Monday, September 20, 2010

Chicken Tikka Masala

One of my favorite indian dishes is chicken tikka masala. We have a favorite indian restaurant not too far from our home that we have enjoyed dining at for many years.

One night while we were having dinner, my husband says to me, "You know what? I think you could make this." To be honest, indian was not one cuisine that I thought I could make just that wherever you go, each dish tastes different. But I accepted his challenge of thinking that I could make CTM. Six years later, I am still making our CTM for our family. It is one of our favorites. This dish is very easy to make and that is what I just love about it.

The Marinade
1 cup yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces

In a large bowl or even in a Ziploc bag, combine the yogurt, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, and ginger. Cover and refrigerate the chicken for up to one hours. If you are marinading the chicken for a shorter period of time, you might want to cut the chicken in smaller pieces so that the marinade can soak into the meat.

The marinade also is wonderful if you are wanting to grill out in your backyard. We have had several small get togethers with family and friends where we had the chicken marinade for a couple of days, later grilled out and the chicken was moist and just full of flavor.

The Sauce
1 tablespoon butter
4 clove garlic, minced
2 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
4 teaspoons ground cumin
4 teaspoons paprika
3 (29 ounce) can tomato sauce
2 cups heavy cream (1 pint)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

When cooking your chicken there are a couple of different ways. One way is to use the grill which makes it very tender but another route is, if you have a George Forman grill it works just as well, and can be done inside of your home. We have discovered that grilling just makes this dish have the right amount of flavor.

Melt the butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and jalapeno for 1 minute. Season with 2 teaspoons cumin, paprika, and 3 teaspoons salt. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens (about 20 minutes). Add grilled chicken, and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, and garnish with fresh cilantro.

We serve our CTM over rice.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Nothing like Homemade Macaroni and Cheese!

I love macaroni and cheese. I must admit once again, that I have not purchased a box of macaroni and cheese for many years. If I am going to have it, I want the real thing. My daughters ask for this recipe each time I mention..."would you like for me to make some mac and cheese tonight for dinner?" I know the answer will always be yes and they will not turn it down.

I remember when growing up. Each time that we got together with my family, my Aunt Bobbe always made the best macaroni and cheese for our family lunch/dinner (depending on which day you came over to their home).

We wanted to share with you our family favorite!

1 package (7oz) elbow macaroni
4 T butter
3T flour
2 c. milk
1 package (8oz) cream cheese, cubed
2 tsp. mustard
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
Parsley if you would like to sprinkle a little on top of the dish.

Cook the macaroni according to the package directions. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large saucepan. Stir in flour until smooth, this is forming your rue. Gradually add milk. Bring it to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce heat; and add cheese and cream cheese, mustard, salt and pepper. Constantly stir the cheeses until they are melted and the sauce is smooth. Next drain the macaroni and then pour it into your baking dish. Pour the cheese sauce and stir to coat. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes (we typically do it around 20 minutes).

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Out of this World Taco Seasoning

It has been about 10 years since I purchased store bought taco seasoning, I know it is a little extreme, but you know what, I have modified a taco seasoning recipe that I found when my husband and I were married. It has been a favorite of ours since our two-person kitchen in our condo.

I typically 3X's the recipe below but only double the red pepper flakes. It is super easy to make. I store it in with my spices/herbs in my kitchen in an spice container dedicated to taco seasoning, and just reuse the container each time that I make a new batch.

1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Friday, September 3, 2010

Cucumber Raita

Cucumber Raita
I have one daughter that loves yogurt and a daughter that has a huge dislike for it by itself. The funny thing about this dish is that my daughter who has a strong dislike for yogurt loves the raita. Now one trend that we have noticed is that if it has cucumbers in it, she will eat it. Guess what, it does. I know it is not nice to "slip" this in but my thought is if she will each yogurt this way than I am all for it.

Raita is a traditional Indian side dish or sauce that is cool and delightful, especially with spicy curries. We have had it accompany some of our favorite indian dishes, in addition to serving it with cucumber slices and various types of indian bread.

2 large cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups plain, nonfat yogurt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Black pepper to taste

1. Mix the cucumbers, onion, and salt in a bowl. Let stand for 1/2 hour.

2. Drain off liquid, rinse well with cold water, and drain; then soak in cold water to remove as much salt as desired. Drain well.

3. Add the yogurt, cumin, and pepper and mix well.

4. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.