Thursday, October 17, 2013

Restaurant-style Chicken Tikka Masala in a Crock Pot

My husband loves Indian food, and most especially Chicken Tikka Masala.  I've tried making it before but it's never turned out quite right until today.  This was amazing!  We all loved it.  I used this recipe adapted from  It is decidedly not low-fat.  

Since it was in a crockpot I had this funny idea that it'd be relatively simple.  It was simple, but it did take some time because you still have to basically prepare the dish; the crockpot is used just for simmering.

First, the Chicken
8-10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 tsp salt
1 TBS ground coriander
1 TBS ground cumin
1 cup plain yogurt
2-4 TBS butter

Chop up the chicken thighs into 1" pieces and put in medium bowl.  Do not accidently buy bone-in, skin-on thighs, or your prep time increases by 20 minutes.  (Trust me on this.)   Next, sprinkle the seasonings over the top of the chicken and add the yogurt.  Stir until the chicken is fully coated with the yogurt.   Let sit for 10-15 minutes on the counter.

In a large frying pan, melt 1 TBS butter.  Add 1/3 to 1/2 of the chicken and brown it. (It will depend on how big your frying pan is.)   Pour into the crockpot and repeat for remaining chicken as needed.

Next, the Sauce 
4 TBS butter
1 large onion, diced (or blended if your kids don't like chunks)
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBS salt
1" ginger, peeled and grated
3 TBS garam masala
4 c. crushed tomatoes
1 TBS sugar (optional)
1 whole jalapeno, washed, stem removed, then pierced several times with a fork
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tsp cornstarch

In the same frying pan you used to cook the chicken, melt the 4 TBS butter.  Add the onion, garlic and salt and fry on med-high heat until mixture is translucent and aromatic.  Mix in garam masala and grated ginger and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Turn the hight to high, and add crushed tomatoes and sugar.  Stir well and bring to a boil, then pour over chicken in crockpot.  Add the jalapeno pepper.  Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours.

Whisk the cornstarch into the heavy cream and add to the crock pot. Stir it in until it's completely mixed in.  Replace lid and let cook for an additional 10 minutes.

Serve over basmati rice and with naan bread.  Naan bread is traditional indian flat bread that is wonderful for dipping in the masala sauce.  It's simple to make and easy to make it with 1/2 or more whole wheat.

Get the small bottle of garam masala first, but then you'll probably want to buy it in bulk once you taste how good it is.

Don't skip the jalapeno pepper.  It gives an amazing flavor, but it doesn't make it spicy.

This was pretty much as good as the Tikka Masala we order at our favorite Indian restaurant, but siginificantly cheaper.  We figured the full crockpot was probably equivalent to about 6-8 entrees (costing $15 each)!

This makes a LOT, but don't worry, it's fantastic the next day and you can freeze with ease.
I forgot to add the sugar, so that's why I listed it as optional.  Might be even better with it, but we didn't really miss it.  

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Teriyaki Crockpot Chicken

Simple, easy and delicious. Perfect for my daughter who greatly prefers dark meat over white chicken.  

3 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs  (10-12 thighs)
1c sucanat (brown sugar)
1c soy sauce, low sodium (or use Bragg's liquid aminos)
1/2c apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp ginger
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp pepper
2T cornstarch
2T cold water

Put chicken in crockpot.  Combine sucanat, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, garlic and pepper in a bowl.  Pour over chicken.  Cook on low 4-5 hours.   Remove chicken from crockpot.  Pour juice through a sieve into a cooking pot.  Bring to a boil.  Mix together cornstarch & water in a jar with a lid.  Shake until combined. Gradually add cornstarch to sauce, whisking a few minutes until thickened.  Shred chicken, pour sauce over. Serve over cooked rice.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Simple Chicken Caesar Salad

My daughter told me we were all out of salad dressing, except 3 bottles of Caesar dressing that no one wanted to eat.  I discovered that Caesar dressing on lettuce isn't that tasty.  But caesar salad done the right way is!  No measurements are really needed, you just mix it up.

Romaine lettuce, washed and torn into salad size pieces
Leftover cooked chicken pieces (rotisserie, cubed, grilled, etc)
Shredded parmesan cheese
Bread, any kind (can use GF)
Olive oil
Sea salt
Caesar dressing (Make your own, or use a bottle.)

Preheat oven to 425.  Cut bread into cubes.  Put in a bowl and drizzle olive oil over the top of the cubes.  Sprinkle salt, stir and repeat until the pieces are all drizzled, but not completely sopping with the oil.  Be generous but don't overdo.  Spread on a cookie sheet covered in foil and toast in the oven for about 7 minutes.  Stir, and then cook for 3-8 more minutes until crisp.  Let cool.

