Monday, September 28, 2009

Indian Chicken in Light Sauce

Although I had posted this Indian chicken recipe on my menu plan a few times before, I never actually got around to making it as it turned out to be something more time-consuming than I had anticipated. I finally had a quiet, rainy afternoon this week which afforded me ample time to whip up this Chicken in Light Sauce dish from none other than the best Indian food cookbook out there. We are definitely a family who likes spicy food, but I took it easy on the spice this time and didn't add the optional hot red peppers. It was absolutely delicious, although I was urged by my husband to add a little extra *heat* next time I make it. I have to say, it really tasted like authentic Indian food.

Chicken in Light Sauce
- from An Invitation to Indian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey

3 T tomato sauce
3 T plain yogurt
4 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
A piece of fresh ginger, 1-inch cube, peeled and coarsely chopped
4 chicken legs
1 whole chicken breast
6 T vegetable oil
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
5 whole cardamom pods
5 whole cloves
2 hot dried red peppers (optional)
1 t ground turmeric
1 t salt
1/8 t freshly ground pepper
1 T lemon juice

In a small bowl, combine tomato sauce, yogurt, and 1 cup of water. Mix well and set aside.

Put chopped garlic and ginger into the container of an electric blender, along with 2 T of water. Blend until you have a smooth paste. Cut chicken into serving portions: divide legs into drumstick and thigh, and quarter the breast. Remove skin from pieces of chicken and pat dry.

Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed 10-12 inch casserole-type pot over medium-high heat. Put in chicken pieces, a few at a time, and brown on all sides. When each batch turns a golden brown, remove with slotted spoon and do the next batch. When all chicken pieces have been done, put the cinnamon, bay leaves, cardamom, cloves and red pepper into the same oil. Stir once. The spices will darken immediately. Now pour in the paste from the blender and add the turmeric. Stir and fry about one minute.

Next, put in the browned chicken pieces, the mixture of tomato sauce, yogurt and water, salt and pepper, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat, and simmer gently for 20-25 minutes, turning chicken pieces a few at a time.

Uncover pot, raise flame to medium, and cook 5-7 minutes or until sauce is reduced to half, turning chicken pieces over gently.

Serve with rice.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Week of September 27, 2009

Ready to check out this week's Harvest Box from Life Organic?

Sunday: Crockpot Taco Soup
Monday: Quesadillas with chicken and peppers, salad with baby asian mix
Tuesday: Potato Leek Soup
Wednesday: Spaghetti and Meatballs
Thursday: Roasted Apple and Acorn Squash Soup
Friday: Slow Cooker South-Western Pulled Beef, sugar snap peas
Saturday: O'Brien Sausage Skillet (something new I came across that looked interesting)

With this week's broccoli I am planning to make some Cream of Broccoli Soup to put in the freezer. It is great for lunches and I really like being able to pull something out of the freezer and quickly be able to reheat it. Not to mention it's completely delicious!

Last week's Crock-Pot Applesauce was a huge hit - it was so completely delicious that we ate it in two days. It is absolutely the best straight from the crock-pot when it's steamy and hot. It literally tastes like liquid apple pie melting in your mouth. I plan to make another big batch in the crock-pot tomorrow, at which point I will also make some Apple Flax Muffins.

I have some over-ripe bananas on my counter, so I think I'll give this Chocolate Chip Banana Bread a try. As I've said before, the Things will eat *anything* with chocolate chips in it.

And last, but not least, my friend Konnie sent me this recipe this week and I decided I'd give it a try. She said her family all loved it and they served it one night with rice, one night with potatoes, and a third time on a bun. It looks tasty and easy!

Slow-Cooker South-Western Pulled Beef

2 tbsp vegetable oil

4 lb(2Kg) Beef Cross Rib or Boneless Blade Pot Roast

1 pkg (250ml) Knorr beef broth

1 can (28oz) EACH crushed tomatoes and whole tomatoes

1 pouch Lipton Recipe Onion or Onion Roasted Garlic Soup Mix

2 tbsp EACH tomato paste, chili powder and ground cumin

¼ tsp(1ml) EACH black and cayenne pepper

2 tbsp all purpose flour

  1. Heat oil in deep skillet over med-high heat; brown beef all over, turning with tongs, transfer to slow-cooker, drain fat.
  2. Reduce heat to medium, add broth, tomatoes, lipton soup mix, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, black and cayenne pepper to skillet. Bring to boil over med-high heat, stirring up any brown bits. Pour over beef. Cover and cook on low setting for 8 to 10 hours until beef is fork tender.
  3. Skim fat from liquid ( I didn’t have hardly any). Leave meat in sauce, remove twine. Whisk flour into ¼ cup cold water; whisk into sauce in slow cooker. Cover and cook on high, stirring once, until thickened, about 15 minutes. Use two forks to pull the beef into shreds.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Week of September 21, 2009

Here is a peek inside our Life Organic bucket for this week:

Fresh local corn, cantaloupe, blueberries, black seedless grapes, broccoli, baby asian mix, arugula, coloured chards, cherry and yellow pear tomatoes, mini orange peppers and a nice head of garlic! Looks delicious, doesn't it?

On top of all this, we have dozens of apples after having spent our Sunday picking apples at nearby Mountain Orchards. So I plan on spending some time this week searching for new and exciting (and tasty) apple recipes.

