~ Buttery Curried Pita Chips & Curried Chicken Salad ~

IMG_0191I'm an eater of snacks -- a slice or two of cheddar and a few apple slices, a piece or three of deli-meat rolled up with a slather of whole-grain mustard inside, a tablespoon or two of tuna or egg salad dolloped on a couple of buttery crackers.  Just a few examples of the way I like to eat.  Yes, when left to my own devices, I'm happy to skip three squares and snack my way through the day.

Pita bread is always on-hand in my kitchen.  I purchase a package almost every week, because, everything tastes great stuffed inside a pita pocket -- even a judiciously dressed tossed green salad.  Try it.  You'll be surprised -- if you like eating salad with a fork, try it in a pita pocket.  Back to topic.  Occasionally I have a few pocket breads that, while not stale, are past prime.  It only takes a few minutes to turn them into pita chips.  By adding a flavor-appropriate dried herb or spice to the butter and honey mixture, I can customize them to go with whatever I'm serving.

IMG_0179For my sweet-&-savory butter-&-honey curried pita chips:

IMG_01462  6" round pita pockets, white or whole wheat

4  ounces salted butter, at room temperature (1 stick)

2  tablespoons honey

1  teaspoon curry powder

1  teaspoon onion powder

IMG_0156 IMG_0156 IMG_0156~ Step 1.  Using kitchen shears, cut each pita bread around its circumference, to form 2 discs.  You will have 4  total discs.

IMG_0149 IMG_0149~ Step 2.  In a small bowl, use a spoon to thoroughly stir together the softened butter, honey, curry powder and onion powder -- "thoroughly" is a key word here.  The mixture should be uniform in color (no streaks), very soft, and spreadable.

IMG_0163 IMG_0163 IMG_0163 IMG_0163~Step 3.  Using a thin spatula or an ordinary butter knife, spread a thin but even coating of the butter mixture evenly over the "inside" (the rough side that was originally the inside of each pocket bread)) surface of each disc.  Using a chef's knife, cut each pita disc into six wedges.

IMG_0170 IMG_0170 IMG_0170~ Step 4.  Arrange the pita wedges, side-by-side and not overlapping on a 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pan that has been lined with parchment paper.  Bake on center rack of preheated 325° oven for 13-15 minutes, or until brown and bubbly.  Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, about 45-60 minutes.  Pita chips will continue to crisp up as they cool and will become very crunchy.

When it comes to chicken salad, it's all about the chicken.

6a0120a8551282970b01b7c92e1f14970bJulia Child said, "you can always judge the quality of a cook or a restaurant by their roast chicken." I concur. If chicken is dry, I won't touch it.  It's gotta be moist, fork tender, nicely-seasoned, and, for chicken salad, snowy white. Poaching breasts or tenders in a mild court bouillon accomplishes that (and feel free to do it), but, there is nothing tastier than the juicy white meat pulled away from the breast bone of a perfectly-roasted whole chicken:  ~ This Woman's Way to Roast the Perfect Chicken ~.

The following recipe is written to make two servings.

Because I prefer to eat chicken salad after being chilled 2-4 hours or the same day it's prepared, although the next day is ok too, I don't much enjoy it past that point, so I only make as much as I need, which is enough for 2 days.  As written, my recipe makes two very generous servings -- three smaller servings.  Want to make more?  Do the math with the help of this:

1/2 of a whole chicken breast split in half = about 8-9 ounces

8-9 ounces chicken breast = about 2 cups pulled chicken

2  cups pulled chicken breast = about 2 servings

2  servings my curried chicken salad = about 2 3/4-3 cups

2 servings = enough to top 2 dozen curried pita chips

6a0120a8551282970b022ad36f67e4200c-800wi1/2 of a whole roasted chicken breast, pulled into bite-sized pieces, about 2 cups

1/2  cup medium-diced celery

6  tablespoons raisins, golden or dark raisins, your choice

3  tablespoons small-diced roasted & salted cashews

1/2  cup high-quality mayonnaise

2  tablespoons Patak's sweet mango chutney

2  teaspoons Madras curry powder

1/2  teaspoon dehydrated onion flakes

2-4  soft bibb lettuce leaves per salad or sandwich, depending on size of lettuce leaves

IMG_3441 IMG_3441 IMG_3441 IMG_3441 IMG_3441~Step 1.  Place chicken, celery, raisins and cashews in a medium bowl. Set aside.  In a small-capacity food processor fitted with steel blade, place mayonnaise, chutney, curry powder and onion flakes.  With motor running, process until thoroughly combined, 45-60 seconds.  Using a rubber spatula, transfer mayo mixture to chicken mixture and gently fold all the ingredients together.  Cover and place in the refrigerator until well-chilled, 2-4 hours or overnight.

All-white chicken, sweet raisins, salty cashews, crunchy celery + some mango chutney, mayo & a bit of curry heat:

IMG_0183One of many reasons to snack your way through the day:

IMG_0204 2Buttery Curried Pita Chips & Curried Chicken Salad:  Recipe yields 2 3/4-3 cups curried chicken salad/2 dozen pita chips.

Special Equipment List: cutting board; chef's knife; small capacity food processor; rubber spatula; 3-4-cup size food storage container w/tight-fitting lid; kitchen shears; spoon; thin spatula or butter knife; 17 1/2" x 12 1/2 baking pan; parchment paper; wire cooling rack

IMG_3483Cook's Note: It's no secret I'm a movie buff.  I've been watching movies since I was ten-ish. My favorites are based on true-stories, history or books.  My least favorites are star-warrian and science-fictionous, and, I have no interest in fantasy or animation.  I enjoy a good whodunnit crime drama or an occasional action-packed adventure but won't watch horror-infused slashing-for-shock-value movies. Comedies and satires are great, but, romantic, tear-jerking or feel-good chick flicks are better --the ones you can't pay the guy in your life to sit and watch with you (but it would be worth the price of admission just to watch him watch). I love ~ Chick Flicks and Curried Chicken Salad Croissants ~ too.

"We are all in this for world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2020)

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