Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka MasalaIN A CROCK POT!!!!!! Yep, you heard me!

When I saw this on Pinterest, I just had to try it. I adore Chicken Tikka Masala and although I’m quite happy with the America’s Test Kitchen adaptation that I often use, I couldn’t resist trying out a slow cooker version.

True to the wonders of crock pot cookin’, I simply threw the ingredients into the pot, slapped on the lid  and let the goodness work its magic for 8 hours.

 

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

How did it taste? Really great! The chicken was quite flavorful and tender. As for the sauce—creamy and luscious. The only change I would make would be to reduce the amount of garam masala by half. The original recipe from Cooking Classy calls for 2 tablespoons which was pretty heavy handed for me but depending on your flavor preference (and the type of garam masala you use), you may like the full amount.

And although it may not be spot on to my beloved New Indian Cuisine, it’s still quite scrumptious and you just cannot beat how darn easy it is to make.

Want the recipe? Head on over to Cooking Classy.

Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Bacon-Herb Butter

Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Bacon-Herb Butter

I have vivid memories waking up when I was a kid to the smell of turkey roasting on Thanksgiving morning.

Our clan would arrive to my folks house around lunchtime and we would begin enjoying several delicious Vietnamese dishes, courtesy of mom and the aunties. While waiting for the turkey, we would watch movies, play games, snack, and catch up with the latest gossip.

We would then feast again once the turkey came out of the oven—a turkey with Asian flavors that Mom created with five-spice and tons of garlic. To this day, Mom’s turkey is still the juiciest and most flavorful I’ve ever had.

After the turkey and sides were devoured, we would continue with the chatting and games. And hours later, believe it or not, the family would have one last meal. Usually Cháo (Vietnamese rice porridge) or Bún Bò Huế (Spicy Beef Noodle Soup)–something warm and comforting to close out the night.

Needless to say, it was among my favorite times of the year. Not just because of the incredible food (and trust me, it was incredible) but because of the memories that surrounded these feasts.

Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Bacon-Herb Butter

But if prepping a turkey appears too daunting for you, opt for roasting a chicken or a few Cornish game hens. Either will provide a succulent alternative and can be roasted in a fraction of the time.

And because I subscribe to the belief that bacon makes EVERYTHING better, try out this compound butter filled with fresh herbs and smoked bacon I used on game hens I made for dinner for some friends. The smokiness from the bacon and bright herbs were wonderful with the hens.

With that Friends, stay tuned for Wednesday’s post as I share a scrumptious and easy dessert that could be appreciated at any Thanksgiving feast. And because I love y’all, I’ll be announcing a gorgeous giveaway, too. True Story!

Happy Monday and here’s to a short work week! Yippee!!!

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Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Bacon-Herb Butter
Serves 4

Ingredients:

½ cup unsalted butter, softened
2 strips thick-sliced smoked bacon, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
½ tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
kosher salt
black pepper
2 Cornish game hens, cleaned and dried
1 small yellow onion, quartered
extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a food processor, pulse together the butter, bacon, and herbs until combined. Season the mixture with ½ teaspoon kosher salt and ½ teaspoon of black pepper.

Take each hen and slide your fingers between the skin and breast meat to loosen. Be careful not to tear the skin. Gently rub 2-3 tablespoons of the butter mixture underneath the skin. Inside the cavity, heavily salt and pepper the hen. Stuff the cavity with the remaining butter mixture and quartered onion. Rub the exterior of the hens with olive oil and generously season with kosher salt and black pepper. Truss the hens with kitchen twine.

Place the hens on a large, rimmed baking sheet or shallow roasting pan. Rotating the pan halfway through cooking, roast the hens until a thermometer inserted into thickest part of the thigh registers 170 degrees–about 45-50 minutes. Carefully remove the hens and rest on a cutting board. Loosely tent with aluminum foil and allow hens to rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Bánh Mì Gà Nướng (Vietnamese Roasted Chicken Sandwich)

Bánh Mì Gà Nướng (Vietnamese Roasted Chicken Sandwich)

The other week I did a quick poll via Twitter and Facebook asking folks what Vietnamese dishes they’d like to see on the blog—well, other than Phở :)

I got a range of requests from Bún (Vermicelli Noodles) to Gỏi Cuốn (Spring/Summer Rolls) and even Bánh Mì (sandwiches).

