Today is our birthday! It’s been a crazy year. I’m so glad that Too Busy Livin’ survived a full year. When I started this thing, it was way more work than I could handle. Learning how to blog and all the tech knowledge that comes with it has been stimulating my brain quite a bit this past year, but I’m getting the hang of it and I’m super into it. There is so much to know, and like any new hobby, I’m learning new skills every day.
Some exciting things have happened to Too Busy Livin’ in it’s first year. This collaboration we did with Lemo Lemonade in the summer was featured in Canadian Living Magazine’s March issue!
Also, as of yesterday, I am now a member of the Food Bloggers of Canada! They have so many amazing resources that will hopefully make me a better blogger!
If you’ve been following since the beginning, thank you so much! I see you, liking and commenting on my Instagram posts and I appreciate your support for my little passion project so much! If you’re new here, I hope that you were brought here by an idea or a recipe you loved and I promise you, there are more to come!
On that note, if you enjoy my posts, and haven’t subscribed, now is the time! There are some new projects in the works especially for my regulars!
One of my favorite strategies when meal planning is to deconstruct or reconstruct to make a favorite meal slightly different. This allows us to keep the flavors that we love but change up the way we consume them, to add variety to our weekly menus.
The key players, a.k.a. what you will need
Hummus (Homemade or store bought)
Tzatziki (Homemade or store bought)
Greek dressing (Homemade or store bought)
Red and green bell peppers
Mise en place
The teacher in me loves French words! The foodie in me loves them even more when they refer to food or cooking. Mise en place is a French term used to describe the set up required before cooking. This means, prepping and having everything ready to go for when you start cooking.
We’re going to do a little mise en place here to set you up for constructing, deconstructing and reconstructing Greek Chicken Wraps.
Sauces and dressings
In this case, hummus, tzatziki and greek dressing. You can go store-bought all the way, or homemade. It really doesn’t matter. Use what is convenient, use what you like.
Hummus: I always like to make my hummus from scratch. My go-to for years, has been Real Simple’s 5-Minute Hummus. It never disappoints. Simple ingredients, whips up in five minutes. I love adding a bit of harissa to it for a spicier version.
Tzatziki: Making homemade tzatziki is not difficult and requires few ingredients: Greek yogurt, cucumber, garlic, lemon, salt. Do I love grating and squeezing out the cucumber for this recipe? Not really. Do I have time for that? Not really. I usually go store-bought on this one, because I love the flavor and thickness of PC brand Tzatziki. (Not an ad, it’s just one of my faves!)
Greek Dressing: Whichever dressing you choose to use, use it to its full potential: as the salad dressing and as the marinade for the chicken. Again, the ingredients are so simple that I like to make this one myself. One part lemon juice, two parts olive oil, oregano, salt & pepper and garlic. I like to use a bit of garlic powder in the dressing (maybe 1/4 teaspoon), then add a couple more cloves of fresh garlic to the chicken while in marinates. The fresh garlic is a bit too harsh for the dressing, I find. I also like to zest the lemons before juicing and add that to the chicken marinade as well. This lemon herb marinade also works well, but has a few more ingredients.
Chopping and cooking
Salad: Chop all your veggies, add feta and dressing and you’re done. One thing I like to do is switch up the size of the veggies, depending on what I’m making. A chunkier greek salad is really stands out on the mezze plate, whereas a smaller, diced greek salad works well in a wrap.
Chicken: I went all sheet pan dinner on the chicken, because it’s just too easy not to. I sliced each chicken breast into about five fingers, so they would cook faster, marinated for about half an hour, spread out on a parchment covered baking sheet and baked at 425 degrees F for 25 minutes. So basically while your chicken is cooking, you’ll have time to prep your salad.
Naan: I love how pillowy soft the naan gets when it’s warmed up. I just popped it in the oven on a sheet pan for five minutes while the chicken was cooking, to make it pliable enough to contain the wrap ingredients. For the mezze plate, I brushed it with olive oil and sprinkled it with salt, and baked it a little bit longer to give it some color and to hold up to dipping in the thick tzatziki.
Construction – Greek Chicken Wrap
Now that you have your mise en place ready to go, you can build your wrap.