Put lettuce in a large bowl.  Add some chicken, parmesan and croutons to the bowl.  Pour some salad dressing on the top and toss until the salad is all covered with dressing.  Serve immediately and eat it up.  Try not to omit the homemade croutons, that's what makes it taste REALLY good.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Kale Chips the Lazy Way

Yeah, kale chips are are actually really tasty.  They smell disgusting while cooking, but they taste terrific and are quite addicting.  All the kids like them (or at least those that have tried them.)  I found my four year old walking upstairs with a handful of them - after I'd put him to bed!  My 10 year old had been begging me to make them but I'd dreaded it because the recipe I had used previously was a bit work-intensive.  This is the simple way to make them.  

1 bunch kale
olive oil, sprayer or liquid
sea salt
1/8 cup shredded parmesan (optional)

Preheat oven to 375.  Wash and thoroughly dry the kale.  Prep a cookie sheet by lining it with parchment paper (or tin foil.)   Rip the kale from the thick stem into 2" pieces (or so, obviously this won't come out perfect, but as you rip it from the thick stem, you'll see what I mean. Put those pieces on the cookie sheet. When done ripping, spread out the kale evenly.  Spray with olive oil or drizzle thin stream of olive oil onto the kale, then sprinkle with salt.  Toss with your hands and spread out evenly again.  Repeat 1 or 2 more times until it is to your liking.  The last time, sprinkle parmesan and toss.  Don't worry if some of the parmesan falls to the bottom of the pan, it'll still stick to the kale.

Bake for 10 minutes, then keep checking it every minute until kale is crispy, but not brown and burnt!  Every oven is different, so this is the hardest part about it.

Store in a bowl or plastic bag, but it might all get eaten first.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Asian Turkey Lettuce Wrap Salad

Everyone enjoyed this meal.  The four year old said "I'm not having lettuce wraps!" but I do want the meat and rice and lettuce and carrots.  Even the two year old took one bite and said, "Mmmmmmm!"  
Meat mixture:
1.5 lbs ground turkey, cooked
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
3 cloves garlic
6 green onions, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped into small pieces
1/4 c. soy sauce
1 T sucanat (brown sugar)
1 T rice wine vinegar

3 T soy sauce
2 T rice wine vinegar
1 T honey
1 T Stone ground mustard
dash up to 1 T hot sauce
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 c. water

Add Ons:
Romaine Lettuce
Cooked rice
Shredded carrots
Chopped cilantro
Chopped Water Chestnuts (optional)

Combine ingredients for dressing.  Add as much hot sauce as you like (either tabasco or siracha hot sauce.)  Shred carrots, cook rice, chop cilantro and wash lettuce.

Cook ground turkey until no pink remains.  Add sesame oil and stir.  Press garlic cloves into mixture and add green onions and celery.  Stir and saute' for a minute or two.  Combine soy sauce, sucanat, and rice wine vinegar in a small bowl.  Add to turkey mixture and let cook for a couple more minutes.

You can serve as traditional lettuce wraps, or as a salad, which is much easier to eat.  Layer in this order:  salad, rice, meat, chestnuts, carrots, cilantro, and drizzle on the salad dressing.

adapted from:

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Crockpot Pulled Pork

I almost never follow recipes exactly and I usually make up my own.  But this one I did follow exactly because it had such a different combination I wasn't sure what I would change!  This had a really good flavor.

Easy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork 

I served it with the soaked buttermilk cornbread, parmesan zucchini and cantalope grape salad (fancy name for cantalope chunks mixed with red grapes!)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Gluten Free Skillet Cornbread

This is a pretty good gluten free version of cornbread.  Much better if you cook it in a cast iron frying pan! 

1-1/2 c. cornmeal
3 TBS gluten free flour mix, any kind
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 T coconut oil or butter
1-1/2 c. milk
1 egg
2-3 T honey

Preheat oven to 425.  Put skillet on stovetop and add 2 TBS oil, heat on medium.  Mix dry ingredients in one bowl and wet in the other.  Pour wet into dry and mix just until moistened.  Pour batter into hot skillet and then place in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, until center is set.

Soaked Buttermilk Cornbread

This is even better than the regular buttermilk cornbread recipe I posted earlier.  And it's more digestible because the grains are soaked first.  

