Indian Butter Chicken

This is a variation of an Indian dish.  My recipe is adapted from The Modern Proper.

Materials

  • A large skillet with a lid

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • Small yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 6 oz (one can) tomato paste
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1.5 pounds chicken, diced into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped into bite-sized chunks
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Steps

  1. Heat some olive oil in the skillet, then add the onions, garlic, and ginger.  Sauté for a couple of minutes, until the onions begin to soften.  Your significant other may saunter through the kitchen at this point and compliment the fragrance; children might run away.
  2. Stir in, and bring to a simmer:
    • butter
    • chicken stock
    • tomato paste
    • cinnamon
    • cumin
    • garam masala
    • tumeric
    • salt
  3. Add chicken and cauliflower, and stir until coated.
    • Don’t be alarmed, the previous steps leave you with a paste, not a sauce, and the chicken and cauliflower might seem a little dry.
  4. Cover and simmer on low for about 15 minutes to cook the chicken through.
  5. Remove the cover and stir in lemon juice and heavy cream.  Bring back to a simmer, and cook for a couple of minutes to finish.

Serve over rice and/or naan bread.

Korean Beef Rice Bowls

This recipe was an instant hit.  I have to make a double batch if I want leftovers for the next day.

It pairs well with steamed veggies like broccoli or edamame.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch of scallions, sliced as a garnish
  • Rice (white or brown, your choice)

Sauce

  • 1/4 up packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce, reduced sodium is preferred
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Steps

  1. Start some rice while you prepare the rest
  2. Brown the hamburger and garlic in a pan.  Break it up into crumbles as it browns.
  3. While the hamburger is cooking, whisk the sauce ingredients (brown sugar, soy sauce, red pepper, black pepper)
  4. When the hamburger is browned, drain off the fat and pour in the sauce.  Simmer for a minute or two.  Mix in the scallions.
  5. Serve over rice

Adapted from therecipecritic.com

Lentil Soup

When I was a kid I disliked soups and stews, and hated even the idea of lentil soup.  Fortunately I became more open-minded as an adult, and found that I absolutely love lentil soup.  It’s very healthy for you, to boot.

The red lentils in this recipe break down and make a very creamy soup.  Green and brown lentils may be substituted, but black lentils don’t work out well.

Equipment

  • Dutch oven, or a large pot

Ingredients

  • 2 medium carrots, diced or sliced
  • 1  medium yellow onion, diced
  • olive oil (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth, about 1 ½ boxes of store-bought
    • Substitute with vegetable broth for a vegan soup
  • 2 cups dried red lentils (about 1 pound)
    • Rinse under cold water until the water runs clear, roughly a minute

Alternatives

You can try other vegetables as substitutes or additions, including sweet potatoes, butternut squash, mushrooms, celery, or whatever you have on hand.

Steps

  1. Heat dutch oven over medium heat with olive oil, until it shimmers
  2. Sauté carrots and onion until softened (maybe 5 minutes)
  3. Add garlic, curry powder, cumin, thyme, and salt.  Cook until fragrant (about a minute)
  4. Stir in lentils, tomato sauce, and broth
  5. Bring to a simmer and cover
  6. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally

Optionally, stir in (up to) 5 cups of spinach before serving.

Adapted from The Absolute Best Lentil Soup.

Beef Kebabs

I am shocked, shocked I tell you! that my children actually enjoyed this recipe.  I’m not sure why, perhaps they have given up all hope of enjoying a decent meal from my kitchen and now sullenly submit to my demands that they eat the goddamn food that I paid for and worked hard to put in front of them and it’s not like you do any chores around…  Ahem.  I got a little off track here.

Whatever the reason, they ate this one on my first attempt.

These are basically middle-eastern meatballs.  You can cut in other things with the meat, serve them in a variety of ways, whatever floats your boat.  (I rather enjoyed wrapping them in some naan with rice.)  It’s a meatball.  It’s the spices that make it.

The oven instructions are below.  We haven’t grilled them yet, but they should do great, just use a little grill-sense.  It’s a reasonably easy and fast recipe, ~20 minutes to prep and ~20 minutes to cook.

