Delicious Chicken Shawarma Recipe

Monday, April 16, 2018

I'm so happy I decided to give this recipe a shot. I love Mediterranean cuisine and will take any opportunity to switch things up with my healthy meals throughout the week. I went into this fully expecting for my chicken to only sort of taste like shawarma but this recipe is so fool proof that even the most unpracticed chef can make it happen. You can check out the original recipe HERE or follow along with me to get some extra tips. 


  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (2 lg. breasts--I like to buy them as tenders since breasts are soo  ginormous these days. Freaks me out.)
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs (4 lg. thighs)
  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil divided (a little over a third of a cup)
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 pinch cayenne
  • Salt and black pepper

  • I used a standard plastic spoon as my teaspoon because it's what I had *shrug emoji*

    Pro tip: take all caps and sifter lids off of your spices before you start to prep your marinade. I added all of the spices first and then stirred in the olive oil. Before marinading, cut each piece of chicken into three to six pieces depending on size. I like to purchase the chicken breast as tenders because it's already cut. I seasoned the chicken with salt and pepper as I would season chicken normally before adding the marinade. 

    This is about the point where I freaked out my first time making this. I tasted the marinade before adding the chicken and it wasn't like anything I was used to. Don't let the marinade on its own fool you. It will taste bitter and flat (even with salt) and you will think you missed something. Everything will be fine, I promise. Smell is a better indicator of whether things are going well. The first time around my chicken looked much darker (more brown than red) after the marinade. I used more chicken and more cayenne this time around so my chicken looked more like the OG recipe photos (reddish, hot wing color). I marinaded my chicken in a doubled up plastic bag from the grocery store (you can leave it in a large bowl covered with plastic wrap).  The first time I let the marinade sit for three hours but this time around I let it hang out for a full day in the fridge before cooking. Both ways taste equally delicious. 

    Place your marinaded chicken flat on a baking sheet and put it in the oven for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.

    The original recipe calls for flipping the chicken half way through the roast but that's not how I get down (too lazy, duh!).

    Take the chicken out of the oven and let it cool slightly. With tongs and a sharp knife cut the chicken into smaller pieces.

    At this point the OG recipe calls for you to prepare a large skillet with olive oil to begin sautéing the chicken. But you'll find after roasting the chicken there's still fat and the remaining marinade oil on the sheet pan. So, instead, after cutting the chicken I return it to the pan and coat the meat with the leftover marinade.

    You'll notice the chicken is cooked enough to eat from roasting but you don't want to skip the sauté step as it browns the meat further, making the seasoning a nice crispy coating around the edges of the chicken. 

    Now, for the last step, sauté the chicken in two batches for about 5 minutes on medium high heat until the smallest pieces of chicken are browned. I sprinkled a little more salt on the meat in this step as well. And just like that you have six amazing dinner portions of chicken shawarma for the week. I like to eat mine with some ginger/turmeric rice, hummus, cucumber salad, pickled red cabbage and tzatziki. 

    Let me know if you try it! 

    Brunches to Beat Ep. 1

    Wednesday, April 4, 2018

    Snooze A.M. Eatery, Denver, CO

    Lots of solid choices here. I ordered the Chili Verde Benedict with barbacoa. There's green chili sauced tortillas cooked with magic so they act as the biscuit/english muffin element in the benedict. Genius. All topped with poached cage free eggs, green chili hollandaise, pico de gallo and cotija cheese. I can honestly say this is the best thing I've eaten so far in 2018.

    My boyfriend ordered the shrimp and grits, which was also delicious! He didn't love me enough to get a sunny-side egg for better aesthetics, however he did let me taste his apple mimosa. Of all the mimosa concoctions I've tried (pineapple, white peach, strawberry, etc.), this was the most delicious aside from OJ and seemingly the most obvious. We tried recreating it when we got home but tip: spring for not the cheapest champagne and a darker, cider-like apple juice (ie: Simply). In any case, I hope this chain (yes, chain, HOW?) makes its way over to the midwest sometime soon.