Mix together and soak for at least 7 hours:
2 cups cornmeal
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (Soft white wheat)
2 cups buttermilk

When you're ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 and mix in:
4 eggs,
2/3 to 1 c honey (depending on how sweet you want it)
1/2 c. olive, coconut oil or butter

When mixed, add:
4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda

Spread in greased (or lined with parchment paper) 15x10x1 jelly roll pan or 9x13 glass pan. (You can also make 24 muffins, but who wants to wash muffin pans? Not me!)   Bake at 350 for 12-18 minutes in the jelly roll pan, or 22-28 minutes in the glass pan.  The center should be set and the top & edges should begin to be golden.

Serve with butter on top.  Can also drizzle honey over the top.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Old-Fashioned Coconut Brown Rice Pudding

I always like to make a big batch of brown rice and then use the leftovers.  This is a relatively quick and yummy whole grain rice pudding. 

1 can coconut milk (Could sub cow's milk - 2 c. Rice milk separates. Almond milk may work)
2 c. cooked brown rice
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 to 1/2 c. sweetener (agave, honey, maple syrup) - depending on how sweet you prefer, I usually go for 1/3 to 1/2 with hone.
1/2 c. raisins (optional)
5 eggs

Mix everything together in a bowl.  Pour into a greased 9x13 pan and bake for about 35-40 minutes at 350, or until set.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Roasted potato, green bean & sausage casserole

This is a total throw-together meal, meaning I didn't really measure... So you can adapt as you need (make it smaller or bigger.)  Everyone liked it, but I'll admit that the little kids pretty much just ate sausage and skipped the rest.  And that's why I had side dishes of cucumbers and salad so they would eat something other than sausage.

1/2 to 1lb frozen green beans
potatoes (6-8 is what i used)
1/2 to 1lb any kind of sausage (breakfast sausage, kielbasa, etc)
1 onion
Oil-based dressing (italian, balsamic, etc)
Garlic salt, pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a 9x13 pan, spread green beans on the bottom.  I spread about 1/2 to 3/4" thick.  Wash potatoes and cut in 1/2" chunks (or you can peel them if you prefer.)  Slice an onion in big pieces (so picky eaters can remove them - mine were about 1/4" x 1/2" or 1") OR you can blend the onion in the blender with a little water.  Put on top of potatoes, separating as you go.  Next pour dressing on top.  If you want to measure, I probably put in about 1/4 to 1/3 cup, you just don't want it too greasy.  Sprinkle garlic salt and pepper on top.  Now stir it all up.  Put it in the oven and bake 45 to 55 minutes until potatoes are tender.  You may want to stir occasionally to avoid burning the stuff on top.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Almost Perfect Chewy Peanut Butter Granola Bars

I searched high and low for a tasty, chewy gluten free, dairy free granola bar, but I couldn't find a good recipe.  I decided to create my own and this is the result of a lot of experimentation.

1/2 c. honey
1/4 c. sucanat
1/4 c. coconut oil (or butter)
3/4 c. Coconut milk
1 c natural peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
3 c oats
1 c crispy rice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c chocolate chips

Melt in a pot:  honey, sucanat, butter.  Add coconut milk and bring to a boil.  Let boil over med-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and add peanut butter and vanilla.  Stir with whisk until combined.  Let cool for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine oats, crispy rice and salt.  Add the liquid ingredients to the dry.  When the mixture is cool enough, add the chocolate chips.  Spread in greased 9x13 pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  Let cool, then slice into bars.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Soaked overnight fridge muesli

This is a yummy, quick breakfast or snack.  Half my kids won't eat it (they don't like the texture of chia seeds) but a few of us like it a lot!  It's simple to make and to eat any time.

1 cup oats (use GF oats for gluten free)
1-1/2 cup milk (or rice milk or almond milk, or whatever milk)
2 TBS lemon juice
1 TBS chia seeds
1 cup frozen or fresh fruit, chopped
2 TBS sweetener (agave, honey -hard to mix in - or equivalent amount of stevia)

Put it all in a quart jar and shake it up.  Can add 1 TBS buckwheat flour or other flour if you want to make it even more digestable!

Maple blueberry (could add lemon zest)
Triple berry (costco mix)
Honey Strawberry
Mandarin Orange (sub 1/2 cup OJ for 1/2 c of milk)

Update:  This works just fine without the chia seeds for those who don't like them.  Just omit, and use the same ingredients as above.

Friday, March 22, 2013

GF / Grain free - Almond crackers or pizza crust

I was surprised at how tasty this was. It sounds kind of disgusting, but it was delicious.  I first made it!  They look prettier if you use blanched almond flour.  

