Tag Archives: freezer

Indian Curry: Butter Chicken

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Unlike some parts of the country, here in Pittsburgh we are still waiting for spring. Which means I can squeeze in one more post for a warm, hearty, great-for-cold-weather Indian curry.

If you poll my children, all five of them will list this curry in their top three favorite foods, with several of them ranking it right at the top. It is also the recipe that I am most often asked to share. Unfortunately, the ingredient list is a little bit intimidating and some friends never end up making it for themselves. Hopefully a little explanation will make this recipe not seem so intimidating.

There are a few spices and ingredients in this recipe that cannot usually be found in regular grocery stores. Some of the spices below I can get in my local store, some I buy from Penzey’s (which we have locally in Pittsburgh, but they also have an online store) and some at a local Indian grocery store.

Kasoori methi is an herb that is also known by the name fenugreek. Kasoori Methi (sometimes spelled kasuri methi) is the leaves of the plant, while “fenugreek” often refers to the ground seeds of the plant, but I have also seen leaves labeled “fenugreek”. I prefer the flavor of the leaves, which I have only found at an Indian market (online Indian stores sell them as well).

The Tandoori paste I also buy at the Indian store. Tandoori pastes vary a lot in color, depending on brand, from a bright orange-red to a very deep red. I don’t really have a preference. They all taste pretty similar. Just be sure to buy tandoori paste and not a tandoori marinade, which will be thinner and usually have a dairy component. The jar shown above is pretty large (26 oz) and will make several batches. I marinate the chicken in the Tandoori paste in Ziploc bags; a few hours at least, overnight for the best flavor. Since our family really loves this curry, I freeze extra bags with the chicken and Tandoori paste for using another day. I prepare as many bags as the jar of paste will make. I usually make double batches of this curry, and the large jar shown above will make 3-4 double batches. Buy a smaller jar if you don’t want quite that much!

100110 031-1 The batch of Butter Chicken in the above photo was made with a Tandoori paste that was orange-red in color, while the one below was made with the Tandoori paste shown above, which has a very deep red hue.

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Once you have your ingredients, it really is easy to prepare: tomatoes, onions, garlic, chilies and the spices are blended together in a blender or food processor-no chopping necessary! Add to a pot with a little butter, cream and tomato sauce and you have your curry base. To make it extra flavorful, the chicken is marinated in tandoori paste (I like to do this the day before, or even weeks before, and leave it in the freezer until I am ready to make the curry). Over the years I have found that it is easiest to marinate whole boneless chicken breasts (I really dislike chopping raw chicken), bake them and then coarsely chop them with a metal spatula right in the baking pan. The cooked chicken is then stirred into the curry sauce and simmered for 10-15 minutes, or as long as it takes you to finish baking your Naan bread.

View Tandoori Chicken

Indian Butter Chicken can be eaten over rice, or on its own with Naan.

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Tomorrow I will share my Naan recipe, which Little J loves to help me make.

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RECIPE:

Butter Chicken

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4-6 chicken breasts, diced*(see note on alternate chicken prep)
¼ cup Tandoori paste
1 (15oz) can whole or diced tomatoes
1 onion, quartered
2 cloves garlic
2-3 Tbs diced green chilies (about ½ can)
1 ¼ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp fresh ginger (or ½ tsp ground)
½ tsp garam masala
½ tsp kasoori methi (fenugreek leaves)
¼ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp cardamom
1/8 tsp ground red pepper (cayenne); add more for a spicier curry
½ cup butter (1 stick)
1 (15oz) can tomato sauce
2 cups heavy cream

Combine chicken, tandoori paste and 2 Tbs water in a Ziploc bag. Marinate several hours or overnight.

Combine tomatoes, onion, garlic, chilies and spices in a blender or food processor; blend until smooth.

Melt butter in a large pot. Add blended tomato mixture, tomato sauce and cream. Bring to gentle boil; simmer 20 minutes.

While sauce is simmering: Spread chicken in a single layer on a shallow rimmed baking sheet. Bake chicken at 350°F for 20 minutes. Stir chicken and any sauce in the pan into sauce mixture on the stove. Cook for 10-15 minutes longer.

Serve over rice and/or with Naan bread.

*Alternate chicken prep: do not cut chicken; use chicken tenderloins or whole breasts. Mix with tandoori paste and water (if using high water content chicken, skip the water). Roast until cooked through, 20-25 minutes. Use a metal spatula to cut chicken into chunks on the baking sheet. Then stir into the curry.

TO FREEZE: Prepare chicken as above; freeze raw, marinated chicken in a Ziploc bag. Blend sauce ingredients as directed above; place in Ziploc bag. Add melted butter, tomato sauce and cream to sauce bag. Freeze.

TO PREPARE AFTER FREEZING: Thaw chicken and sauce. Bake chicken in a shallow pan at 350°F for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, bring sauce to gentle boil; simmer 20 minutes. Add cooked chicken to sauce and cook 10-15 minutes longer. Serve over rice and/or with Naan bread.

