Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Katy's Chicken and Cheese Pitas

I have to give credit to my daughter, Katy, for coming up with this recipe all by herself.  She likes to try new foods and quite often helps me cook vegetarian meals for the family.  Before I get to this delightful chicken recipe, I'd like to let you in on something I've learned about chicken.  Americans think they are being 'good' because they eat more chicken and less red meat.  I used to eat loads of chicken too, but I can tell you I will never eat it again, and I'm not to keen on serving it to my family.  Why so radical you ask?  Before you put me on your list of friends who are 'total freaks' consider these facts:

*Chicken (while lower in saturated fat) has almost the same amount of cholesterol per serving as red meat.  

*Chicken has more animal proteins than red meat, therefore, more carcinogenic

*Grilled chicken is the largest source of PhIP, a potent carcinogen, (the highest risk is for cancers of the prostate, colon/rectum, and breast).  Fast food places like KFC and others offering 'grilled' chicken, all found to be laced with PhIP!

*Even though high temperatures kill E.coli, people constantly get food poisoning from cross-contamination

*Raw chicken you bring home is covered in bacteria

*Researches from the UofA found more fecal bacteria in the kitchen (from sponges, dish towels, sink drains) than they found swabbing the toilet 

*Chicken 'juice' is pretty much E.coli-fecal soup, ewww, gross!

*Why are there such large chicken breasts at the grocery store?  Hormones and unnatural feed, Ugh.

There are chicken alternatives.  Morning Star makes "chicken" strips and "chicken" nuggets; and Gardein  makes "chicken breasts" made from soy and vital wheat gluten. Gardein "chicken" has 20 grams of protein per serving.  Because it's not animal protein, it has virtually no saturated fat and zero cholesterol. Gardein products are vegan and use non-GMO soy beans.  You season up this "chicken" the exact same way you would season animal chicken: rubs, spices, salt, sauces, bbq... it's all the same, yet very different.

Recipe below:

What you need:

Whole wheat pita pockets, cut in half
2 Gardein "chicken" breasts (purchase at Fresh & Easy or some supermarkets)
Steamed asparagus, diced
Vegan pesto sauce, or vegan cheese (Daiya makes a good cheddar cheese.  Tastes and melts like diary)
To jazz these up a bit, add any veggies you like such as red bell peppers, onions, mushrooms etc.  And be happy that you don't have to deal with raw chicken juice and sanitizing your counters!

What to do:

Dice "chicken" into bite-sized chunks and saute in olive oil for 5 minutes
Add cooked asparagus and 1/2 cup vegan cheese or 1/4 cup pesto and warm through, tossing
Stuff inside warm pita pockets.  Makes 4 fully stuffed pitas.

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