Bánh Mì Gà Nướng (Vietnamese Roasted Chicken Sandwich)

But truth be told, outside of the occasional Bánh Mì Chả Lụa (Vietnamese “Ham”/”Sausage” Sandwich), I rarely ever make Bánh Mì.

Bánh Mì Gà Nướng (Vietnamese Roasted Chicken Sandwich)

By no means is Bánh Mì difficult to assemble but I’ve always been lucky enough to have local Bánh Mì shops nearby and at under 3 bucks a pop (and that’s on the high end), I have been just darn lazy. Yup, I admit it.

Bánh Mì Gà Nướng (Vietnamese Roasted Chicken Sandwich)

At it’s base, Bánh Mì is made up of a toasted french baguette, pickled veggies, tons of cilantro, mayonnaise, and some type of protein. But don’t let it fool you. Just because it sounds simple, doesn’t mean the flavors aren’t genius!

Bánh Mì is all about balance. The great crunch from the baguette, savory flavors from the protein, bright notes from the herbs and the sweet/tangy aspects of the pickled veggies. Just Perfect.

Bánh Mì Gà Nướng (Vietnamese Roasted Chicken Sandwich)

But I realize not everyone has access to yummy Bánh Mì shops so I thought it would be fun to share a delish and easy method. For this particular Bánh Mì Gà Nướng, I used chicken thighs marinated with Chinese Five-Spice and Maggi Seasoning Sauce. In fact, this is how our mom would often marinade our poultry—including our Thanksgiving turkeys every year! The Five-Spice gives a deep, earthy flavor from the combination of star anise, cloves, and other goodness. Trust me, it’s amazing.

And with that friends—Ăn ngon! Stay tuned next week for another Vietnamese dish!

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Bánh Mì Gà Nướng (Vietnamese Roasted Chicken Sandwich)
Serves 4

Ingredients:
4 6-inch Baguette Rolls, lightly toasted and sliced lengthwise
Five Spiced Chicken*
Đồ Chua (Pickled Vegetables)*
Mayonaisse*
1 Bunch Fresh Cilantro Leaves, washed and dried
1 Jalapeno Pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 Small Cucumber, thinly sliced lengthwise


Five-Spice Chicken
:
6 Chicken Thighs, bone in and skin on
1 Tablespoon Five-Spice Powder
¼ Cup Granulated Sugar
2 Teaspoons Black Pepper
3 Tablespoons Minced Garlic
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
½ Cup Maggi Seasoning Sauce

Đồ Chua (Pickled Vegetables):
1 Cup Carrots, julienned
1 Cup Daikon Radish, julienned
2 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar
1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 Cup Rice Wine Vinegar
½ Cup Boiling Water

Mayonnaise:
2 Large Egg Yolks, at room temperature
1 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 Garlic Clove, minced
¼ Cup Fresh Cilantro Leaves, chopped (optional)
2-3 Dashes Nước Mắm (fish sauce)

Prepare the marinade for the chicken. In a large bowl, whisk together the Five-Spice, sugar, and pepper. Stir in garlic, Maggi and oil until the dry ingredients have dissolved. Submerge the chicken into the marinade, being sure to coat both sides. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 60 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the Đồ Chua (Pickled Vegetables). In a medium sized bowl, dissolve the sugar and salt with the boiling water. Add the vinegar and allow the liquid to cool to room temperature. Add the vegetables and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Prepare the mayonnaise. In a blender, add all the ingredients except the oil. Pulse several times and then slowly drizzle in the oil until the mayonnaise has properly emulsified. Refrigerate until ready for use. *You can also use jarred mayonnaise to substitute*

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet with oil and place the marinated chicken thighs on the sheet, skin side up. Roast for approximately 30 minutes until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees F. Remove the chicken and transfer to a plate. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and bones and shred the meat into pieces.

