Barbecue Chicken Pita Pockets

This recipe is brought to you in partnership with Sweet Baby Ray’s but all opinions expressed are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support The Daley Plate!

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Sometimes the best kind of food isn’t complicated, doesn’t require too much time in the kitchen, and makes use of items we probably all have in our pantry and crisper drawer. I like to say on Instagram, that sometimes you just need a good sandwich, and it’s true. These barbecue chicken pita pockets are so filled with a delicious mix of crunchy vegetables, creamy feta cheese and succulent grilled chicken basted with Sweet Baby Ray’s Original barbecue sauce…How can you go wrong?

When I moved here eight years ago my husbands family welcomed me with a traditional Southern feast of barbecue ribs, collards, potato salad and grilled chicken - I learned then that Sweet Baby Ray’s is a crucial element in many of the foods prepared by his family, and many other families that I’ve come to know since then. Visit the Sweet Baby Ray’s website to check out Sweet Baby Ray’s sauces and discover more delicious ways to use them. I hope that you enjoy this easy recipe that’s so perfect for a satisfying weeknight meal, Summer cookout or quick lunch. The great thing about it is that you can use what you have available and it’s also delicious when substituting lettuce for spinach or cheddar cheese for feta. If I’m entertaining, I love to place individual elements on a large platter for people to make their own pita pockets and kids absolutely love that part! A little bowl of Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce on the side for to serve is always special, who doesn’t love a little extra?

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Barbecue Chicken Pita Pockets

Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes Serves: 4 

Ingredients:

4 boneless skinless chicken thighs (1lb)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Sweet Baby Ray’s Original Barbecue Sauce, plus more for serving
2-4 cups fresh baby spinach
2 cups sliced salad cucumber
1 1/2 cups sliced cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup cubed feta cheese 
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 whole wheat pita breads, cut in half

Guidelines:

Season chicken thighs evenly with salt, black pepper and paprika then drizzle with olive oil. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Heat a griddle pan or grill to medium-high and sear chicken for 4-6 minutes per side. Use a basting brush to coat chicken with Sweet Baby Ray’s Original Barbecue Sauce and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes or until chicken registers 165F internal temperature. Remove from griddle pan and slice or chop into cubes. 

Carefully open each pita half and place equal amounts of vegetables and grilled barbecue chicken in each. Serve immediately with extra Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce for dipping.

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Kimchi Fried Rice with Shiitake Mushrooms

When I think of my time in South Korea, the aroma of kimchi, perilla, sesame oil and steamed rice come to mind. I taught cooking to elementary level students there for six years, which brought so much joy and so much growth on a personal level. This recipe wouldn’t normally be called kimchi fried rice or “kimchi bokkeum bap”, instead the kids would playfully call it something like it “sseulegi bap” - Roughly translated to “mixed rice” or more bluntly, “trash rice.” Basically, rice fried with whatever you have on hand. It’s great because you cook everything in one pan and if you have leftover rice which is essential, it’s a breeze to throw together. I often serve it to friends and family who have never tried Korean flavors but are curious about it. They are more accepting of a dish like this as opposed to hitting them with heavily fermented dishes off the bat.

Top it with an egg to make it extra special.

Top it with an egg to make it extra special.

Ingredients:
Serves 2

1 shallot, finely minced
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon ginger paste
4 rashers uncured bacon, chopped (Use turkey bacon or omit completely if you prefer)
1 cup kimchi
1/2 cup kimchi juice (from the jar)
2 cups sliced golden oak shiitake mushrooms
4 cups day-old rice
1 cup lacinato kale or spinach, chopped
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Optional to serve: Dried and salted laver & olive oil fried eggs.

Guidelines:

Bring a large wok or skillet to medium heat. Add shallot, garlic, ginger, bacon and kimchi all at once and sauté for 5 minutes until bacon fat has rendered and shallots are translucent. The kimchi would’ve crisped up a little around the edges because of the bacon fat - Wait until this stage for maximum flavor.

Deglaze the pan with kimchi juice, scraping off any crispy bits stuck at the bottom of of pan. Adjust heat to medium-high then add rice and mushrooms. Cook for 5-8 minutes until rice takes on some color and dries up a little. Then add kale or spinach (any greens will do), sesame seeds and finish with sesame oil. Season to taste and serve.