Chicken Tikka Masala

Traditionally, I’m told, this is served with plain yogurt and naan. I like to pair it with peas. It can be made with chicken or with tofu. If you’re going to make it with chicken AND tofu, make two batches of the marinade and marinate them in separate bags.

Marinade:
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
4 teaspoons salt, or to taste

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts -OR- 2 1-lb blocks of firm tofu, drained and pressed, cut into bite-size pieces

In a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, and spices. Stir in chicken or tofu, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Tomato-Cream Sauce:
1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
3 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Heat a grill. If using wood skewers, soak them while the grill heats up. 
Lightly oil the grill grate. Thread chicken onto skewers, and discard leftover marinade. Grill until juices run clear, about 5 minutes on each side. 
Melt butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic for 1 minute. Add spices. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add grilled chicken, and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, and garnish with fresh cilantro. 

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Roasted Whole Chicken: Garlic & Onion

Spices for marinade:
~2 tsp salt
~1 tsp sugar
~1/2 tsp each:
      cloves
      rosemary
      nutmeg
      cinnamon
~1/4 tsp cardamom
~1 generous pinch saffron
1 whole 4-6 lb chicken
1 small white onion, peeled
5 cloves garlic, crushed

Mix spices for marinade. Rub onto the bird, cover tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate 24 hours.
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Stuff the chicken cavity with the onion and garlic. Wrap the bird in foil and place on the oven rack. Roast an hour and a half to two hours, or until it smells like chicken. Remove the onions and garlic and discard. Serve roasted bird with rice and vegetables.

Apple Chicken Stew

This is best in the fall, because all the produce is in season, but it’s a family favorite here year-round. You’ll want apples that will hold up to cooking, so not a Granny Smith! I think I used Red Delicious apples for this.

4 chicken breasts (bone- and skin-less), cubed
herbs for chicken – I used rosemary, thyme, tarragon, salt and pepper
3 medium apples
2 medium-ish butternut squash
about half a small bag of pearl onions, peeled (or one peeled and chopped medium-ish white onion, if you prefer)
one 48-oz bottle of apple juice

Soften the squash in the oven or microwave. Allow to cool and then peel, seed, and chop into mostly-uniform pieces. Rub the chicken with the herbs; put chicken, apples, squash, and onion into a large crock pot or small roasting pan and cover with apple juice, leaving an inch of room to allow for boiling.

Crock pot: Cook on high 1 hr, low 3-4 hrs.

Roasting pan: Heat oven to 450 degrees F. (remember to move the oven rack first. I always forget and have to to it after the oven is heated). Cook at 450 degrees for 40 minutes. Lower the temperature to 250 degrees and cook for one hour longer.

Cimmanon Iced Tea

I’m a Southern girl, when I want to admit it. I was born in Illinois but raised in Florida, and I spent more time with my mom’s Southern family than my dad’s Minnesotan one. I love them both, but I’m a product of my environment, which was predominantly Southern. (That said… I HATE country music with the exception of a small handful of songs and artists, and I only develop the Southern Accent when I’m angry.)

Anywho. Here, iced tea is not iced tea unless it is sweet. While I like plain sweet tea, sometimes I want to play with the flavors. This recipe makes one quart; scale up or down as needed.

Note: It can be tough to distinguish true cinnamon from cassia, which is often sold as cinnamon. Here’s a helpful link for telling the two apart. 

3 Ceylon cinnamon sticks (looks like this), broken into pieces
1 cup water
4 tsp loose black tea or 4 one-cup black tea bags
sugar to taste
 

Cook the cinnamon in the water on low heat until boiling.
Remove from heat and add tea and sugar. Steep according to package directions – about 3 minutes.
Strain into a 1-qt container. Add 3 cups cold water and refrigerate until cold.