Assemble the Bánh Mì. Spread a heaping spoonful of mayonnaise inside one side of each toasted baguette roll. Fill each roll with the chicken and drizzle a bit of the pan drippings over the meat. If desired, sprinkle with more black pepper. Fill the sandwiches with pickled vegetables, jalapeno and cucumber slices, and the cilantro. Enjoy!

Creamy Pesto Rigatoni

Creamy Pesto Rigatoni

This past weekend I caught up with some friends over dinner. And before we knew it, we launched into an extensive and detailed conversation on how we believe that Pesto goes with practically anything.

Sandwiches, appetizers, crackers, pastas……….

P had even threatened to top the panna cotta I made for dessert with it but his wife quickly intervened. Okay…that may have been a bit much but I see where he was going with it.

Creamy Pesto Rigatoni

 

 

I typically go on a major pesto binge when herbs are abundant at my local farmers market. It’s so easy to change things up with various herbs and whatever types of nuts you have on hand. And the awesome thing is— Pesto freezes beautifully! Just drizzle some olive oil on top before sealing the container and your fresh pesto can keep in the freezer for months! A quick and easy way to flavor dishes with yummy herbaceous notes.

 

 

Creamy Pesto Rigatoni

 

 

This little number is a delicious and satisfying quick meal. PERFECT for any weeknight as you can pull it together in under 30 minutes! Easy Peasy!

And for an added spin, toss the pesto pasta with a cup of shredded cheese (of your choice) and spread into a casserole dish. Top with panko bread crumbs, more parmesan cheese and drizzle olive oil on top. Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees and you’ve got a hearty and tummy warming alternative dish!

Oh Pesto….I love you.

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Creamy Pesto Rigatoni
Serves 6

Ingredients:

1 Pound Chicken Breast, skinless and boneless
1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
1 Cup Pesto
1 Cup Grape Tomatoes, halved
1/4 Teaspoon Red Chili Flake
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
Kosher Salt
Black Pepper
Olive Oil
1 Pound Rigatoni Pasta

Slice chicken breast into strips and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Fill a large pot of water and bring it to a boil. Heavily salt the water and cook pasta according to directions.

In a heavy bottom pan, add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and brown the chicken. Once cooked, remove the chicken from the pan. Add an additional tablespoon of oil and cook garlic over medium heat for 1-2 minutes before tossing in the tomatoes and red chili flakes. Cook for about 2 minutes and stir in pesto. Heat the pesto and then stir in the heavy cream. Once incorporated, toss in the pasta, chicken, parmesan cheese and coat well. Check for seasonings and adjust with salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm.

Oven-Baked Parmesan Chicken Tenders

Oven-Baked Parmesan Chicken

Despite what you may have heard…..Chicken Tenders aren’t just for kiddie menus.

Though, in an effort for full disclosure, I have been known to order off the kiddie menus at certain dining establishments. Heck, depending on the spot, the portions sizes are perfect for me—-and at a fraction of the cost.

I, apparently, have no shame.

Oven-Baked Parmesan Chicken

But back to the Tenders…..

Now, I’m not sure if I’ve said this before but when it comes to poultry, I’m a dark meat kind of gal. I find that there’s more flavor to dark meat and it retains much more moisture when cooked. But of course, white meat is considered the “healthier” portions of the bird and often times, can be cooked in a shorter time frame.

For a fast meal, I often pick up packages of Chicken Tenders to throw in recipes. Though they technically are a part of the chicken breast, I find them easier to use and quick to cook with.