Some of my apple plans include:

Crock-Pot Applesauce
Apple and Butternut Squash Soup
Fresh Meusli with Apples and Almonds
Curried Apples and Chicken
Cinnamon Apple Pork Medallions
Apple Cinnamon Cake
Classic Apple Pie
Apple Crisp

Sunday: roast chicken, potatoes, corn, sauteed swiss chard*
Monday: Salmon with Lemon and Cucumber
Tuesday: Arugula Salad with Grilled Chicken, Corn, Tomatoes and Blue Cheese
Wednesday: Pasta with Shrimp and Broccoli
Thursday: Leftovers or Sandwiches
Friday: Hurried Goulash with Egg Noodles
Saturday: At a friend's for a birthday party

* I have found the best way to eat swiss chard is to saute sliced chard (leaves and stems) with a little olive oil and minced garlic, then season with salt and pepper. It's incredibly good for you and is packed with nutrients!

I'm planning on using our blueberries in a new blueberry muffin recipe I just found . . . it's a little healthier than my other recipe as it contains more whole wheat flour. (You have to scroll down a bit to get to the blueberry muffin recipe.)

Enjoy your week!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Week of September 13, 2009

I know I have mentioned several times on this blog that we are part of a food delivery service with Life Organic in Ottawa. Every Friday they deliver fresh, organic produce to our doorstep and I then plan my week's menu accordingly, based on what items we received that particular weekend.

Here is a look at our bucket for this week.

We received one of the season's first acorn squash - a sure sign fall is on its way! Before we had children, I was never a big squash eater. However, I have slowly grown to really enjoy it's flavour and versatility. All 3 Things ate pureed squash when they were babies and loved it. Here are a couple basic ways to use an acorn squash :

Basic Acorn Squash
Roasted Apple and Acorn Squash Soup (also a good way to use some of our fresh local apples)

We also received a cauliflower this week, and while the 3 Things love their broccoli, they are not fans of cauliflower. I'm hoping the cheesy baked cauliflower recipe below will change their minds! I'm looking forward to our warm spinach salad to use this week's spinach - it's definitely a huge favourite of ours.

I was happy to see we are still receiving local blueberries this season. I'll be sure to use those in yet one more batch of the Lemon Blueberry muffins and we will continue to sprinkle them over our cereal at breakfast each morning.

Sunday: Leftover Tacos
Monday: Warm Spinach Salad with Bacon, Tomato and Pecans
Tuesday: Cheesy Baked Cauliflower
Wednesday: Slow Cooker Tex-Mex Chicken and Beans
Thursday: Macaroni and Cheese
Friday: Thai Beef with Chiles and Basil over Coconut Rice
Saturday: : Chicken in Light Sauce

I tried this recipe a few weeks ago and we all loved it - all three kids and the husband ate it. That's a huge feat in our home!

Thai Beef with Chiles and Basil over Coconut Rice

1 1/4 cups jasmine rice
1 can coconut milk
coarse salt
2 T plus 1 t fish sauce
2 T plus 1 t soy sauce
1 t sugar
1 T vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3 long hot peppers, seeded and sliced into 2 inch matchsticks
1 1/4 pounds ground beef
1 cup loosely packed torn fresh basil leaves
lime wedges, for serving

1. In a medium saucepan, combine, rice coconut milk, 3/4 cup water, and 1/2 t salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed, about 25 minutes.

2. When rice is almost done, combine fish sauce, soy sauce, and sugar in a small bowl. Heat a cast iron skillet or wok over high. Add oil and heat, add garlic and half the chiles. Cook, stirring constantly, 15 seconds. Add beef and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until completely browned, about 4 minutes. Add soy mixture and cook 30 seconds. Add basil and remaining chiles and stir to combine. Serve beef over coconut rice with lime wedges.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Week of September 6, 2009

Monday: Leftovers or easy sandwiches
Grilled Chicken with Lemon and Oregano
Bacon and Cheese Omelet
Spaghetti Sauce with Ground Beef
Late Summer Vegetable Soup
Saturday: Out at community corn roast

I don't often cook with oregano, but I have a lot in my herb garden so I was excited to come across this grilled chicken recipe (Tuesday) and am excited to give it a try. After a summer of WAY too much red meat on the barbecue, I am hoping to start cooking more chicken and seafood.

With local blueberries still in full force around Ottawa, I've been making lots of Lemon Blueberry muffins for the 3 Things. These muffins are pretty healthy and very easy and fast to make (I can often whip them up just before the kids get up in the morning and have them hot out of the oven for breakfast.

Another muffin favourite around here are these Zucchini Chocolate Chip muffins that I have been making for almost two years now. Everywhere I take them people rave about them and my kids ask me every 3-4 days for "more of those chocolate chip muffins". Little do they know (because thankfully they can't read yet!) I often nearly double the zucchini and put at least 1 1/2 to 2 cups in!! These are DELICIOUS, and also not very difficult to make (grating the zucchini is a bit tediuos and watch those finger nails as you get to the end!).

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup shredded zucchini
1/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Combine egg, oil, milk, lemon juice and vanilla; mix well. Stir into dry ingredients. Add zucchini, chocolate chips and walnuts. Fill greased muffin tin. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until muffins are golden brown on the top.

We are all over tomatoes at this time of year and aside from our daily dose of cheese and tomato sandwiches, I like to try a different tomato salad every week or so. This is on my radar for this week:

Avocado Tomato Salad

2 Hass Avocados from Mexico, diced small
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
3 tablespoons sweet onion, diced small
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Salt to taste
1 head baby red romaine lettuce, trimmed and left as whole leaves
1 medium head frisee, washed and chopped
1 bunch watercress, washed and chopped
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, gently mix, and season with salt to taste. If preferred, add more cilantro and fresh lime juice to taste.
  2. Refrigerate for thirty minutes prior to serving.
  3. Just before serving, toss salad with romaine, frisee and watercress. Season to taste with salt and fresh black pepper. Serve immediately.