 

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Filed under Main Dishes, Soups/Stews/Curries

Chicken Stuffed with Green Chilies, Bacon and Cheese

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One of my favorite things about this meal (besides the bacon, cheese and green chilies) is that it is easy to make this into 2 meals. One for now, one to put in the freezer for another day. The bacon, cheese and green chilies filling doesn’t hurt any either.

Stuffed chicken is best made with flattened chicken breasts. Chicken breasts seem to get larger every day, so for this recipe I start with 6 large breasts, cut them in half cross-wise, and then pound them flat, giving me 12 decent portions. If you have small chicken breasts, you can pound them whole.

102210 003-1 To flatten chicken breasts, I use a gallon-sized Ziploc bag. I cut off the top (where it seals), and also cut down one of the sides, so that it is easier to get the chicken in and out. Place one chicken breast in the bag and use the flat side of a meat mallet (or other flat heavy object-like the side of a filled soup can) to pound chicken until it is about 1/4” thick.

The flatter you get the chicken, the more room there will be for filling! And that’s why we are really eating this anyway, right? The chicken is just an excuse for not eating bacon-chili-cheese dip with a spoon for dinner.

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Spread the filling on the flattened chicken breasts and roll, beginning with the smallest end. Secure with toothpicks, if necessary. Dip chicken breasts in beaten egg and then a combination of Parmesan cheese and crushed tortilla chips.

071810 112-1 Place in a greased baking dish and bake for 30-45 minutes, or until cooked through. Cooked chicken will feel firm to the touch, but not hard.

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This recipe makes 12 stuffed chicken rolls. In the above picture, you will notice there are only 5. One lonely cheese-less chicken roll is hiding out in another baking dish.

The other 6  I freeze to eat another day (I actually ended up with 7 because I started with an additional small chicken breast)

TO FREEZE:

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Prepare stuffed chicken breasts. Before cooking, place rolls on a foil or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Place in the freezer for several hours, or until firm. Transfer frozen chicken rolls to a labeled Ziploc bag. Return to the freezer. These can be cooked directly from the freezer; no thawing necessary (cook an additional 15-30 minutes).

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RECIPE:

Chicken Stuffed with Green Chilies, Bacon and Cheese

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6 large boneless-skinless chicken breasts
1 pkg (12-16oz) bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 ½ cups grated cheddar and/or Monterey Jack cheese
1 4 oz. can diced green chilies with juice (do not drain)
¼ cup sour cream
1 egg, beaten
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup crushed tortilla chips

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray. Cut chicken breasts in half cross-wise. Place a chicken breast half in a Ziploc bag (don’t seal) and pound until chicken breast is very thin, about 1/4 inch. Repeat with remaining breasts.

In a bowl, stir together bacon,  cheddar/Monterey Jack cheese, chilies with juice, and sour cream. Spread about 1-2 Tbs cheese mixture over each chicken breast, avoiding the very edges. Roll up the chicken, starting with smallest end, and secure each chicken breast with 2 toothpicks. Combine Parmesan cheese and tortilla chips in a wide bowl. Dip chicken rolls in beaten egg, and then roll each chicken breast in Parmesan/chips mixture.

Place chicken in baking dish and bake for 30-45 minutes, until the chicken is firm, but not hard, to the touch. Serve with salsa, if desired.

*****NOTE: I usually serve 6 for dinner, and freeze the other six on a parchment paper (or foil) lined baking sheet until frozen. Transfer the frozen stuffed chicken to a Ziploc bag to store in the freezer. Bake directly from freezer at 375°F for about 45-60 mins.

Yield: 12 stuffed chicken breasts

 

Recipe adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen

 

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Grilling with Chipotles

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As summer winds down, I find myself grilling even more. Trying to squeeze out every last drop of fresh summer goodness, before giving way to the rib-sticking comfort foods of fall and winter.

Grilled flank steak is one of our favorites. I love that I can prepare several at a time: preparing the marinade in the morning and putting one marinated flank steak in the fridge for dinner, and a couple more in the freezer for meals another night.

This flank steak has a wonderful smoky,  slightly spicy flavor. Which went perfectly with this Chipotle Lime Quinoa and White Bean Salad. Quinoa (KEEN-wa), is a gluten-free grain that has a similar texture to couscous, but with a slightly nutty flavor (which makes sense since it is actually the seed portion of a grain).

RECIPES:

Grilled Chipotle Flank Steak

2 chipotle peppers in adobo
1 Tbs adobo sauce (from chipotle pepper can)
2 cloves garlic,  chopped
¼ cup orange juice
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tbs honey
1 Tbs red wine vinegar
1  tsp oregano
¼ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
½ tsp kosher salt
1 flank steak (about 2 lb)

Combine everything except the steak in a blender, and process until peppers are chopped. Place flank steak in a Ziploc bag or glass baking dish, and add the marinade.  Refrigerate for 4-6 hours or overnight (or freeze in the Ziploc bag until another day).

