Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Whole Wheat Pita Bread (With Crock-pot Chicken, Garlic Tahini Sauce and Lemon Dill Yogurt Sauce)

So about a month ago, I participated in a clean eating challenge. Part of eating clean is to only eat "whole" ingredients. That means nothing that is highly processed, and definitely no white flour or refined sugar. It was during this challenge that one of the participants shared a recipe for whole wheat pita bread. Since whole wheat flour is perfectly acceptable while eating clean, it was a great recipe to share. I had never made pita bread before, but I was anxious to try my hand at it. I made the recipe she posted and it was very salty, and a little dry tasting. So, with a little tweaking I came up with a recipe that I am happy with.
   About a week ago I was asked to talk to the ladies of out church about healthy eating. I gave them a few general healthy eating rules to live by, and talked about some foods to consider adding into their every day diets. At the end I was going to talk about all the yummy food that I had brought for them to sample, but I ended up running out of time so I basically just said: here you go. I served a basic crock-pot chicken recipe (that can be used in any number of healthy eating recipes), and had all the fixings to eat it as a pita sandwich. Of course, I made the whole wheat pita bread and had it for everyone to use. Everything was well received, and I got numerous requests for the recipes. I had hard copies for the people in attendance, but I thought that I would post them on my blog as well, so that everyone who wanted the recipes could have them. (I will be posting the chicken and sauce recipes at the end of this post, and then later I will be posting the German Chocolate Fudge bites that I served as well.)
   Unfortunately, there are no step by step pictures for the pita bread, but the recipe and directions should serve you well. If you have any questions/comments just let me know and I will help you out as always. :)
   I consider pita bread to be one of those recipes that is like culinary magic. You roll out the dough and put it in the oven (sure that there is no way it will puff and turn out like it should) and then magically it does. The dough rounds puff up like little pillows and turn out wonderfully. I hope you enjoy making (and eating) them as well!

Whole Wheat Pita Bread

2 cups warm water (110F-115F)
4 tsp dry yeast (I like rapid rise/instant yeast)
1 tsp honey (optional)
1 ¼ tsp salt
3 ½ -4 cups whole wheat flour (all purpose or bread flour)
½ cup ground flax seed meal (I use Bob's Mill Organic Golden Flaxseed Meal)

Combine water, yeast and honey into a bowl and set aside to get foamy. (5 minutes). Whisk in the ground flax seed, 1 ½ cups of the flour, and the salt until smooth. Add 2 cups more flour and knead until a smooth, slightly sticky, dough forms. (Use all 4 cups if the dough is too sticky.) Put in a greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled (about 1 hour). Roll out dough and divide into 11 balls. Let sit for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 500F while the dough is resting. After resting, roll each dough ball out into circles (6 -8 inches) with as few strokes as possible, making sure NOT to roll the edges flat. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake on the bottom rack for 5-6 minutes, until puffed and slightly browned. When cool, cut in half and fill with desired ingredients.

I like to eat the pita bread with this crock-pot chicken, cucumber, lettuce, tomato and both the garlic tahini sauce and the lemon dill yogurt sauce. (recipes follow)

Crock-pot Chicken

3 lbs boneless skinless chicken (breasts or thighs)
½ small onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large carrot, grated
1 ½ cups greens, finely diced (I like to use a mixture of baby spinach, baby kale, and baby           chard, labeled as "power greens" at the grocery store. Measure after cutting, it's about 4 cups before cutting)
1 tsp whole dry thyme
½ tsp ground dry rosemary
1 tsp salt (plus more to taste)
Fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
Juice of ½ lemon (about 2 Tbsp, plus more to taste)

Put all ingredients into the slow cooker. Cook on low 6-8 hours or on high 4-5 hours. Cut or shred the chicken and use in any recipe. Taste and add more salt and/or lemon juice if desired.

Garlic Tahini Sauce

¼ cup water
½ cup tahini
3 tsp minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
¼ tsp ground cumin
Juice of ½ lemon (about 2 tbsp)
Salt and pepper

Stir all ingredients together until smooth. All ingredients are to taste. 

Lemon Dill Yogurt Sauce

½ cup plain Greek yogurt
Juice of 1 lemon
1 ½ tsp dry dill (can use mint if you prefer)
1 tsp minced garlic (about 1 clove)
¼ cup grated cucumber (without juice)
Salt and pepper

Stir all ingredients together until smooth. All ingredients are to taste.

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