2 cups almond flour
1/4 c. nutritional yeast (optional, but great flavor)
1 T baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
2 eggs 

1 T olive oil

Mix almond flour, yeast, baking powder and sea salt  in a small bowl.  Add in eggs & olive oil.  Mix until dough forms.
Roll dough between two pieces of parchment paper to be 1/8" thick.  Bake 400 degrees for 10-20 minutes (depends on thickness, so check often!)

Make mini pizzas by rolling 1-1/2" balls of dough.  Cook 8 minutes, then put toppings on and bake an additional 7-12 minutes until cheese is melted.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Homemade Gatorade

Soccer season is upon us.  I find it awfully ironic that we are encouraging our kids to get good exercise and then they get junk food for snacks.  I wanted to get a good gatorade sub that my kids would be happy to give up the junky kind for!   

1 qt water
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp CALM powder (optional, provides calcium/magnesium minerals)
1-1/2 c. Grape juice (or other flavor)
1-2T sweetener (agave, honey or equiv amount stevia)

Mix it up and drink it!

Option:  I've used the juice drained from juice-sweetened canned fruit too.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Husband-Approved Power Cookie Dough Balls (and Gluten free, too!)

My husband LOVES chocolate chip cookies and chocolate chip cookie dough.  And he's pretty selective about which he'll eat.  He really liked these, and so did everyone else!  Good enough to eat even when not gluten free. 

2 c. blanched almond flour (although unblanched will work too.  Just not as pretty) 
1/8 tsp real salt 
1/4 c. coconut oil 
1/4 c. honey 
2 tsp vanilla 
2 T mini chocolate chips 

In a small saucepan, melt coconut oil & honey on very low heat.  Add vanilla when oil and honey are just melted and stir it in.  Remove from heat.  Mix together almond flour & salt in a small bowl.  Pour honey mixture into almond mix.  Stir.  Add chocolate chips and mix.  If you don't have mini chocolate chips, chop them up smaller so they will stay in the dough better. Dough will be sticky.  Form 3/4" bite size balls.  Put into a container and refrigerate (then they won't be sticky.)  Makes approx 36 balls, but they'll go fast!    

Friday, March 8, 2013

GF Raspberry muffin cake

This actually tastes good and isn't crumbly like many gluten free muffins are.  Adapted from this recipe at High protein so they're filling!

1/2 c coconut oil 
1/4 c butter 
3/4 c honey 
12 eggs 
2 tsp vanilla 
1/2 tsp sea salt 
1/2 tsp baking soda 
1 c coconut flour (can make this by blending unsweetened coconut shreds in the blender, but purchased flour is much more fine.) 
1/2 to 1 c fresh or frozen raspberries

  • Preheat oven to 325.  In a small saucepan, melt on low heat the coconut oil, butter and honey.  When just melted enough to mix, remove from heat.  Let cool for a few minutes. 
  • Meanwhile, crack eggs (yes 12 of them) into a large bowl.  Add vanilla and then mix in the honey mixture.  Mix the salt and baking soda into the coconut flour.  Slowly add coconut flour to egg mix while whisking constantly.  Pour into greased 9x13 pan.  Bake until center is set and edges are golden brown, approx 40-45 minutes.   (half batch takes 25-28 minutes.)  
  • Add about 1/2 to 1 c raspberries on top after you put the batter in. 
  • When cool, slice into squares.  Keep refrigerated.  I think.  

  • Variation:  Lemon Blueberry
  • Omit vanilla.  Add 1 TBS lemon juice plus 2 tsp lemon zest.  Add 1/2 to 1 c blueberries instead of raspberries.  

  • Wednesday, February 6, 2013

    Chicken and Veggie Noodle Stirfry

    Very tasty, quick dish! 

    1-1/2 c. chicken broth
    2/3 c. low sodium soy sauce
    4-5 garlic cloves, minced
    1/2 tsp ground ginger
    1/4 tsp black pepper
    1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

    1-1/2 TBS cornstarch
    3 large chicken breasts, boneless/skinless, cut into thin strips/chunks

    Olive oil
    5-6 cups shredded cabbage
    2 cups asparagus pieces or broccoli
    2 cups celery slices
    1 package maifun noodles, or 1 package broken spaghetti noodles  (use GF noodles if desired)

    Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl.  Pour out 1-1/2 cups of marinade.  Add the cornstarch to that and whisk to blend.  Set that aside.  Put chicken into a ziploc bag and pour the remaining marinade on top.  Mix it around and put in the refrigerator to marinate for 30 minutes (or more.)