Oven-Baked Parmesan Chicken

So when I got a hankering for some crispy, fried chicken this past weekend (one of my vices), I opted for a “healthier” alternative by baking instead of frying up some chicken. Using the method from Americas Test Kitchen, I took a bunch of defrosted chicken tenders, rolled them in Parmesan cheese and pan-toasted panko crumbs and got deliciously crunchy Chicken Tenders. They were golden brown, wonderfully crispy, not the least bit dry, and kind of fun!

And before anyone busts my chops for throwing in cheese to a recipe when I was trying to go healthy—-allow me to say, MY KITCHEN, MY RULES! Though…..at least I had a salad to go along with it. :)

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Oven-Baked Parmesan Chicken Tenders

Ingredients:

2 Cups Panko Breadcrumbs
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
½ Cup Parmesan Cheese, finely grated
2 Tablespoons All Purpose Flour
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
½ Teaspoon Kosher salt
¼ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
3 Large Egg Whites
1 Tablespoon Water
1 Teaspoon Minced Fresh Thyme
Cooking spray
1½ lbs. Boneless, Skinless Chicken Tenders (or skinless breasts cut into strips)
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper


Preheat the oven to 475˚ F. In a large skillet, toss the panko with the oil. Toast over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer the toasted crumbs to a shallow dish or pie plate.

In a second shallow dish, whisk together the parmesan cheese, flour, garlic powder, salt, and cayenne pepper. In a bowl, whisk together the egg whites, water, and thyme. Heavily season the chicken with salt and pepper.

Spray a wire rack lightly with cooking spray and place over a rimmed baking sheet. Working in batches, dredge a few pieces of the chicken in the cheese/flour mixture, then the egg whites, and finally the breadcrumbs to coat, shaking off the excess between each step. Lay the coated pieces on the prepared wire rack and repeat with the remaining chicken.

Spray the tops of the chicken pieces lightly with the cooking spray. Bake until the chicken is cooked through, 15 minutes. Flip the chicken halfway through the cooking time and lightly spray the tops with cooking spray before returning to the oven. Serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon or dipping sauce of your choice.

Turkey and Bean Chili for Eat, Live, Run

Turkey and Bean Chili

Hi Friends!

I had the privilege to guest post yesterday for Jenna over at Eat, Live, Run.  If you have never been to her site, you simply MUST go there directly. Her recipes are utterly mouth-watering and her posts are a delight!

I opted to make a Turkey and Bean Chili to share with her readers to ease the fall season in. Yummy, yummy, yummy! Head on over and check it out.

Thanks so much Jenna! xoxo

Celebrate the Return of College Football….with Buffalo Wings!

Buffalo Wings

 

 

Thank the Heavens…….

COLLEGE FOOTBALL RETURNS THIS WEEKEND!!!!

 

 

Buffalo Wings

As my mighty USC Trojans kick off their season this Saturday, I will be eagerly cheering them on with a buffalo wing in one hand and—let’s be honest, an adult beverage in the other.

Buffalo Wings

 

 

But I must confess to you my friends. I am a severely LOYAL and sometimes insane FANATIC when it comes to my USC Trojans and Minnesota Vikings.

You’ve been warned.

FIGHT ON, SC!!!!!!!!

 

 

 

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Buffalo Wings
Serves approximately 4

Ingredients:

2 Pounds Chicken Wings, separate wings at the joint with tips removed
½ Cup Unsalted Butter
¼ Cup Hot Sauce (I like to use Frank’s Red Hot Sauce)
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
1 Cup All Purpose Flour
Vegetable Oil

Fill a large pot or dutch oven with about 2 inches of oil and heat until 350-375 degrees F.

While the oil is heating, toss the chicken in the flour. Shake off excess flour and carefully fry the wings in the heated oil for about 3-4 minutes on each side and until they become golden brown. This may need to be done in batches to not overcrowd your pot.

When the last batches of wings are frying, melt the butter in a small sauce pan. Remove from heat and stir in garlic powder, onion powder, and hot sauce. When the wings have all been fried, toss them with enough of the butter-hot sauce mixture until the wings have been well coated. Serve warm with blue cheese dressing, carrot sticks, and celery sticks.