Easy Butter Chicken

It’s amusing how when people find out I’m an avid cook and have a food blog, they naturally assume that my blog features Indian recipes (if not 100%, at least a majority of the recipes). And if you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I’m almost doing the opposite! I’ve been sharing mostly non-Indian recipes with a few, fun, and homey Indian recipes here and there. But, when I ask people what their all-time favorite Indian dish is, the majority exclaim ‘BUTTER CHICKEN’!! No kidding, I would probably say the same thing, although you and I both know that butter chicken is not the healthiest of Indian recipes. However, for the occasional time that you want to indulge in some authentic, North-Indian cuisine, this is an amazing, EASY recipe for butter chicken! Don’t remember to pair it with simple basmati rice for an explosion of flavors!

PS – I have previously blogged my recipe for Priyanka’s Butter Chicken, but this one is more authentic (no spinach in this one!) 馃檪

Enjoy 馃檪

Easy Butter Chicken PK

Yields: 6-8 servings
Ingredients
3/4 cup butter, divided
2 onions, minced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 (approximately 25 ounce) can of tomato sauce (or peeled and diced tomatoes)
2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons Kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1.5 teaspoon garam masala
2 tablespoons tandoori masala
1.5 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast or thigh, cut into bite-sized pieces

Directions

Melt a few tablespoons of butter into a saucepan over medium heat (be careful to not burn the butter!). Stir in the onion and garlic, and cook slowly until the onion caramelizes to a dark brown for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Melt the remaining butter, and once melted, add the garam masala, tandoori masala, and cayenne pepper and cook, stirring for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Now, add the tomato sauce, heavy cream, salt. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to lowest setting on your stove; cover, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then, add the cubed chicken into the sauce and continue to simmer for an additional 25 minutes on low heat.

Once you have checked the chicken has been cooked through, garnish with fresh cilantro and serve hot alongside Indian bread and hot basmati rice. Enjoy! 馃檪

Quick Padr贸n Peppers

Padr贸n peppers (also known as Spanish pimientos de Padr贸n), are my favorite kind of green peppers because they are crispy, mild-tasting, and occasionally give you a spicy surprise! These beautiful peppers come from the ‘capsicum’ family (better known as bell pepper in the US), and this preparation is my favorite way to eat them (and they are my husband’s favorite healthy snack!). Rumor has it that the peppers grown towards August/September tend to contain more capsaicin (spiciness) than the ones of June/July.

All I know is that when spring and summer comes around, I go hunting at local farmer’s markets for these gorgeous peppers. If any of you have kids, let it be known that I fed these to my 8-year-old nephew who was visiting from India, and he LOVED them. His mom claims that he usually doesn’t eat vegetables, so moms out there, maybe this is your answer to getting your kids to eat some greens.

Enjoy! 馃檪

Love,
Priyanka

Padr贸n Peppers PK

Ingredients
2 cups of raw padron peppers, washed and dried
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive-oil
Kosher salt, to taste
freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
fresh lemon juice

Directions
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil and add padr贸n peppers. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper, and lemon juice and cook for approximately 5 minutes, stirring every other minute. You want to let the peppers blister a little, so don’t worry if some sides are blackened (that’s when they are most delicious!).

Take them off the heat, sprinkle with more salt, if desired, and enjoy hot! Note: Don’t eat the stems, but use them to hold the hot peppers while you eat 馃檪 Enjoy! 馃檪

Beet Salad with Yogurt

The experts say beets are a superfood, and greek yogurt is supposed to be good for you too – so what better than a creative salad that is creamy, tangy, robust in flavor, yet easy on your waistline? This is a Middle-Eastern recipe that I have had at an Iraqi restaurant. I fell in love with this dish so much, that I had to recreate it and I LOVE this salad! For me, this is a great one-bowl meal that works as a great lunch at your desk. However, This is also a great side-dish to kebabs, hummus, or anything else that has a middle-eastern touch 馃槈

The hardest part of the recipe is getting the beets cooked, so a quick cheat on this is to go to a store like Trader Joe’s and buy their packaged, pre-cooked red beet (can be found in their refrigerated section near their cut vegetables). Or, you can take the longer route if you have the time!

Enjoy this recipe, my loves. And enjoy the health benefits, while treating your stomach to deliciousness!

Love,
Priyanka

Red Beet Salad with Mint PK
Yields: 4 servings
Ingredients

1 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more to taste
3 red beets, washed and leaves removed (or you can use pre-cooked beets that are available at many grocery stores)
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (e.g. Fage or Chobani works great!)
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
the juice of one lemon (or one tablespoon of lemon juice)
Fresh-ground pepper, to taste
Optional garnishes: sumac, lemon wedges, cucumber slices, pitted olives

Directions

Bring a large pot to a boil over high heat. Add a teaspoon of Kosher salt once it is boiling. Add the whole beets and boil on medium-high heat for about 30 minutes, until fork tender (not mushy!). Tender, yet firm is the perfect consistency for these cooked beets.

Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with ice and water; set aside.

When the beets are cooked, drain them and, while still hot, slip off their skins (if you are afraid of staining your hands, wear disposable gloves during this step!).

Place peeled beets in the ice water bath for 10 minutes. Drain and dry the beets. Chop the peeled and cooked beets into small, bite-sized cubes.

Add the yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, and a pinch Kosher salt and pepper.

Mix gently with your glove-covered hands (or two spoons) until the mixture turns a fuchsia color. For a creamier salad, add more yogurt. Transfer to a serving bowl. Top with sumac, serve with a lemon wedge and garnish with cucumber slices and pitted olives for an extra bite, if desired. Enjoy! 馃檪

Can be kept in the refrigerator for one day.

Smoked Salmon Crostinis

I make these crostinis a lot, but I made them recently and they flew off the table so quickly, that I realized that I just had to blog these for you. I get that warm and fuzzy feeling when a NO-COOK recipe is enjoyed so thoroughly (and I hardly had to do anything!). This recipe is simple, delicious, and easy to whip up as a beautiful appetizer for an impromptu meal or even a fancy shin-dig you had planned eons earlier. The salty bite of the capers is ever-so-important, so don’t forget those! And of course, one cannot over-stress the importance of fresh dill alongside gorgeous salmon slices. This is not season-specific so enjoy this recipe in summer, spring, or even winter!! PS…did I mention this is a NO-COOK RECIPE? 馃槈

Enjoy!

Love,
Priyanka

PS – I apologize in advance for being so general about the amount of the ingredients, however how much cream cheese and salmon you put on the baguette really depends on your personal preference (and the width and size of your baguette, which I simply cannot guess). Feel free to be as stingy or generous as you want with these ingredients 馃槈


smoked salmon crostini PK

Ingredients
1 fresh baguette (I prefer using garlic baguette to get that extra flavor, but you can use any baguette you enjoy)
2 teaspoons melted butter in a small cup
wild smoked salmon, amount to your taste (wild smoked salmon is amazing and much better than regular–splurge! the difference is noticeable)
cream cheese, amount to your taste
fresh dill, one sprig per baguette slice
capers, drained (you can buy these in a jar)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Meanwhile, slice your baguette diagonally into approximately 1/4 inch thick disks. Place the slices on a cookie sheet or a flat baking pan. Brush them with the melted butter, sprinkle them with a dash of Kosher salt and into the oven they go for approximately 4-5 minutes. Flip the pieces of baguette at this point and check for doneness. [Note: You don’t want both sides to be super crispy! Lightly toasted is what we are going for here].

Remove the baguette slices off of the pan and let them cool for a few minutes. Spread cream cheese onto them, top with wild smoked salmon, and garnish with sprigs of fresh dill and capers. Serve immediately and enjoy! 馃檪

Sweet & Spicy Baked Chicken Wings

I can’t explain why, but I had not made chicken wings, ever…until recently, that is. We had gone to a friend’s home for a potluck, and I fell in love with the wings they served. My friend shared the recipe she used, and I’ve tweaked it a little bit and made it spicier since my husband loves his spice! It’s based off of Food and Wine’s recipe from Carmel-based chef Tim Wood.

And this is the first recipe that I’ve tried, tested, and loved. Perhaps it was my fear of eating fried food, but this recipe is BAKED! Yet, you end up with a beautifully crisp, sweet, and spicy chicken wing done just right.

Serve this at your next party has a main dish accompanied by a side or noodles, and you’re all set – people will be raving and asking for your secret recipe! 馃槈 Enjoy!

Love,
Priyanka

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Yields: Approximately 4 servings
Ingredients
3 pounds chicken wings
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder (if you want this to be more kid friendly, you can omit the chili powder)
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Garnish: 2 scallions, thinly sliced

Preheat your oven to the ‘broil’ setting (if your oven does not have this setting, no problem! heat it to 500 degrees F).

In a large bowl, toss the chicken wings with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the wings on a sheet pan and place on lower rack of oven. Broil for 45 to 50 minutes. Turn the chicken pieces over using tongs once every 15 minutes, until the wings are cooked through and crisp.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, crushed red pepper, and chili pepper. Heat over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer (this will happen quickly!). Simmer for 1 minute. for 1 Take it off of the heat and let it cool completely (to quicken the cooling process, pour out the mixture into a glass bowl). Once cool, whisk in the honey and soy sauce.

In a large bowl, carefully toss the chicken wings with the honey-soy mixture. Transfer the wings to a platter, sprinkle with the scallions and serve HOT! 馃檪

Oven-Roasted Lamb Kefta (Meatballs)

I love this recipe because of it’s simplicity, ease of putting together, and bold flavor profile. The spiciness of the chili powder contrasting with the rich flavors of the cinnamon, cumin, and garlic literally create a party in your mouth. My signature on these meatballs is the addition of fresh pesto – in my opinion, adding the pesto adds a nuttiness and a little fattiness that keeps the meatballs incredibly moist and divine.

