Favorite Recipe Friday: Oven-Roasted Chicken Shawarma 

This Oven-Roasted Chicken Shawarma from NYTimes Food is amazing.  The reasons are 5 fold:

Fold 1: It’s SOOOOO good.

Fold 2: It’s incredibly easy and quick to prepare.

Fold 3: It requires few ingredients.

Fold 4: It’s great as a weeknight dish but sophisticated enough to serve to dinner guests.

Fold 5: It’s great as leftovers.

I like to serve it with THIS Mediterranean Bean Salad from the Skinnytaste blog and a side of brown rice or naan.  And the white sauce* is a must.

*For white sauce: Combine 1 (7-ounce) container of Greek yogurt, with 1-2 garlic cloves, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, fresh chopped parsley, a pinch of salt and black pepper. Mix to combine and serve alongside chicken.

Nutrition Notes:

  • Trim as much fat off of the thighs as you can. Use a sharp paring knife and get in there.  Trust me, you won’t miss it.
  • I find the 1/2 cup of oil recommended in the recipe is a bit much.  I use olive oil spray for the sheet pan and increase the chicken to 3 pounds for the same amount of marinade (except salt..add 1/2 teaspoon more). This disperses the marinade & increases the serving size (to 8), which cuts down on the fat/oil per serving.

With my modifications, here are the stats, per serving, of 5 ounces of (cooked) chicken:

Calories: 340 Total Fat: 20 g Saturated Fat: 3.5 g Cholesterol: 0 mg  Sodium: 210 mg  Carbohydrate: 4 g Dietary Fiber: <1 g Sugars: 1 g  Protein: 34 g

I’m off to eat my leftovers…

Wild Card Wednesday: True Eats Recommendations!!

Happy Hump Day!!

Lately, I’ve had quite a few people ask me for links to the products and cooking tools I’ve recommended so far SO I dedicate this Wild Card Wednesday post to re-sharing those links, along with the original articles explaining WHY you need these products in your life.

Why am I qualified to make these recommendations?  Check out my About Me page!

(Full disclosure: I am part of the Amazon Associates program so if you purchase anything via my Amazon links, I get a small percentage of the sale. But even if I didn’t, I would still recommend each and every one of the products listed below.)


Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt

Tomato Paste in a tube

Nielsen Massey’s Vanilla Bean Paste

Ghiradelli Unsweetened Cocoa

Kikkoman Whole Wheat Panko Bread Crumbs

Dellalo Whole Wheat Lasagna noodles

Tonnino Tuna Fillets


That’s It bars

Teriyaki Roasted Seaweed

Calbee Harvest Snaps

Made in Nature Dried Fruit

Peeled Snacks Dried Fruit

Tillamook Old Fashioned Vanilla Greek yogurt

  • BUY: Available in most grocery, health food and super stores
  • WHY?

Saffron Road Korean BBQ Crunchy Chickpeas

Field Trip Uncured Turkey Jerky


Organic Brown Rice, Rice Medley and Organic Quinoa (frozen)

Toasted Oatmeal Flakes

Unsulfured, unsweetened dried fruit

Whole Grain Crispbread


Global 7″ Chef’s Knife

Magic Bullet Nutribullet



Epicurean Non-Slip Cutting Board

OXO Good Grips Cutting Board

Stainless Steel Bench Scraper

‘Ove’ Glove

Chef’n FreshForce Citrus Juicer

Progressive Nut Chopper

OXO Stainless Steel Food Scale

Casabella Cherry Pitter

OXO Pineapple Corer

Chef’s Choice Pro Diamond Knife Sharpener

MinoSharp Ceramic Wheel Water Sharpener Plus

Chef’s Choice Trizor XV Edge Sharpener

Charles Viancin Silicon Lids


Make Your Own Dog Treats Kit

Fred & Friends Dinner Winner plate

Fred & Friends Mrs. Food Face plate

Constructive Eating Construction Plate and Utensil Set

R & M Mini Cookie (or fruit and veggie) cutters

Bentgo Kids Bento Lunch Box

Nerdy Nummies Cookbook


Sur la Table Knife Skills class


The (original) Skinnytaste Cookbook

Skinnytaste Fast and Slow

Skinnytaste Meal Planner


Supermarket Saturday: Tonnino Tuna Fillets

If you like tuna, you HAVE to try Tonnino Tuna Fillets.  The beautiful little fillets inside the jar are wild caught, dolphin safe and low in mercury.  Unlike the chunky bits you find in a can of tuna, Tonnino leaves the fillets intact, giving you a thin slice of tuna that rivals that of fresh.  And since it comes in a jar, you don’t get that metallic taste you often get from canned tuna.