The recipe plus rice and other sides makes enough for 6-8 people.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of ground beef – don’t get a lean mix!  80-85% seems good
    • mix in other ground meats as your fancy takes you, but you need some fats – don’t go too lean
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, or 1/4 cup dried
  • 1/2 small onion, diced fine
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced fine
  • Garlic, 3-4 minced cloves
  • Paprika, 1 tsp
  • Salt, 1 tsp
  • Cumin, 1/2 tsp
  • Pepper, 1/2 tsp

Directions

If you plan on skewering the meat, and you’re using bamboo or wood skewers, soak them in water for ~30 mins.

  1. Preheat oven too 350°
  2. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl (don’t overmix)
  3. Form the mix into oblong patties, about kielbasa-thick
    • If you’re skewering, shove in the skewers now or form the patties around the skewers
  4. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or grill for ~20 minutes, flipping at least once
  5. For the last couple of minutes turn on the broiler to brown the meat

Usual disclaimer with ground meat dishes: make sure the internal temp is at least 160° before serving.

Serve with some traditional middle-eastern sides, like:

  • Naan bread
  • Tabbouleh
  • Cucumbers and cherry tomatoes
  • Rice

kebab with rice and naan

Classic Marinara Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 28-ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes, certified D.O.P. if possible
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 7 garlic cloves, peeled and slivered
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large fresh basil sprig, or 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, more to taste

Steps

  1. Pour the tomatoes into a bowl and crush them with your hands
    1. Afterwards, fill the can about 1/4 to 3/4 way with water; slosh around to capture the tomato juices and bits, and set aside for a moment.
    2. Use more water if you want a lot of sauce, or are finishing meatballs, or want it to simmer for a long time.  Use less water if you don’t have much time
  2. Slice the garlic cloves as fine as you can
  3. Put the pan on medium heat and add the olive oil
  4. When the olive oil starts to shimmer, toss in the garlic and let it sizzle
  5. BEFORE the garlic starts to brown, pour in the tomatoes, followed by the water from the can, and sprinkle on the oregano and pepper flakes.  If you’re using fresh basil, lay it on top.
  6. Turn down the heat and let the sauce simmer for 30 minutes to an hour.  It will get a nice orange-y color to the top.  You can reduce it until there’s no visible water, but no more than that – remove it from the heat if you reach that point!

Notes

  • This recipe is great because it’s tasty and doesn’t take a lot of extra work, but it does take time.  Expect prep plus cooking to be an hour.
  • You really want to use a heavy stainless pan, 12″ or larger.
  • Our local grocery store carries canned whole San Marzano tomatoes, and they are certified D.O.P., but they already have basil added (so we don’t actually put additional basil in).
  • I’ve tried using canned crushed tomatoes but it messes with the texture and flavor.  Crushing them yourself is easy yet so satisfying.
  • Our best experience was making meatballs at the same time, and finishing them off in the sauce.  The sauce picked up some extra flavors that made it sublime.

Source: https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1015987-classic-marinara-sauce

Sausage and Vegetable Roast

This is a kind of suggestion-type recipe, throw in your favorite vegetables and ignore the ones you don’t like (or don’t want to do today).

Ingredients

  • Two medium-sized red potatoes
  • 1 head of broccoli (or cauliflower)
  • 2 bell peppers (use two different colors, for the look)
  • 1/2 pound green beans (a couple of handfuls)
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 3/4 pound of sausage
  • Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Steps

  1. Heat up an oven to 400° F
  2. Cut up the potatoes into small (less than 1 inch) pieces. If they’re too big they won’t cook fast enough
  3. Cut up the broccoli, peppers, and asparagus into comfortably-bite-size pieces, and snap the stems off the beans
  4. Slice the sausage into “coins”
  5. Toss veggies, sausage, cheese, and spices into a large bowl with enough olive oil to lightly coat everything (a few tablespoons)
  6. Spread out onto a couple of pans
    1. Everything should be a single layer; doubling up will lead to a mix of burnt and raw bits
  7. Bake for 15 minutes
  8. Flip the veggies and reverse the pans top to bottom
  9. Bake for another 10-15 minutes

Serve with brown rice!

