Sunday, April 17, 2011

Let's talk Pita Chips!!!

I love hummus.  I mean really, who doesn't...?  But when eating healthy we are told to dip veggies in the hummus for a nice healthy snack.  Ummmm.  Yeah.

Here is my problem.  Even though they meet the criteria;  They are crunchy...yep, Check. They are healthy...yep...Check....and they can be used to scoop up hummus...yep...Check. 


Now I have tried to close my eyes while eating carrots, celery and bell pepper and NOPE....still cant get over it.  Yeah, it's OK ....and trust me. In a pinch, I would eat it...sometimes it's refreshing.
What I really want is a light, crispy, gorgeous little pita chip.  Now having said that, let's talk about the fact that store bought pita's are number one EXPENSIVE, number two SUPER HIGH IN CALORIES (they are dunked in oil) and finally number Three...THE DON'T FIT THE CATEGORY of light, crispy and gorgeous.  (yes, i think food is gorgeous, beautiful, happy, and a number of other adjectives....get over it)  Now when I wasn't counting calories, I didn't care.  But now that I am, and my palette is improving, I realize there has got to be a better way!!  Have you ever had those hard oil ladened ones from Whole Foods Market?   They are 6.99 for a container and they SUCK.  You could literally break your teeth on those and the calorie content is through the roof....umm not light and crispy.


I know what you are thinking - Are you kidding?  Make your own...who the hell has time for that???  ( I can see you guys laughing yourselves silly)  BUT, you do have time for this. It's a total of 10 minutes of your life....way less time than it takes to run to the grocery to buy the little buggers, it's fun and it's much healthier..and I swear, you will not have to close your eyes and wish that it was a Pita chip, or that it tasted better, or that you are subjected to carrot sticks for the rest of your life!     I PROMISE - you can make, light, crispy and yes, gorgeous little Pita Chips in 10 minutes.

Here all you will need:

1 package of Pita Pockets
cooking spray
Spices and/or sesame seeds of your choice

Lets talk abut pita pockets....if you are buying them at the grocery store, be prepared to spend 2.79 to 3.99 for  package of six.  That's a rip off if you ask me...but it depends where you live if you have options.  Here in Santa Clarita, we have a store called Valley Produce Market (one of my absolute FAVORITE stores) .  It's a dumb name for the store, because it's not just about produce.  In fact it is THE place for Indian, Middle Eastern, African, Jewish, and Asian Ingredients and you can find normal everyday items there as well.  Not only is it GREAT, but it's very inexpensive.  I buy pita's there for .79 per package!!  The pita's there are so chewy and delicious because they are really authentic.....complete with Arabic writing on the package!  Also, they have TONS of spices (all kinds of stuff you likely have never heard of) and it's inexpensive 1.69 to 3.00 for a large package of whatever you want.  But, if the regular grocery store is all you have, then so be it.

Now to have white or wheat...this is a preference.  I know, we are supposed to eat more whole grains....wheat must be the way to go. But for me? I prefer white - they just bake up crisper and taste authentic, ya know?   Also, the calories or WW points are the same, about 4 PP for 16 large chips...way more if you cut them smaller and you may wish to do so.

Now here is the key.  WATCH YOUR TIMING AND DON'T GET DISTRACTED.  I got distracted my first time making them (you know who you are! LOL) and I burned the little guys.  Now I say this because it's SO fast that one second you have great chips and the next you have burned little messes.  Say it with me....SET A TIMER!

Getting Started:

Preheat your oven to 375 Degrees.  Separate your racks evenly in your oven.

Remove all pita's from the package in a stack and with a sharp knife cut down the center.  Turn them around and cut down the other center.  Then cut each quarter in half.  You should have 8 stacks of sliced pitas:

Then you are going to take a triangle, open the pita and tear it at the folded edge to make two pieces:

Continue separating the triangles until  done.  Now line a couple of large cookie sheets with foil. 
Lay out the triangles on the lined cookie sheets, smooth side down ( you might need to do this in a few batches depending on the size of your cookie sheets)

Now SPRAY the little guys with an oil spray (Pam, Crisco, or use a oil sprayer you have) - I like the new Crisco spray, as you can see below.

Now for the best part....the FLAVOR of the chip.  I you like them plain, then you are done.  But, I like to add seasoning.  They are really good with flake salt, freshly ground pepper and some sesame seeds.  I have made them with Lemon Pepper seasoning (no other spices required) and also with Zaatar seasoning and sumac (very middle Eastern - super good)  You can do any combination of spices...I am going to try lime zest and chili powder next... So decide what you want or have on hand and season them.  The amount of seasoning is up to you...go for it.  Season your chips.

Then spray with a little oil spray ( to stick the seasoning better) - now if you want (I don't) you can probably press the seasonings into the chip...but it's too much trouble for me....

They are ready to go into the oven....Slide them into the oven, close the door and SET YOUR TIMER FOR 4 minutes at 375 degrees.

Now here is the trick I have learned.  After 4 the oven, grab a chip and TASTE it.  i should be slightly crunchy or crunchy and not very brown.  If that is not the case, bake them for 30 second increments till you reach that stage.  If they are,  then TURN YOUR OVEN OFF and LEAVE THEM IN THE OVEN for another couple minutes. (yesterday I left mine in another 5  minutes)  TASTE!  If they are perfectly crispy - remove them to cool.  If not, then keep them in for a bit longer.

Once cool, put into plastic bags for storage or serve them immediately with your favorite hummus.  Now I know what you are thinking?  How can I only eat 16?  These are large chips.  16 seems like 32.  Yesterday I had 8 and was completely satisfied.  If you know me?  That is saying something!!!

The result?  Light and super crispy chips that are super satisfying.  These will  delight even the toughest chip connoisseur!

From my home to yours, ENJOY!

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