 2 Tbls olive oil and all of the Shawarma spice rub all over them.
Step 4
Cover with plastic wrap, and pop in the fridge for the flavors to meld. In a pinch you could broil them immediately, but letting the rub set in for a few hours is best.

Once the chicken has had its rubdown, I like to go ahead and make the Secret Shawarma Sauce. You want these flavors to hang out for a while also, so I'll usually make the rub and the sauce in the morning for a Shawarma dinner.

Judge us if you want, but Brian and I have almost completely replaced mayo with Veganaise in almost every application.

Believe it or not... it looks and tastes just like mayo.

Anyway, as I said in the ingredient list, I use Veganaise but feel free to substitute in real mayo or even greek yogurt for the sauce.
Step 5
Add the Veganaise to a bowl, and top with salt, grated garlic, lemon juice, and Poultry Seasoning.
Step 6
On a side note: that little handheld grater has got to be the best gift I've ever gotten (Thank you, Aunt June!!)

Whisk the hell out of it, until it's smooth and creamy, and then put it into a cute jar and take a photo... or just pop it in the fridge for the flavor to develop.
Step 7
When it's almost broiling time preheat your oven to the hottest broiling setting you've got and let it preheat.

I set mine to convection broil and set the temp to "MAX".

Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, and top with an oven-safe rack.

Arrange the thighs flat *WITH THE SMOOTH SIDE DOWN AND THE BUMPY SIDE UP* and place halved lemons in the holes.

My lemons were small, so I added an extra half. But usually, I use two larger lemons.
Step 8
Place on an oven rack 4-5 inches under the broiler, and set a timer for 10 minutes.

Once the timer goes off rotate the pan around 180 degrees and set another timer for 10 minutes.

BOOM. Chicken is done.
Step 9
Wait for it to rest a bit, and then chop it up.

Once it's chopped squeeze the roasted lemon juice all over the meat and toss.
Step 10
For a Chicken Shawarma Wrap, we like to pile it onto a warm piece of naan or flatbread.

Step 11
Our favorite toppings are olives, cucumbers, tomatoes, cilantro, and a TON of the Secret Shawarma Sauce!
Step 12
This also makes a phenomenal salad.

Pile all of the toppings on top of a bed of spinach or lettuce for a delicious low carb lunch.
Step 13
A bowl of Shawarma on top of a bed of couscous is another favorite of ours.
Step 14
Don't stop there though, because this is so good you could do all sorts of Shawarma magic.

Make a pizza. Add that shit to scrambled eggs. If you can think it... you can BE it.

Apple Cider Pork with Kale Salad

Here’s my autumn twist on stir-fry!

This is one of my easy weeknight go-to’s during the fall. Honestly, the hardest part of this meal is planning ahead an hour to marinate the pork! The marinade is practically two ingredients, plus, once you begin actually cooking, the whole thing comes together super fast. I made this on a Tuesday night after getting up at 4:30am, and working a full day. If this weren’t really an easy fix, there’s no way I would have attempted a “photo shoot dinner” on a workday.

I like to serve this with something green. Brian’s got lots of “Brianisms” or goofy one liners that he says a lot. One of them is “I need some green in my life.” Well here’s some green for everyone’s life. It’s my favorite way to eat raw kale at the moment. This is the basic version, but please add anything and everything you can think of. I’ve added pears, apples, pecans, pine nuts, and almonds before. Please comment if you think of any other great additions… I’m always trying to think of new things to dig for in salads!

Tasty. Healthy. Fast. Seasonal… Enjoy!

Apple Cider Pork with Kale Salad Recipe


  • 1 1/4lb pork tenderloin (in small cubes)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cup apple juice or apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 6 cups chopped kale
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • lemon juice
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt


Step 1
In a 2 cup measuring cup, measure out your apple cider vinegar and apple cider/juice.
Step 2
Add in the salt and pepper, and give it all a good stir.
Step 3
Pour into a 13x9 inch dish with your pork tenderloin cubes.

Spread the cubes out into an even layer so that everyone gets plenty of marinade.
Step 4
Cover with plastic wrap while pressing all the pieces down into the apple cider mixture.
Step 5
Pop into the fridge for an hour.

Once it's had at least an hour in the marinade, drain off the pork cubes.
Step 6
Spread them out onto several layers of paper towels.

Being drier when they go into the skillet will help them brown a bit better.
Step 7
Another thing that will help the pieces to brown is to cook the pork in two batches.

Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat, and add roughly half of your pork.
Step 8
This is just like a stir-fry. That means you'll be constantly moving the pieces around over a fairly high heat.

Toss the cubes around around 2 minutes and then pull to a plate.
Step 9
Add one more tablespoon of oil to your skillet, and brown the second batch for another two minutes.

Pour the first plateful of pork back into the skillet. Cover the whole thing with a lid, and simmer one minute.
Step 10
Remove the lid and let it bubble another 30 seconds to 2 minutes (depending on the size of your pork cubes). Be careful at this point, because dry pork is no fun for anyone involved. If you have really small pieces, then they're probably done about the time the lid comes off.
Step 11
I always pull one of the largest pieces and cut into it to make sure it's done. I figure once the bigger pieces are ready, then they're all good to go!

As soon as you think they're done, pull them out of the hot pan!
Step 12
As I said earlier, I always like to serve this with something green. Here I paired it with a super simple kale salad.

I de-stemmed, washed, and chopped about 6 cups of kale. Then I tossed it with equal parts lemon juice and olive oil (it was around 1/8 cup of each). Add in a sprinkle of kosher salt and a handful of sweetened and dried cranberries (about 1/2 cup), and you've got yourself an easy and tasty seasonal salad!
Step 13
Nestle a tasty pile of pork into the cranberry kale salad,
Step 14
and enjoy a deliciously healthy autumn dinner!

Raspberry and Spinach Salad

This salad is the perfect balance for me. I think salads are best when they have a nice mix of different flavors and textures. This one has it all! Spinach is my favorite base for salads, plus there are plenty of digs (the fun stuff that keeps you digging in salads to find them). Feel free to mix up the ingredients to please your palate.

I always like little pockets of sweetness. If it weren’t a great time of year for berries, my go to would be sweetened and dried cranberries. I caught these raspberries right at the end of their season and I say if you can find any kind of fresh berry use them here. The other fun “dig” for me in this salad is the goat cheese. Use any kind of cheese you like, or leave it out if you’re not a cheese in my salad kind of person. Mine is a mild and creamy goat cheese from a local dairy farm Capra Gia that my husband and I both love.

Another wintertime solution would be using your favorite bottled raspberry vinaigrette. Really there are tons of dressing flavors that would work great here. I’ve used my homemade Raspberry Vinaigrette. If you’ve got some berries and an extra ten minutes check out the recipe here.

Raspberry and Spinach Salad Recipe


  • fresh spinach (chopped)
  • fresh raspberries
  • red onion (thinly sliced)
  • crumbled goat cheese
  • marcona almonds (chopped)
  • Raspberry Vinaigrette


Step 1
It's a salad. So I'm afraid there's not really much to the steps. It's not so much making it as it is assembling it.

Start with your chopped spinach.
Step 2
Sprinkle on the sliced red onions.
Step 3
Add the raspberry polka dots.
Step 4
Crumble over the goat cheese. Blue cheese would work great here also if you'd like a bit more punch.
Step 5
Now for the crunch!
Step 6
I've chosen chopped marcona almonds, but I came really close to using sunflower seeds. Feel free to add any or all crunch you'd like.
Step 7
Drizzle over as much or little of the vinaigrette as you choose.
Step 8
This is great as a fresh side,
Step 9
or make it the main attraction and feel really good about yourself!

Raspberry Vinaigrette

This raspberry vinaigrette is so easy to make, and the results are fantastic!

We’ve used this vinaigrette on salads obviously, but it also works great as a dipping sauce or marinade for meats. If you have fresh berries and an extra ten minutes go the extra mile and make a thick raspberry syrup to use as the base of the dressing. If you’re short on time or berries, then just substitute raspberry jam for phenomenal results as well.

It’s just a matter of measuring and whisking to get a sensational dressing!

Raspberry Vinaigrette Recipe



  • 6oz raspberries
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar


  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (raspberry if you can find it)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons raspberry syrup


Step 1
This whole idea came about because these beautiful raspberries were on sale at work for $2 off per container. So, of course, I bought three with no plan whatsoever.

Aren't they gorgeous?
Step 2
I try not to use words like gorgeous because it makes my husband make fun of me, but seriously... look at them!
Step 3
I dumped a freshly washed 6oz container into a saucepan,
Step 4
and added 1/4 cup water and 2 Tbs. sugar.
Step 5
Stir together over medium heat, and bring to a bubble.
Step 6
As you stir, break up the berries, so that you're left with a bubbly mush.