    Would order again without trying something new.    
    Hasbrowns: 10/10

    Hutch American Bistro, Chicago, IL 

    I don't want to give this spot too much credit because I did watch them burn the shit out of my friends biscuit. Buuuut if you are a lover of all things benedict, this is one you'll wanna try. Also, there's $2 mimosas on weekdays (get the white peach!) if you wanted to turn that self-care call off into a real party. I ordered the Pulled Bacon Benedict. Of course, before ordering, I asked what the hell pulled bacon entailed. Cured, whole slab bacon, brined for a week then braised. Heaven heaven heaven stop talking. It was awesome. With the rich, saltiness of the bacon, I think it would've been better served on a buttery, crisp biscuit but after seeing how they murder biscuits in that kitchen I want no parts.

    Would order again without trying something new. 
    Hasbrowns: (N/A, cheesy mash) 7/10

    Super Yummy PB&Banana Smoothie

    Tuesday, March 20, 2018

    I recently shared on my Instagram Stories the trouble with letting smoothies or fresh juice replace a full meal. My first concern is always with the amount of sugar that may be present as most smoothies/juices are majority fruit. Even with the addition of vegetables, smoothies end up being high on carbs and very low in the other two macronutrients our body needs. In order to replace a complete meal all three macro-nutrients: fat, protein and carbs, must be present. 
    You’ll hear me harp a lot about fat. For those of you trying to lose weight it may seem a little backwards but our bodies NEED fat to function despite what the diet food industry leads us to believe. This is why I never purchase anything claiming to be “light” or “low fat” because in order to make whatever it is taste good again or like itself again  (nothing tastes as good as fat) they add artificial shenanigans or sugar. Plus, vitamins A, E, D and K are all fat soluble meaning they need fat in order to be transported to the bloodstream. I don't know about you but baby girl doesn't eat vegetables for no reason. I need those nutrients all in this thang!

    “Good Fat” ingredients you gotta get into:
    -wild-caught seafood
    -almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, etc.
    -meat and dairy from grass-fed animals
    -chia seeds
    -coconut, olive or nut/seed oils (not vegetable oils like corn or soybean)

    ½ scoop Vega Protein+Greens Vanilla Protein Powder (optional)
    6oz water or almond milk
    1tbsp peanut butter
    3.5 oz. (half a small container) Fage Greek Yogurt
    1 whole banana
    ½  avocado
    pinch of sea salt
    1tsp honey (optional, my peanut butter is honey flavored)
    Blended and topped with sunflower seeds and walnuts
    22g protein, 18g fat, 38g carbs
    (there’s 27g carbs in a medium banana whaaaaaa)

    If I had really crunched the numbers while making it, I probably would've added MCT Oil to increase the fat content. This smoothie kept me full for maybe an hour and a half but an added 14g of fat from 1 tbsp MCT oil may have bought me another hour and some increased mental focus.

    This is not a super sweet smoothie so it’s perfect for someone who likes a nice balance of sugar and salt. Let me know if you try it!

    Visiting The Smallest Restaurant In Europe

    Monday, March 19, 2018 Upstairs Pannen koekenhuis

    The Upstairs Pannenkoekenhuis or Upstairs Pancakes is one of the most special places I have ever been. As hyperbolic as it seems, I remember it as clearly and beautifully as the Eiffel Tower at night. Probably because Upstairs Pancakes was equally, if not more, surprising.

    I remembered the café from photos I’d seen of a pancake house with teapots covering its ceiling. I had clearly gotten carried away with the oh so American idea of a pancake HOUSE and remembered the place much larger than it is in reality. MUCH, MUCH LARGER. Upstairs is in fact, the smallest restaurant in Europe with only four tables. We walked single file up the steepest flight of stairs, tempted to use our hands as if it were a ladder, and arrived eye to eye with the sole chef and full house of patrons. All six. It felt like a mistake. Luckily, there’s little time for bullshit in a place this small. We all could heard the sound of more guests climbing the stairs and there very literally would’ve been nowhere for them to go. The chef quickly let us know that without a reservation, we were out of luck. We had the option of enjoying pancakes at 5:00 that evening or 1:30 the following afternoon. We decided the initial shock and awkwardness was meal enough for the day and opted to try again the next day.

