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 http://www.foodiewithfamily.com/2011/09/02/slow-cooker-chicken-tikka-masala/  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.

Tips:
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.