Let it keep bubbling away for a few more minutes.
Step 7
The whole process should take about 10 minutes from the time you turn on the heat.

You'll be left with a delicious smelling ruby porridge.
Step 8
Ok so technically I guess it's not really a syrup as most people think of it, but for our purposes that's what I'm calling it.

Add 2 Tbs. of the raspberry syrup to a bowl.
Step 9
If you can find raspberry balsamic definitely use that here.
Step 10
Any balsamic will do the trick however, so add 1/4 cup of whatever is handy.
Step 11
Pour in 1/2 cup good quality olive oil.
Step 12
Set about the whisking.
Step 13
It's just a matter of a few minutes and some vigorous whisking before you're left with a thick, sweet, and tangy dressing.
Step 14
Now you're ready to spruce up any meat or salad.
Step 15
It's so easy and so good!

Chicken Taco Salad with Creamy Lime Dressing

Our family’s motto is “when in doubt, put it in a tortilla.” In an effort to lighten things up, we decided to take some of our favorite quesadilla & burrito fare and transform them into a tasty salad.

One of the secrets to adding an extra layer of flavor is using curry powder in addition to the standard taco seasonings. It really brings the other flavors to life and gives the chicken a beautiful golden color without adding a lot of heat (feel free to add chili powder, cayenne, or both for an added kick, we are trying to spare our toddler’s diaper). One thing that Brian and I strongly agree on is eating dinner as a family unit. Not only does that mean sitting down together every night, but also eating the same dish. Sometimes our toddler Wyatt’s is presented slightly differently, but in essence we are only cooking one meal. In tonight’s example we have our chicken mix on a bed of lettuce covered in the dressing, while Wyatt’s is served next to a small cheese quesadilla with the lime dressing as a dipping sauce.

The dressing couldn’t be easier. Its a simple mix of sour cream and lime. The real magic happens at the bottom of the bowl as it mixes with the chicken juices. It creates a whole new dressing, but be careful when plating not to add too much of the chicken juices. No one wants chicken salad soup.


Chicken Taco Salad

Serves 4 - 6
Meal type Main Dish, Salad



  • 1lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs (Cut into bite sized pieces with excess fat removed)
  • 1 Large Onion (Diced)
  • 1 can Black Beans (Drained and rinsed)
  • 1 cup Frozen Corn Kernels
  • 1 tablespoon Minced Garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Curry Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoons Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 cup Salsa
  • 1/3 cup Dry White Wine
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Tortilla Chips
  • 1 head Romaine (Chopped)

Salad Dressing

  • 1 cup Low Fat Sour Cream
  • 2 Limes
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper


Step 1
Heat Olive Oil in skillet over medium heat
Step 2
Season Chicken with Curry, Cumin, Paprika, Garlic Powder, and Salt
Step 3
Brown Chicken in a single layer (leave it alone for about 4 minutes). Turn each piece over to brown the other side (for about 2 minutes).
Browned Chicken
Step 4
Remove Chicken and set aside.
Step 5
Add Onions to the pan and add a pinch or two of salt. Cook, stirring two minutes.
Step 6
Stir in Minced Garlic and cook 3 more minutes.
Add Garlic to Onions
Step 7
Add Wine and stir/scrape bottom of pan. Cook for another minute.
Add Wine
Step 8
Add Tomato chunks with their juices. Season with salt to taste.
Add Tomatoes
Step 9
Add 1 tsp. of Garlic Powder, 1 tsp. of Cumin, Salsa, Black Beans, and Corn.
Seasoning Taco Chicken Salad
Step 10
Wait for the sauce to bubble, then add back in the chicken. Stir, cover and cook 5 minutes.
Add Chicken
Step 11
In a small bowl add the zest of both limes. Then squeeze in the juice of 1 1/2 of them.
Lime Zest
Step 12
Reserve the other half as wedges to serve with the meal.
Lime Wedges
Step 13
Add the Sour Cream and 1/2 tsp of course black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.
Creamy Lime Dressing Components
Step 14
Wisk together to make your dressing.
Creamy Lime Dressing
Step 15
Fill the bottom half of the bowl with lettuce.
Step 16
Cover with the Taco Chicken mixture (use a slotted spoon to remove some of the juices).
Step 17
Serve with the Creamy Lime Dressing, tortilla chips, and a wedge of lime.