greek chicken and pita

Can I just say I think it’s the best thing ever that I live close enough to my brother that, on a random Monday night before he leaves for a business trip, I can head over to his apartment after work and he can grab some groceries and we can cook together and then eat on his vintage chairs while we watch the latest episode of Friday Night Lights that he saved on his Direct TV for me?

I mean, really, beyond the unusual privilege of being so geographically close to all my family that I can see them—any one of them—any time I want to, how awesome is it that when I text my brother and say, How ’bout I come over tonight?, he responds by saying he’ll buy chicken. That, even more than his ability to laugh at the right part of stories, calm me down in near-death situations like that crazy car accident on the way to Nashville or willingly let me photograph him while he works in the kitchen, shows how well he gets me and, that we’re family.

marinating chickenmarinating chicken

The chicken we made last Monday is nothing fancy. It’s the kind of thing you can assemble while you’re talking and munching on leftovers, marinating the meat for 20 minutes and cooking it on the stove. But it’s also the kind of thing that you could marinate overnight and cook the next day.

chicken in panchicken

Besides whatever container you put the marinade in, you’ll need just one large stove-top pan, in which all the chicken can be heated and cooked, in batches if necessary, until it’s steaming, browned and filling your kitchen with the heady scents of garlic and oregano.

chicken cookingchicken cooking 2

The basic key is waiting: letting the chicken sit in there and cook while you go do something else—make a cup of tea for example—so it can absorb all the liquids.

chicken cookingchicken cooking 4

After the chicken was finished, we used the same pan to saute pita bread right in the pan juices, giving them a great, buttery, garlic flavor.

whole wheat pitas

Oh and on the side, we boiled baby potatoes, laid them on a foil-lined, oiled baking sheet, smashed them with a measuring cup and covered them with salt, pepper and thyme, roasting them at 400 degrees for around 20 minutes or so.

boiling potatoessmashing potatoes


Every bit of this was easy enough that we could simultaneously talk about Nashville and his upcoming business trip and people we know and decisions to make, and even though we ran out of olive oil and eyeballed all the other ingredients, tripling them as we used three chicken breasts instead of one and mixing/tossing as we saw fit beyond that, the results were as good as the on-the-go souvlaki we grabbed in Athens back in college or the chicken gyros we had at that Greek place a few months back.

Below is the original recipe as written, but know this: it’s forgiving and flexible, just like good friends or, you know, the best kind of family members.

Greek Chicken

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 chicken breast, chopped into cubes

Make the marinade: Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, oregano, garlic powder, and pepper in a large resealable bag or a container that you can cover. Add chicken cubes, mix well, and allow to marinate in the refrigerator 3 hours or overnight (or, you know, 20 minutes).

Pour the chicken and marinade into a frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook until the chicken is no longer pink. Serve with whole wheat pitas and tzatziki or whatever you want.

Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 26 Comments

  1. montague

    you’re lucky to be so close to your family. SO SO lucky.

  2. kate

    You know, I make potatoes that same way and I had no sense that it was anything but a quirky idea of mine to combine the delights of both roasted and smashed potatoes in one dish. Have you ever eaten them topped with tapenade? I made smashed potatoes with tapenade last spring and they were simply delightful. Who would have thought those two tastes would marry so well?

    Love the chicken recipe. Souvlaki is a favorite.

  3. Jacqui

    love this post! i get calls from my sister asking what i’m doing, to which i respond “nothing,” which means she’s coming over to do nothing with me. it’s great. and this chicken looks great, too.

  4. Tim

    those smashed poatoes look good

  5. kristen

    That looks pretty tasty.. and I love what you did with the potatoes! I usually just roast mine but I will have to try that smash technique next time.

  6. TJ

    Someday I’ll be that close to my family or at least to see em within a day of wanting to. :)

  7. Kim

    This looks delicious, as always, and I got a little bit choked up reading about your relationship with your brother. It’s all just wonderful.

  8. tiina

    Your recipe is absolutely wonderful, once again! But this time, I wanted to leave you a comment especially for letting you know how much I love your photographs, like in this post, the pics have such a perfect atmosphere of a warm and cozy night. I think you have done a great job taking photographs in something else than natural light, that I find super challenging myself. The photographs are such a pleasant add on to the other content of your blog!

  9. Maria

    This post makes me want to move back to Windsor, back to my family, so badly.

    How lucky you are to just show up in your brother’s kitchen any day of the week.

  10. Amanda

    forgiving and flexible like the best kind of family….

    never thought that would stick out to me so well from a story about Greek chicken pitas. Thank you for sharing, Shanna =) I love the way you did the potatoes.

  11. Jessica

    I’m so jealous you got to watch Friday Night Lights. Seriously, I LOVE that show and can’t wait to watch it this spring.

  12. Shannalee

    montague, I know! I know!

    Kate, Ah, tapenade. I have only had some once, on a rare day that I forgot I hate the texture of olives. I may give it another go sometime, though. It’s been a while.

    Jacqui, Love that! It’s so good to have siblings close by.

    Tim, Thanks!

    Kristen, It’s fun. I really enjoyed the smashing.

    TJ, I hope you will!

    Kim, You’re so sweet. Thanks!

    Tiina, What a kind thing to say! It is definitely challenging without natural light, that is for sure. One nice thing about my brother’s kitchen is he has a lamp (rather than the overhead light) with a white bulb that creates a nicer light color, I think. Thanks for your encouragement!

    Maria, Reading your comment makes me so much more thankful. I know there are so many people (most people maybe?) who wish to be closer to their families. I am blessed, you’re right!

    Amanda, Aw, thanks so much for that comment!

  13. Shannalee

    And Jessica (we were commenting at the same time!) – you’re an FNL fan!? LOVE it so much. I hear it will be on normal TV soon though!

  14. Tim

    I know how to spell… poatoes.

  15. Shannalee

    gosh, would you believe I didn’t even notice the typo this time either? I can look at it twenty times and still see potatoes.

  16. Tim

    Ha, just seeing if you were on your toes… or sliding… on ice : )

  17. Niki

    You know it’s funny, i’ve never seen anyone par boil potatoes then smash them on a baking sheet and roast them like this before yesterday when I saw Pioneer Woman had a post about it a while back and now this. Us crazy Greeks like to wait for hours for our potatoes to cook in a casserole dish w/ chicken stock and olive oil… such a waste. We were going to have Greek roasted potatoes and carrots for my sister’s bday tomorrow night, I think I’ll make them this way instead.

    And Greek chicken on a pita is the best. best best best. And leftover Greek chicken made into a Greek chicken salad on a pita, omg, HEAVEN. It’s the meal we have going for days (Partially b/c we cook for about 15 people where there are only 3 of us…)

  18. jessiev

    YUM. first, i want to make this for dinner. 2nd, i wish i was at your house last night. 3rd, the benefits of close family are awesome. lucky you!!

  19. Shannalee

    Niki, Oh my gosh. Greek roasted potatoes are soooo good though. (well, you know!) happy birthday to your sister, and hope the smashed potatoes are a hit! :)

    Jessie, Ha! Make these! And family is good, yes.

  20. Ali

    i made this tonight and it was super awesome! thanks

  21. Shannalee

    Ali, I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  22. Hannah

    I really want this for dinner. Yum!

  23. Misty

    What a beautiful little post, really. You are indeed very lucky.

  24. Shannalee

    Hannah, Try it!

    Misty, Thank you and I agree!

  25. jessiev

    made this for dinner tonight – DELISH!! thanks much!!

  26. Shannalee

    Yay! So glad you liked it!

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