You can serve these alone with some fresh yogurt to dip into (or get fancy and serve it with some tzatziki for an authentic Greek feel!). Make it a meal by stuffing whole-wheat pitas along with some lettuce and tomatoes and there you have your lunch and/or dinner ready! Or you can even throw these delicious meatballs into some tomato sauce and simmer them until ready, and you have a gorgeous lamb meatball in tomato-sauce dish that you can serve over cous cous or rice.

The options are endless, and I see this healthy, oven-roasted lamb kefta as a base recipe that can serve as a one-bite appetizer at a fancy party, or as the filling of a sandwich the next day for lunch (although it is highly unlikely there will be any leftovers of this recipe) 馃槈

Enjoy! And be sure to share this one with your family and friends, as all good food should be!

Love,
Priyanka

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Yields: Approximately 12 appetizer-sized meatballs

Ingredients

1 pound ground lamb (can substitute ground chicken, beef or turkey and still get a great result!)
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons of homemade pesto (or any store-bought pesto works great too!)
1 medium white or yellow onion, minced
1 egg
1 tablespoon fresh chopped mint (or you can use dried mint)
Garnish: fresh mint leaves

Directions

Place lamb, cumin, paprika, chili powder (optional) garlic powder, celery seed, seasoned salt, cinnamon pepper, pesto, onion, egg and mint together in a bowl.

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Mix evenly using clean hands [I prefer putting on clean, disposable gloves and then mixing. For some reason, mixing ground meat with your hands is the best way to incorporate all the ingredients! No kitchen tool can replicate what your hands can do :)]

Mix gently until evenly combined. Form mixture into 12 meat balls (I use a 1/4 cup measure for each meatball – or you can use an ice cream scoop or melon baller, size of your choice). Round off each meatball in your hands using a circular motion, and place each meatball on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Chill kefta until ready to use (up to 2 hours in refrigerator).

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Note: There are two ways to cook the kefta – you can lightly fry them on the stovetop or bake them in the oven.

Method 1: Heat extra-virgin olive oil in saute茅 pan. Once the oil is hot, add meatballs (be careful not to overcrowd the pan with too many meatballs (if needed, cook in batches). Turning the meatballs occasionally for even cooking, cook for about 6-8 minutes until desired exterior crispness and interior doneness.

Method 2: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the 12 meatballs on the baking tray you prepared them onto and bake on the center rack of the oven for 15-20 minutes until browned as desired. Serve hot with yogurt, red onions, and cucumber slices! Pair with flatbread, pita bread, or fresh rice for a whole meal! 馃檪

Avgolemono (Egg-Lemon-Chicken Soup) with Orzo

This is by far my favorite mediterranean soup recipe – if I ever see this on a menu, I order it without blinking. If I am ever craving something rich, creamy, tangy, and yet healthy, this is my go-to recipe in the kitchen. The creaminess of this soup comes from the eggs and flavorful chicken broth. It is a light soup, that is decadent at the same time. It can also be made in under 20 minutes, thanks to store-bought rotisserie chicken that is hard to replicate in your every day kitchen! Why waste 30-40 additional minutes cooking or boiling chicken for this recipe when you can buy gorgeous, roasted chicken meat at your local Costco or grocery market? 馃檪

My favorite flavor in this soup is the citrus from the lemon juice – it is gorgeous against the meaty, starchy nature of the chicken and orzo. This is truly a one-pot meal that you can always accessorize with toasted bread and/or crackers to complete it. Perfect for that weeknight family meal, or as an appetizer for your worldly weekend dinner spread!

Enjoy! 馃檪

Love,
Priyanka

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Yields: 6-8 portions
Ingredients
8 cups chicken stock (or to make vegetarian, use vegetable broth)
3/4 cup orzo pasta (optional)
2-3 cups of shredded rotisserie chicken (already cooked) – depending on how ‘meaty’ you like it (can omit to make vegetarian)
5 eggs
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
Kosher salt and white pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons fresh dill

Directions

In a large saucepan, bring stock to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and add orzo. Cook uncovered until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Five minutes before pasta is done, add chicken.

Meanwhile, place eggs in mixing bowl. Whisk eggs while adding lemon juice. Stir in zest. Whisking constantly, slowly pour a ladle of the hot stock into the egg mixture to temper (this is to ensure that your eggs don’t curdle – you have to keep whisking constantly so that the room temperature egg mixture does not cook!).

Reduce heat to very low. Then, while whisking the soup in pan, slowly pour in the egg mixture (continue to whisk constantly!). Soup should thicken slightly. Add salt and pepper to taste, and garnish with parsley or fresh dill. Serve hot!