    Meanwhile, cut up veggies.  Cook noodles.

    Drain the chicken (throw away marinade) and stir fry it in a little oil for 5-7 minutes until cooked through.  Remove from pan.  Stir fry veggies 5-6 minutes until crisp tender.  Add the reserved cornstarch marinade to the veggies and stir till thickened.  Next add the noodles.  Stir, then add chicken.

    Variation on Veggies: 
    Julienned-sliced carrots
    Chopped broccoli
    Sliced onions
    Bean sprouts
    Snow peas

    This recipe was adapted from a Taste of Home recipe.

    Monday, January 14, 2013

    Buttermilk Cornbread

    This is really, really good... 

    2 c. cornmeal
    2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
    4 tsp baking powder
    2 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt 
    4 eggs
    1-1/2 c buttermilk (or add 2 TBS vinegar to 1-1/2 c milk)
    1/2 c. honey
    1/2 c. oil (olive, coconut, melted butter, etc) 

    Mix together dry ingredients in large bowl, and wet ingredients in a medium bowl.  Add wet ingredients to dry and stir till just combined.

    Prepare a 15x10x1 jelly roll pan by pouring 2 TBS oil on bottom and spreading it around.  (You could use a 9x13 pan, but I don't like to wait that long.  Or make 24 muffins.)  Pour batter onto pan and spread until it covers the whole pan.

    Bake at 350 degrees 12-15 minutes.

    Some time I'll plan ahead and trying this in a soaked version to make it more digestible!  

    Monday, January 7, 2013

    Two Kinds of Coconut Fudge

    This was my attempt to get more raw coconut oil into our diet.  Our hands are getting so dried out in the winter time, and when I take more coconut oil internally, I don't get the bleeding cracks.  My daughter's hands are red and raw so she's excited to try the candy cure.  Both are is delicious!  To keep ingredients raw, you've gotta soften the coconut oil and raw honey. 

    In the summertime, my coconut oil is already soft.  But in the wintertime, you have to put the jar in a put of warm/hot water to soften it.  To soften raw honey, bring a pot of water to a boil.  Remove the pot from the heat.  Then put the honey in the pot and let it sit. 

     Choco Coconut Fudge 

    1 c.  raw, unrefined, virgin, etc coconut oil, softened
    1/2 c. cocoa powder
    1/2 c. raw honey, softened  (or more, to taste.  Can also use agave)
    1 c. almonds
    1/2 tsp vanilla
    1/4 tsp sea salt 

    Blend up soaked/dehydrated raw almonds  (best choice if you've got them) in the food processor until almonds were in very small pieces.   You can keep the almonds chunkier if you like. 
    Mix together all the  ingredients.  Pour onto parchment paper in 8x8 pan and spread out.  Put in fridge.  When hardened, cut into squares.  Store in refrigerator.

    Vanilla Maple Coconut Fudge

    1 c. coconut oil
    1/4 c. maple syrup (could do all maple syrup if desired)
    1/4 c. honey
    1 tsp vanilla
    1/4 tsp sea salt 

    Mix ingredients.  Pour onto parchment paper and into 8x8 pan.  Refrigerate.  You may need to stir occasionally as it is hardening.  Once hardened, cut into squares and store in fridge. 

    Wednesday, January 2, 2013

    Honey Almond Granola Bars

    Tasty, crispy granola bars.  Gluten free and they aren't even THAT crumbly.  Use the crumbles for granola in the morning. 
    4 c rolled oats
    2 c chopped almonds
    1-1/2 c shredded, unsweetened coconut
    1 c honey
    5 TBS sucanat
    4 TBS butter
    1 TBS vanilla
    1/2 tsp salt
    2 cups crispy rice cereal

    Preheat oven to 350.  Mix together oats and almonds.  Put on tin foil on a jelly roll pan (about 15" x 10" x 1")  Toast in oven for 8 minutes.  Now add coconut and stir.  Toast for about 8-10 more minutes until coconut is golden.  

    During toasting, combine honey, sucanat and butter.  Melt over low heat.  Remove from heat and add vanilla and salt. 

    When you take the oat mixture out of the oven, turn the heat down to 300. Pour oat mixture into a large bowl.  Add crispy rice and stir.  Slowly pour honey over the top and stir until all is combined. 

    Grease the foil then pour granola mix onto jelly roll pan.  Lightly press down.  Bake at 300 for 15-20 minutes or until golden. 

    Let cool for about 30-60 minutes, then slice into bars.