Heat grill. Remove steak from marinade. Brush grill lightly with oil. Grill steak for 7-8  minutes per side for medium rare (adjust time based on thickness of meat and heat of grill). Let meat rest for 5-10 minutes. Slice across the grain.

Serve with Chipotle Lime Quinoa and White Bean Salad OR use it as a base for fajitas with grilled onions and peppers in tortillas.

Adapted from The Perfect Pantry

Chipotle Lime Quinoa and White Bean Salad

1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups fresh corn, cut from the cob (or 1 can corn)
½ cup chopped red bell pepper
2-3 green onions, chopped (about ¼ cup)
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 limes, juiced (about 6-8 Tbs)
Zest of one lime
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1-2 chipotle peppers, finely chopped
1-2 teaspoons adobo sauce (from can of chipotle peppers)

Cook quinoa according to package directions. Cool.

In a large bowl, combine cooled quinoa, beans, corn, red pepper, green onions and cilantro.

In a small bowl, stir together the lime juice and zest, olive oil, salt, garlic powder, chipotle peppers and adobo sauce. Stir into quinoa mixture. Cover and chill until serving.

Note: This can also be made with cooked brown rice or couscous instead of quinoa.

Adapted from Picky Palate

 

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Filed under Main Dishes, Salads, Side Dishes

Shredded Chicken & Cheese Enchiladas

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I shredded a crock-pot full of chicken a while ago with the intention of making these enchiladas, but life got the better of me, and I didn’t get around to it until recently. Once you have chicken shredded, these enchiladas go together really quickly. My husband loves these because there are no filler ingredients (rice, beans, etc) just meat and wonderfully creamy cheese.

I cooked the chicken in the crock pot with about 1 cup of salsa. You could also use leftover roast chicken or turkey.

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When the crock pot chicken was tender, I shredded it, using some of the chicken for a chili, some for a soup (details soon), and most of the rest for these enchiladas.

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The filling for the enchiladas uses the chicken, shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, sauteed onions, garlic, some salsa, and cream cheese (this is what makes them so wonderfully creamy!). You can also add cilantro to the filling, but I didn’t this time. I just used it in the sauce.

To make the enchilada sauce, dump all of the sauce ingredients (see recipe below) into a blender, and blend until smooth.

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Place a small amount of sauce in the bottom of a 9×13″ pan.

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Roll about 1/3 – 1/2 cup of filling in a tortilla. I used flour tortillas, but you could also use softened corn tortillas.

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Roll tortillas around filling and place in baking dish. I got 8 filled enchiladas in my pan, plus another 2 that I put in a smaller pan (these 2 extra enchiladas were terribly unappealing, having NO CHEESE in them-how could I possibly end up with a daughter that doesn’t like cheese?)

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Cover and bake at 375°F for about 45 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. I love using non-stick foil for covering saucy or cheesy dishes. No sticking! Really.

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Uncover and top with additional cheese, chopped green onions and sliced olives. Bake for another 10 minutes.

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Serve with sour cream and additional salsa. We also like to have Mexican rice or refried beans on the side.

RECIPE:

Chicken & Cheese Enchiladas

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4 cups cooked, shredded chicken
1 onion, chopped and lightly sauteed
2 cloves garlic, minced or ½ tsp garlic powder
8 oz cream cheese, softened
½ cup salsa
1-2 cups shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
4 Tbs fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)

Sauce:
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup milk
½ cup salsa
3 Tbs ketchup
1 Tbs paprika (hot and/or sweet)
1 tsp chili powder
2-3 Tbs fresh cilantro, chopped

Tortillas
1 cup shredded cheese
Sliced black olives (optional)
Chopped green onions (optional)

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Combine filling ingredients. Blend sauce ingredients in blender until smooth. Place a small amount of sauce in the bottom of a 9×13” pan. Roll filling in tortillas. Place in pan, seam side down. Top with remaining sauce.

Bake, covered, at 375°F for 30-45 minutes, or until cooked through. Uncover.

Sprinkle with cheese, olives and green onions. Bake, uncovered, 10 minutes longer. Serve with salsa, sour cream or guacamole, if desired.

Makes 8-10 large enchiladas.

TO FREEZE: Prepare and fill enchiladas. Place on a waxed-paper lined cookie sheet and freeze. Place in freezer bag when enchiladas are completely frozen. Freeze sauce in a separate bag. Freeze cheese in small bag.

TO PREPARE AFTER FREEZING: Thaw sauce and cheese. Place small amount of sauce in a 9×13” pan. Place enchiladas in pan (it is not necessary to thaw enchiladas). Top with sauce. Bake, covered, at 375 F for about 1 hour, or until cooked through. Remove foil and top with cheese, olives and green onion. Bake, uncovered, 10 minutes longer.

 

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