Spread hummus or tzatziki (or both) on your warmed naan.
Fill with chicken, top with salad. (You can also add some lettuce to the wrap for some filler.)
Eat it taco-style.
Variation: Try roasting some of the salad veggies (peppers, red onion and olives) with the chicken. Top with cucumber, tomato and feta and a drizzle of dressing.
Deconstruction – Greek Mezze Platter
Deconstruction is usually the easiest method to use when trying to change up your meal plan because all the ingredients are already ready.
Spread the hummus and tzatziki on a plate or shallow bowl.
Top with chicken pieces, salad, and naan triangles.
Reconstruction – Greek chicken pizza
Reconstruction is probably the most difficult and labour-intensive of the three processes we just covered. You may need a few extra ingredients in order to create something slightly different. In this example, I’ve used most of the same ingredients, but prepared them differently.
Use a piece of naan as your crust and lightly brush it with olive oil.
When cooking the chicken, throw on a couple whole cloves of garlic and some grape tomatoes so they roast up nicely.
Spread the roasted garlic over the naan, the smash some tomatoes over it too.
Top with chopped chicken, peppers, onion, olives and feta. (You could use raw or roasted veggies here.)
Grate a bit of lemon zest over the top.
Add a bit of mozzarella if you like your pizza extra cheesy.
Variation: You can go vegetarian on all of these by simply omitting the chicken.
One of my favorite Paella recipes is from Curtis Stone’s book, What’s for Dinner. (See his recipe here.) I started making it when my parents brought me a box of Paella spice mix from Mexico. I loved the flavors of paella, but I didn’t love the gooey rice texture that came with it.
After travelling to Spain and trying authentic Paella, I realized that I was actually preparing it correctly. This made me feel super good about myself but still, I wasn’t sold on the rice texture, hence the reason for deconstructing the dish.
Tip: Deconstructing is a great way to get kids to eat something they normally wouldn’t. (Their excuse is most-likely because the ingredients are “mixed together” or “touching”.) It’s also an easy way to bring variety to your meal plan by keeping the flavors of a family favorite and changing up the texture.
Prepping ahead is never a bad idea
From a prepping perspective, this dish is a winner. The vegetables, chicken and chorizo can all be chopped and sliced the day before or the morning of. You could also cook the rice ahead of time, but since I used Minute Rice in this recipe, it was ready even before the sheet pan came out of the oven.
Sheet pan savvy
I’ll admit, I’m a little late to this sheet pan dinner game. Now that I’ve made a few, I’m not turning back! They are too easy and low-maintenance to not include them in my weekly menu.
My favorite part about sheet pan dinners is that you don’t have to measure anything. Chop it up, toss it on a tray and that’s it! I provided an estimate of what I used, but if you add more or less of something, nobody will notice!
The spice factor
Now, I don’t even know if Paella spice mix is even a thing here. I’ve never shopped for it because my parents always bring me some from their travels. The ingredients listed are saffron, paprika, cayenne and salt. Pretty doable if you don’t have a pre-made mix. The spice blend itself is not terribly spicy, so I’d go light on the cayenne. (I’m going to mix myself up a batch, once I run out of these packages.)
The heat in the dish actually comes from the chorizo. I also added garlic and onion powders because I basically add those to every recipe I make. You could also use fresh garlic, of course.
I used Minute Rice because it reminds me of my childhood and I love that the end result is dry, separated grains. I know that instant rice is not for everyone, but you can use whatever kind of rice you like! If you want it to be similar to traditional paella, use an arborio rice, but in the end, it really doesn’t matter.
I cooked the rice in Simple Slow Cooker Vegetable broth with two teaspoons of chicken bouillon concentrate for that broth flavor. I also added a healthy amount of chopped fresh parsley to the cooked rice.
TIP: Never buy broth! Make your own veggie broth in the slow cooker. It’s basically free if you use veggie scraps and you can add chicken or beef bouillon concentrate. Super simple and cost-effective!
Serving this dish to your family is a breeze because picky-eaters can pick and choose what they want. The juicy, roasted tomatoes, crispy chorizo and fluffy rice contrast well with the other texture in this dish.