Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Two Dinners with Pita

Digging through my mother's freezer the other day, I rediscovered an old love -- pita! Though these pitas are a little past their prime and could be much fresher, I've still been enjoying them a bunch. The key to freshening them up is a quick trip through the microwave, preferably with some delicious, moist food inside. Enter leftovers and salsa. 

If I had to choose a condiment to reign supreme over all others, if I were stranded on a desert island and had to choose what would inhabit my (highly illogically placed) refrigerator, if .. well, i
 guess you get the gist. I freakin' love salsa! So much so that I bought special, hand-crafted salsa from Penn State's ArtsFest
 ... above all the beautiful art and YARN, I chose salsa. Clearly, you see my persuasion. 

So, anyway, I've been trying to creatively use the enormous leftovers this house uses and, with a little cheese and salsa, I've had great luck, especially with the pitas. Take, for instance, the leftover baked chicken breast. Diced and combined with salsa, cheese, corn, and hot sauce, I turned a dish destined for the dogs into a tasty bento treat to enjoy at my new work (tutoring at the local community college). 
As with any bento option, my co-workers are extremely jealous. *grin*

Combine the chicken mixture, half a pocketed-pita and microwave to result in a fabulous, Mexican-inspired healthy and yummy treat. Add in some goldfish crackers, kumquats, green grapes, and a cookie (the rocky road cookies that have kept marvelously fresh in their airtight baggy)... and there's your meal! 

The next tasty pita dish came just today when I used some leftover London Broil (though some chickpeas really would have hit the spot better) and added in some cheese and.. that's right.. more salsa! I didn't have any lettuce or cucumber sliced as I was rushing to prepare this dish, so I kept it simple with the three ingredients. A quick nuke and some already-sliced celery and fruit later, and I had a super-tasty and healthy dinner for work. YUM!

This meal isn't packaged particularly efficiently. The thick pita doesn't fit very well into my shallow bento box, so I substituted
 a glad-ware box from mom's cupboard. The deep design really helped me make the 
most of my celery, a pretty bulky vegetable, as well as the pita's shape. Also, it made for a fun layered effect. I even had so much food that I had to finish the celery as a snack on the way home from class (class immediately following work) and I was able to spread some kumquat love with my tutee. 

If you haven't tried kumquats, now is a great time to try them (no time like the present?). They're small.. only the size of a grape, but pack a really mighty flavor. You eat them whole, skin and all, which is extra great because the flesh is really really sour, but the skin is tender-sweet and perfectly balances the inside's flavor. They make excellent bento food because they're small and self-contained... great for filling in gaps. Because they have such a strong flavor, a few can quickly satisfy my desire for tasty citrus. 

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