You can get it packed in Spring Water but I prefer it in olive oil.  It comes in flavored varieties such as Lemon and Pepper, Garlic, and Jalapeño.  The flavor is so rich and delicious you can eat it straight from the jar, over a bed of greens, or as a cracker topper.  My favorite way to eat it is in THIS crisp bread recipe or in a sandwich with arugula, red onion and tomatoes.  No mayo necessary.

Where to buy: Health food and gourmet grocery stores.  You can check the Tonnino store locator HERE.  You can also buy a pack of 6 jars on Amazon HERE.

Cooking Tool Thursday: Charles Viancin Silicon Lids

I love funky, bright, kitchen accessories.  Add functionality and I’m sold. These silicon lids by Charles Viancin are one of my favorite accessories because they are incredibly useful and artsy fartsy, all while being gentle on the environment.

They come in all different sizes so they’re incredibly versatile.  I use them all the time on the stove when don’t want to search for the proper-fitting lid for a pot or pan. I also use them when I make a salad, sauce, dressing or salsa that I need to cover and set aside for mealtime (or as leftovers).  

What’s great about these beauties is when you put them on your bowls or pans, they create an airtight seal, keeping your food fresh and in place without having to waste saran wrap or foil.  This eliminates the guilt I inevitably feel (about using yet MORE plastic) when I need to cover something for a short time.

And last, but certainly not least, here’s some more important deets. They are:

  • BPA free 
  • Oven safe (up to 428 degrees)
  • Microwave safe
  • Dishwasher safe 
  • Freezer safe 

You can buy them individually but I recommend buying a set of variable sizes.  They really are THAT useful! Get them HERE.

Interested in learning more about Charles Viancin’s products, click HERE


Cooking Tip Tuesday: The best way to clean your blender

I love my blender. But cleaning it can be a pain in the butt! Especially when I’ve made a salsa, pesto or other thick sauce in it. 

Trying to manuever my awkwardly shaped sponge wand under the blades to get them clean can be unsuccessful. And, if I don’t get it totally clean, my next 3 smoothies take on a hint of onion or garlic. 🤢

That is, until I discovered this hack!

Follow these simple steps and your blender will be clean and back to neutral in no time:

  1. Rinse it immediately after using.
  2. Add hot water, and a squirt of dish soap.
  3. Put the lid back on your blender, put your blender on the blender base and give her a whir. 
  4. Remove blender from base, remove the lid, pour out soapy water and rinse well. 

VOILA! A clean blender!

Sundays with Samantha: Calbee Harvest Snaps


If you have children, grandchildren, teach children or have spent any amount of time with a child, you know SNACKS ARE ESSENTIAL.  To a child, an hour without a snack is like days without a meal for a grown human.  And unless you want to have an incredibly whiny, grumpy child, it’s in everyone’s best interest to have snacks on hand.

Yes, it’s a pain and can be costly BUT kids require lots of fuel. They never stop moving and are constantly growing (mentally and physically) so it’s essential they get healthy snacks, most of the time. That way, they get the nutrition they need to grow and thrive.

And it’s far from easy.  Grocery store shelves are overwhelmingly stocked with junk food. I’m constantly on the lookout for decent snacks (beyond fruits and veggies, of course) and Calbee Harvest Snaps fit that bill.

These pea-pod shaped snacks are a long time favorite.  We’ve been a fan since their “Lightly Salted” debut.  We love these snacks because they are crunchy yet airy and light.  They are loaded with flavor yet not spicy or unfamiliar. And we obviously aren’t the only Harvest Snap lovers because recently, the varieties available have exploded.  You can now find them made of black beans and lentils and infused with flavors like Caesar, Onion and Thyme, Habañero, and Wasabi Ranch (plus those shown above).

Yes, they’re delicious.  But nutritionally, these little guys stand out.  No matter the variety, the #1 ingredient is either peas, beans or lentils. Per ounce (22-24 pieces) you get: 120 calories, 6 g (of mostly unsaturated) fat, 2-4 g fiber, 4-5 grams of protein, and 6-9% Daily Value of iron (all of which are naturally occurring).  That’s actually really good for a kids snack.

Lets compare your typical Veggie Straws, for example.  The #1 ingredient is potato starch and potato flour.  For roughly the same amount of calories and fat, you don’t even get a full gram of fiber or protein and only 2% Daily Value of iron. Woh. Woh.

BONUS: Calbee Harvest Snaps are processed in a facility that is free of nuts and gluten and many varieties are dairy free so they are a great choice for kids (or adults) with allergies.

Where to buy: They are often hiding in the produce section of your conventional grocery store or health food store so if you don’t see them, check with your store clerk.  You can also find them at superstores such as Target or Walmart.  And of course, you could order a sampler pack on Amazon HERE.

You can also visit the Calbee Harvest Snaps store locator HERE.