Variations

Swap in a cup of any of the following:

  • butternut squash
  • zucchini
  • sliced carrots
  • a sweet potato
  • turnip
  • radishes
  • sliced jalapeños
  • cherry tomatoes (cut in half)
  • red onions
  • mushrooms

Last-Minute Chicken

This recipe is shamelessly copied from https://iwashyoudry.com/last-minute-chicken-recipe, which itself copied the recipe from “The Weekday Lunches & Breakfasts Cookbook.”

Ingredients

 

  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika OR smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • Enough olive oil to coat chicken
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)

Directions

  1. Combine the garlic, onion, paprika, oregano, pepper, salt, and olive oil into a freezer bag
  2. Toss in the chicken
    • Most pre-packaged chicken thighs get folded into themselves, so be sure to spread them out as you put them into the bag so they get evenly coated
  3. Seal up the bag and mix everything thoroughly
  4. Heat up a grill pan over medium-high heat, or a grill, while the chicken steeps in it’s spices
    • If using a grill pan, add some olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan – but be sure to use a splatter guard
  5. Cook the chicken until not pink throughout, about 5 minutes on the first side and three or four minutes on the other side

Garlic Roasted Potatoes

This is a great side for pretty much any meat dish, especially on a cool fall day.  The smaller, skin-on potatoes are tasty and not nearly as bad for you as a full-size, peeled and boiled starch-bomb white potato.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds of small red, white, and/or purple potatoes
    • Lots of supermarkets carry 2- and 3-pound bags of mixed, pre-washed small potatoes, which is really handy if you want more colors
  • Olive oil
  • 6 cloves of fresh garlic, crushed
  • A couple of shakes of black pepper
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of minced fresh parsley (optional)

Steps

  1. Preheat your oven to 400° F
  2. Halve and/or quarter your potatoes; chunks should be roughly between 1 and 3 cubic inches
  3. Toss the chunks into a freezer bag with the remaining ingredients, adding enough olive oil to coat the potatoes, then mix in the bag
  4. Spread the potatoes into a single layer on a pan or baking stone
  5. Bake for an hour, flipping everything over at least once to keep things from scorching

Tuscan Chicken

I took a risk and made this for the first time to serve to my mother-in-law. (hi Joan!)  It came out awesome with a half-hour’s worth of work, including prep.

tuscan chicken as served
I messed up and failed to notice that the peacock design was upside-down. Otherwise, this is one of the best presentations I’ve made for a completed recipe.

By itself it’s very keto-friendly, but it screams to be served with a pasta side.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

We made this in a 14″ cast-iron skillet, which was the perfect size.

Steps

  1. In a large skillet add olive oil and cook the chicken on medium high heat until no longer pink, maybe 3-5 minutes per side.
  2. Set the chicken aside on a plate, wipe down excess oil from the skillet.
  3. Add the heavy cream, chicken broth, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and Parmesan cheese.
  4. Whisk or stir over medium high heat until it starts to thicken.  Keep the sauce in motion so it doesn’t caramelize and burn into the pan.
  5. Add the spinach and sun-dried tomatoes; let it simmer until the spinach starts to wilt.
  6. Add the chicken back to the pan and simmer for a couple of minutes.

Pairs very well with rotini or egg noodles.

Source: https://therecipecritic.com/creamy-tuscan-garlic-chicken/

Super-Quick Teriyaki Chicken

Ingredients

Sauce

  • 1/3 c. soy sauce
  • 1/4 c. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. finely minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch

Everything Else

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sliced green onions, for garnish

Steps

  1. Mix the sauce
    1. In a medium bowl, combine:
      • soy sauce
      • vinegar
      • sesame oil
      • honey
      • garlic
      • ginger
      • cornstarch
    2. Whisk until smooth.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat
  3. Add chicken to skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook until golden and almost cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  4. Pour sauce over chicken and simmer until sauce has thickened slightly and chicken is cooked through.

Goes really well with rice and a veggie.

Originally from https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a54003/easy-teriyaki-chicken-recipe/