April Recipes: Fresh, Flavorful Chicken Shawarma and Delightful Cacio e Pepe

April Recipes: Fresh, Flavorful Chicken Shawarma and Delightful Cacio e Pepe Amy Poore

Now that we’re finally swinging into spring, I thought it might be the perfect time for a couple of light, refreshing recipes everyone can enjoy. This chicken shawarma with cucumber yogurt is mouth wateringly delicious – and it’s got some wonderful spices for extra flavor. And for the pasta fans (really, who isn’t?), this cacio e pepe is simple, but it’s truly delightful. Cacio e pepe means “cheese and pepper” – so if you like both, you’ll love this. 

Have fun in the kitchen this month, and as always, bon appétit! 

Chicken Shawarma with Cucumber Yogurt

  • Shredded lettuce  
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped, divided 
  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into strips 
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided 
  • 1 teaspoon allspice 
  • 2 teaspoons coriander 
  • 4 tablespoon lemon juice, divided 
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk Greek yogurt, divided 
  • 1/2 cup grated yellow onion 
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced, divided 
  • 1 teaspoon cumin 
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper 
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric 
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, finely chopped 
  • 4-6 multi grain flat bread or wraps 
  • Sliced tomato

1 -3 hours before cooking, combine 3/4 cup yogurt, 1/2 cup yellow onion, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 garlic cloves, coriander, cumin, allspice, pepper, 3/4 teaspoon salt and turmeric. Add chicken and stir to coat well. Cover and refrigerate for 1-3 hours.

Arrange racks in oven so you have a middle and upper rack. Preheat to 450 degrees.  

Spray a foil-lined baking sheet with cooking spray and arrange chicken evenly. Discard remaining marinade.

Roast chicken on middle rack for 20 minutes.

While chicken roasts, combine, 1/2 cup yogurt, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 minced garlic clove, cucumber, and 2 tablespoons cilantro.

Move chicken to upper rack and turn oven to broil. Broil and watch closely until chicken has a few brown spots.

Remove chicken from oven.

Spread cucumber yogurt on flat bread, top with chicken, lettuce, tomato, and remaining cilantro. 


Cacio e Pepe (Cheese and Pepper)

  • 3/4 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese (from a block, not shredded in a bag)  
  • 1 stick salted butter 
  • 1 lb. spaghetti noodles, cooked, reserving pasta water 
  • Freshly ground pepper from a grinder preferably (around 2 tablespoons) 


Melt butter in a sturdy pan over medium low heat. Continue cooking, while whisking continually until the foam subsides and it starts to brown. You must watch it carefully, because browning can become burning very quickly. When the butter is a light, rich brown, remove from heat. 

With tongs, remove pasta to a bowl and pour butter on top. Add 4 tablespoons of pasta water and stir to combine. Add in cheese, reserving some to sprinkle on top, and mix until creamy. 

Now stir in pepper. If it is too thick, add more pasta water – one tablespoon at a time.

Serve immediately in bowls, topped with remaining cheese and a grind of pepper.

(Option: Add in cooked, crumbled bacon.)  


Amy Poore is a Tuscaloosa mom, a wife, and a foodie. To see more of Amy's delicious recipes, visit her blog, Poore Amy, at pooreamy.com.  

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Amy Poore

I am a newly married 34 year old southern girl. Pooreamy is a play on my name and really an oxymoron because my life is full, rich and happy. I’m an open book who loves to talk, share and hopefully help others with some of the things (actual items and wisdom) I have discovered and continue to discover over the years. I live in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, which is the home of the University of Alabama (Roll Tide!) and my Alma Mater.

I grew up on a farm in Cullman eating the best fresh country food you have ever tasted! I was an only child and because my mother and grandmother were both excellent cooks I never once worried about why it tasted so good or how to recreate it (I was kind of spoiled like that – never had to help in the kitchen). Now with my love of cooking, looking back I really regret not getting in there and learning a few tricks from my Mammaw. Luckily, I have my mom to pass on recipes and helpful tips but there are several things she never felt the need to learn either. I also believe that my raising had to do with the reason I love food – all kinds of food – as a child I had to have 3 bites of everything on my plate (Brussels sprouts, liver etc.) and I had to adamantly say I didn’t like it on three occasions to not have to ever eat it again. Needless to say, in the end, there were very few things that I didn’t like. Liver was one of them – I still don’t like it.

So……now I LOVE to cook and eat and I also like to share things. Blogging seemed to be a great way to do both. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy doing it. Please feel free to make comments, suggestions and ask questions. I’ll do my best to answer them all. Y’all come back, ya hear!

Website: www.pooreamy.com/

Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.



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