    We were so pumped. It was all we could talk about. How good must the pancakes be if you can run a whole restaurant with six seats and have people crawling back, literally, day after day? The pancakes are INCREDIBLE! We returned the next day 30 minutes before our reservation and people watched outside. The best part was watching couple after couple take that awkward climb up the stairs only to be turned away just like we were the day before. There was even a group of six! We DIED laughing with no words.

    We were seated at the window (in the second window box pictured) and we agreed to let a solo traveler dine with us. He was chill and didn’t’ speak English. I ordered the banana with chocolate sauce and Brittany ordered the rhubarb and plum special. The menu is lengthy but fairly simple. Each pancake has no more than three ingredients and typically just two. As delicious as they were, as with most great meals I’ve ever had, the best part was something seemingly insignificant—the house made cream. BABYYYYYY we licked those plates clean, you hear me?

    The best part of this experience was feeling like I was in on a secret. Like I was so lucky to be filling one of so few seats. We felt like princesses in a castle peering out from that little flower box in the window. All so simple. All so sweet. I don't know that I ever intended on really sharing this gem with the world, but if it weren't shared somewhere I would've never known myself. Plus this happy feeling is something that should be spread. Go explore and enjoy! Snap a  pic for me and MAKE A RESERVATION!

    MORE Ways to Use Apple Cider Vinegar

    If you can manage to get past the zesty funk and sharp flavor, apple cider vinegar makes a great addition to your diet. I try to drink a shot of ACV once in the morning and again at night to aid digestion. Most people give ACV too much credit but it does have some solid benefits. It can increase feelings of fullness if taken before a meal, which means you consume less calories. Plus, the acidity promotes your guts natural acid, breaking down food more quickly. Less bloating and happy tummies! I’m all about it. But my obsession with ACV goes much further.
    ACV sat in my cupboard for the longest time in the beginning of my wellness journey. Taking less than 5 tablespoons daily in total didn’t put a huge dent in the bottle right away. So, when it came time to repurchase I wasn’t running to the store. It wasn’t until I started working for Whole Foods that I slowly discovered all of the possible uses for ACV within the home.  Fast forward to today and a spray bottle of ACV and water (1:2) holds a permanent position on both my bathroom and kitchen sinks. Here are a few of my fav uses for that golden, funk: 

    1.         Armpits! Like, no lie. We gotta talk about this. You guys realize you wear deodorant 24/7, right? You wake up, you shower, YOU PUT ON DEODORANT, you go to work, you come home, go to bed WITH YOUR DEODORANT, wake up and repeat again and again. The only time you’re not wearing deodorant is in the shower. And that’s giving your bodywash a lot of credit!  Most traditional soaps aren’t going to draw out all the dirt, sweat and bullshit trapped under your pits from yeeeeears of daily use. So, FIRST, make a habit of washing your under arms before bed. Deodorant is chemicals. Deodorant is aluminum. Deodorant is bullshit. I pray every night for God to send me a natural deodorant that can handle my level of lady sweat. But until that day, I’ll be washing my under arms every night and spraying my ACV water as a kind of toner. The malic acid in ACV makes it a potent antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral substance capable of keeping all kinds of bacteria at bay. AVC also draws out toxins from your skin and restores pH. This is a game changer given the amount of time deodorant sits on our skin. It actually inhibits the natural process of the body and traps dirt and sweat under the skin. Regular use of ACV helps restore order, which is especially helpful before a good night’s sleep while our bodies are doing lots of repairs.

    2.          ACV is an absolute godsend when it comes to cleaning fruits and veggies. I’m going to ruin your day real quick and let you know those apples you bought are as dirty as a doorknob. Forget about all the hands it passed through in the packaging and delivery process, the amount of people that poked and prodded your fruit in the grocery store alone is enough to quickly realize a few rinses under the faucet ain’t enough. ACV kills bacteria and removes dirt and pesticides. If you have your mixture of ACV water ready in a spray bottle all you have to do is spray your produce before putting up your groceries and it doesn’t even feel like an extra step (I like to spray, rinse and spray again).

    ACV makes a great all-purpose, all-natural cleaner for your counter tops and works miracles on burnt, crusty pots and pans. There are sooooo many more uses for ACV, ask Pinterest! But these are the few that I’ve made habits in my life and swear by. Let me know if you’ve adopted any other uses that you think I should try.

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