Food Trends of 2023 include the expansion of creativity of the cookie sheet use for one pan family dinners.
Cookie sheets are readily available and make dinners and planning ahead meals a must for the family chef working from home, arranging carpools and looking for new ways to cook proteins, carbohydrates and a rainbow of vegetables together.
What makes the difference in the variety of these one platter wonders is the combination of spices you use.
Meet the spice of life that unites Jews, Muslims and Christians in Israel and around the world-Za’atar.
Dried za’atar has an herby and exotic flavor. It’s a bit nutty and crunchy, thanks to the sesame seeds, as well as savory. It is often baked into flatbread, mixed with olive oil or tahini to make a dip, tossed into salads, rubbed onto meat, or sprinkled over hummus. It’s a great spice mix for vegetarians, vegan and gluten free diets. It can also be called Syrian oregano and is milder than Italian flavors like rosemary.
If you make your own, you need to combine most of these ingredients to your taste; sesame seeds, ground chickpeas, coriander, hyssop, parsley, salt, pepper, dried oregano, thyme, and/or marjoram. Some sweeter versions do add a little sugar.
Today, Zaatar is found in supermarkets everywhere and supposedly everyone has a “secret” recipe for it. Taste several brands because it’s how the manufacturer mixes the spices that makes the difference.
Trader Joe’s lists their ingredients as: toasted sesame seeds, thyme, marjoram, coriander, oregano, chickpea flour, sea salt, sunflower oil, citric acid and lemon oil.
Imagine if we could achieve world peace by our spice of life and live life to the fullest together in harmony like the recipe I am about to share.
Chicken With Za’atar
At first, anyone would think I am making an Italian chicken and artichoke dish. But, by adding Za’atar, it actually elevates the dish to another level.
Another trick to this dish is extra step-sautéed fresh garlic cloves. Garlic cloves well roasted or sautéed are delicious on their own. Their natural sugars come out and taste like candy.
Chicken pieces of choice. I prefer chicken cutlets. If you use pieces with skin, make sure the skin in dry and pieces are evenly cut
Frozen artichoke hearts or pieces. I thaw out and dry.
Cherry or grape tomatoes
Olive or avocado spray
Sliced or chopped fresh onions of choice
Lemons sliced-I have used oranges or Meyer lemons. I suggest any citrus but limes.
Sometimes, I add thawed frozen peas or fresh broccolini
Taste of salt
Taste of garlic powder
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. I use a metal cookie sheet, but disposable sheets work well too. I line mine with parchment paper or silicone sheets for easier cleaning. I also suggest spraying the sheet before adding the food.
Add the chicken first, then add the other ingredients. Make sure it is one layer. Don’t open the oven but check it half way through.
Once it’s cooked, take out and spray oil on top again and let cool.
Keep the middle eastern theme and serve with Israeli couscous and a simple Israeli salad with tahini dressing, pita and a hummus topped with Za’atar.
Simple, delicious, healthy and you don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy.
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